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Soul Hackers 2 (Shin Megami Tensei)


DANGERMAN
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I've heard a few complaints about this not having a lot of variety, that there's a handful of areas that you revisit over and over. I'm only about 6 hours in but I can believe it.

 

Firstly this works slightly different to regular Shin Megami Tensei and Persona, but obviously not that differently. You still use elements to attack weaknesses, however rather than now getting extra turns or the chance to pile on, you instead get a 'stack'. Hit a weakness with one person and their demon hovers in the background, do it with another and the same happens, then once you've all taken your turn (it's always your team's turn then the enemy turn) these stacked demons launch an attack of their own, the more of them the more powerful the attack, and it hits across the enemy line.

 

The other difference is in dungeons, unlike the most recent Shin Megami Tensei V, while you do see that there's an enemy, they're just represented as an avatar, you don't see what demon it is until you get in to battle. However, if it's going to be one you need to fight for a mission it does have a marker above them so you know they're worth fighting. This is notable because unlike other SMT games when you do your strike attack, rather than immediately trigger a battle with you having an advantage it instead knocks the enemy down meaning you can just run or fight and probably have an advantage.

 

 

There's kind of a friendship system like in persona, but it's used to open up sections in their personal dungeon. It's not like Persona in that the story is you going in to their dungeons, generally you're fighting in the real world to progress the story, but in saving these people you soul hacked them, linking them to you, and you need to untangle some of their issues. This is where some of the areas can look a little drag, just generic "computer" style. But you can unlock permanent improvements to them.

 

It's also where the retreading ground comes in. I'd already been to the first area of the game twice, did one guys dungeon, came out and was presented with a list of side quests that meant going back in. The same for the other 2 characters, with the indication that you can only do so much before needing to progress the story

 

Also I've not fused a demon yet, but it is in the game. I think I might be supposed to go and speak to someone about it but I'm doing side quests instead

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  • 9 months later...

So Soul Hackers 2 is another game in the Shin Magami Tensei series of games.  If you've played one you'll recognise a lot of what is going on here, so sorry if you've heard this before.

 

To start with the set up.  You're an artificially constructed being that has the ability to control demons and even make connections to the "soul".  The early parts of the game are you going around and recruiting people who recently died.  The other are also "Devil Summoners" who have that same ability to control demons.  And the demons are that familiar cast from other SMT games.  So this is how you get your crew.  It's a smaller crew than RPGs usually have with just three other party members so you're not picking and choosing who comes with you, it's always these four.

They're okay characters.  They're ideologically different in a way that seems a bit convenient but they're like actual people enough that it doesn't come off too contrived.  The plot is mostly just a macguffin chase, there's not much more to it than that.

 

Most of the game is spent in dungeons in a pretty typical RPG way.  Where this differs a bit from other SMT games is the demons you've "made contracts" with leave you at the start of a dungeon and find money, items, other demons etc. and you work your way through them finding them as you go to the objective.  I'm not really a fan of this for finding other demons as it ties a lot of stuff to the same RNG which can make finding certain things a bit of a chore.

Town are a bit underwhelming too, just small areas selected though a menu.  It's quick and utilitarian but not the most engrossing.

 

The core of the battle system is very SMT but it's simpler.  It is babies SMT.  You have melee and ranged attacks plus a bunch of elemental weaknesses as per usual and when you hit them you build up a damage stack that is unleased at the end of your turn, depending on how many weaknesses you hit.  But, the enemies don't have any equivalent system so they just do more damage hitting a weakness.  So because of that it's got lower stakes than other SMT games but maybe does fall inline with a lot of other JRPGs where it's only really the boss that is going to be a real threat.

The more interesting dungeon, conceptually at least is the virtual ones created by your connection to the other party members.  It's a bit Persona here where you explore them to unlock your crew's memories and there are some good character moments in here.  It's here you can also unlock certain skills that make the battles easier.  They're not the most interestingly designed, though.  Simple mazes, really.

 

Presentation is usually great in SMT games and it's fine here.  They're doing something with the characters but the areas, especially the dungeons which so far have been set in bleak industrial estates and subways have been pretty poor versions of these environments.

 

Despite all this I'm enjoying it because it's just a solid core but it's just a shame it seems to be missing everything that elevates other games in the series, or bring something new.  I hit a wall with SMTV, I have Persona 5 Royal to go through and I even got SMTIII recently so I do keep questioning myself why I'm sticking with this.  I think it's just a case of I've started now and I'm, I dunno, 30+ hours in and I think I wanna see it through.

 

So it's solid enough, doesn't really do anything remarkable and probably for weebs only.

Oh shit, theres a thread for this.  I usually search but beefed it this time😑

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