Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call PS2 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 9.0
Graphics 8.5
Sound 8.5
Value 9.2
Distributor: UbiSoft
Classification:
M15+
Review Date:
July 2005
Reviewer:
Andrew B

9.0

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Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call

"Recommended to lovers of Final Fantasy style RPG's or for those that can't get enough of Dante from Devil May Cry!

Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call is a Final Fantasy-esq RPG that is set modern day Japan that introducers the gamer to a nameless teenager who is travelling across Japan to meet his hospitalised school teacher. (You gotta love those Anime storylines) Unfortunately for our hero, he is also half demon and is caught up in a war between two opposed cult factions that threatens the very fabric of humanity.

Although the game starts in Tokyo, your world is soon turned into turmoil when you find the hospital that once cared for your teacher deserted and you become drawn into the apocalyptic Conception, an event which is surrounded in occult prophecy about the rebirth of the world. Unfortunately this means that everyone in Tokyo dies and the city is twisted into a kind of globe shape, with a strange moon called Kagatsuchi in the middle and vast expanses of black desert sand or jagged-edged abysses between the familiar city districts.

The other side-effect of the Conception is that the city is now teeming with demons, which is a bit of a problem, although arguably less so since you're now also a demon, thanks to the intervention of a spooky small child and his elderly carer who admonishes you not to disappoint the young master by doing something daft like dying. Freshly endowed with demonic power and a very fetching set of glowing body-spanning tattoos to prove it, you set off into Tokyo to get to the bottom of the Conception and as it gradually emerges, to fulfil some kind of destiny which awaits you as the world is reborn.

Of course, you're going to be battling a lot of demons along the way, not least because the game features that bugbear of all RPG fans, random battles. Fighting is accomplished by means of a fairly standard turn-based battle system which is heavily biased towards getting the elements of your attacks (& defence) correct, as characters and monsters in the game will often be able to deflect or even absorb some types of damage.

The really interesting aspect of the game comes in terms of how you build your party. You don't just battle demons, you can actually also talk to them, either in the field or in battles themselves. This is an essential part of the game, since you don't have any human companions in battle and you rely entirely on recruiting demons to your side, either by bribery, cajoling or threatening them through a negotiation system that forms an interesting new addition to the traditional RPG battle system. You can also fuse two demons into one more powerful one at special temples dotted around Tokyo.

The graphics are something of a mixed blessing with heavily stylised characters that move with grace and realism but unfortunately the backgrounds become quite repetitive. That said, that may well simply be a consequence of setting a game in a modern city as shopping centres aren't noted for their beautiful architecture after all. The game also contains some great special effects that are used in both lighting and in-game magic effects.

Musically, the game remains true to its 21st century setting with a combination of rock, jazz and even j-pop style music rather than the baroque overtones which many games of this type adopt. Curiously, there's no spoken dialogue in the game, with everything conveyed through very well written text, even some character actions being described in text. It gives the whole thing the feel of a somewhat retro text adventure, but it's something you get used to very quickly and it actually speeds up the game since you can skip through conversations as quickly as you can read them, rather than waiting for voices to catch up. While this isn't necessarily a plus point, as good voice acting adds a lot to a game, it's hardly a distressing negative either.

Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call is sure to be a classic RPG on the PlayStation 2 that I'm sure will spawn many sequels because its been quite awhile since Square released anything decent and for lovers of Japanese RPG, this game has it all! Check it out!






 
 



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