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Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked Review

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked Review

Back in 2009, Atlus released Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor for the Nintendo DS. It was a unique mix of the standard battles that the Shin Megami Tensei franchise has been known for since its inception, but merged with strategy RPG elements. It was a well-received game in North America thanks to its multiple endings which provided countless hours of replay value. So one might ask, what does the new “overclocked” Nintendo 3DS version bring to the table over the original version and why should previous owners pick up the title? Thankfully, there’s a number of answers to that question.

Just like in the original, you play as the silent protagonist who travels inside Japan’s Yamanote circle to meet up with his cousin Naoya and some of his friends, Atsuro and Yuzu, during the Summer break. After being given handheld machines called COMPs the hero and his friends inadvertently flood the area with demons and later learn that everyone in the area of the circle only has a few days to live. While there is a general overarching storyline present, the choices that the player makes greatly affects the game and eventually decides which ending the player gets. It also determines who they tag along with in Overclocked’s new 8th Day post-game content exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS version. And for those who have played strategy RPGs before or know about how they sometimes have long, drawn out stories, you can rest easy as Devil Survivor’s story has a nice, brisk pace without feeling like it’s missing on the details as it progresses.

Being a strategy RPG the gameplay is a mix of turn-base movement and combat. During battles the top of the touch screen shows the current turn order for your characters and the enemies that litter the battlefield. Each battle has its own specific objectives ranging from preventing a character from dying to making sure everyone survives the battle. But unlike games such as Final Fantasy Tactics or Tactics Ogre, attacking an enemy in Devil Survivor initiates a round of turn-based combat between you and the enemy. After selecting your team’s attacks each side has one round each, although extra turns for either side can be added by either being the first to initiate combat prior to the battle or attacking their weakness during battle.

There’s a certain element of strategy during battles as you can choose to defeat the leader in the middle to wipe out the entire opposing team, but this has the penalty of gaining less experience and Macca (the game’s currency), forcing the player to decide whether it's worth the risk possibly leaving the enemy alive another round in an effort to gain more experience. There’s a few other minor nuances such as Skill Cracking which lets a character learn a skill from the enemy as long as they are the ones to defeat them. The game’s battle system certainly is not easy as one wrong move can kill you quickly. But it certainly isn’t unfair in any regards as it’s your fault if you lose. Overclocked does have a new "Easy" difficulty which lowers the damage and increases the experience and Macca earned in battle, however, so newcomers should have a much easier time than they would playing the original Nintendo DS version of the game.

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