|Release: April 16, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Blood, Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence|
Maintaining befriended demons will tax you just as much as recruiting them. Besides just managing your demon’s health and stamina, a demon has to be maintained using a finite resource called MAG. MAG, short for magnetite, depletes every time you summon a demon. It also decreases with every step you take. Each step depletes you more if you’re bogged down with a high quality or quantity of demons. Although MAG can be gained through a variety of ways, one bad decision can leave you stranded. In the more expansive dungeons you’ll find yourself checking your MAG levels often, biting your fingers if the number gets low.
Soul Hackers will take an incredible amount of your time to complete, and this is not simply because of the lengthy story. If you're the type of gamer who likes to simply move along with the plot, by the third dungeon you'll find yourself overwhelmed. This game requires plenty of grinding. Equipping your characters with the best weapons and armor and keeping your item supply stocked is not cheap. You will need to recruit many demons, fuse them into stronger allies, and build up their trust before progressing. This is a time consuming process, but tailoring almost every aspect of your team is ultimately fulfilling.
The 3DS version offers a few extra features. Using the StreetPass you can collect D-Souls from players you pass, which can then be used to purchase exclusive demons. You can also trade in Play Coins for D-Souls, which is finally a good use of this system feature. An extra dungeon and challenge against previous summoner Raidou Kuzunoha are also unlocked after clearing the game. Yet other useful features, standard in many 3DS games, are sadly omitted. The bottom screen displays party information, but touching the screen simply brings up a game setting screen. It would have been more useful if you could tap vague statistics or spells to show more detailed descriptions. Also, there is no multiplayer, local or online. Pitting your custom team against friends is something you can only dream about.
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Soul Hackers was a great JRPG that unfortunately never made it across the Pacific when it was originally released. Fifteen and a half years later, we finally get our hands on the game, except it feels more like a port than a genuine remake. Although the incredible gameplay depth remains from the original, so too does the antiquated design. Since it feels so old, it should be a digital title available on the eShop, not sold at stores for the full 3DS price.
Date: April 16, 2013