3DS
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Game Info:

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker
Developed by: Atlus
Published by: Atlus
Release Date: May 5th, 2015
Available on: 3DS
Genre: SRPG
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Teen
Price: $50.00 on LeapTrade

Thank you Atlus for sending us this game to review!

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker is a remake of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 that features the original story with enhanced graphics, full voice acting, multiple difficulties, and improved controls.  The original story is called the Battle Against the Septentriones and is over forty hours in length.  The new story, Battle Against the Triangulum is faster paced and much shorter with me getting a bad ending at 15 hours in and meeting the true final boss at around twenty hours into it.  Fans of the series who have not yet played Devil Survivor 2 can certainly get their money's worth.  However, gamers who have already played Devil Survivor 2 may want to wait for a price drop before parting with $50.  

The street price is $10 more than the average 3DS title for a good reason.  Because of the full voice acting, this game takes up 23,000 blocks digitally and the physical format requires a more expensive and higher capacity cartridge.  Make sure you have at least 3GB of free space on your SD card before buying this title!  

Like many Japanese animes, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 begins in a high school and many of the characters you interact with are teenagers in school uniforms.  The protagonist is a male that you get to assign a first and last name to which will be shared via StreetPass.  To keep my anonymity, I named my character Ben Dover (my daughter got a kick out of that name).  Ben's best friend, Diaichi, shows him a new cell phone app that shows people videos of their friends and loved ones pending deaths.  

Highlights:

Strong Points: Fully voiced remake of Devil Survivor 2 with added difficulty options; 3D enhanced graphics; fresh story that introduces a new character; multiple endings  
Weak Points: This game is HUGE and takes up 23,000 blocks digitally, or costs an additional $10 more than average for a physical copy
Moral Warnings: You have to summon demons with the option of using Lucifer, Baphomet, and Baal; sexual references and revealing clothing; strong language and blaspheming, violence

As Japan gets attacked by unfamiliar beings, demons start appearing and fighting civilians.  Ben and his friends get a video of their death.  Fortunately, they manage to survive and acquire the ability to summon demons to defend themselves and those in danger.  

The starter demons are pretty weak and you can acquire higher level demons by buying/bidding on them through another cell phone app.  Demons can also be combined/fused together to make stronger ones.  When fusing demons you can customize some of their attributes and abilities.  Each demon type has its own strengths and vulnerabilities to certain types of elements or physical attacks.   Demons can attack with and be weak to fire, ice, electricity, wind, and curses.  Both humans and demons share other attributes like strength, magic, vitality, and agility.  When the main character levels up you can increase one of those attributes.  Everyone else has their skills adjusted automatically. 

The characters have their own personalities, stories and fighting styles.   As your relationship gets stronger with them, new abilities and demons will become available as a result.  Getting to know the other characters and overall story is handled in a unique way.  Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker is broken down into days, and in turn those days are broken down into half an hour segments.  Each action you do, be it talk to a character or progress the story further, takes away thirty minutes from the day.  

There will be some tough decisions and you'll have to pick you who want the strongest bonds with because you do not have the ability to max out your relationships with everyone.  I learned the hard way that when somebody is in danger you have to react swiftly or they will die (R.I.P Jungo).   Losing a character puts you at a tactical disadvantage in the levels where your friends are split up into teams to fight a tough boss.

Most bosses have elemental or physical weaknesses.  However, there are some bosses that are impenetrable until a character weakens them with their own unique ability.  Battles are turn based and your characters are limited by the number of spaces they can move per turn.  Some demons allow the ability to move further or fight demons from a distance thus removing the ability for them to fight back in a skirmish.  If a demon falls in battle you can resurrect it if you or another demon has the "recarm" ability.  If not, you can summon another available demon.  It should be noted that there is a limit to the number of demons you can have in your collection.   

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 88%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 39%
Violence - 4.5/10
Language - 1/10
Sexual Content - 3/10
Occult/Supernatural - 3.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7.5/10

There's a wide variety of demons and many religious influences have gone into their designs.  Some demons are angelic in appearances while others are distinctly evil like Lucifer, Baal, and Baphomet.  Some Norse deities are also available including Odin and Thor.  Joan of Arc is available if you max out your relationship with Makoto.  

While there are several single females, there are no love scenes to speak of.  You're too busy saving the world instead of worrying about going on dates anyways.  Even with that being the case, there are some sexual references worth mentioning.  During one of your physical examinations, the cute female doctor compliments you on how "well built" you are.  One of the party members is a female dancer and has the skimpy outfit that goes along with it.  There are two opposite gendered friends in the game that look alike and you can make a crack about one of them being the other in drag.

Language is another issue worth mentioning.  Every word but the F bomb is used in this game, and done so multiple times.  The Lord's name is used in vain as well.  Last but not least, violence is also a given.  Since this is a DS remake the death scenes are not incredibly detailed but there are noticeable blood puddles.

Even though the action scenes are pixilated, the rest of the artwork looks great.  The demons have a great amount of detail, and sadly, some of it is sexualized.  The character portraits and expressions are well drawn, but the artwork for civilians, kids, and thugs is recycled quite a bit. 

The voice acting is top notch and makes this game worth the extra space.  The background and battle music is exceptional as well.  Besides DLC being available, there's a 3DS theme that I'm a proud owner of.  The rock metal battle music when I open my 3DS gets my adrenaline pumping!

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker was my first experience with the Shin Megami Tensei series.  I can see why it's so popular as the gameplay and character development is phenomenal.    If it wasn't for the many moral issues, I'd wholeheartedly recommend this game.  While it does have a lot of replay value with the multiple endings, I don't think players of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 will get their money's worth from the second story alone.  Both stories are good though and worth experiencing if you don't mind the language and concept of taming demons.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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