Soul Hackers 2 review: stylish JRPG tells more than it shows

Soul Hackers 2

MSRP $59.99

“Soul Hackers 2 innovates when it comes to RPG gameplay, but its tale is a phase down compared to Atlus’ the latest hits.”

Pros

  • Innovates on SMT formula
  • Satisfying switch economic climate and method
  • Effortless to recruit demons
  • Development makes battles worthwhile

Disadvantages

  • Tale moves way too rapid
  • Superficial hangout interactions
  • Emotional beats tumble flat
  • Forgettable sideuests

I discovered my third lifeless entire body about five hrs into Soul Hackers 2. Soon after 30 several hours, I’ll come across out that corpses and plot twists are nothing at all to be astonished about.

Aion, the supercomputer variation of God, foresees the finish of the earth. It results in Ringo and Figue, two humanoid representations of its consciousness, to stop this impending apocalypse. Regretably, they arrive way too late to help save their targets: genius scientist Ichiro Ondo and demon summoner Arrow. That is the place the game’s titular Soul Hacking comes in. Carry again the soul and evidently the entire body revives with it. Ringo finishes up reviving 3 people who agree to combat together for the sake of their possess targets. Who’ll actually get in the stop, although?

Soul Hackers 2 appears like it has anything it requires to thrive as a JRPG filled with sci-fi intrigue. Nonetheless, it speeds previous the stakes and character arcs in assistance of an anticlimactic race to the end. Luckily, its finely crafted turn-primarily based beat and development make an in any other case stale story quick to digest.

Exact same but various formula

Ringo with combat menu

Like other Atlus JRPGs, Soul Hackers 2 duplicates the Shin Megami Tensei components whilst meaningfully creating on it. Recruit demons, fight with them, and fuse them into much better allies. Once in battle, gamers will need to very carefully use type pros and transform overall economy to wipe enemies out as promptly as attainable or endure a brutal battle. One particular misstep can be the variance among getting bodied by a total crew of demons or knocking them all out with a multi-hit ending transfer.

Soul Hackers 2 has a knack for earning every action come to feel like it’s truly worth one thing.

Soul Hackers 2 employs this similar system to an extent with notable iteration. It delivers back the Shin Megami Tensei mechanic the place the demons can be fused collectively to develop types with greater stats as opposed to types pulled straight from the Compendium. It also lets you stage up at a sensible pace so that you really don’t need to have to grind without end, with adequate new qualities and demons to maintain you relocating forward.

An additional perk? Combating demons can help you amount up and obtain drops for trading. You can meaningfully upgrade your COMP with stat boosts and passive benefits (aka your weapons) making use of enemy drops or products your demons obtain from exploring. Some drops are also meant to be traded for therapeutic things and powerups, so useful resource gathering is a extremely rewarding experience with many uses.

Soul Hackers 2 has a knack for producing every single action truly feel like it’s really worth one thing. Shin Megami Tensei spinoffs generally require exploiting enemy weaknesses to attractiveness to the convert financial system. In this case, you acquire “Stacks” every time you hit an enemy weak point. Ringo releases these stacks in a “Sabbath” at the conclusion of each individual transform for supplemental destruction. Some demons even have their possess “bonuses” that activate through these Sabbaths. 1 could possibly poison all enemies, even though one more may well grant the social gathering a bit of overall health. It’s effortless to stack the turns in your favor, as if you’re undertaking the RPG equivalent of couponing, and have a consistently enjoyable time making out the perfect celebration composition.

Now, if only the story amazed me as considerably as the gameplay.

Much more exhibiting, considerably less telling

Soul Hackers team fight

My English professors applied to stress “show not tell.” Regretably, Soul Hackers 2 does a whole lot of telling and not a lot displaying. I stand by my preview, where by I wrote that the story quickly dropped its shock price immediately after the initially a few deaths. I get it. Aion beings can bring people back to existence with soul-hacking superpowers and anyone has a difficulty with their ex.

