Title: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon
Release Date: May 12, 2009
Publisher (Developer): Atlus (Atlus)
ESRB Rating: “Mature” for blood, sexual themes and violence
Pros: 3D character models, environments and cutscenes. Lots of demons to collect and fuse. Side-quest cases can be taken in addition to the main story. Demons can aid in investigation. Raidou’s weapons can be customized. Fighting in the Dark Realm can be quite addictive. Unlimited ammunition for Raidou’s gun.
Cons: No manual targeting for Raidou. The camera doesn’t always provide an optimal view. No voice acting.
Overall Score: Two thumbs up, 97/100, A, * * * * 1/2 out of 5
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon is a bit of a surprise. While the prequel, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army was also released in North America, it wasn’t a huge, blockbuster title and the PS2 is nearing the end of its lifespan. However, Atlus decided that its fans deserved to see the rest of Raidou’s story, and decided to do a limited release of Devil Summoner 2.
While Devil Summoner 2 is a direct sequel, it does a great job of introducing newcomers to the characters that appeared in the original Devil Summoner. Also, the way the story is presented, the events of the original game aren’t mentioned all that often and an option to learn essential information from the first game is often offered. A nice touch for returning Devil Summoner players is that the original’s save data can be loaded into Devil Summoner 2.
Film noir meets the spiritual underworld
Devil Summoner 2 transports players to 1930’s Japan. Raidou Kuzunohoha the 14th, the 14th devil summoner from Kuzunoha village to earn the Raidou Kuzunoha title, has once again been summoned by Yatagarasu to protect Japan’s Capital from an otherworldly influence. Once again, he’ll be working with Gouto the cat and Shouhei Narumi at the Narumi Detective Agency as he protects the area.
A strange thing is happening in the Capital when Raidou and Gouto arrive, all people seem to be able to talk about is luck. Some people have been blessed with outrageously good fortune lately, while others have had the worst days and weeks of their lives. Raidou has to investigate not only the luck situation, but also a man named Dahn at the request of Akane Narita, daughter of an influential member of the Japanese government. Oddly enough, the two seem to be connected.
Swords, demons, guns – anything goes.
Devil Summoner 2 is split up into two realms. There’s the normal Capital area, where Raidou and Gouto conduct most of their investigation. Then, there’s the Dark Realm, which is populated by demons and is where the majority of the battles take place and demons are recruited.
Even though the two games couldn’t be more different, the battles remined me a bit of those in Kingdom Hearts or Mana series. Players directly control Raidou and his actions, and the two demons he’s summoned largely act on their own. You can set spells for them to use before battle or through the menu. Targeting is automatic for Raidou, he’ll hit whatever’s closest, but you can tell the demons what to attack.
The demons play a big part in making Devil Summoner 2 memorable, and not just because collecting and fusing them is quite addicting. Unlike the personas of the Persona series, these have personalities. They all offer quips during battle, and occasionally you’ll even see glimpses into their backstories. Try taking a Tam Lin into a battle with a Pixie, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
They’re also quite useful when it comes to investigating. You can use them to travel, read minds, find things, transform into other people and have them perform lots of other useful actions.
Which brings me to the writing. It’s often quite clever and funny. If you’re the kind of person who sometimes skims text without really reading it, you could miss. I’d recommend paying attention and reading everything. I only wish there’d been voice acting to accompany the text.
Another amazing PS2 game.
It somehow seems fitting that Atlus’ last few games for the PS2 are of such high caliber and quality. It’s a good way to reward fans who’ve stuck with the system and company for so long, and leave them with fond memories of the console. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon is an absolute joy to play, and it makes me wish I had played Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army.