Devil Survivor Is The First T Rated Shin Megami Tensei Game

By Spencer . June 29, 2009 . 11:49am

imageThe ESRB gave every game in the Shin Megami Tensei series a M rating except for Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor. In Japan Devil Survivor was rated CERO B, which falls in between an E 10+ and T rating, with a violence warning.


Seems logical that Devil Survivor is rated T then, but Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne got a M rating while it was rated for as an all ages game in Japan. Unfortunately, the ESRB didn’t give content explanations back then so we’ll compare the ESRB rating summary for Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor to Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon, which was rated CERO C in Japan, the same rating CERO gave to the Wii version of Ghost Squad.


Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon

Blood, Sexual Themes, Violence

“This is an action role-playing game (RPG) in which players assume the role of a detective with magical powers who investigates a series of disappearances in a 1920’s Japanese town. Players can summon demons to help out with the investigation and to battle other creatures and human enemies. During combat, players can slash enemies with swords or order their demons to use magic attacks (e.g., fire, ice lightning). Blood sometimes pools under enemies’ feet when they are struck, and blood occasionally stains the floors and walls of the dungeon and town environments. Some female demons wear outfits that expose deep cleavage, wear body paint for clothing, or are dressed in rose vines that barely cover their breasts. A few demons have suggestive appearances, including creatures with phallic-shaped heads and torsos.”


Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor

Fantasy Violence, Language, Mild Blood, Partial Nudity

“This is a role-playing game (RPG) in which players battle demons that have overrun Tokyo. The majority of gameplay involves navigating through menus and triggering events that advance the storyline about escaping or stopping the demons. Combat is turn-based, as players select from several attacking, guarding, or defensive moves. In two instances, small pools of blood form around the bodies of fallen citizens. The blood quickly disappears as the storyline continues. During the course of the game, some female demons are depicted wearing outfits that expose deep cleavage; other demons are dressed in fur that barely covers their breasts or pelvic regions. Characters frequently use expletives (e.g., “a*s,” “pr*ck,” “damn,” and “hell”) in the dialogue.”


Notice any differences?


I’m sure some Siliconera readers have played/are playing both games. Do you think Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor is tamer than the other games in the series? Or does the lack of “phallic-shaped heads and torsos” make Devil Survivor OK for teens?

  • James

    Seem good to me, everything is a lesser version than the summoner, which justify the lesser rating.

  • Scuba

    Interesting that I am playing both games, but I haven’t played enough of Devil Survivor to judge. If anything it has a brighter color palette. But you’re right that the only difference by those descriptions is the phallic symbols. Maybe because the game is on the DS it got a T rating. Probably not. I have to play more of it.

  • I haven’t played Devil Survivor either, but based on previous games, I think that the rating system is a bit vague at times. I guess that, in Devil Survivor, there isn’t anything very obviously crude, whereas swears and deep cleavages and blood and stuff has appeared countless times so it’s kind of a “it can go in the T-range because it’s not obviously M” ?

    • Yeah the ESRB seems pretty vague, which is why I decided to point this out. It’s just interesting since most of the SMT games and Final Fantasy games get higher age restrictions in the US.

      Personally, I think it’s the art style, which is brighter, perhaps cartoon like, and less detailed in Devil Survivor compared to the PS2 SMT games, has something to do with it. But that’s just a guess!

      • Mr. Mee

        Hey Spencer, you should post a blog about all of the Shin Megami Tensei reprints like Nocturne and both Digital Devil Sagas that are available on sites such as Amazon

  • “…dressed in fur that barely covers their breasts or pelvic regions.”

    There’s only one explanation. People from the ESRB must have a TON of pubic hair.

  • Enact

    Persona 2 Eternal Punishment was rated T though…

    • QBasic

      I don’t know if you’re aware, but that game was fairly edited… Not in the extreme way as the first one, but still edited nonetheless.

      • Hraesvelgr

        That was also before they started slapping the “Shin Megami Tensei” logo onto every spinoff title, too.

        • Yeah seriously! Everything has SMT on it, but it’s probably better for Atlus to brand everything under one umbrella. Name recognition means more games get localized.

          • While we’re on the subject, do you really think Shin Megami Tensei holds more weight than Persona at this point, Spencer? Even Devil Survivor, which was Megami Ibunroku – same as Persona 1 – is SMT in the U.S., and you can clearly see it’s a lot closer to the Persona games than it is to SMT, with the exception of the classic “using technology to summon demons” thing.

          • Anon

            “While we’re on the subject, do you really think Shin Megami Tensei holds more weight than Persona at this point”

            This question was directed at someone else, but I’ll throw my 2 cents in. I think, at least in the US, the name Persona holds more weight than Shin Megami Tensei, though it shouldn’t. I’ve come across people who recognize the name Persona but don’t know anything about games called Shin Megami Tensei. They were really surprised when I told them it was part of the same series. Of course, this is most likely an isolated event, who is really that absent minded? Anyway, I also believe that Persona holds more weight because all the new fans that Persona 3 and 4 brought in seem to just want more Persona games and nothing else from the series, at least from what I’ve seen.

          • MadMirko

            Persona is the name of a contraceptive aid:

            Shin Megamit Tensei the one of a series of good games.

          • QBasic

            Did you know they actually banned me on the forums when I brought forth that point?

            What ideal businessmen.

      • Geosaferi

        I can’t remember many of the edits, care to remind me please? :(

        • Geosaferi

          blah, I meant stuff asides from the whole eriko/ellen kei nanjo/nate localization stuff that tried to keep it somewhat similar to P1.

    • Yeah you’re right about that, but that was before Atlus went for direct translations of the SMT games.

      Part of the reason I wanted to point this out was to highlight the cultural differences of what the US considers “adult content” versus what Japan considers “adult content”.

      • QBasic

        SMT is chock full of religious references and blasphemy. The US can be pretty sensitive to that sort of material. And no game blasphemes more so than Nocturne.

  • doubleO7

    You forgot the SMT: DemiKids games. Those also werent rated M. They were rated E.

    • Nope!

      Both of those games were just called Demikids in the US. Sure, it says Shin Megami Tensei in Japanese on the box, but they weren’t called Shin Megami Tensei: DemiKids: Light Version.

  • EvilAkito

    To be honest, I never really agreed that the PS2 games deserved an M-rating. They’re definitely in a T-rating level, at least by my standards.

    • Matt S

      So stripclubs and actions similar to shooting yourself in the head are T ratings? :p DDS had a pretty brutal theme as well. You did eat each other…

      But yeah, they aren’t the most hardcore M-rated games, but when CoD4 was rated M, I can see how a game with a zombie-Jesus and penis monsters can be rated M.

      • EvilAkito

        The games are never really that graphic though. I mean, in DDS, you don’t actually see demons sinking their teeth into their rival demon’s flesh. I guess some of the demon designs are pretty risque, but I could still see it passing for a T-rating.

        But then again, I’m more lenient on these things than most people. Still though, do the SMT games really deserve the same rating as games like GTA or Manhunt?

  • Matt S

    My copy of Persona 2: Eternal Punishment says otherwise.

    It’s also rated T, and available on the original Playstation

    • Enact already said this and spawned 10+ replies.

  • Danny

    Tamer?Not at all.
    The story is probably the one with most religious overtones ever in any megaten game.
    This game has oh so much more of “God is a selfish,egocentric bastard and should be killed” than any other megaten.Never was Heaven vs Demons conflict more explicit.Even SMT1&2 don’t come close.
    The story is also much closer to classic megaten, a lot more than Nocturne which only had the post apocalyptic settings really.
    I believe it deserves SMT title for that instead of Megami Ibunroku.

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos