These past few months have been all about the 3DS, often starved of titles, all if sudden there are too many to choose from, with the little handheld hosting some great puzzle and platform games and most recently, a spate of RPGS reminiscent of the old SNES games. Making its long awaited arrival on our shores, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers is yet another for the collection.
Even with this well received game being well over 15 years old it has taken a surprisingly long time to finally get a translation with Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers originally released as a SEGA Saturn title, so do not go expecting stunning modern visuals; but as it goes with many of the better RPG’s its more about the story and content than the looks.
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers is set around Amami City, a formally quiet and run down area that has been totally revamped by the government in their urban redevelopment policy. However rather than just taking down the high rises and building new parks, they have totally redesigned the city, making it the first fully digitally integrated city in the world, with every inhabitant given a PC and pretty much everything operated by one. Alongside this technological wonder world is a new virtual city, Paradigm X, where the Amami populace are able to log on and wander around, shop and even chat to friends. It is here that we meet up with our hero, a member of a group of hackers called Spookies who is trying to hack into the Paradigm X servers to get access to a BETA pass and see what all of the fuss is about. The experience, though initially exciting ends abruptly with a strange visit from a talking dog.
Back in the real world things are also getting weird, with your hacking group coming across a strange gun like device, that whilst appears broken, in your hands it begins to operate. This gun device though is not your standard ballistic weapon but a Demon Summoner COMP, a device that is able to store and summon demons who then act by your commands. If things were not already strange, then the bottom really falls out, with the talking dog becoming some kind of spirit shaman, your best friend being possessed by a demon and the leader of the Spookies getting kidnapped; this long and exciting story takes you on a strange and fulfilling ride.
With Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers being an RPG and an old one at that you pretty much know what to expect in terms of the majority of the content with lots of conversations and story building as you travel around the city and then a dungeon crawl when you get to each destination. When wandering around or if you are just shopping around Amami, most it is via well drawn talking heads, with the characters trying to sell their wares, request some help or jus fill in some of the story. It is quite a standard fare, though in this version the majority of the conversations are also supported by a voice track, adding a little bit more quality to the title. Once you are ready you can then approach the dungeons, spread all over the city, these are presented in a first person view, allowing you to wander around whilst trying to solve whatever problem the game throws at you.