Blogging, CIB Sunday, Dark, Video Games

CIB Sunday #12 – ‘Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked’

I’m going to make these posts a bimonthly feature. They’ll go up every other Sunday, to fit with CIB Sunday on Twitter. CIB stands for complete-in-box, and it’s commonly used to describe video games. If a game includes the cartridge, case, instruction booklet, and everything else it originally came with, it is considered to be CIB. 

Tokyo is in full lockdown after a devastating demon invasion causes chaos and disorder. A group of young friends is caught in the middle of the lockdown, left to piece together just what caused the invasion and how to stop it. Above all else, these friends must try to stay alive among bloodthirsty demons, dangerous humans, and a coldblooded government response. 

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked is actually a port of the Devil Survivor DS game from 2009. The original was widely considered to be a great RPG video game, and the port version provides several enhancements upon it. Some of these improvements include new voice-acting and a brand new eighth chapter to explore. The game was well-received enough to warrant a 3DS port with new features, so you may be wondering, what exactly makes Devil Survivor so good? Well, there are a few key reasons. 

First, the story of this game stays fresh, interesting, and engaging. It puts you in the shoes of a teenager trying to survive an apocalyptic crisis alongside his friends. The story branches depending on different choices you make throughout. You can lose characters you meet along the way by failing certain battles and making particular decisions. There are various directions the story and its characters can go based on how you play the game. 

This system makes it clear that Devil Survivor isn’t afraid to put players in stressful, pressured situations. You will have to make tough choices throughout the game, and it doesn’t shy away from those difficult decisions. Such an approach may seem a bit unforgiving to players, but it fits quite well with the game’s tone and style. The story is also very dark in its themes and subject matter, with all kinds of people having to face a catastrophic incident. There are demons invading the city through an inter-dimensional rift, the Japanese government provides little help for its people during the crisis, humans are fighting amongst themselves, and the main characters become able to see when people will die. Devil Survivor has a lot going on, but it all culminates into a truly engrossing story that pulls you in from the very beginning. 

Another positive aspect of this game is its characters. Aside from the three main characters, there are several other optional characters to recruit. You’ll meet them along the way, and through specific choices, you can eventually bring them over to your side. All of these characters have one thing in common, though. They’re all unique, interesting people with apparent skills, quirks, and flaws. I genuinely enjoyed learning about each character and their background. 

Atsuro, the protagonist’s best friend and a high school student, ended up being one of my favorite characters. He’s very into computers and technology, using this knowledge to help his friends however he can. Even in tough situations, Atsuro remains loyal to his friends and tries his best to stay composed. I really loved seeing his interactions and dialogue with the other characters, especially his friends. Another favorite of mine was Haru, a famous rock singer. Overall, I found her personality and backstory to be very fascinating. 

Finally, Devil Survivor Overclocked has a challenging, but rewarding and strategic, combat system. The game’s combat relies on a strategy RPG format, with grid-based battle fields and a turn-based flow. Each character and demon has varying stats that determine how far they can move in a turn, how large their attack range is, and how vulnerable they are to certain elemental attacks. 

This system may sound fairly simple on the surface, but there’s actually a lot of depth to it. You have to be quite careful with each move you make. Putting a character too close to a powerful enemy with elemental advantages can lead to losing them for the entire battle. Your team can very easily be decimated, sometimes in just a few turns. Devil Survivor requires a lot of preparation, thought, and strategy. Thinking each and every turn through is an absolute must; failing to do so may result in losing an important battle and having to do it over again. 

Personally, I love that this game provides such a challenge. It never really lets up in its difficulty, and especially towards the end, you have to constantly be on guard, considering every movement. This may seem overly difficult, but the game expects you to grind for higher levels, better stats, and more powerful demons. Battles are often difficult, but they are very much beatable with effective teams and preparation. That said, I got stuck on what I assume is the final battle of the game. So, I clearly didn’t do enough of this, haha. 

Overall, Devil Survivor Overclocked is an original, engaging, and well-balanced video game. It’s a welcome, worthwhile addition to the gaming world for a few main reasons. Due to its strong, dark story, likeable characters, and challenging, fulfilling battle system, Devil Survivor is a video game worth experiencing for yourself. There’s nothing else quite like it, especially on the 3DS system. So, do you have what it takes to stop the Tokyo demon apocalypse? Give the game a try and find out! 


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