ESRB Rating: T
Release Date: August 23, 2011
Being the first RPG title released on the 3DS, Devil Survivor Overclocked is doing its part to give the struggling platform some much needed material to work with. Though merely a port instead of a brand new game, it does provide some things to keep gamers and Megaten fans alike from wasting time on Face Raiders. Unfortunately, it seems like there are a lot of missed opportunities to make something truly unique with the new platform.
The story is the same as in the first iteration, but for those who haven’t played it, here’s a quick rundown. You play as the unnamed Hero, and end up being trapped in a government issued lockdown that is the response to a demonic invasion. Utilizing special devices, called COMPs (which look very much like 3DSs themselves), you and your rag-tag team of friends need to survive the ordeal and figure a way out of the lockdown before something potentially big occurs. Along the way, you meet up with several characters with the same goal in mind, and you also take on the task of protecting these people from the demons that are spilling out into the human world.
Watch Flying Cards in 3D
For the most part, the presentation hasn’t changed too much. On the plus side, the higher capabilities of the 3DS allow for hi-res 2D character artwork and better quality graphics. Demon portraits and attack effects in particular transfer well, and are more vibrant on the 3DS screen. Unfortunately, there aren’t many cases where the 3D aspect gets much use, since the majority of the gameplay takes place on the touchscreen, unless you really enjoy the sight of 3D spinning cards during fusion attempts.
While the music listing is generally the same (which is not so bad, as the music overall is pretty good), Atlus did provide the game with full voice acting. Being advertised as one of the biggest castings they’ve put together, it certainly does add more depth to dialogue sequences. Most of the voicework is well done, however, there are some grey areas that could have been better addressed (Yuzu’s voicework is especially annoying to put up with). For the most part, though, it’s worthwhile, and helps to enhance the experience.
Skill Cracking For Fun and Profit
The gameplay in Overclocked is largely untouched from the original title. The game goes through two different modes; map mode, and battle mode. During map mode, you go to different locations, some of which you can access story driven events and battle sequences. Each story related event or battle moves time forward a bit, and thus the events of the day play out.
During map mode, you can also gain access to the COMP’s many functions, including familiar Megaten gameplay aspects like Demon Fusion and the Demonic Compendium. You can also save your game here, and check the in-game e-mails for an idea of the events to come for that day.
Battle mode is largely the same deal as it was before. The game retains the strategy/classic RPG hybrid format, which works out really well. Battles require a good amount of coordination between your teams and decent party compositions to counter the enemy. Aspects of the original title, such as Skill Cracks, are still retained. For those that may think the game is too challenging, however, Atlus did add an Easy difficulty setting to Overclocked, so that you can focus more on enjoying the story, as well as some new demons to help bolster your party and provide a bit more variety.
Hello Again, Beldr
As with many Megaten games, the story is the main attraction, and the original Devil Survivor followed through in spades with its mature themes and strong biblical and mythological references. Overclocked keeps the story intact, and you can still interact with the numerous characters that have their own troubled backgrounds. What is new here is the addition of an 8th Day sequence that provides more details about what happened after the original events. It’s a nice addition to the game that allows fans to get a better idea of what went down. The multiple endings are also still there, and are based on your actions during the course of the game, so replay value is also present and accounted for.
Why Didn’t They Think Of This!?
All of this is well and good, but the underlying question, as it is with many ports, is whether all of this constitutes a second purchase for those that played the original title back in 2009. The problem here is that there is so much that could have been taken advantage of in regards to the 3DS’s hardware to provide a truly unique experience.
For one thing, there is absolutely zero online functionality within Overclocked, outside of the in-game shenanigans that come up. Using the 3DS for online tricks would have been an insanely good addition. Take the Demon Auction for example. What was keeping Atlus from adding an option for players to actually bid against each other for demons, or even put their own up for sale? It just seems so obvious it’s mind-boggling how they missed it.
Also damaging is the lack of truly animated sequences. I’m not saying the whole thing should be filled with cutscenes, but, again, with the 3DS’s improved schematics, it’s something I feel that could have totally been possible.
And while this one is more hardware related than game related, the overall audio quality seems to have suffered more in the transfer to the 3DS format. The underlying problem here is that the 3DS speakers are so poor that it’s hard to truly appreciate the music and voicework. Headphones can help alleviate this problem, but not everyone is going to be content with having to wear extra accessories just to be able to fully immerse themselves into the game.
I don’t really want to say that they were being lazy with this, because Atlus consistently puts out well made products. It’s just weird how they could have missed all of these opportunities to really take advantage of the new platform. Then again, maybe they’re holding back on it for a third release, similar to what they did with Persona 3. Who knows at this point?
Goddamnit Shut Up Yuzu!
While the game itself is fun in its own right, as a port, there’s not much there to encourage people to make a return visit to the lockdown. If you missed out on the original run, or are a hardcore Megaten fan, then you won’t be disappointed. For everyone else, you’re better off sticking to the original game and looking for the 8th Day material on the Youtubes.