Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 - Record Breaker (Nintendo 3DS) Second Opinion Review

By Drew Hurley 31.10.2015

Review for Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 - Record Breaker on Nintendo 3DS

The Shin Megami Tensei titles have gone from cult series to megahits over the last few years, especially in the case of Persona, with anime and manga adaptations, remaster releases, even spin-off dancing games. Devil Survivor is now following in Persona's footsteps, with the original from the DS already receiving a remastered release in the form of Overclocked on 3DS, and now the second game is getting one, too, with Devil Survivor 2 - Record Breaker, also on Nintendo's 3D portable platform… along with some anime and manga adaptations, too… Perhaps Io, Hinako, and Fumi will be busting out dance moves on Vita eventually, as well? Until then, how does this remaster compare to the original? After looking at the US release earlier this year, Cubed3 delves into the European release to find out…

The story is a typical one for JRPG or anime fans, following a group of teenagers in a Tokyo high school who suddenly are dealing with an apocalyptic situation. After discovering a website that offers to send videos of people dying, they go ahead and sign up… because they are clearly crazy… and are shown their own potential deaths during a massive train crash. By seeing the event on their phones they are able to avoid it, however, but not the aftermath. The area is overrun with demons, appearing seemingly out of phones and slaughtering any innocents in the area. By using an app on their phones, they obtain the power to summon their own demons and take off on a journey to find out what caused the disaster that has seemingly destroyed most of Japan. There are shadowy organisations, friendships to build with a wide cast, demons to collect, and a world to save.

Each series under the Shin Megami Tensei banner has its own play style and mechanics to gameplay but there is a shared multiverse beneath and common elements that find their way through to each of the titles. Devil Survivor 2 uses a turn-based isometric tactics grid like Final Fantasy Tactics, which then implements a turn-based JRPG combat system. The combat is classic JRPG, with magical and physical attacks, strengths and weaknesses against opposing elements, debuffs and buffs. By combining two well-loved gameplay styles with the isometric grid, along with the Dragon Quest-style combat, the end result is even greater than the sum of its parts.

Screenshot for Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 - Record Breaker on Nintendo 3DS

The fundamentals may all be very familiar, but there are plenty of unique and interesting aspects when compared to what has inspired this, for example, the method of learning new skills for the human characters requires a character to target a specific skill an enemy in the stage has and then kill it. This then unlocks the skill to be equipped to team members in later stages. This really pays off with New Game +, where there is an option to carry over skills, along with other accomplishments, like unlocked demons and unlocking new challenges, making replays very enticing.

Being a Shin Megami title, Atlus has a method of building relationships between the extended cast, a variation of the Social Links from Persona, entitled in this release as Fate. Each of the different cast members has their own story arc that can be experienced throughout the story. By spending time with the characters, a relation develops, which gives actual gameplay bonuses but more importantly it can save their lives. It's wise to pay attention to the interactions and ensure all the characters stories are explored. By including these Visual Novel-style aspects, it not only results in a richer story and world for encourages, but multiple play-throughs to see every aspect of the story.

Screenshot for Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 - Record Breaker on Nintendo 3DS

There's a considerable cast of fun characters, yet admittedly some are the usual anime tropes, like the feisty young girl and the idiot best friend but the background and story of each make for some likeable personalities and great stories. Interactions with these characters take time, however, once again bringing a mechanic that will be familiar to Persona players. Devil Survivor uses a time-based system, which means that interacting with members of the party, progressing story threads, fighting open battles or even story battles, all progress the story by a set amount of time, often 30 minutes. There is a limited amount of days and there are wrong choices when it comes to what people to spend time with, with a number of different endings.

The party isn't just made up of these characters, however, as each can be equipped with up to two demons. These demons will be familiar to fans of any other Shin Megami Tensei title, as all of the classics are here with plenty to choose from; Jack Frost to Legion… even Mara for those that are so inclined. To acquire new demons, there is an auction app to purchase more from, bidding against NPCs for the opportunity to win a mixed bag of minions. Once a few demons have been acquired, they can be fused, again much in the same way as Persona, losing the demons used in the fusion but potentially receiving a new, much more powerful demon that can receive some of the abilities from the fused ones. There are lots of things to play with using this feature - there's a type of meta aspect in using specific demons at the lowest level and fusing up through multiple levels, all in an aim to pass certain stats and special abilities through to the eventual offspring.

Screenshot for Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 - Record Breaker on Nintendo 3DS

While the US have had plenty of time to enjoy Record Breaker, with the game being released in January in America, the EU has once again had to suffer from the usual delays for Atlus. A full 9 months after the release in the States, the game has finally landed in Europe. Record Breaker is an updated release of the original DS game for 3DS, which also suffered from such delays, with that having double the amount of waiting time, with a February 2012 US release and an October 2013 release in this territory!

Now that the new release is finally here, though, there are some new additions to the game that really improve the overall experience, along with some expected and smaller additions, such as the inclusion of StreetPass, SpotPass, and a new difficulty option. The two big additions are the inclusion of voice-overs and the new story.

The new story, known as the Triangulum Arc, takes place immediately after the ending of the original Septentrion tale. This content is available from the start for players who finished the original Devil Survivor and want to experience it straight away, but for new players it will ruin the original story and not make much sense. The Triangulum Arc feels like a bonafide full sequel to Devil Survivor 2 - the content is massive with at least 20 hours or so to play through, not to mention even more alternate endings and story paths to see.

Screenshot for Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 - Record Breaker on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 - Record Breaker is a superb, unique, and underrated title that deserves to be in any JRPG fan's catalogue. There is enough content to warrant a purchase even for owners of the original, with a much higher quality translation and voice work that elevates it completely over the original but also the new content feels much like a true sequel. Fantastically enjoyable and hard to put down, this is almost on par with Atlus' golden child, Persona.

Developer

Atlus

Publisher

NIS America

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

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