Which game should I try next?

#1Brave_PiratePosted 12/31/2013 3:26:47 PM
I just recently beat this title, and although I plan to play through it again, now I'm really interested in seeing what else the franchise has to offer. I've looked into Devil Survivor Overclocked and Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers for the 3DS, as well as Nocturne and some of the Persona games, but which do you think I should try first after SMTIV, or which do you think I am likely to enjoy more? If anyone could explain the differences between these types of SMT games without spoiling anything, that'd be awesome too! Thanks in advance!
#2NextGenCowboyPosted 12/31/2013 5:07:26 PM(edited)
Nocturne, like SMT IV, is a mainline title. The plots are not truly connected, but it shared similar themes, and ideas. It's an atmospheric dungeon crawler with essentially the same battle system as IV. It's also much harder as a whole, but it, like most SMT games, can be broken if you try. In general, many people consider it the apex of the series for branching the older dungeon crawlers, with the more modern systems, and streamlines (for the time) gameplay.

Persona 1, 2 Innocent Sin, and Eternal Punishment; are all somewhat more tradtional RPGs for the PS1. They're much more story and character focused, P1 has aged horrendously, although the PSP version might have fixed some of this. P2 as whole is much better, people have their preferences, IS tells what I view as a more compelling story, whereas EP has the more interesting, and older more mature cast. Combat is much different, and it can be slow by modern standard. Some people view this as the high point of the series. They can be spirit-crushingly depressing.

Digital Devil Saga; 1/2, takes the system created for Nocturne, the press turn system (seen in SMT IV) and refines it. It's probably the easiest series to get into it. They're conventional RPGs with linear stories, and a level up system very similar to FFX. They're my favorite games in the series, as I like the setting, the music, the battle system, and the older cast.

Devil Survivor 1/2: are SRPGs, they're very heavy on story even compared to other games in the genre. They take some of the older ideas from Majin Tensei (SNES SMT SRPG) and mix them with some of the ideas from the modern Persona series. They're not that big on strategy for a strategy RPG though, 4 units in 1/Overclocked, and battles are mostly won through brute force. As a handheld RPG though they're quite interesting, with some likeable characters, and it's cool to form teams of demons like that. They can be maddeningly difficult, and very depressing.

Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers; is a sequel to the original Devil Summoner, but it's for the most part a stand alone game. It's the bridging point between the old first-person SNES dungeon crawlers, and the more modern 3rd-person games. It's relatively easy to get into (the DS version at least), but it shows its age. If you can deal with, or like old dungeon crawlers then it's a must buy, because that classic 90's cyber-punk story, and 1997 style are things we may never see in gaming again. There's also the two Devil Summoner Raidou games for the PS2. Action RPGs set in 1920's Japan. Very cool, although not big-budget. Worth checking out to see if you'd perhaps enjoy them.

Finally we come to the modern Persona games. Odds are you know that they're 3rd person RPGs with dating elements. I happen to think they are both fantastic games,some people dislike them for taking the focus off of the main series. Some people just don't like the anime cliches, or j-pop, j-rock soundtracks. Some people simply just don't like them because they popularized a niche series, or Atlus' milking of the franchise. Some people just plain don't like them, it comes down to preference and opinion. Taste is subjective, but the games are very popular.

Ultimately they have long, engrossing stories compared to a typical RPG, and the dating sim elements allow for deep exploration of characters. If you happen to find that interesting then yes, you should check them out.

They're story/character focused games, that both offer a lot of challenge, both in battle and time management. Just be forewarned, they're long games, a playthrough can easily take between 75-100 hours, even without doing everything possible.

The battle system is a modification of the press turn system seen in Nocturne/DDS/SMT IV, called the 1 More system. Characters who hit an enemy weakness are granted another turn, if you continue to hit weaknesses you get more turns, if you hit every enemy weakness you can perform an All Out attack using the whole party.
#3Brave_Pirate(Topic Creator)Posted 1/1/2014 3:42:17 PM
NextGenCowboy posted...
Nocturne, like SMT IV, is a mainline title. The plots are not truly connected, but it shared similar themes, and ideas. It's an atmospheric dungeon crawler with essentially the same battle system as IV. It's also much harder as a whole, but it, like most SMT games, can be broken if you try. In general, many people consider it the apex of the series for branching the older dungeon crawlers, with the more modern systems, and streamlines (for the time) gameplay.

