|OT| Soul Hackers 2 | The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From Amami City

Kvik

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Downunder.





Welcome to MetaCouncil's official thread for Soul Hackers 2.


In this thread, we can talk about all aspects of the game and its relation to other Shin Megami Tensei games at large. Please mark spoilers accordingly. Post your experiences, screenshots, tracks, fan arts or clips from your favourite vtubers.

I'm not an SMT veteran by any means, but I like the games all the same, especially the soundtrack. This thread is going to be mostly a low-key affair, but if anyone has any questions about the game, ask them here, and hopefully, I can answer them to the best of my ability.

Instead of doing an info dump about the game, I'll do things a bit differently this time and offer my overview on the differences between the 3DS remake of SH1 and SH2, divided by Gameplay, Exploration, Demon Fusion and Aesthetics. and what I like and dislike about it. I won't be comparing it with mainline SMT games or the Persona series (we have the gaming press at large for that). I also will try to keep the thread updated with new info as it happens.







Gameplay


What I like the most about the Soul Hackers series is that they are trying to do their own identity that is somewhat experimental in nature, but neither SMT nor Persona. They borrowed the combat and dungeon crawling aspect from SMT games and a little of the contemporary Japanese setting and social aspects from the Persona series while keeping their own unique aesthetics. At its core, the games remain a dungeon crawler first and foremost. The SMT mechanics of taking advantage of the enemies' weaknesses, demon negotiation and fusion are still present here, although SH2 does things a little differently.

While SH1/SH2 doesn't have the Press Turn system, combat encounter works mostly the same way in both games. In SH2, there is an additional mechanic called Stack. Once any party member strikes any of the enemies' weaknesses, a number will be added to this stack, which can go up to 16. At the end of the party's turn, Ringo can then convert this stack into a Sabbath which is a kind of free, non-elemental attack. Furthermore, by summoning demons with a Tandem Skill, additional properties can be added to the Sabbath, such as status ailment effects. The larger the number of the stack, the stronger the attack will be. The mechanics seem interesting enough since Ringo can earn Commander Skills that influence the Sabbath by increasing Soul Levels of her allies.







Unlike SH1 where the protagonist's party will only have Hitomi/Nemissa as a permanent party member and accompanied by the summoned demons, in SH2 Ringo's party will have up to three permanent party members, but without any demons as party members. Some people really dislike this, but personally, I don't mind this change. To make use of their skill set, the demons can be paired up with Ringo's party members and switched upon depending on the need, although this comes with the cost of a turn. And the loyalty system from the SH1 was a bit of an annoyance anyway so that's one mechanic that I won't miss.

The COMP from the first game made its return in SH2, although with a very limited capacity. This is where I have mixed feelings about it. In SH1, the COMP is basically a wearable weapon/summoning device that you can summon, fuse demons and gain special abilities (*in a limited capacity) with it. I think that it's really cool that you can install software on it. This software will add passive abilities to the COMP, among other things. In SH2, it functions simply as a weapon you can summon demons with. While there's a weapon upgrade/customisation mechanics so that it can gain passive abilities like in SH1's COMP, I feel it somehow has lost its charm. Ringo's COMP in SH2 is special since her COMP is the only unit that can perform Sabbath/Commander Skills with it, while the other party members can only summon one demon at a time with their own respective COMPs.







The positional mechanics from SH1 is another of SH2's omissions that I missed from the first game. The concept of putting your attackers/tanks on the front row while ranged attackers/casters should sit on the back row in order to optimise damage input and output in dungeon crawlers is as old as time by this stage, and I dislike seeing that SH2 doesn't have this mechanic. Another combat mechanic that seems to have been omitted is that the enemies can't exploit Ringo's party's elemental weaknesses. It's a curious decision since I believe this could make the combat encounters more interesting.







Exploration


Both Soul Hackers games took place in Amami City, although the similarity stops at the city name and some of the locations. While we're not navigating the overworld with a map marker anymore, there are still people to chat with in SH2's many different locations.

