When the news of the 3DS remake made its way to my inbox I had to get my hands on it. I'm always up for a quick trip to my childhood, especially with gems I know I missed.
Thanks to the fine folks over at Atlus I was able to obtain an early digital copy of Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, and I have to say in all honesty, it's a truly fantastic role-playing game.
You play as a citizen in Amami City, which is set in the future. Every household has a computer connected to the internet, a virtual world called 'Paradigm X' on the horizon, and of course the inevitable eye of Big Brother always watching.
As you can imagine things go south from here, and before you realize what has happened you're in a demon-filled world, fighting for your life alongside your hacker group, the Spookies.
One of the first things that caught my eye was the method of travel. Rather than walking around a 3d world, you're restricted to a first-person view where you travel along a grid (shown on the bottom 3DS screen). In typical JRPG fashion you encounter random enemies, only this time there's a slight twist - you can convince them to join your team.
No, you don't capture them (ie Pokemon). You strike up a conversation during your battle and have to answer their questions correctly if you want them on your team. For example, a demon might ask you "What fun to destroy?", in which you can respond with "Buildings", "The social order", "Nature", or "I'd rather create".
They sure are stubborn when they're young aren't they.
There is of course 'demon fusion', as this is a Shin Megami Tensei game after all. It really never grows tiresome joining together two demons to make something completely new (and hopefully completely awesome). Being that demons don't level up, this is really the only way to make them stronger, so start experimenting early.
It also helps that these demons are new to the 3DS version, so even fans of the 1997 release will have something to look forward to.
Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers is a truly incredible role-playing game, especially being that it's now sixteen years old. It was far ahead of its time in '97, which is now evident by how well it has held up. Just keep in mind that being a MegaTen game it can prove difficult. Which, to be honest, is a true role-playing gamers fantasy.
If you're a fan of the MegaTen games this is a must buy.