Digital Devil Saga; 1/2, takes the system created for Nocturne, the press turn system (seen in SMT IV) and refines it. It's probably the easiest series to get into it. They're conventional RPGs with linear stories, and a level up system very similar to FFX. They're my favorite games in the series, as I like the setting, the music, the battle system, and the older cast.

Devil Survivor 1/2: are SRPGs, they're very heavy on story even compared to other games in the genre. They take some of the older ideas from Majin Tensei (SNES SMT SRPG) and mix them with some of the ideas from the modern Persona series. They're not that big on strategy for a strategy RPG though, 4 units in 1/Overclocked, and battles are mostly won through brute force. As a handheld RPG though they're quite interesting, with some likeable characters, and it's cool to form teams of demons like that. They can be maddeningly difficult, and very depressing.

Finally we come to the modern Persona games. Odds are you know that they're 3rd person RPGs with dating elements. I happen to think they are both fantastic games,some people dislike them for taking the focus off of the main series. Some people just don't like the anime cliches, or j-pop, j-rock soundtracks. Some people simply just don't like them because they popularized a niche series, or Atlus' milking of the franchise. Some people just plain don't like them, it comes down to preference and opinion. Taste is subjective, but the games are very popular.

Ultimately they have long, engrossing stories compared to a typical RPG, and the dating sim elements allow for deep exploration of characters. If you happen to find that interesting then yes, you should check them out.

They're story/character focused games, that both offer a lot of challenge, both in battle and time management. Just be forewarned, they're long games, a playthrough can easily take between 75-100 hours, even without doing everything possible.

The battle system is a modification of the press turn system seen in Nocturne/DDS/SMT IV, called the 1 More system. Characters who hit an enemy weakness are granted another turn, if you continue to hit weaknesses you get more turns, if you hit every enemy weakness you can perform an All Out attack using the whole party.


Well, let's see...I do want to play the ones that play the most like SMTIV since I enjoyed that one so much, so anything with the Press Turn system should be nice. You listed a lot of games that sounded appealing, so now it's just a matter of which to tackle first, ha ha ha ha!!!! It sounds like the modern Persona games actually sound more interesting than the older ones, but if they're that long, I may put them on hold for a while. I actually didn't consider Digital Devil Saga, but I will definitely find out more about it. The ones I will most likely be trying in the near future are probably Nocturne and the Devil Survivor games though. Thanks for all your help! :)
#4mixedmethodsPosted 1/2/2014 12:54:01 AM
Devil Survivor uses grid combat and non-random encounters, so I wouldn't call it similar to SMT IV. Soul Hackers feels like Persona 2 in terms of gameplay (which makes sense, given when the games were created) and isn't a bad follow-up to IV. DSO is thematically similar to IV, but I found replaying the game monotonous, as you have to start from the beginning every play -- with seven "different" endings (some are more different than others), that's a lot of "oh, for the love of God, enough with the intro text already."

Persona 3 FES uses an update of the press-turn/one more system, whereas P4 made numerous changes to the combat system and is generally seen as easier than its predecessors by a considerable margin. (Even more so if you play Golden instead of P4 vanilla.) It's totally unique in tone, presentation, music, etc., which is part of why it's so polarizing. I wouldn't try P4 until you have a better feel for SMT games, particularly if you're looking for something closer to IV.

In terms of difficulty, DSO is easy (no random encounters, just boss fights and designated grinding fights); Soul Hackers can be more challenging than IV (demons don't level and alignment affects recruitment, although you can turn off the latter to make your life easier); DDS is survivable, if you avoid the bonus bosses; Persona 2 (either half) shouldn't present much difficulty; and then we come to Nocturne and FES. They're brutal in different ways, but both feature the joy of being randomly wiped out while frantically running for a save point, controller-throwing boss fights, and a lot of darkly lit dungeon crawling.