Even though both cities act as a hub for the party before delving into various dungeons, SH2 leans a fair bit more into the social aspect when compared with its predecessor. Ringo will develop her relationship with her allies through social interactions in Amami City's various locales. We have the safehouse where Ringo and her allies can rest, eat meals and socialise, andother hang-out locations like bars and restaurants where she can increase her allies' Soul Levels by having personal events. There is also Club Cretaceous where Ringo and her allies can take requests from its proprietor, which I hope won't turn into another collect-a-thon as we progress through the game. Other than that, there are also Realms where Summoners and Demons coexist. We can find shops and other locations here, much like the Shibihama Core in SH1.







Dungeon exploration in SH1 was in first-person perspective mode. Obviously, this has changed in SH2 which utilises a third-person perspective. The random encounters which can't be avoided in SH1 can be skipped entirely in SH2, which is a welcome change in my opinion. Enemies are represented by symbols and can be interacted with. In contrast, the dungeons in SH1 are just empty levels with limited interactivity. Ringo can strike the symbol first to gain the first turn order advantage, and conversely, the enemy symbols will have the same advantage if they caught up to Ringo unaware. The dungeons are predetermined and not randomly generated, although the degree of complexity in SH2 dungeons is noticeably less when compared with SH1, which were grid-based and played into the strength of 3DS' second screen.

Apart from the normal dungeons, there is another subset of dungeons in SH2 called Soul Matrix. This is essentially Ringo's allies' personal dungeons, where they will revisit past events in their lives, leading up to their story in the game proper. This is probably the equivalent of Vision Quests in SH1, where the protagonists shifted into other summoners' point of view throughout the game. From the screenshots that I've seen, the map layouts are slightly more complex when compared to the "normal" dungeon, and I'm keen to see what kind of gimmick they will have in store for us.







While the normal dungeons and VR levels in SH1 are mostly consisted of subdued design, I think this is mostly due to the limitation of the 3DS platform. In SH2, the Soul Matrix dungeons at first glance does look pretty sparse, but I think that the design is varied enough that I probably won't mind the repetition that much. Regardless, I hope that the Vision Quest in Soul Matrix will have some very interesting bosses/demons since the Vision Quests bosses are some of the hardest fights in SH1.






Gouma-den / Demon Fusion


SH2 does things a little differently from SH1 in terms of demon negotiation, capture and fusing. First of all, the moon phase system doesn't exist in SH2. I don't know yet if this is a good thing since the moon phase can make things interesting (apart from fusion influences). There is also some hilarious dialogue in SH1 which can be had if you try talk to demons during full moons. Secondly, since we can't fuse demons with our COMPs anymore, Ringo will need to go back to Gouma-den to fuse her demons. I feel it's going to be a bit of an annoyance to backtrack to a fast travel point, return to Gouma-den to fuse the demons we wanted, and then back to the dungeon again. I do hope that it won't affect the pacing that much. In SH1, we can fuse demons right in the middle of the dungeon (although being grid-based, these dungeons can be complex (read: a chore)) to navigate out of, and it makes sense to give COMPs the ability to fuse demons.






I'm still unsure if there's going to be additional fusion mechanics like the Zoma demon race or Dark demon variant like in SH1, but I didn't recall reading it in any of the reviews, so I can probably assume that this is another aspect that seems to have been omitted from SH2.

Another change that is unique to SH2 is the way demon negotiation works. In SH1, the TALK option during random encounters will initiate a dialogue with the demons. In SH2, whenever Ringo and her party enter a dungeon, she can initiate something called Demon Recon. Essentially, the demons she recruited will be spread out throughout the dungeon. As she progresses through the dungeon, she can talk to them to receive items, cash, healing and the chance to recruit new demons.







