Impressions written after 15 hours of play.
Since the release of Persona 5 and its resounding success, Atlus and SEGA have enjoyed relaunching the Shin Megami Tensei saga in all its forms. after Shin Megami Tensei V On the Nintendo Switch, the HD version of III, recent announcements for other people’s Game Pass etc., it’s the turn of the turn for a comeback: Soul Hackers. This variant was released on the Nintendo 3DS and the first episode started a few months ago before being quickly shelved due to the old and badly aged aspect of the exploration and combat system which I believe wasn’t really worth its time releasing. There, with this second episode (which is said to be a kind of reboot), we find ourselves with a game with a more contemporary gameplay: we are between Persona 5 and Shin Megami Tensei V.
We must save humanity
As always, in Shin Megami Tensei you have to save humanity, make pacts with demons, and thwart the evil plans of fate that elude us. Here, Ringo and Altin are human embodiments of the Ions, eternal entities that keep track of time. Their mission is to prevent the death of two humans as this will trigger a chain reaction that leads to the end of humanity. Arrow will finally be the only one Ringo will save who will revive him via Soul Hacking. Not very authorized, of course, but it was the only way.
In fact, Iron Mask, the main antagonist, seeks to restore the Five Covenants which, once united, will provide infinite power to the person who possesses them, thus being able to destroy the world. Of course, the longer the adventure goes on, the more the story threads will unravel.
In the world of Soul Hackers, humans have comps, which are a type of weapon that allows you to bond with demons. So, that’s always the case here, but Ringo doesn’t know this system very well and will have to figure it out. A clever way to get players to learn at the same time.
Simple combat system
As in all of Shin Megami Tensei, the combat system is a very important part. However, don’t expect that Episode V released on Nintendo Switch some time ago. Here, we’re a little less strategic and above all less punitive.
You see enemies appear on the map, and you can attack them preemptively making them fall to the ground, allowing you to avoid confrontation, or on the contrary to engage them by simply hitting them to start the fight with an advantage. Much stronger enemies can also appear, or even golden ones that will drop expensive items upon death.
In combat, you’ll always have to make sure you target the enemy’s weak points and protect your own, but unlike in Shin Megami Tensei V, we’re not into the “press turn” system: if you hit a weak point from an enemy, you don’t gain a turn, and if the enemy hits your weak point, They won’t earn any either. The same goes for forbidden affinities, which won’t cause you to lose a turn.
Here, exploiting an enemy’s weakness will increase your combo counter: your demon will make its attack before hiding in the shadows until the end of the turn (you can collect combos and thus your demons that will appear behind the enemy). At the end of the turn, Ringo will automatically cast a discharge spell that will strengthen according to the combo value, thus knocking out all enemies with one hit. Kind of The final step Very friendly.
During combat, except during duels, your demons do not attack: it is the summoners who do this, using the powers of the demons, which are transmitted thanks to the COMP. Before fighting, you bind a demon to your summoner or summoner and he will see the latter adjust his stats accordingly, just like his connections. So you will always have to prepare before a specific battle by connecting demons that will make you insensitive or resistant to enemy attacks, while being able to inflict damage by exploiting the weaknesses of your opponents.
But let’s be clear, we are not strategists like Shin Megami Tensei V. This is not a reproach, it is completely voluntary on the part of ATLUS who “rank” Shin Megami Tensei according to their requirements and difficulties: Shin Megami Tensei is the hardest and most demanding while the character will be more “classic”. In the middle you find Devil Summoner (Soul Hackers), or Devil Survivor which is tactical.
Fusion is still on the agenda
If you’re wondering, rest assured: the demon fusion system is still around, and fortunately!
The system is not that different from Shin Megami Tensei V for example. You have a summary, which is a kind of book of demons already obtained in which you can “record” those that you have with you in order to recall them again later. If you enroll them after leveling them up, you will summon a bonus version. So remember to register your demons regularly, especially before merging them. But be warned, if you want to register them just to merge them, if you upgrade them, it will cost more to summon them (and thus merge them). You are wide sighted.
Fusion takes place in two ways: either you choose the first demon to merge, choose the second, from those you have, and the game will automatically list you what will be available in terms of the result, or you look for a demon specified by the criteria and the game will tell you which demons you should get for this fusion.
Finally, it is always possible to get special fusions, which are demons that often require 3 demons, which will make it possible to obtain specific demons but only if you have already met and beaten them in the game (this is usually from a small boss in the soul you die for example).
Powerful storytelling and intelligent relationship mechanics
Many spaces will be dedicated to discussions between the different characters in the game. Whether they are among themselves or with other people they encounter during their adventure, our heroes often discuss in order to reveal the story bit by bit. Much stronger retelling than in Shin Megami Tensei V.
The game also has a mechanical relationship between the different characters. Regularly, you will be presented with dialogue options. Here, the impact will be on your relationship with this or that companion. The originality lies in the fact that the degree of relationship you will increase with each person and everyone will allow you to progress further into their soul matrix, these sterile dungeons where their most painful memories are buried and you have to fight.
To increase this degree of relationship, you will also have the opportunity to have a drink with this or that character. This will slightly increase the level and will allow you to get the few points that you may need to advance in the Soul Matrix.
I’m talking about the soul array without explaining what it is. Be aware that dungeons are of two types in Soul Hackers 2: the main dungeons linked to the story, which allow you to unravel the thread of the scenario, but also the soul matrices of each of the characters (who died and resurrected. Through soul hacking, I remind you), which are places where you can Take advantage of them to get to the main mission level, while getting valuables and money.
This is what I can remember from the first 15 hours of playing. I really love what I do, and I can’t wait to progress through the story and discover the finale. Soul Hackers 2 is clearly not a revolutionary RPG because that’s not its goal, but it does cherish its effective recipe with particular attention to the narrative and, didn’t I tell you, music composed by Monaca, the musical group of Keiichi Okabe (composer NieR!).
Article made from copy provided by the publisher