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Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha Vs. The Soulless Army Review

Developer: Atlus Publisher: Atlus
Release Date: October 10, 2006 Also On: None

When you think of RPG dynasties, undoubtedly there are several names that come to mind immediately: Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Chrono, or even the fresh-faced Kingdom Hearts. Despite these dominating series’, the Shin Megami Tensei series managed to capture a cult following outside of the mainstream in Japan. Until quite recently, the series existed solely in Japan, but now with several releases in the United States, including the latest called Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha Vs. The Soulless Army, the series is taking claim in the United States market.

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In Devil Summoner, you take the role of a young detective set in pre-World War II JapanAs Raidou Kuzunoha the 14th, a title apparently inherited, your job is to investigate the paranormal or strange events that seem to spring up throughout the city. Raidou is thrust head-first into a twisting plot by a strange call from a young girl asking of all things for you to kill her. After the girl’s disappearance, Raidou’s investigation leads him into a large plot and into confrontation with masked armed forces that are revealed to be the Soulless Army.

At first appearance, the intro to Devil Summoner has you questioning whether or not you are watching the opening to an anime. Graphically speaking, Devil Summoner delivers in varying levels as you play through the game. Cut-scenes transition smoothly from the main gameplay and look pristine. At times the general gameplay and especially the character models seem slightly dated, more closely resembling early generation PS2 games than 2006. Travel also feels outdated, but not necessarily in a bad way as it is done with a 2D map, sparing you from endless random encounters.

Combat and gameplay in general is based strongly upon the central theme of the game: summoning demons. Breaking away from traditional Shin Megami Tensei games, demons are acquired (think Pokemon almost) in combat by simply stunning them by striking them with their elemental weakness, then overpowering them. The demon collecting is an integral part of the game and sets it apart from most other RPGs on the PlayStation 2.

Shying away from turn-based combat battles are semi hack’n’slash parts with a mix of RPG elements with the implementation of summoning demons on the fly. Battles are random much like any other RPG, and at times are ridiculously frequent, which makes the back-and-forth search areas extremely tedious. Despite these small flaws, the game offers a fairly engaging plot and entertaining gameplay that allows you to blow away the many hours the game will take to finish with relative ease.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 7
Written by Andrew Review Guide