I'd put Nocturne and FES at the top of the SMT heap. Both games have held up well and can kill experienced players, so no slacking. Persona 3 does have the social link element, so it's less of a straight dungeon-crawl than Nocturne, but the story isn't much lighter for it.

As a heads up: only Golden and Devil Survivor allow you to pick skills to inherit in fusion. Soul Hackers lets you search for fusions, but inheritance is probability. Nocturne, DDS, and DSO follow the standard "distribute stat points to the MC" model and allow you to choose his skills, though DDS and DSO are much, much more generous with that "choose" thing. Persona 2 has you customize the MC's stats, but it's not nearly the issue it is in IV. Part of what makes DSO automatically "easy" is skill choice, which allows you to fuse ice skills onto a demon that nulls fire and is weak to ice. FES and Nocturne are much less forgiving.

For the DS titles, I'd recommend Soul Hackers, as I think the gameplay is more representative of SMT than Devil Survivor. (Grid-based combat was last used in the first Persona game, so its reappearance in DSO is part of what makes DSO unique.) The plot of DSO is a very straightforward Law vs. Chaos/God vs. Satan tale, which isn't a bad thing, but if you're coming off of IV, Soul Hackers has more to offer in terms of approach. (Of course, if seeing people summon demons and go crazy in Tokyo is your thing, then DSO is totally the best fit for you and cancel what I just wrote.) If you're up for a console game, Nocturne, FES, and DDS are all worth the investment.

FES was the first SMT game I played, which shaped my expectations. I think it's much harder than IV, personally, but since it's a Persona game, you won't have alignment queries or the option of punching God in the face. It depends on what aspects of IV you liked most -- I appreciate it when games are built so that I can randomly die for purely sadistic reasons while going easy on dialogue that sounds like an undergraduate philosophy seminar. Some SMT games tell their stories better than others. Some "spin-offs" are closer to the main series than others. &c. IV skews toward the old (Nocturne, DDS) in many ways, but the mechanics are very "new" (skill choice, saving anywhere).
#5Brave_Pirate(Topic Creator)Posted 1/2/2014 12:16:11 PM
mixedmethods posted...
Devil Survivor uses grid combat and non-random encounters, so I wouldn't call it similar to SMT IV. Soul Hackers feels like Persona 2 in terms of gameplay (which makes sense, given when the games were created) and isn't a bad follow-up to IV. DSO is thematically similar to IV, but I found replaying the game monotonous, as you have to start from the beginning every play -- with seven "different" endings (some are more different than others), that's a lot of "oh, for the love of God, enough with the intro text already."

In terms of difficulty, DSO is easy (no random encounters, just boss fights and designated grinding fights); Soul Hackers can be more challenging than IV (demons don't level and alignment affects recruitment, although you can turn off the latter to make your life easier); DDS is survivable, if you avoid the bonus bosses; Persona 2 (either half) shouldn't present much difficulty; and then we come to Nocturne and FES. They're brutal in different ways, but both feature the joy of being randomly wiped out while frantically running for a save point, controller-throwing boss fights, and a lot of darkly lit dungeon crawling.

As a heads up: only Golden and Devil Survivor allow you to pick skills to inherit in fusion. Soul Hackers lets you search for fusions, but inheritance is probability. Nocturne, DDS, and DSO follow the standard "distribute stat points to the MC" model and allow you to choose his skills, though DDS and DSO are much, much more generous with that "choose" thing. Persona 2 has you customize the MC's stats, but it's not nearly the issue it is in IV. Part of what makes DSO automatically "easy" is skill choice, which allows you to fuse ice skills onto a demon that nulls fire and is weak to ice. FES and Nocturne are much less forgiving.