According to some of the reviews that I read, the demon recruitment process is simplified since none of the aspects which can influence the recruitment such as Ringo's INT stat, Moon Phase, Demon Personality or RNG will affect the demon's behaviour during reccruitment. As long as the demon is given what they ask for, the recruitment is as good as done. I feel that this system is a good tradeoff since I felt that in SH1 the RNG is a bit all over the place. The encounter rate is a bit high, though, so there were plenty of chances to recruit another if we failed to recruit one.

It remains to be seen if the demon negotiation dialogues are as diverse as they were in SH1. There are some great variations of demon responses in SH1, and I felt that the localisation team has done a wonderful job on it.







Aesthetics


The overall SH1 aesthetics reflected the period the Saturn original (which was released in 1997) was made. I especially love the 90s cyberpunk feel; Kaneko's character design, while rather subdued, remain great for the time and I consider Nemissa's design timeless. The other members of Spookies also have unique designs, and I especially love Lunch's "hacker" outfit. In SH2, Shirow Miwa is the character designer. While I haven't read his manga works, I like his design for the anime Kiznaiver and SEGA's 7th-Dragon 2020 PSP exclusive. I've seen some complaints on the web saying that the character design feels "generic". I feel nothing can be farther from the truth. Ringo's neon jacket alone feels distinctive, and Saizo's shark teeth are bold designs.






Most of the SH2 reviews that I've read complained about the monotonous, uniform look of the dungeons. While I don't think these complaints were without merit, the dungeons in SH1 were mostly located in buildings or warehouses, and those locations tend to have uniform look as well. I feel these decisions make sense in the context of the themes: urbanisation, corporate espionage and the flow of information and privacy in modern age. These are reflected in the dungeon designs. There are electronics everywhere, computer consoles, grey office buildings and stacks of rusting containers in warehouses. Granted, that might be just because of the limitation of the 3DS as a platform, but I think that alien architectures and abstract landscapes are better suited to SMT mainline games rather than Soul Hackers.

While the utilitarian nature of the SH1 user interface has its charm, I feel that the portable platform it runs on didn't quite give art style justice. Not limited by the confines of a portable platform, the user interface of SH2 looks slick and colourful. In a stark contrast to SH1, the modern look of SH2 with its sharp lines, triangular shapes, bold typefaces and neon-coloured aesthetics couldn't be more different than SH1. I feel it's a very cyberpunk in the year 20xx-looking design, and while I can understand that these kinds of designs are not everyone's cup of tea, I feel the visual design is very distinctive with its own identity, while not trying to emulate the garish and overblown primary colours aesthetics that the game took its cues from. And much like SH1, the 2D busts of talking characters in dialogue boxes have plenty of expressions and charms. I feel Miwa's artwork truly shines here.







The electronic tracks in SH1 are definitely something I loved. Again, the cyberpunk aesthetics are reflected in it, with great effect. I would love to hear what Monaca has in store for us for SH2, considering their arranged tracks for the Soul Hackers 25th-anniversary music album are sublime. There are 74 tracks in the whole soundtrack which I hope will be available in digital shortly after its physical release in October 2022.






I think that will do for now. There is obviously still a fair bit more things to talk about, but I think I can discuss it later while playing the game myself, so I'll leave you to it with Ringo schoolin' R.S in the way of the beats.






Credits

Cover image by Shirow Miwa (@zi38)
Ringo dishing out the L screenshots by fail from The Mako Reactor
 
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Dec 5, 2018
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Cool OT. :Jack_Happy:

I haven't bought the game yet. I'm a bit salty that there's a day 1 story DLC (I'll probably get it from CDKeys if the edition is still cheap, but it's a scummy move.
 
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pahamrick

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Cool OT. :Jack_Happy:

I haven't bought the game yet. I'm a bit salty that there's a day 1 story DLC (I'll probably get it from CDKeys if the edition is still cheap, but it's a scummy move.
Not the happiest about that either. Extra demons? Sucks but whatever, costumes and bgm? Fine, same with the ez grind dlc.
Day 1 story stuff is super scummy tho.
 
