Developer: Atlus

Publisher: Atlus

Nintendo 3DS Exclusive

 

    Soul Hackers was a 1997 game in the MegaTen franchise released for the ill-fated Sega Saturn that never saw release outside of Japan. At long last, Atlus has released the game overseas with a port on the Nintendo 3DS, too bad time has left this game way past its prime. Even compared with its contemporaries at the time, I suspect that this would have been mediocre at best even back then.


    Like the Persona games, Soul Hackers focuses on its characters and telling a compelling story with them, this is where the game really shines. The characters are likable and seeing the story through to the end was a huge draw for me. The story had a great set of hooks that helped me get through a lot of the more annoying and outdated design choices (and believe me, there are plenty of them).


    For as much as the story and characters carry this game, the gameplay will often cause it to come crashing back down; and it is almost always tied to one thing: MAG. MAG (or magnetite) is essential for your success, you earn MAG by defeating enemies in combat and you use it to summon your demons. The initial cost of summoning demons whether through the menu or mid-battle ranges from several hundred to over a thousand MAG dependent on the demon's level. You also lose MAG to a smaller degree on a per step basis if you have any demons active in your party, and yes, that includes areas with no random encounters. I'm sure you can see the problem here: There is no reason to ever have demons in your party outside of a boss fight. You're not even crippling yourself by doing this as demons literally CANNOT level up in this game. Experience is awarded only to the main character and your constant companion Nemissa, besides, by mid-game you'll have more than enough options to deal with multiple enemies with just the two of them. By converting your excess MAG to yen, you can easily afford high end weapons and armor, so there's really no downside to this strategy.


    The demons you command have one of five personality types: wild, kind, dumb, calm and sly. Personality dictates that demon's behavior in battle, and using actions they like builds up their loyalty. Wild demons like attacking, and kind demons like healing/defending. Dumb demons prefer to act autonomously by using the "Go" command. Calm and sly are the wild cards of the game, as they have no set pattern. Calm demons have a "best pick" attack according to the situation and using that attack increases loyalty, Sly demons allegedly prefer attack spells and status spells, but do not gain loyalty in battle, you need to bribe them with items to increase their loyalty. If you try to order your demons around, they will grow insubordinate and eventually leave your party. Thankfully at max loyalty, your demons (save for dumb) will accept any command you give them.

 

6/10

Decent

Thanks for reading!