Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga review
Rend! Slaughter! Devour your Enemies! There is no other way to survive!

The good:

  • Keeps you wondering what's happening from the very start
  • Very customizable characters
  • Plenty of side quests to do
  • Sets up very well for the sequel
  • Quite challenging

    The bad:

  • Could have used more characterization and cut scenes


    I really wasn't expecting much when I started playing the game but it turned out to be one of the best RPGs I've played for a while, and I instantly felt the need to play the sequel.

    The Junkyard; Picture a dark world void of vegetation and sunlight, with six tribes with demonic powers forced to battle to the death and consume the dead in order to escape the hell that they live in. Throw a mysterious girl falling from the sky, who holds all the answers, and you have Digital Devil Saga. The story follows the journey of the Embyon tribe, and its leader Serph, as they try to unravel the mystery surrounding their existence, and find a way out of the junkyard.

    There are five main characters in the game, and aside from Serph who has no personality whatsoever (due to the fact that he's meant to resemble the player), each have a unique traits and are clueless as to who the hell they are. There's the emotional Argilla, the aggressive Heat, the intelligent yet robotic-like Gale, and the Jamaican accented Cielo. However, there's more to them than meets the eye. As the game goes on they discover more about themselves and realize that the answers to their existence lie in Sara, who fell from the sky.

    Gameplay: The Battle system isn't anything special. It takes on elements of the traditional TBS with the ability to swap character mid battle. The battle system works well, as each character has strengths and weaknesses that make effective customizing and swapping essential. The huge variety of skills makes things interesting and provides almost limitless customization.

    Your characters level up by defeating enemies, and learn their abilities via the mantra system which consists of a map of nodes. Each node has various skills and those nodes with more powerful skills take longer to learn, and cost more money. Sometimes the prices are ridiculous and take way to long to save up for. Fortunately, there isn't much to buy at the shops after a certain point in the game.

    Locations: The story is set in the junkyard, which is basically hell. There are six main cities that act as bases for the six remaining tribes. At times, these locations have the exact same atmosphere, although this isn't such a bad thing because the game is meant to create a dark, depressing atmosphere. These locations are placed around a large spiral tower that is said to lead to Nirvana, a place of peace and beauty. Travelling from place to place is simply point and click. While many people seem to be in favour of the traditional world map exploration style, I think the point and click suits the game because backtracking would take forever (and there's a lot of that if you wish to complete the sidequests), and an airship wouldn't fit in with the world. Below is a map of the Junkyard.

    Difficulty: The difficulty is definitely a strong point. I'm sick of games these days being a pushover. Expect to die, especially in the later stages and with the secret bosses (and there's lots of them). It's all about finding their weaknesses and exploiting them, which is what makes the game so enjoyable. It can be a pain to exploit these weaknesses if a character temporarily leaves your party, though.

    Music: I'll also give a mention to the music. Many of the locations have awesome, memorable music. This is especially needed since the dungeons can take a while to get through, and who wants dull repetitive music for hours? The theme song is also addictive. Below is the introduction with the opening theme song.

    Although I would have liked to see more cut scenes to develop the characters and story more, I can still say that it was a thoroughly enjoyable game. What's better, is that there's a sequel! Get out and play this game now.

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