Soul Hackers 2 moves quick. It dives into the reminiscences and regrets of Arrow, Milady, and Saizo early in the plot. To some extent, Soul Hackers 2 tells the tale of three Demon Summoners who arrived back to everyday living to tackle their regrets and help save the globe. It does not meaningfully weave the threads collectively, although. The a few heroes convincingly react to their nemeses finally, but the buildup to that instant is lacking. In point, some of their motives are hidden at the rear of plot twists later on in the tale. The motives for retaining these intimate moments exterior of the most important plot make feeling in context, but that indicates that you’ll have to be in for the very long haul as you wade by lackluster plot and character growth.

I always felt like a bystander relatively than another person who was in the moment myself.

Some of it could even be owing to possessing Ringo as the protagonist. To be crystal clear, I like Ringo as a hero. Her spunk and sense of humor carried usually stale discussions. Nevertheless, she’s also primarily a new child.

Soul Hackers 2 tackles what it suggests to be human and what Ringo and Figue learn from their passionate allies. Ringo as the protagonist just feels like a squander when Arrow, Milady, and Saizo have such sophisticated backstories that we only come to feel in the 3rd man or woman. I usually felt like a bystander somewhat than a person who was in the instant myself.

A technological afterthought

Saizo with Soul Hackers allies

Soul Hackers 2 paces its battle beautifully, even if it moves also rapid to savor the story. Having said that, there are other relocating elements that could have used some get the job done.

Areas like the Axis and Club Courteous offer sidequests to fulfill, but they are hardly ever anything more than fetch quests, which truly feel like a squander of time. Some of them have worthwhile products that make it really worth it, but most of the time, it’s simpler to faux they never exist. I also identified it easy to dismiss the Soul Matrix, which the sport reminds you to take a look at every other time you check out the Safehouse. Exploring it will give your bash users valuable passive perks the much more you increase your social bond with them, but you are going to have to return to a bland, repetitive dungeon around and about to do so.

Most of the controls get the job done fantastic ample, but there are some quirks that bugged me. It is a bit of a problem to regulate the digital camera while managing, and it tends to abide by Ringo a little too carefully. I also observed a lag with Ringo’s slash, an attack that can be employed when checking out to stun enemies prior to a random encounter. You are going to occasionally get caught in battle even if you technically “hit” the enemy as the activity registers that you’ve walked into them and initiates the combat. I uncovered myself owning to time my slash early to make it strike when I wanted, which produced gameplay feel a tiny unnatural at instances.

These aren’t deal-breakers in comparison to the more substantial photograph. Having said that, they start out to incorporate up when the only positives are the gameplay and development.

Our get

Soul Hackers 2 is like the center sibling of the Shin Megami Tensei relatives. It does not have the darkish fantasy legacy of the series its spun off from or the exact higher school hijinks as the Persona series. In its place, it’s a completely pleasurable, if inoffensive comeback game for a long-dormant IP. Having said that, it doesn’t truly feel like it’ll have the identical staying electricity as some of Atlus’ modern hits. Its emotional moments didn’t land as really hard mainly because of a missing narrative that tells far more than it reveals. It innovates on some sections of the SMT formula with strong RPG units and development, but it is not enough to make it a further have to-enjoy.

Is there a much better alternative?

Persona 5 Royal is a lengthier and far more entertaining recreation with equivalent RPG units. If you have already played that, there’s also Persona 4, Shin Megami Tensei 5, or the a short while ago remastered Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne. They’ll scratch the itch for a compelling tale improved.

How extensive will it acquire?

Soul Hackers 2 is fairly brief compared to Atlus’ other works. It took me amongst 30 and 40 hours to finish.

Must you buy it?

Sure. It’s a soft suggestion for Shin Megami Tensei supporters, however If you’re new to Atlus games, it is not a good starting off issue.

Soul Hackers 2 was reviewed on a PlayStation 4.

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