Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2 (iOS) Review

By Gabriel Jones 17.08.2018

Review for Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2 on iOS

In the Shin Megami Tensei universe, demons aren't confined to the netherworld. In fact, they can be found everywhere, even on the streets of a bustling metropolis. However, most people go their entire lives without ever seeing one. In Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2, players take on the role of a Dx2. Dx2s aren't like most people. Not only are they able to see demons, they can also communicate and even ally with them. This is all accomplished via a revolutionary smartphone app. However, this tremendous power has fallen into the hands of evil. A terrorist group called "The Acolytes" is trying to destroy the world. Take on the mantle of "Liberator," raise an army of demons, and protect all that is righteous.

Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2 fancies itself a mobile RPG, but what exactly does that entail? As it was explained in the introduction, the player takes on the role of a Dx2 or, more specifically, a Liberator. By utilising demons, they can protect Japan from the heinous Acolytes, all the while gaining strength and abilities. Given a long enough period of time, one could theoretically amass a demonic legion, unparalleled in ferocity. Beezlebub, Metatron, Yatagaratsu; all of these fiends and more could be acquired. All it takes is a commitment to proper resource management, or luck that would make lottery winners envious.

In order to understand resource management, the resources must be known. In this title, there are gems, magnetite, and macca. Gems are the rarest and most precious of the three. They are used to purchase summons, buy items that replenish stamina, and so on. Magnetite is the currency of fusion. Combining multiple demons in order to create new ones has a cost to it. Naturally, the strongest require the largest investment. Macca is mostly used for the purchasing and upgrading of brands. Up to five can be equipped on each demon. Think of them as weapons and armour, as their stat boosts are essential to survival.

Now, in order to get hold of these all-important resources, stamina must be expended. Again, there are three types. Regular stamina is expended when taking on quests. These short scenarios typically consist of three or more battles. Some quests move the story along, while others award valuable items, such as brands or even summoning cards. Duelling stamina is exclusive to the PvP mode. Players take their best demon team and engage in frequent battles. Generally, the best of the best has an incredible team and constantly fights.

Screenshot for Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2 on iOS

Then there's the Aura Gate, which serves as a sort of first-person dungeon crawler. Although the layouts are random, a sense of familiarity is liable to awaken in any fan of the Shin Megami Tensei series. Every step drains "Gate stamina," so it's wise not to run around in circles. Luckily, progress is saved upon completion of every floor. As writing this, there are 50 floors to conquer, and each one is more complex and dangerous than the last. A myriad of surprises await frequent explorers, so it pays to make daily trips.

What's great about this system is that there is absolutely no downtime. Once depleting all of your questing stamina, it is possible to visit the Aura Gate or duel until it replenishes. In most cases, recovering stamina should never take more than a couple hours. By constantly rotating through all three modes, the majority will be consistently engaged. Players don't have to spend their gems on stamina potions, just to keep playing. Even if successfully managing to exhaust everything, there is the opportunity to spend quite a long time utilising both "The Church of False Gods" and "Pandemonium" to develop the ultimate demon party.

The Church of False Gods, also known as the home of demon fusion, is integral to succeeding, provided those in control know what they are doing. First off, it's important to consider a demon's archetype. If a demon is an elementalist, for example, that means they gain a resistance or immunity to specific elements. All creatures are strong and weak towards a variety of elements, but elementalists get a little something extra. Those with the aragami archetype get an additional attack skill, yet its usefulness depends on the demon.

What's interesting about archetypes is that almost all of them are exclusive to summoning. In fact, if a demon is recruited via conversation or basic summoning, then their archetype will always be common. Common demons are easily fused, but if anyone wants a specific skill, then they are going to have either purchase superior summons (which cost 100 gems each), or use the appropriate cards. These especially useful cards sometimes drop while exploring the Aura Gate, or by completing high-level quests. In short, the player can't exclusively rely on either summoning or fusion in order to build the ideal party. They have to work with what they are given and do whatever is necessary to maximise their potential.

