the 3DS has been lacking many things the DS had: Immediate success, a game
starring Mario, steady third party support. It also has yet to have a single
Japanese RPG, something the DS had coming out its nonexistent ears. Now an
update to one of cult series Shin Megami Tensei's best portable releases, Devil
Survivor, breaks finally brings stats, monsters, leveling, overwrought dialog,
all the things we love about JRPGs to the handheld in Devil Survivor
first 3D remake to hit the system, Overclocked offers something unique to the
system. Technically it's a strategy RPG, with a perspective and play style
reminiscent of the Final Fantasy Tactics series, though it includes SMT's
signature demonic bestiary, art aesthetic, and great music. All of what we said
about the fairly unchanged core game remains true. Here's a bit from our review
of the DS original:
Taking place in modern day Tokyo, you play
as the custom-named hero and two of his friends, Yuzu and Atsuro, who get lured
into the metropolis and are given modded electronic devices that look just like
DS Lites. The trio’s then stranded in Tokyo when all Hell literally breaks
loose, as demons walk the streets, attacking the innocent and trapped populace.
You fight the demons using those faux-DSes' summoning programs while trying to
get to the bottom of all this. Still, your main drive is to live through
another day, as the constant death clock over your head says you will die very
soon unless you can change your fate.
That ticking clock is integral to Devil
Survivor; not only are you out to save your team from death, but you also see
the clock of everyone else that’s trapped, and there's always the constant need
to save someone. Though the clock isn't ticking in real time, it does mean you
must carefully choose what you do, as most interactions and battles move the
clock forward a half hour, and people you could've helped may no longer be
around. This enables the story to be unique for the player, as they can follow
the side-stories of their choosing. Because of the branching paths, Devil
Survivor has multiple endings dependent on your decisions, adding even more
value to an already lengthy title.
The story plays out well, but only in
conversations with different characters; there's no overworld or dungeons. All
the action plays out on the classic-style grid-based maps of the strategy
genre, like the Final Fantasy Tactics series. The battles seem simple, but it
deepens dramatically; do you want a balanced or specialized team? Do you
quickly kill the central enemy or attack its support characters first to get
more experience and cash? Do you skip an attack this turn to go earlier next
turn? These are just some of the decisions that make the fast-paced battles so
addicting as you and your collection of demons fight for good.
In fact, maintaining your collection of
hellspawn is nearly as fun as the fighting. You start with a small group of
demons, but as you gain money, the only thing you can spend it on is
contracting new demons in between battles. Also, while they have specific
powers, the more you use them the more skills they can pick up. You feel a
certain connection to each one as you mold them into the most powerful monster
they can be. But don't grow too attached to them; while they can level up, it's
much slower than the main characters and to really keep up with ever more
powerful enemies, you'll need to fuse them.
The whole fusion system works spectacularly,
as you can make so many different combinations of devils into more powerful
creatures. On top of that, it pays off to level up a demon and then combine it
with other experienced demons, as opposed to fusing two freshly contracted
ones. The depth of how specialized you can make a demon is nearly limitless,
and we found ourselves many times taken away from the captivating story to
instead try to create the best Cu Chulainn possible.
With its quick battles and focus and short
conversations to tell the story, Devil Survivor works great for the DS. On top
of that it is so refreshing to play an RPG on the system that isn’t steeped in
fantasy and/or is a remake. Though the difficulty takes a bit of a climb later
on, the game isn’t so hardcore to push away everyone else. In fact, if you’ve
always been interested in Shin Megami Tensei and didn’t know where to start,
Devil Survivor is a great entry point for any RPG fan who doesn’t mind a little
All of that
remains true, and as far as the update goes it has its highs and lows. Visually
everything is sharper and some occasional graphical flourishes are thrown in.
However, the 3D is used very sparingly, which isn't a surprise, as most of the
action takes place on the touch screen. If 3D is very important to your 3DS
experience, you should look elsewhere.
interesting but ultimately unneeded change was the addition of English voice
acting to the story scenes. We had few complaints about cast doing the dub, and
were impressed Atlus fit so much spoken language on the cart, but we wouldn't
have missed it were it gone. Also, it probably couldn't fit on the cart, but
with a game as perfectly set in Japan as Devil Survivor, a Japanese voice
option would have been nice.
substantial extra involves “The Eighth Day,” new post-game content for those
familiar with Survivor after something fresh. It’s a good chunk of unique
content, though you can only access it after beating the game, meaning those
that beat Survivor once on the DS must do so again to get to the new content.
Here’s a little teaser of what’s included:
not a stunning update, hardly on the level of Ocarina 3D, Devil Survivor
Overclocked is still the same game we loved on the DS. If you’re looking for a
graphical powerhouse, you should buy something else, but Overclocked is
something novel in the 3DS field: a deep adventure lasting dozens of hours. It’s
a great example of its genre, and even those that played it before have enough
to pull them back in. If you’re an RPG lover waiting for something worth
grinding on for the 3DS, the wait is over.