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Kvik

Kvik

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The story DLC is unfortunately still under embargo, so we still don't know whether it's good or not. Sadly, we probably will see this kind practice of piecemeal DLCs for the foreseeable future.
 
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Dragon1893

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I can't wait to finally play this. I'm a huge SMT fan.
Shame about the scummy dlc. Ended up getting the Deluxe edition because of the story dlc from CDkeys for 49 euros which is still a lot cheaper than the standard edition on steam at least.
 

pahamrick

Pricky Ricky Dicky Bob
Sep 6, 2018
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The story DLC is unfortunately still under embargo, so we still don't know whether it's good or not. Sadly, we probably will see this kind practice of piecemeal DLCs for the foreseeable future.
It’s less about the content being good or bad and more about it being a thing in the first place. Honestly if it was released 90 days from now most people wouldn’t bat an ey.e.
 

ExistentialThought

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Just unlocked for me on Steam, but my booty needs to get to bed soon though I might still get a bit more game time in before sleeping :evilblob:. I am curious to see how it runs on Steam Deck though, I am assuming it will need GE.

I do not know why I keep picking up JRPGs I am notoriously bad about getting 10ish hours in and then shelving with the plan of coming back "later". That said, this seems to be on the shorter side at only a measly 30ish hours :face-with-stuck-out-tongue-and-tightly-closed-eyes: Seriously though, I wish more JRPGs were around that length, if they want to add length, make optional bosses/challenges/side stories/etc.
 
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Kvik

Kvik

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I'm still stuck at work, so it will be another couple of hours before I can knock off. :flare_sleepy:

I've been reading the impressions from JP twitter, and it seems positive, although some complained about the way demon recruitment and fusion work. Also, another person complained about the camera FoV, but I think it can be changed in the console build as well iirc.

I am curious to see how it runs on Steam Deck though, I am assuming it will need GE.
A colleague said they tried Normal, GE and bleeding edge but there's not much difference between them. Sometimes it has difficulties booting (soft locks on launch). YMMV, though.
 
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pahamrick

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I'm a couple hours in. Kinda disappointed in how demon recruitment is so far but when I finished the tutorial / prologue dungeon instead of using the teleporter to go right back out I went out manually to do some more fights to get a bit more exp since I'm playing on hard and I swear I saw a pop-up in the top right corner about there now being a higher chance of demons wanting to join after combat.

That would be a step up from how it works currently. Still haven't unlocked fusion yet.

-EDIT-
As a heads up, looks like DLC is broken for people who bought the game outside of Steam.
 
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Arc

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If you're playing on Steam Deck, do NOT try to change the resolution. The game will freeze and then constantly freeze when trying to boot up. I had to switch to Proton Experimental to get the game to properly work again, and even then the music wasn't working so I had to restart yet again. As for battery life, on the high preset I get about 2 hours at 60 FPS and 3.5 hours at 40 FPS. I'm going with 40 FPS since it's a turn based RPG and I value battery life more.
 

Hektor

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Did someone make a mod yet to make the protag walk faster in the dungeons lol

Actually kinda annoying levels of slow
 

Dragon1893

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Really enjoying the game.
Got to the part where you can access the dlc and got the P5 pre-order outfits without problems. Is all dlc affected by the bug?
 

pahamrick

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Really enjoying the game.
Got to the part where you can access the dlc and got the P5 pre-order outfits without problems. Is all dlc affected by the bug?
Seems to mainly be the costumes. The only costumes I got were the Maid outfit for Ringo and the Persona 5 School outfits, not the Phantom Thieves Pre-order outfits. That said I didn't get any popup about DLC demons or anything either, so I dunno if they're also not working as I'm not far enough to get them anywway.
 
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Kvik

Kvik

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Last night I didn't get the chance to play as much as I wanted to, but I enjoyed my time with it so far. Ringo is a treasure.

