No, I did not play Devil Survivor, nor do I really plan to, unless I find the 3DS version for super cheap. From what I've heard, read, and even seen, there is little to relation between the first two games. Now the reason behind playing Devil Survivor 2, is largely due to the anime that just finished airing. I remember playing this game close to when it first came out, loving the premise, the difficulty, the battles, but for some reason I fell off of it. That being said, I hope to keep the two separate from each other. Now let's dive in.
The game opened up around how I expected it to, Main Character (MC,) is named, event happens, exposition and game starts. Something I didn't expect was to see first hand how everything just went to hell. The destruction, the mayhem, the death and violence that all lead up into this over arching calamity neatly presents itself between conversations and even a few cutscenes. Cutscenes...on the NDS? That's kinda impressive.
Right off the bat, the game, or at least to me is off to a great start. Even the characters that they introduce, the few that seem important, seem fleshed out, like they have more to tell or some extensive background just waiting to be explored. Combat also presented itself in an easy to learn fashion, combining turn based grid style tactics play with the abilities and enemies you'd come to expect from and Shin Megami Tensei game.
The music impresses me a great deal as well, sound effects, all incredible for the NDS. Something else I find rather important, especially when discussing NDS games is the utility of both screens. Of course, for a JRPG you can pretty much imagine what they'd be used for, top being stats and information, bottom being the plane of battle and movement.
Sadly, there are a few things that I found myself asking, 'why?' Why isn't the game fully voice acted, why aren't the graphics up to par with games like The World Ends With You. Not to mention the game feels at times rather incredibly punishing. This game is a challenge, at least on the first playthrough.
Similar to the Persona series, Devil Survivor 2 builds relationships with other characters. That is, by spending time in between battles with allies you can actually grow closer to them based on dialogue choices. As relationships grow stronger, characters will gain additional powers and even resistances to attacks and elements.
I personally love this, or at least I appreciate things like this that make me want to spend time with my team, to get to know their back stories because, guess what? They're actually interesting!
At this point I feel like I'm rambling, but bring it all to a close, I will continue to play this, definitely. I love the game, almost more so than the anime, but the random cut scenes feel almost like a tease of what the rest of the game could have been.
Current Score: 8 / 10
It may be a while before I finish Devil Survivor 2, but I look forward to bringing MC to his final destination.