Author’s Note: This review was originally published on January 22nd, 2007.
The ending of Digital Devil Saga made me hunger for more, but at the same time, I was worried it would be just like the first game. In a lot of ways it was, but in the end I enjoyed this game much more than I did the first DDS.
Probably the highlight of this game and the reason why I found it so enjoyable was the story. While at one point I was kind of annoyed with the way a certain couple of characters ended up, the story from start to finish will leave you on the edge of your seat. It starts off with Serph wandering what looks like a desert town, where the roads are of sand and the people have been turned to stone by a black sun. Serph meets up with Gale and Argilla, and the three of them learn that their friend Sera is held captive by a group called the Karma Society. Together, and with the help of a rebel group called Lokopala, the Embryon tribe once again sets off on a new, and dangerous adventure in an unknown world.
All of your questions about the characters get answered as the game plays out in amazing, cinematic movie sequences. Like the first DDS, the game is fully voiced, and voiced well, at that! You’ll meet new friends, and plenty of new enemies. No matter who you meet, however, you will be experiencing amazing character development as you finally learn all about…well…everything! Yes sir, the story was amazing from beginning to end.
The graphics were also amazing from the get-go. Obviously, the graphics are the same. The gorgeous visuals in a dark, bleak world are explored by amazing character designs that turn into imaginative demons. There are a lot of cool new monsters, too. The music sounds the same, as well. While you don’t get the OST with the purchase of DDS2, it is still worth hunting down because of the great music.
If you recall, I mentioned that I was worried about playing this game. The reason? The game play. DDS2 is a dungeon crawler. Some dungeons will take you days at a time to complete. There are more towns in this installment, with more people to speak with, but the dungeon length remained unchanged. Yes, there are plenty of save spots, however going through a dungeon with the same monsters and same battles does get old after a while. The puzzles were toned a bit, luckily, and you can access an easy to use map with the push of a button.
But what about the battles? Are they still this mixed bag of good and bad? In a way yes, but there is far more good than bad. If you wander into a dungeon aimlessly, chances are you’ll lose a random battle because you don’t have the proper skills equipped. Button mashing gets you no where. On the other hand, the game is a lot more flexible when it comes to learn skills and magic. Instead of following a linear path, the Mantra system consists of various hexagons. When you learn a Mantra, all of the surrounding Mantras get unlocked for that character. This allows you to learn different skills easier, so you can tackle the dungeons with less pain.
Alright, but still, what about the battles? They are the exact same as they were in DDS. But don’t worry, once again these seemed to toned down. I didn’t get any game overs against a regular group of enemies. There will be PLENTY of challenging boss fights, and even more challenging side-quest boss fights, but overall the battles were a bit easier. DDS2 features the Press-Turn System. One side attacks and then the other side attacks. If you hit an enemy with its weakness, critically attack it physically, or block an attack with a spell shield, you gain an extra turn. However, the enemies can do the same to your party. Once again, you can make combos with spells, and devour your enemies to learn Mantras faster. Finally, there is the new Half-Demon mode, in which you gain an insane amount of power and critical rate, but your accuracy and defense go down. Despite this new feature, if you played the first DDS you’ll have no problem playing the second. Luckily, battles (despite the high encounter rate) should not give you as much as a problem as they did in the first DDS.
Digital Devil Saga 2 does suffer from a few problems, but it is still an awesome game. If you played the first DDS, you owe it to yourself to play the second and see the exciting conclusion of Serph and his comrades. And when you think you’ve seen it all, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Whet your RPG appetite with Digital Devil Saga 2!