Since there's no forced random encounters, recruiting demons is piss easy. Gone are the days you have to dole out 3-5 lots of 500 yen until they submit. :flare_lmao:

Even though the PC port seems decent enough, I dislike that the UI prompt guide stays visible during exploration and dialogue. As a result, we can't take clean screenshots. I tried to hide it using SpecialK's Render Toolkit, but with limited success, since it also removed the map markers and dialogue boxes and its text during cutscenes.

I'll spend more time with the game today, hopefully there's a fix for the DLC situation soon.
 

Arc

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After spending several more hours playing it on the Steam Deck, I cannot recommend playing the game on that in its current state. Outside of the freezes when starting the game and occasional lack of music, I've had two instances where the game has froze after defeating a boss and after dying. I'm going to stick with playing it on my desktop for now. Also I was too generous on my battery life estimate since it will drain extremely fast when in one of the hub zones.

The game itself is better than I thought, but the Deck version is just too buggy to be enjoyable.
 

pahamrick

Pricky Ricky Dicky Bob
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I guess they're not going to bother fixing the DLC issues until next week, which is a joke. If you're going to stick with Friday launches, make sure people are around to fix any potential problems.
 
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Kvik

Kvik

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This WIP BepInEx plugin for the game Soul Hackers 2 features:
  • Proper ultrawide and non-16:9 aspect ratio support with pillarbox removal.
  • Graphical tweaks to increase fidelity.
 

Valdien

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Mar 26, 2020
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Well... I finally gave in and bought the game. I held off from buying it initially because of the drastic art style change and also having little to do with the original Soul Hackers. I just hope the combat's good.
 

C-Dub

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After spending several more hours playing it on the Steam Deck, I cannot recommend playing the game on that in its current state. Outside of the freezes when starting the game and occasional lack of music, I've had two instances where the game has froze after defeating a boss and after dying. I'm going to stick with playing it on my desktop for now. Also I was too generous on my battery life estimate since it will drain extremely fast when in one of the hub zones.

The game itself is better than I thought, but the Deck version is just too buggy to be enjoyable.
I had one freeze playing it on Steam Deck, but no other issues after that. I'm using Proton-GE 7-30. Been pretty good for me so far!
 
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Kvik

Kvik

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I held off from buying it initially because of the drastic art style change and also having little to do with the original Soul Hackers.
As much as I would love character design by Kaneko once again, I love Miwa's design as well. The 2D portraits are expressive and something I can appreciate. The neon-lit designs definitely belong in 20xx era, though. It's a reflection of the time period it was based on, as much as the original was based on cyberpunk in the late 90s.




I tried the SoulHackers2Fix mod for a bit to increase the render scale to 200%, and it tanked the frame rate hard. :flare_lmao:

I could use that 4080 Ti right about now.

Today I'll be cleaning up Saizo's Soul Matrix before heading off to the main quest.
 

Dragon1893

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Gotta balance the Soul matrix with the main quest and requests or it can get tedious. Between the 3 characters there's a lot to get through.

First commander skill let's you switch demons in battle which is quite welcome.
 
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Kvik

Kvik

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The demon swap ability is indeed quite nice, but I went for the ability to get double stack per turn instead. It almost trivialised Saizo's Soul Matrrix end of 1F boss fight. :flare_lmao:

It would be great to get some materials for COMP upgrades, though. The drop rate is really low and shared between all types of COMPs.
 

pahamrick

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Well, I used 'other methods' to get the DLC working so I could actually continue playing yesterday. I knew the game was going to be a low budget affair and I was fine with that considering we were finally getting another Devil Summoner title (And Soul Hackers sequel, to boot!)

I'm enjoying the game but there's a lot of things I'm still not sure how I feel about. I'm also really disliking how they did the demon recruits now. You don't get Demons from combat at all (at least I haven't) and more combat just makes it more likely you find one of your demons sitting around the map with a demon recruit instead of something else.
 
