To your average gamer something like Digital Devil Saga is completely unheard of. It’s a dark twisted world brought to us by Atlus games. There is next to no humor in this franchise (unless your as morbid as me and think Gale threatening to eat people is funny), the characters are no longer human, they are something more twisted then that , feeding on their own kind for survival. That’s right a humorless game centering around cannabalism. Not for your average gamer, add in the mature rating and the fact that it’s an honest to god horror rpg and your really in for a whole new ride.
For anyone who hasn’t played the first game and has any intention to, stop reading right here right now. If you don’t hold any fear of spoilers read on.
From the back cover:
The Promised Land was nothing but a new Hell. Serph leader of the Embryon, wanders aimlessly through the lifeless streets before him. In the junkyard, his tribe fought a gruesome war, hoping the light of Heaven would relieve their suffering. In the end, Serph’s world vanished, along with the comrades who stood by him. All that awaited him in Nirvana were endless streets littered with the silent remains of human statues.
Gruesome huh? The sun has turned black, and with it it’s brought a horrible affliction to humanity. They call it Cuvier Syndrome, it’s a strange condition here the human body turns to stone upon absorbing rays from the sun. The only people unaffected by this horrible syndrome are ‘Avatar Tuners’ or humans with demon infused Atma power. The other few surviving humans live in Karma City, the only domed city in the world. The last paradise on this hellish Earth. Your party the five surviving members of the Embryon Tribe, simply want to rescue their friend the ‘Cyber Shaman’ Sera from the Karma City soldiers.
Making a glorious return from Digital Devil Saga 1 are six very familiar faces! Serph, Argilla, Cielo, Gale, Heat, and Sera all make a return appearance in this game. We also gain a new face by the name of Roland.
Serph is the obligatory silent protaganist. Unlike most of them however his facial expressions speak volumes. He is known for decisive leadership skills. Serph’s demon form is Varuna (Varna in America) the God who is aid to have created the three worlds. His base affinity is ice, so naturally he is weak against fire. He also has the coolest arm blades, I love doing his physical attack, just off appearancealone. His dodge looks really cool too.
If your lead character is ice affiity then naturally your rival has to be…. you guessed it Heat! Heat is a violent character, prone to outbursts, fits of jealousy, and pointlessly proclaiming things like ‘You can’t protect Sera!’ He is a frustrated, angry, and honestly generally dislikable character, but he is a necessary evil. Every group of comrades has at least one of this guy’s type. Heat’s demon form is Agni (sounds kinda lame) he is (shockingly) known as the God of fire. It’s said Agni burns with the fire of anger, but also shines with the flames of intelligence.
Argilla. She is probably the saddest character in the franchise, overcome by what she must do to survive. She holds her own very well in a fight. She is an easily angered character, but her anger more often then not breaks down into a woeful depression that then in turn leads to fierce determination. Prithivi, her demon formis in my humble opinion the scariest of the group. The mouth boobs just really creep me out. Add in the whip arms and the bandaged look and well it’s just creey ok? She is a very quick and agile fighter who is Earth aligned.
Gale, in Digital Devil Saga 1 Gale was as stone faced as they come, he did not understand nor feel the need for emotions. That was why he was your tactical guru. In part two he is fundamentally still the same with brief flashes of emotion kicking in. Like the yearning to find out who David is and why he means so much to Jenna Angel (the end boss of the previous game). Gale’s demon is Vayu who is considered to be the father of life. His affinity is wind. (Gale=wind….never would have guessed.)
Cielo is probabaly the character that changes the most from start to finish. He turns out to be the one comedic aspect to these games and even then after one deviously hatched escape attempt you never really see this side of him again. After that he seems almost introspective. How strange. I also think he or Argilla clearly value their comrades the most of the characters in Embryon. Dyaus is the name of Cielo’s demon form and he is the Norse god of the sun. He is aligned with electricity.
Sera the last of the characters from DDS 1, doesn’t actually join your party until halfway through game 2. When she does, she kind of comes off like a knockoff Serph. Same abilities, same stats, and so similiar a monster form that I can’t help but wonder why they bothered dropping him from your party in the first place.She is the only one capable of calming the hunger invoked by Atma. Her demon form is Varnani which is amazingly water based.
Roland is the last person to talk about here. He is the leader of the resistance group Lokapela that is fighting against Karma City’s Avatar Tuners. He is a former author, now he just drowns his sorrow in a bottle. His demon form is Indra who is the God of lightning.
Digital Devil Saga is a very unique game. The fighting system revolves around turn based combat, however if your hit by your waekness then the enemy will gain a turn. If you hit an enemy’s weakness you gain a turn. It’s at times so easy to milk that it’s almost criminal and at other times an extreme challenge to get out one attack a round. If you get ambushed you start your fight in human form. Hello inablity to use magic, or special physical attacks, it also takes a full turn to transform. Then there’s devouring your opponent, if an enemy is low on HP you can attempt a devour attack to steal bonus AP towards learning abilities. Complicated but easy enough to pick up.
If this game lacks anywhere it’s in graphics. The look good enough but, having had palyed things like Final Fantasy 10 which is visual masterpiece even now, it just lacks….detail. The characters lack in detail. Specifically their human forms seem almost…..generic. The cinemas are nice if not a little too slowly paced. Overall though the style fits the game nicely
Overall Story: 8/10
Overall Characters: 9/10
Overall Fighting System: 8/10
Graphics Overall: 7/10
Overall Enjoyment: 9/10
And as an added bonus here’s a cool fanart of Serph I found. Man I love him.