By Spencer . February 3, 2012 . 5:45pm
I’ve been playing Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 and one new system in the Nintendo DS game should sound familiar if you played Persona 3 or 4. Talking to your teammates forms a "Fate" bond and as it develops you unlock more abilities.
Devil Survivor 2 begins in Tokyo with you and Daichi Shijima, who acts as the comic relief, waiting for a subway train. Both of you run into Io Nitta, a classmate adored by all of the male students. Daichi sheepishly tries to talk to her, but the protagonist steps in. Before you can have a conversation everyone’s phones beep with a message from Nicaea, a mysterious web site which shows a clip of them… about to die.
After the trio cheats death by defeating demons a main menu opens up. Instead of a list of locales like Shinjuku and Shibuya, Devil Survivor 2 has a small list of events. Most events center around the characters you meet instead of say chasing Naoya around Tokyo. You’ll get to know the secondary characters better even little details like where Io shops and the mystery behind Joe Akie’s girlfriend.
When you talk to characters or save their lives the Fate system powers them up. The first Fate bonus you earn is elemental resistance. Daichi gets Anti-Fire and Io learns Anti-Elec, skills reduce damage against Agi and Zio, respectively. Fate resistances do not take up skill slots either so you have room to add on other passive abilities like "Moneybags" which gives you a Macca Bonus or "Extra Bonus" to increase the chance of earning an extra turn. At level two, Fate adds on a joint skill crack. In Devil Survivor games, you set which abilities you want to learn before a battle begins and if a specific character defeats that demon you gain a new skill. If Io is Fate level two, joint skill crack gives you more options. Either the protagonist or Io can deal the final blow to learn the skill.
The Fate system also summarizes your relationship with each character. In the Fate menu, you can see a list of events with each character. So far, it feels like Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 is more streamlined than Devil Survivor since most of the events center around developing relationships between the game’s characters.