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Kvik

Kvik

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You don't get Demons from combat at all (at least I haven't) and more combat just makes it more likely you find one of your demons sitting around the map with a demon recruit instead of something else.
Yeah, the only way to recruit is by demon recon, since there's no TALK option anymore. (Soul Matrix) If you beat the end of floor boss for Arrow, Milady and Saizo, you'll be given the ability to fuse the bosses you've beaten in Gouma-den. This is pretty much the closest alternative to earn a demon in combat.

I do miss the nonsensical banter when we try to recruit (and failed miserably) in SH1, though.
 
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pahamrick

Pricky Ricky Dicky Bob
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Yeah, the only way to recruit is by demon recon, since there's no TALK option anymore. (Soul Matrix) If you beat the end of floor boss for Arrow, Milady and Saizo, you'll be given the ability to fuse the bosses you've beaten in Gouma-den. This is pretty much the closest alternative to earn a demon in combat.

I do miss the nonsensical banter when we try to recruit (and failed miserably) in SH1, though.
Honestly, these sorts of changes make me worried for Persona 6. I loved that they added a SMT style recruitment option in 5, but so many people bitched and complained about it.
 

Hektor

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By "outsourcing" demon negotiation to demon recon, Soul Hackers 2 has made SMTV's issues even worse.

There's literally no point at all in fighting random encounters anymore. They don't (really) give you XP, money or useful items.
SMTV already had this issue when it "outsourced" XP and Moneydrops into Mitamas you could find floating around, but at least you were required to fight a bit each time you enter a new area to obtain the new demons.

Now with demon negotiations being gone from combat aswell, im literally just running past every single random encounter, except for the rare purple and even rarer golden ones. At this point, the franchise might aswell stop having dungeons.

You can unlock sprint in Milady's soul matrix according to someone on Era.
Got it this morning, takes until the end of Floor 3 til you got it, jesus.
And it's just a spell (cost 10MP) you have to spam every 10 seconds.

Really not sure what they were thinking there.
 

pahamrick

Pricky Ricky Dicky Bob
Sep 6, 2018
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By "outsourcing" demon negotiation to demon recon, Soul Hackers 2 has made SMTV's issues even worse.

There's literally no point at all in fighting random encounters anymore. They don't (really) give you XP, money or useful items.
SMTV already had this issue when it "outsourced" XP and Moneydrops into Mitamas you could find floating around, but at least you were required to fight a bit each time you enter a new area to obtain the new demons.

Now with demon negotiations being gone from combat aswell, im literally just running past every single random encounter, except for the rare purple and even rarer golden ones. At this point, the franchise might aswell stop having dungeons.



Got it this morning, takes until the end of Floor 3 til you got it, jesus.
And it's just a spell (cost 10MP) you have to spam every 10 seconds.

Really not sure what they were thinking there.
You still have to fight random encounters to get the some of the materials for COMP upgrading, and sadly .. that's really the only point of doing them.
 
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Kvik

Kvik

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This is a custom plugin made by lipsum to be used with BepInEx that can allow the DLC costumes to be used outside of battle.

THIS WILL NOT GRANT YOU ACCESS TO THE DLC OUTFITS IF YOU HAVE NOT PURCHASED THEM, YOU MUST OWN THEM TO BE ABLE TO USE THEM WITH THIS PLUGIN!
 

Jawmuncher

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Oct 19, 2018
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I've been enjoying my time with the game. Had to change the camera though, the default just felt way too clunky. Setting it to "Center" and "Medium Distance" with a 7-8/10 speed was my perfect spot (along with no auto centering)

It kills me this isn't the standard. I skipped out on the costumes for consoles because they were battle only.
If they patch this on consoles, I'll consider grabbing them since they're great.
 
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Kvik

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A Mod Loader for Soul Hackers 2, made using BepInEx.

