Devil Survivor Overclocked for the 3DS is a remake of the original Devil Survivor for the Nintendo DS which was released in North America in June 2009. Devil Survivor Overclocked is set in modern day Tokyo which is overrun by demons. The story focuses on teenager Kazuya Minebeshi and his friends as they battle the invaders. Kazuya can tell how long a person has left to live and he concentrates on preventing people’s deaths.
Kazuya his friends Atsuro and Yuzu received modified portable consoles called comps from Nayoya, Kazuya’s older cousin. While they look into the comps, a demon summoning program is installed. Meanwhile, various strange supernatural events start to occur such as someone getting brutally murdered in an unusual way.
Following the demon invasion, the government of Japan enforces a strict lockdown, electricity is cut off and many people are cut off from the rest of Japan. Kazuya and his friends investigate the cause of the lockdown as they try to survive the demonic assaults. Each day, The Laplace, an email news update, gives you the news on what will happen during the day at certain periods.
The game uses a time management system which is even more critical compared to the Persona series. Each choice you make will take up a certain amount of time and you can’t undo it. You can skip time at almost any moment but only use it when there is absolutely no other event but free battles as they don’t take up any time and you can do it as much as you like. There are other options to go through like looking around or talking to your party members.
As the game is a new sub series for Shin Megami Tensei, it contains all of the core elements and gameplay features but its accessible to newcomers as the game was designed to bring in newer players to the series, particularly the younger audience members but it is still as harrowing and edgy as Persona 5.
There is a very strong sense of dread and horror in this story as it focuses on the final days of earth. There are multiple references borrowed from the Book of Revelations and the story of Cain and Abel. You also see the moral collapse of society as the days goes by and those you encounter will be either desperate and stupid enough to abuse comps to escape the lockdown, or use the lockdown to their own advantage to extort and bully people.
The story is very non linear especially compared to the rest of the series. There is no moral allegiance unlike in the mainline Shin Megami Tensei games it is all about what would one do in the event of the apocalypse. Anybody can die at any day and there are multiple endings based on your choices, none of them happy. The remake adds in a new 8th day to expand upon certain endings but not everyone has an 8th day ending.
The controls are on an isometric grid so if you are new to strategy games, it would take some time to learn. The game is a mixture of visual novel elements and tactical turn based JRPG role playing. In the remake, you can select which difficulty you would like, but on a new game plus, it will be set to normal difficulty.
Each mission has an objective where there are certain parameters that have to be met. Three save slots have been added thanks to the increased memory supply of the 3DS. The combat is complex and customizable and you can recruit some demons as allies. You and your party members can equip up to 2 demons at a time and in the remake, Yuzu and Atsuro now have spells to start out with. You can escape in almost any situation and you can also choose the way you would like to approach objectives. There are new attacks and the physical attacks now have more variety to encourage you to use it often. Backup and counter attacks have been included as well.
The extra turn system makes a reappearance where striking an enemy’s weakness and scoring a critical hit will allow you to have another turn where you are encouraged to experiment more with combat. You also gain extra macca and xp points for doing so. There are also multiple skills that can be used to increase the xp of the party members and to speed up any under leveled members. The skill cracking allows you to copy over demon or angel abilities to use in combat.
There are 3 different kinds of skills you can crack. Command skills are ones you can use in combat. Passive skills are ones that affect your characters status like increased defense. Racial Skills are exclusive to demons and cannot be cracked. Certain skills are also unique to enemies and cannot be cracked either.
After it is introduced, at the start of every battle prior to dispatching the teams, the "Skill Crack" option appears, and different team leaders can choose between the skills available for cracking, and the opponent they want to crack it off. In order for the crack to be successful, that team either the leader or the demons, must defeat the targeted opponent. After cracking, the leader can opt either to set the cracked skill for immediate use, provided he or she meets the requirements (e.g. immediately setting a cracked Agidyne skill requires 18 Magic), or leave it in the skill library for use in future battles.
