Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor Review

There are many life lessons I

The Shin Megami Tensai RPG series (also commonly known as Megaten) has been around for a long time, but Devil Survivor marks a couple major firsts.  The most obvious is the move to a handheld console in the DS.  While some series struggle to make the portable jump (Blue Dragon being the most recent to crash and burn), Devil Survivor does a masterful job of bringing the depth, complexity, and quirkiness the series is known for to a smaller scale.  The second first (how

It turns out that these DS units (called COMPs) are actually demon-summoning tools that you and your team can use to bring forth a netherworldly army to fight by your side and help save humanity.  The story unfolds masterfully, as you discover the meaning behind the lockdown, the plot of the demons, and eventually decide the fate of the world.  Devil Summoner is a testament to engaging storytelling, and the localization team did an absolutely remarkable job of creating a rich storyline, believable characters, and a real sense of dramatic tension.


Bringing modern-day Tokyo to life on the tiny DS screen is no small feat, but Atlus did a stellar job creating graphics and soundscapes that perfectly match the urban storyline.  Using bright colors and a wealth of tiny details, each area is fantastically rendered and lifelike.  Like every SMT game before it, the huge variety of demons are both unique and beautiful.  Some are modeled from standard gods and monsters (i.e. Thor), but most are the most amazing and bizarre creations you will ever see in a game.  The monster designers in every SMT game do an amazing job, but they really kicked things into overdrive with this release.  The music is pretty basic, guitar-heavy J-rock, but fits the setting perfectly.  I do wish there were a few different songs, as hearing some of them repeated over and over got a little tiresome.  It

Like most SMT games, the story plays out in a time-based fashion.  Your team is given 7 days to solve the mystery of the sudden lockdown and demon infestation, which is a challenge.  When any of the two dozen locales show a certain icon next to them, you can visit that location and either receive some dialog to advance the story, or participate in a battle.  Each of these segments will advance time half an hour, so you

Outside of the story, the real meat of the game comes from the combat and demon summoning system.  When taking your team of 4 into battle, each team member will team up with two demons.  Each and every demon has its own unique set of skills, and you are able to summon demons to serve as your melee damage dealers, your healers, your spellcasters, and your range damage dealers.  These demons are either purchased at a demon auction, or created through the Fusion system.  The fusion system allows you to combine any two demons, and create a more powerful new one with some of the skills and attributes from the original hosts carrying over to the fused monster.  This system allows you nearly endless flexibility to create the exact demon recruits you need.   It is an absolutely genius gameplay mechanic that both gives you total control over your party makeup, and ensures no two games are ever alike.  While you I mentioned that Devil Survivor made the move to a grid-based, tactical RPG.  However, that

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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