I used to love turn-based RPGs. Nevertheless, as I obtained older, I began to search out them an increasing number of boring. Most of them really feel extremely interchangeable to me, to the purpose that I usually didn’t really feel like that they had gameplay as a lot as a bunch of largely equivalent experiences with completely different coats of paint. That’s, barring something with the Shin Megami Tensei title hooked up to it. The collection has at all times been enjoyable to me, as I’ve lengthy cherished the cautious balancing of weak spot exploitation, demon fusing, and correct utilization of buffs. Soul Hackers 2 has all of that in spades, together with its personal wrinkles and a really spectacular quantity of options that allow you to fuse this demon with loads of helpful methods.
Soul Hackers 2 is clearly not a Persona recreation, so that you shouldn’t anticipate characters to speak at one another for hours on finish or deal with an especially prolonged plot. The story right here is serviceable and the characters are likable sufficient, nevertheless it received’t blow anybody’s socks off. Iron Masks, the pinnacle of Phantom Society, a gaggle of Satan Summoners hellbent on summoning a god to destroy and remake the world, is after 5 multi-colored MacGuffins known as Covenants that can enable him to summon the aforementioned god.
Not so Persona-fied
Predicting the approaching destruction of the world because of this, the sentient data community Aion makes use of bits of its knowledge to create the twins Ringo and Figue earlier than sending them out into the world to cease Iron Masks. You play as Ringo as she places collectively a crew to cease this all from taking place. Soul Hackers 2 takes place in the identical continuity as the opposite Satan Summoner video games, however you don’t have to be accustomed to them. Though there are some references that received’t imply a lot to you in any other case.
The plot is ok, nevertheless it lacks element and there isn’t a lot worldbuilding to talk of. Dialogue and characterization are respectable. Nevertheless, some story occasions make no sense, character choices will be baffling, and far of the terminology appears tossed off. Granted, that is fairly customary for the style, however should you go in right here anticipating Persona-caliber writing you’ll be upset.
The sport helps you to transfer freely by selecting areas from a map. There are a couple of procuring districts with companies which can be crucial on your crew’s continued progress. You’ll additionally entry a safehouse and journey to the sport’s dungeons (should you can name them that). Whereas not in a type of, you possibly can freely open up the map and quick journey to any factors of curiosity, together with going on to the entrance door of Soul Hackers 2‘s institutions.
Ringo’s occasion consists of her and three different Summoners. Issues operate like a mixture between mainline SMT and Persona video games. Whereas you should buy equipment that beef up every character’s protection, the vast majority of their movesets are primarily based solely on which demon they’ve geared up. All characters can equip any demon you may have with you, which principally makes each character like a Persona protagonist.
As a result of this, there’s a considerable amount of freedom on the subject of the way you outfit your occasion. Demon fusing appears inflexible at first, nevertheless it’s essential to make use of the fusion search operate as an alternative of simply selecting those you may have instantly obtainable. Nevertheless it’s not as simple because it sounds, as many demons received’t study abilities that aren’t of their wheelhouse.
Demons be part of you after being scouted within the subject by the demons already in your occasion. You don’t try to bribe those you face in battle, which I strongly appreciated. This does add a higher component of RNG than earlier than, nonetheless, as you’ll must fuse a particular demon if it isn’t simply dropped in your lap.
Let’s do some recon
One space that Soul Hackers 2 is noticeably missing in is environmental variation. The primary place you go is principally a cargo dock by the water, which is kind of small. Then you definitely hit up two drab, nondescript subway strains. The sport’s environments are sadly just a little boring.
Then there’s the Soul Matrix. Every of Ringo’s compatriots is mentally joined together with her and has a multi-floor labyrinth that can be utilized to see a few of their recollections. It’s right here that they’ll study passive or energetic abilities that may significantly improve your fight capabilities.
However the issue is that the areas within the Soul Matrix are all voids full of blue cubes. Keep in mind how monotonous the flooring of Tartarus had been in Persona 3? The Soul Matrix is considerably much less visually fascinating than even these. That being stated, the extent design in them doesn’t undergo the identical destiny. Similar to the principle dungeon areas, you’ll must deal with some gimmicks which have a puzzle-nature. There’s nothing right here as elaborate because the palaces in Persona 5, however the areas are extra like what you’d see in a mainline SMT recreation. Enemy encounters are primarily based round making contact with foes within the subject. However Ringo can knock most of them down with a sword slash, which means you’ll solely be combating precisely as a lot as you want to.
Fight is, in fact, a very noteworthy facet of Soul Hackers 2. Every demon can solely have 4 abilities at first. The set of abilities expands as you enhance your comrades’ soul ranges, which you’ll elevate by selecting sure solutions throughout dialogue sequences or by interacting with them throughout hangout occasions at a bar. The upper their soul stage, the deeper you’ll have the ability to progress of their part of the Soul Matrix. Soul Hackers 2 feels remarkably fleshed out with reference to how all of its programs tie collectively and encourage you to partake within the varied items of content material on provide.
Weak within the knees
Instead of the all-out assault system from the Persona video games are Sabbaths. When you hit an enemy demon with certainly one of their weaknesses, you acquire numbers in a stack. On the finish of every flip the place you may have a stack in play, the demons that had been used to set off stated weaknesses will assault your whole foes directly. The upper the stack quantity, the extra injury you do. It’s a extremely fulfilling system that rewards technique. It’s tied collectively when utilizing commander abilities, which let you swap out demons throughout battle or considerably strengthen your Sabbaths each few turns.
I may go on at size about how a lot deeper every thing in Soul Hackers 2 goes, from equipping Mistiques to extend the quantity of injury sure abilities do or how a lot MP they price, to fastidiously synergizing your crew. Enemies additionally drop gadgets that can be utilized to buy a myriad of enhancements. There’s a compelling quantity of depth right here, which makes the sport fairly partaking. I regularly discovered myself wanting ahead to the following spherical of enhancements, as they usually have very tangible results in your battle energy.
Soul Hackers 2 could not impress with its typically redundant environmental design and the story doesn’t stand by itself by any means. However the gameplay is as intricate and rewarding as a turn-based RPG may hope to be, making all of it too simple to sink hour after hour into honing your battle effectiveness or routinely fusing new demons with skillsets which can be simply proper. The sport does a exceptional job of incentivizing you to regularly swap up your demons. It’s greater than sufficient to maintain gamers hungry for extra as they dismantle their foes with yet one more Sabbath earlier than going and dropping a ton of cash on a plethora of upgrades. All of that and extra make the sport greater than worthy of the Shin Megami Tensei title.