Impressions of Soul Hackers 2
We have already played the first hours of Soul Hackers 2 on PlayStation 5 and we bring you our initial impressions.
The Shin Megami Tensei saga has been with us for a few decades but it has not been until recent years that it has enjoyed unprecedented fame among a somewhat more mainstream audience than it was used to, in part thanks to the success of Persona 5 Royal (which has justified a reissue of Persona 3 and 4 on new consoles) and the good numbers of Shin Megami Tensei V on Nintendo Switch. Now it’s up to another Shin Megami Tensei spinoff to show its face and try to make the western public fall in love.
Soul Hackers 2 is born as a “spinoff spinoff” and it is that after Shin Megami Tensei: *text muted* Summoner, Atlus saw that the concept introduced in the game was interesting and took it a little further with Shin Megami Tensei: *text muted* Summoner: Soul Hackers. The hallmark of Soul Hackers and what differentiates it from other titles in the Shin Megami Tensei saga is itsu vision of a much more advanced and technology-centric humanitycoping with the realistic, present-day setting used by Persona or the main Shin Megami Tensei installments themselves.
So let’s talk about Soul Hackers 2. What can we expect from this game? Well, in these impressions of Soul Hackers 2os we can talk about our first 3 hoursor what is the same: the first contact with the main loop of the game, its main characters, the opposing organizations and the style that the title intends to follow the dozens of hours that lie ahead.
The soul, beyond the person
Soul Hackers 2 puts us in the shoes of Ringo, a being product of an advanced technology called Aion and whose function is to learn as much as possible about human life and supervise its evolution. Aion reaches the conclusion that the end of human existence is going to be unleashed and generates two beings (Ringo and Figue) to follow his orders and avoid that fateful end.
Ringo’s role in these first hours of the game focuses on avoiding a first death that would serve to trigger the end of the world. The thing is… he doesn’t get it, but thanks to his soul hacking powers he can resurrect the one involved and gather a few summoners: Arrow, Milady and Saizo.
Without going into too much detail yet, each of these summoners belongs to a different faction, factions that are in an all-out fight to find the Alliances, elements that if they end up coming together in the wrong hands can trigger the end of the world. We already saw this type of fight, without going any further, in Shin Megami Tensei III, where a faction obsessed with the end of the world and purifying humanity brought the apocalypse to Tokyo.
A mix of visual novel and turn-based combat
The experience lived so far in Soul Hackers 2 can be summed up in that we have visited a couple of dungeons that are developed in a way close to what was lived in Persona 5 or Shin Megami Tensei III (although still with results far from the depth of SMT III or the mementos of Persona 5but we imagine that as we advance in the game the complexity will increase) and a far cry from the more open environments of Shin Megami Tensei V.
The dialogue phases take place as in any visual novel and we can only make decisions very occasionally, affecting our affinity with the other summoners. Although we can tell you more about this in the analysis. As for the combat, the development is a very interesting mix between Persona and the SMT, since they cannot fight our demons as such and we will be the ones to use their powers, but we only have one demon associated with each summoner. Therefore, we must keep in mind the strengths and weaknesses of each summoner and enhance them with the correct demons.
ANDAs for the battle loop, the key -once again- is knowing your opponent’s weak elements and exploiting them, since for each weakness we will get an extra attack in the form of Sabbat, a special invocation of Ringo that makes N attacks at the end of the turn for each weakness attacked. About the shifts, we are before a traditional turn-based JRPG, so there will be no staggered turns, but first one faction will attack and then another. At best, we can use certain support magic to attack more than once in a turn.
discovering the future
When we are not in conversations or inside dungeons we can go out and investigate the different places that the future presents us. The city of Tokyo in this futuristic environment is reminiscent of old Tokyo, but with obvious changes, so it’s funny to walk through a futuristic version of Kabukicho with shops called ‘De la Mancha’ instead of the mythical ‘Don Quixote’. Precisely those stores can be used to buy objects or improve our COMP (the weapon we use to summon demons), to receive secondary missions, buy equipment or merge demons (something that if you have already played a few games of the SMT saga you will have learned of street).
Finally, and as something that is introduced to us a little before ending our previous coverage of the game, we have the Axis, an area much more similar to the mementos of Persona 5 because we will have to visit it as we advance in the plot of the game and that will serve to take advantage of our affinity with the summoners in order to unlock new passive skills with for each of them.
About the technical section, so far we can’t talk too much but we have played Soul Hackers 2 on PS5 in quality mode, where it supposedly prioritizes resolution in exchange for losing performance, but Even so, the game has been executed at 60 frames per second with a much higher image quality compared to that of the performance mode.so we don’t quite understand the difference between the two modes very well (does it just lower the image quality in terms of performance?).
Still much more to tell
In a few days we will give you our final impressions of Soul Hackers 2, with its analysis and note. At the moment we have only been able to talk about what we have experienced in its first hours of play and based on which We expect much more from the Atlus game, such as greater depth in the dungeons, greater presence of puzzles and a story that ends up hooking us. For now, we will have to wait to tell you more.