Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga – PS2 review

Enjoying hardcore Role Playing Games is right up there with watching professional wrestling and enjoying the tunes of Diana Ross in the list of things not to admit to.

Although most people think of the likes of Square’s money spinning Final Fantasy titles when the phrase RPG is uttered, there’s a whole avenue of deeper and more involving adventures out there just waiting to be discovered.

Though the Shin Megami Tensei franchise has been a big hit in the US – it only made it over here last year – Lucifer’s Call barely made a blot on the great gaming sales copybook.

The same plodding and exploring RPG action remains – thankfully still taking place in a post apocalyptic world – but with an even darker twist. This isn’t one for kids as cannibalism runs rife.

So does Digital Devil Saga excite us hardened RPG nuts? Or will it be cast away as meaningless tripe?

As Serph – the traditionally mysterious Japanese originating main character who doesn’t have much to say – you lead one of the few tribes left battling it out amongst themselves in order to reach "Nirvana". Wonder if Kurt Cobain’s a resident?

In your typical odd and confusing opening, a horde of demons are unleashed upon the world and take great pleasure in getting down to the dirty business of gobbling up anyone and anything they can find. Not the kind of people you invite round for a house party.

Playing Digital Devil Saga is a much more simplistic prospect than your average PC based hardcore RPG with its 300 page manual, but it certainly doesn’t skimp on the details.

In battles, for example, there’s an innovative "block" feature that allows you numerous attacks on your enemies without even scratching a nail. Just call us Muhammad Ali.

The aforementioned cannibalism plays an extensive part in levelling up your squad too, since devouring flesh is required to improve your character’s stats.

Verdict

The story itself – no more detail here as it’ll spoil your enjoyment – stands as one of the games huge plus points with its mature and adult feel.

It also shows up a huge minus though. Unfortunately you won’t get much closure since the second half of the game has yet to hit our shores. You’ll have to wait months for the chance to tie up the story with a nice little bow.

So the great reviewer get out clause for this one we’re afraid. If Japanese hardcore RPGs are your bag, then this is pretty much the best example of recent times. If not, avoid like it’s your mother in law.