Features
— Ability to load modified asset bundles from a mods directory instead of directly modifying the original ones
— Log which asset bundles are being accessed at any specific time
 

Avern

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Kvik

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Personally, I don't mind the slight inertia. I capped my frame rate to 120 fps and Ringo look like she's slowing down elegantly. Probably not as elegant as 2B, but she has her own style. :flaregalaxycat:
 
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Kvik

Kvik

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Release 0.4.0 includes a toggle for Chromatic Aberration post-fx.

Changelog said:
  • Added chromatic aberration toggle to the graphical tweaks section. It's disabled by default, so check out the config file to enable it.
 
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Kvik

Kvik

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I finished with the game over the weekend. It was quite a ride.

As much as I loved my time with it, the game is far from the classic I am looking for. All the ingredients are there, but the developers obviously had to make some concessions and decisions that made me wish that the game had been allocated a much larger budget. While for me, it doesn't make the game feel worse, I can understand that for other people it can be a deal-breaker.

Let's start with the dungeons. The decision to have the faster running speed tied into an active ability (Assassin's Steps) that costs MP is something that I can't agree with. The Soul Matrix dungeons are not exactly small, and it would've been better to have Assassin's Steps available as a passive ability instead. Especially in the early game, when the Chakras items are still expensive and the party's mana pool isn't that deep.

I can see how some people dislike how demon recruitment work. The recruitment is pretty much guaranteed to work as long as you have the materials that the demons asked. The dialogue is pretty much a cut-down version of its counterpart in the first Soul Hackers. There's not a lot of variation here, probably the result of a reduced development budget. During the negotiation in the former game, you can give the demon something else in place of what they initially asked which can make for some interesting conversation. This feature is unfortunately missing from SH2.

The Goumaden and demon fusion is another aspect that I wish they kept the same depth as the former game. While there's lore involving the Zoma demons (which sadly has been relegated to DLC quests), there's no mechanics involving it. It would've been nice to have been able to fuse Zoma demons as a special fusion, once a Key Item is obtained (again, from a certain DLC quest).

The DLC's chain of quests is also a bit disappointing. The storyline is fine as a bare minimum, but I can hardly recommend it for people who wanted something more out of the game. I can't help feeling that these quest lines, and its related dungeon, should've been integrated in the game without any extra cost. The dungeon itself is a modest affair, featuring 15 levels of circular floor design. I'd hate to use the word uninspired, but I have to concede that I expect more from it.

Also, one of the DLC bosses irritates me to no end since it auto-heals itself for 1200 HP at every turn. Even at its recommended level, the fight was a chore. I had to fuse demons to target its weakness, plus Megidola for each team member to be able to actually put a dent on it. But as a result, the final boss fight is pretty much a walk in the park, since Ringo's demons are high-leveled enough to soak damages from Almighty spells.

And finally, The Requests from Madame Gingko is another aspect that I wish they had the budget to be expanded upon. I enjoyed reading Ringo's thoughts in the Requests log, and how her relationship with other Amami City inhabitants changes throughout the game as she completed their requests. However, there's not a lot of emotional investment involved in them, except for maybe one or two NPCs. Still, I think it's still worth doing since some of them will result in a new Hangout event, which is pretty important.

Despite all that, there's still plenty to like about the game. Ringo is great. Nemissa was a class act (even though she's not the protagonist, but she might as well be one!) and Ringo has class in spades. The Hangout events are great for character development too. Apart from Ringo, Saizo is probably my favourite character, and his Vision Quest at the end of 4th floor of Soul Matrix is my favourite out of the bunch.

The music is definitely one of the highlights as well. The dungeon themes does have a slightly different direction, but it still sounds great, not to mention the boss themes are straight up bangers. Funnily enough, the final dungeon theme didn't sound as emotional as the other dungeon themes to me. It's a bit curious, since emotion is what drive the entire final act of the game.

I hope more people would be interested in playing the game, once Atlus has the wisdom to discount it sooner than later. As it stands, it's going to be a hard sell to recommend at full price. There's plenty to like here for even newcomers to the series, but not at its current price (and the lack of a proper regional pricing).





 
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