Multiple team leaders can choose to crack the same skill from the same or other targets but once a skill is cracked, further attempts to crack the same skill will fail, since only one copy of each skill can be distributed amongst the team leaders. Though the player can only crack a skill once, the cracked skill can be redistributed among the party leaders at any time when not in battle. There are occasions when an enemy that possesses a skill that is compatible with team leaders that cannot be cracked. This is largely because that enemy, due to events during the battle, could change their skills and deny cracking to unaware players.
The manganite system is a feature that grades you on how well you performed in combat giving you more macca and xp thus encouraging better gameplay. As your team succeeds in battles and earns Macca, an invisible Mangatite meter is charged up. Once it reaches full, a message stating this is displayed, and the player can teach one cracked Command Skill to any demon in the team, regardless of the skill's requirements for team leaders. This makes it much easier for one to get a demon with a desired skill rather than going through multiple fusions.
You can select which place you would like to move and you have up to 4 party members at a time but you can find more each with its own combat playstyle. Other party members that you are not using can level up as you do. You can choose which stat you would like to increase but your party members randomly increase their own stats. You can choose where to place them and how much teammates you would like to fight with you. Sometimes in battle, you can find pdas and by selecting analyze you can earn macca.
Defeating enemies allows you to form contracts with them to assist you in combat. In the Devil Survivor series, macca is used to purchase demons instead of purchasing items and equipment. Demon auctions are where you and other characters from the Shin Megami Tensei universe are rival competitors and you have to bid as much macca as possible. You have the choice to buy the demon immediately. The more demons you buy, the more your rating increases so you can access more powerful demons. Demon fusion functions the same as in the other Shin Megami games where you can combine more than one demon to create a powerful one. You can also choose which skill you like to inherit from your demon. The demon compendium makes a return in the remake after it was oddly missing from the original version.
The game rectifies a long standing issue the series has had with character development. Characters like Shoji and Amane are now more expressive in their emotions and thoughts in comparison to the original game. Dialogue choices now impacts the story and you have to choose your words wisely or else you or your party members can face an early death. The English translation is much clearer and accurate especially when compared to the mess the Persona 5 localization team left. You can also select what words you would like to give in the emails you receive from time to time. The text is much easier to read and the wide screen helps.
The user interface is very easy to use. The display range of the backgrounds have been expanded too so there is additional increased visibilty. The game adds a new intro that utilizes the 3d effects of the 3DS. This game has the most voice acting in the entire Shin Megami Tensei series with about 20,000 voice lines. You have the option to adjust the dialogue speed or whether you want voice acting on or off.
The enhanced graphics and detailed background designs look exquisite and take full advantage of the 3DS hardware. The facial animations are much more expressive and the art style by the Duradura artist fits the new style of the game perfectly. The audio quality is very good for an early 3DS game and the musical score was superb with new tracks added to the remake.
The game has some flaws. The A.I is incredibly ridiculous as they can sometimes run off into danger and potentially fail missions whenever required to save civilians. Some of the characters were poorly written and very unlikable. They made silly decisions and put themselves and the team in avoidable danger. The dialogue was cliched at times and sometimes the humor seemed out of place, especially when used in dire situations. The voice acting was a bit hit or miss with some of the characters speaking in monotone and the voice seemed older than the character.
There is no flow chart or chapter selection at the end of the game. But there is a good amount of replay value like fighting powerful secret bosses. Playing through the game more than once clarifies many plot holes in the first playthrough.The game suffers from a glitch where enemies can use abilities that you and your party does not have and these abilities can be overpowering and kill your team all the time if you are not careful. Some enemies can be reliant on cheap tricks and have status buffs that are ridiculously high. If you want to get certain demons you are going to have to play the game multiple times as they are locked out.
This has to be one of the most intense JRPG on the 3DS and the story and gameplay are without a doubt one of the best in the series.
It gets 4 stars out of 5.
The Devil Survivor series is definitely a revitalization to the long running Shin Megami series as there are features that would be considered outdated by todays standards. The best aspects of the game such as its character development, story, time management and combat features should be applied to future Shin Megami Games especially with the fifth game being released on the Switch. I have reviewed the anime of Devil Survivor 2 and now that I have the 3DS remake, I'll give the sequel another chance. If you enjoy Shin Megami Tensei, you will like this game a lot.