Soul Hackers 2a sequel to the 1997 game Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, has been released to the gaming world for a while now. Players connect with the protagonist, Ringo, on a journey to stop Iron Mask from destroying the world in a story filled with treachery, crawling through dungeons and battling demons. Fans of Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers the game has jumped on it with mixed reviews and the general feeling is Soul Hackers 2 did a pretty good job, although it could have made some improvements on certain aspects. In these reviews, fans have noticed some similarities to other JRPG titles. Set in a futuristic cyberpunk version of Japan, Soul Hackers 2 seem to draw inspiration from others Shin Megami Tensei game. The most striking similarity is from Persona spinoff franchise, as they come from the same developer, Atlus.
Given the standards set by the highly successful Persona series, it is only natural for players to compare it to other titles from Atlus. While these comparisons may be unfair, many players have included direct contrasts between both games in their reviews. At least there’s a good balance of positives and negatives in most of these, which shows Soul Hackers 2 has its own identity outside Persona. For one, Soul Hackers 2 is notably easier in difficulty than other titles in Shin Megami Tensei series, which is a fact that bothers quite a few fans. The plots of these games are very different, but they share many similarities, such as the popular Demon Fusion mechanic, recruitable demons, and a turn-based battle system. In particular, the combat system seems to be cut from the same cloth. Atlus seems very happy with their developed combat mechanics since these mechanics are used in several games. However, there are a few important differences.
The combat systems of Soul Hackers 2 and Persona have many differences
Soul Hackers 2 mainly uses humans as playable characters who Personas 5, equipping them with several melee and ranged weapons, along with elements such as fire, ice, and lightning. Each playable character is equipped with demons and the ability to switch their equipped demons during a battle, allowing for a variety of different configurations. In case of Personas 5no playable characters can change their Persona except Joker.
Soul Hackers 2 uses the Stack system with Press Turn mechanics, where the player gains an increase in a counter at the top right of the screen every time they hit an enemy’s elemental weakness. At the end of the player’s turn, the avatar – Ringo – summons a Sabbat using his team of demons to cause extra explosive damage to all enemies. The Sabbath attack gets stronger as the player’s stack increases. This combat move is comparable to the All-Out-Attack seen in Personas 5which deals a lot of damage to multiple enemies in an area. Soul Hackers 2‘s Stack system differs from All-Out-Attack in terms of usage. All-Out-Attack can only be used when an enemy has their countdown meter completely depleted. However, the requirements for an All-Out-Attack are different for some Persona releases.
Personas 5 requires all enemies to be knocked down after their gauges are depleted before the All-Out-Attack is called, while Persona 5 Strikers’ All-Out-Attack doesn’t need the enemies to be knocked down, but the counters must be empty. This meter usage is one area of difference in the combat systems between Soul Hackers 2 and Persona.
Dungeons and social systems are unique
The turn-based battle seen in Personas 5 had more details and innovation, and came with a new feature called Baton Pass. Baton Pass offers a social system, which has an important role to play in the battle system, and uses Confidants to transfer the “One More” skill move to another party member. Sending “One More” from one teammate to another increased the attack and recovery power of the receiving teammate, ready to deal more damage to their enemies. A social system of the scale and importance of this level is not seen in Soul Hackers 2, although there is a social element in the form of “friendship levels” among demons. Demons who have advanced sufficiently in their friendship levels can give rare items to Ringo.
Another difference between the games is the absence of demon negotiation from Soul Hackers 2 game. Personas 5 equips the protagonist, Joker, with the ability to initiate a dialogue with various demons and convince them to join their crew if the correct dialogue options are selected. Soul Hackers 2 uses another mechanic called Demon Recon, where Ringo scouts dungeons for potential allies using her existing demons. Sometimes a fee is charged in exchange for the allegiance of these allies, but no negotiations take place.
The real-world-based dungeons in the Soul Hackers 2which allows players to interact and fight with demons in the larger world, has been praised for the exploratory potential it brings to the game. Personas 5however, keeping demon interaction and combat confined to palaces makes for a more enclosed experience. Soul Hackers 2 also provides optional dungeons in the Soul Matrix system, which are unlocked depending on the psyche of the characters Ringo has Soul Hacked.
Although it may be shorter than any of that Shin Megami Tensei counterparties, Soul Hackers 2 makes up for the length with a balance of great combat and social systems. Despite the similarities and the occasional omission of a feature, the turn-based combat comes in Soul Hackers 2 is still highly addictive, keeping players glued to their screens for hours of satisfying gameplay.
Soul Hackers 2 is now available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.
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