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Soul Hackers 2

Soul Hackers 2

Atlus' new game asks us to prevent the collapse of humanity as AI-created physical entities.

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Atlus, the creator of series like Shin Megami Tensei and Persona, has become a real JRPG master, and their games are among the most anticipated by the community. This is the case with Soul Hackers 2, which brings us a new adventure in the genre, similar to what came before it.

First of all, we have to warn you that the "2" in the tittle is practically a tribute. Soul Hackers 2 is a game that completely reboots the story, and so it is not necessary to play the previous one. The first edition was Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, a title originally released for the Sega Saturn and arrived later on PlayStation, and even received a port for Nintendo 3DS. Soul Hackers 2 sits inside this same universe, but it reimagines its characters and scenarios bringing us a fresh and original story.

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In a futuristic Japan in which society is reaching its limit and the people have lost any interest in everything around them, technology has reached such a high level of sophistication that humans doesn't make any effort. It is in this context that a super artificial intelligence called Aion performs calculations and predicts the collapse of humanity. And in a complete <em>Skynet<e/m> style, Aion decides to stop this cataclysm itself and creates two physical entities: Ringo and Figue. Both will have the mission of saving humanity from itself while they will learn and empathise with it.

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Aion has calculated how humanity will end and to avoid it we have to prevent the killing of some demon summoners. Here we find for the first time the mechanic that will determine the rest of the game: soul hacking. Ringo will bring back the dead demon summoners that from then on will join your team to find out who is trying to bring the world to its end. It's in this moment that our antagonist is introduced, Iron Mask, an individual who is trying to develop an alliance between the warring secret factions of the Yatagarasu and the Phantom Society, two parties that we'll have to figure out what exactly they are.

It is not only about beating the bad guys but also our inner demons. Throughout the game we explore our teammate's psyches to get to know them better. Through combat and dialogue phases, our choices will affect the relationship we have with them, which will also affect our statistics.

The spectacular designs seen in other Atlus' series can be also seen in Soul Hackers 2. The city is a reinvention of Shibuya, in Tokyo, a neon-lit technological paradise. We can stay among the normal humans and drink a beer with our teammates or get to the summoners' district where, as if it was the Diagon Alley, we can buy items and specific improvements for summoning. Contrasting with the beauty of the city, we have dungeons, dark and labyrinthian, showing us the actual cruelty of the world we live in.

The designs are pretty similar to those seen in Persona 5, substituting the suburban aesthetics with a mix between cyberpunk and fantasy elements. All of the characters have charisma and their own stories, and we'll enjoy stopping every now and then to get to know how they are doing.

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Soul Hackers 2Soul Hackers 2

The characteristic turn-based combat of the genre is back again, but this time is more attractive and distinct. When we hack the summoners' souls, they will no longer have their destinies tied to a demon and so we can (and we must) choose and change the most suitable of them throughout our adventure. The elemental weaknesses are present and we'll have to pay attention to them to get through the fights in the most efficient way.

One of the opportunities that the city offers us is the possibility of fusing demons. In these fusions we can evolve as summoners and obtain more powerful demons that will help us in our adventure. We can find demons while exploring the dungeons, where they will ask us to join our team, sometimes in exchange for money or our own HP.

As for the dungeons, there we will find suburban labyrinths plagued by demonic entities. Although, at first, they seem repetitive and simple, we will soon find out that the implementation of puzzles in them will make the exploration quite a challenge beyond the combat. Sometimes simulating a real nightmare, each one will have its own challenge beyond its labyrinthian aspect that will complicate our path to the final enemy.

Soul Hackers 2Soul Hackers 2

Soul Hackers 2 is, without a doubt, the most accessible game, referring solely to the game mechanics, to become familiar with the work of Atlus. We must not mistake this with its difficulty, as you will have to face every possible challenge if you want to properly face the final enemies. Most of the abilities have a high MP cost that does not adequately progress with your evolution, so you have to be very careful with its use in the dungeons.

We were able to enjoy Soul Hackers 2 on a PlayStation 4 Pro, in which it performed perfectly. Unlike recent cross-generational games released on consoles, we haven't experienced any frame rate drops. Comparisons are never fair, but sometimes they are needed. Soul Hackers 2 falls a bit short compared to SMT or Persona 5. Even though the setting and the soundtrack are quite good, we miss some of the excellent animations of P5. It happens with the cities too, although the settings are wonderful, they would be perfect if we could travel through an open world and not just stick to fast travelling.

In short, Soul Hackers 2 is a fair continuation in a series of which we hope to see a Soul Hackers 3 in the future.

Soul Hackers 2Soul Hackers 2
07 Gamereactor UK
7 / 10
+
Gameplay is accessible and a great starting point for new Atlus fans. Turn-based combat system is well fleshed out.
-
The dungeon system can get quite repetitive.
overall score
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Soul Hackers 2

REVIEW. Written by Eduardo Corrochano

Atlus' new game asks us to prevent the collapse of humanity as AI-created physical entities.



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