Think modern JRPGs, and developers Atlus often comes first to mind for many. Whether you are into dungeon crawling, building relationships with your fellow party members, or just diving straight into the action, Atlus’ games often deliver on all fronts. And with the upcoming Soul Hackers 2, it is no exception.
In an early preview made possible by the folks at Epicsoft Asia, we were able to experience the initial stages of Soul Hackers 2 in all its glory, and boy does it play like a JRPG that will hook you for hours on end with its systems and mechanics.
Positioned as a sequel that comes 25 years after the first Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, the fear is that the game will not be welcoming to newcomers to the spinoff series that grew out of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, and on some levels, that is true. The sheer amount of menus and options will definitely be intimidating to someone new, but at the very least, Soul Hackers 2 does a decent job at introducing all these options to the player, and that is often enough to get things moving at a decent pace.
And there will be plenty of action as the devil summoners of the Yatagarasu and Phantom Society go up against each other, and the player is caught right in the middle as main protagonist Ringo. As a creation of the digital hivemind known as Aion, it is up to Ringo and its partner, Figue, to figure out this world and right the wrongs in order to save humanity from the end.
The more futuristic take on a Japanese city is definitely a visual feast, although the more anime take on things might just rub series veterans the wrong way. Whether it be Ringo, Figue, or the rest of the party we have met thus far, their designs are all quite interesting, and it helps that they seem to have good stories to share. The social system is alive and well in Soul Hackers 2, and the more you hang out with your friends and learn about them, the better your team will be.
All of those bonuses will come into play when combat is needed, with each character getting assigned a demon to help out. The aim is to exploit the enemy’s weaknesses as much as possible, which generates stacks that can then be used to pull off a Sabbath. That is essentially a powerful attack that hits all enemies, which Persona fans might recognise as being the same as the All-Out Attacks.
In addition to the demons, each party member brings their own set of tricks to the battle, and considering the many different demons you can recruit, combine, or grow, the sheer number of options will allow for all sorts of combinations waiting to be discovered. With all of these plus the dungeon crawling one would expect out of an Atlus JRPG, the stage is set for a good time for fans of the genre.
Although our short time with Soul Hackers 2 was definitely not enough to get into the meat of the experience, what we have seen and played is more than enough to get us excited about what’s to come. While it may not be on the level of the SMT when it comes to complexity or the deep social links that make Persona such a standout series, Soul Hackers 2 is perhaps the best entry point that straddles both admirably.
With the game set to launch this coming 26 August for PC and consoles, fans of Atlus’ games will definitely be doing themselves a favour by checking out Soul Hackers 2.