Screenshot for Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2 on iOS

Then there's Pandemonium, the place where potential goes to be maximised. It is here that demons can be evolved to raise their maximum level, awakened to boost their stats, or equipped with brands. Divining the right combination of brands is a very involved and expensive process. Naturally, a demon's strengths must be accounted for. If they are a spell-caster, then by all means they should get plenty of brands that boost Magic Attack percentages. Fighters need attack power, accuracy, and a high critical hit rate. Investing in evasion and ailment boosts can also make a big difference.

As far as the battle system is concerned, Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2 is clearly in line with most other entries in the franchise. The press turn system gives extra turns to demons if they can exploit weaknesses and land critical hits. However, turns are taken away any time an attack misses or is somehow nullified. Since almost all demons have weaknesses, an appropriate party makes an attempt to cover for them. In other words, try to avoid having multiple demons that are weak to the same element. If the enemy casts a spell that hits everyone with a blast of ice, as long as one demon is immune to it, then the enemy will still lose a turn.

Although the player is given their own avatar to start off with, they are also encouraged to recruit other Dx2s. Each Dx2 has its own skillset, and confer benefits to demons capable of specific abilities. The unpopular pop idol, Shionyan, doles out bonuses any time a demon is afflicted with a debilitating status effect. Therefore, her party could include the Trumpeter, whose very presence can put demons in a bind. A Succubus is also a good choice, as their charms cause enemies to attack each other. As expected from someone whose hair resembles Mickey Mouse's ears, Eileen's specialty is random skills. Fire breath, rampage, and anything else that targets enemies at random, will receive a buff as long as Eileen is in charge. Building a team around particular Dx2s can mean the difference between winning and losing.

Screenshot for Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2 on iOS

There are a number of other aspects that help to give this game its own appeal. One that's especially noteworthy is the MP limit. A demon can have a maximum of 10 MP, and they receive three points every time their turn comes up in battle. Therefore, they should use skills whenever possible, but they shouldn't put themselves in a position where they don't have any MP to work with. This lends an extra layer of strategy to each encounter. If a demon uses a fire spell on its current turn, it won't have enough MP to cast a healing spell the next time its turn comes around.

Then there's the fact that a significant portion of the adventures can be almost entirely automated. Not only is there an auto-battle function, it's also possible to let the computer handle quest grinding, as well as Aura Gate exploring. This feature is especially handy, as it allows one to divert their attention to other matters, rather than mindlessly pushing buttons to complete tedious tasks. Granted, the system is not infallible; for example, under the state of auto-battle, demons will always attack, even if their target is immune to physical damage. They also won't pass turns or use items, even if the situation calls for such measures. Annoyingly, the person holding the phone still has to confirm the results of a battle during Aura Gate exploration. A few finger presses every 30 or so seconds doesn't seem like much, but it does mean that simply leaving to attend to other business can't be done.

In every respect, Liberation Dx2 does an astonishingly good job of keeping its audience occupied. While it probably would have been enough to endlessly tease players with exceptionally rare demons, this goes above and beyond by offering a lot of freedom. Everyone can build a party that appeals to them, and the fusion system is perfect for making the most of whatever hand is dealt. However, as the adventure progresses, resource management plays an increasingly heavy role. It will take millions of magnetite to fuse the best demons. How long does it take to collect millions? Oh, weeks… maybe even months. This is free-to-play, after all. If someone wants immediate results, they might have to spend a little money.

Screenshot for Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2 on iOS

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2 is a very strong entry in the mobile RPG genre. Players have to make the most of every system available to them. Sure, it's possible to receive an especially rare and powerful demon through summoning, but not everyone is going to have the patience for a less than .01% chance. Those who take the time to learn the many intricacies will discover that the results are quite rewarding. A well-equipped and balanced party will overcome the most improbable of challenges. The automated features are especially convenient, and gamers can dedicate as much or as little of their time as desired.

Developer

Atlus

Publisher

SEGA

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   

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