Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Soul Hackers Review

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Soul Hackers Review

Fans who have followed Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei franchise know that back in the '90s there were quite a few games which slipped through the cracks for one reason or another. Atlus' latest Nintendo 3DS release, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Soul Hackers, was one of those missing titles. Originally released for the Sega Saturn in 1997 with a re-release on the original PlayStation two years later in 1999, the game now makes its way to the Nintendo 3DS in an enhanced port similar to the Persona PSP ports. So for North American RPG fans, is this game worth hacking into?

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Soul Hackers (which will be referred to simply as "Soul Hackers" for the remainder of this review) takes place in the futuristic Amani City, a location where technology has rapidly advanced to the point where the government can provide free internet to all of its citizens. The increase in technology and therefore computers has lead to hacking becoming a popular pastime of the local youths, which is what the unnamed main character you play as has himself involved in.

You play as an amateur hacker who belongs to the local hacking group, "Spookies". During the game's opening you hack into a lottery for a beta testing slot on Paradigm X, a new virtual reality game that's built on Anami City's network. After replacing one of the winners with yourself, a mysterious voice reaches out to you. Disregarding it, later that day you gain access to Paradigm X, but after exploring it and attempting to leave a demon leaps towards you to attack. And guess what - that same voice from before saves you again.

After talking to the voice he explains what's going on and how there's more to the virtual world in Paradigm X than it seems. The virtual world is part of a plan by a corporation named Algon Soft, which appears to have some control over the demons, including the one who attacked you.

The main character eventually gets a hold of a GUN (gun computer) which previously belonged to someone who tried infiltrating Algon Soft's office. Unbeknownst to him, the GUN had the special demon "Nemissa" installed on it, which flies out and possesses a childhood friend of the main character named Hitomi. After learning that the GUN has the power to summon and utilize demons in battle, it's up to the Spookies to figure out Algon Soft's true motives and figure out Nemissa's origins.

Even though the game was released back in the '90s, the sci-fi and technologic nature of Soul Hacker's narrative still holds up surprisingly well today, which is helped by Atlus' wonderful localization. Except for a few overworld NPCs which were left unvoiced, everything else in the game was fully-voiced including even small details such as the local shopkeepers.


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