For the DS titles, I'd recommend Soul Hackers, as I think the gameplay is more representative of SMT than Devil Survivor. (Grid-based combat was last used in the first Persona game, so its reappearance in DSO is part of what makes DSO unique.) The plot of DSO is a very straightforward Law vs. Chaos/God vs. Satan tale, which isn't a bad thing, but if you're coming off of IV, Soul Hackers has more to offer in terms of approach. (Of course, if seeing people summon demons and go crazy in Tokyo is your thing, then DSO is totally the best fit for you and cancel what I just wrote.) If you're up for a console game, Nocturne, FES, and DDS are all worth the investment.

FES was the first SMT game I played, which shaped my expectations. I think it's much harder than IV, personally, but since it's a Persona game, you won't have alignment queries or the option of punching God in the face. It depends on what aspects of IV you liked most -- I appreciate it when games are built so that I can randomly die for purely sadistic reasons while going easy on dialogue that sounds like an undergraduate philosophy seminar. Some SMT games tell their stories better than others. Some "spin-offs" are closer to the main series than others. &c. IV skews toward the old (Nocturne, DDS) in many ways, but the mechanics are very "new" (skill choice, saving anywhere).


Hm...well, watching people go crazy in Tokyo and punching God in the face do sound interesting, and were kind of what I experienced in SMTIV, so I should definitely have DSO on my to-do list. I did want to try the Persona games since they're famous, but they seem so different from the other SMT games, so I'll follow your advice and put them on hold. I've never really played a first-person dungeon crawler like Soul Hackers, and I'm not sure if that aspect will be disorienting on the eyes, but if people keep saying good things about it, maybe I'll give it a chance. I do have to decide soon, though, while the ATLUS sale is still going on. So, I think those games--plus Nocturne and DDS--are what I should be playing next. Thanks for your recommendations!
#6klecserPosted 1/2/2014 12:24:06 PM(edited)
Not to detract from the excellent opinions above, but I would recommend that you go Overclocked, especially since it is on sale right now. Why not Soul Hackers? Since it is a port of an early game, a lot of the stuff you'll take for granted in SMT 1V, in terms of gameplay benefits, just isn't there. Overclocked has a fun story, seven or eight different character endings and although it is easy it has quality game play. Fully voice acted over the original DS release. Overclocked brings a huge chunk of length to the main game with an "8th Day" (makes sense when you play it). Note that Overclocked is kind of a tRPG (FFT) and SRPG mix. You move your characters around on an isometric grid to choose your battles and then battle three on three SRPG style. For 20 bucks its a real bargain right now.
#7Brave_Pirate(Topic Creator)Posted 1/2/2014 2:00:32 PM
klecser posted...
Not to detract from the excellent opinions above, but I would recommend that you go Overclocked, especially since it is on sale right now. Why not Soul Hackers? Since it is a port of an early game, a lot of the stuff you'll take for granted in SMT 1V, in terms of gameplay benefits, just isn't there. Overclocked has a fun story, seven or eight different character endings and although it is easy it has quality game play. Fully voice acted over the original DS release. Overclocked brings a huge chunk of length to the main game with an "8th Day" (makes sense when you play it). Note that Overclocked is kind of a tRPG (FFT) and SRPG mix. You move your characters around on an isometric grid to choose your battles and then battle three on three SRPG style. For 20 bucks its a real bargain right now.


I most likely will try Overclocked first since it's one of the most accessible games for me, and if I end up really liking it, I can also get Devil Survivor 2 for the DS. I know Devil Survivor isn't exactly like the other SMT games in terms of gameplay, but I think I'll enjoy it anyway since I am a fan of turn-based strategy to begin with. My only issue with Soul Hackers is that it's first-person, and I'm just a bit worried that navigating dungeons in first-person might make me dizzy or something. The voice acting and good reputation of it does still make me want to get it, but I would probably would have to spend a while getting used to that different point of view.
#8NextGenCowboyPosted 1/2/2014 2:16:47 PM
If you enjoy Devil Survivor: Overlocked, then I'd recommend waiting on 2 until Record Break is released. It will be the updated version of DeSu 2, and essentially add some of the same things Overclocked did. Voice acting, extra content, and probably some more bonus bosses.

All the subseries are different, but many share the same themes, or ideas, and obviously many share the demon summoning concept.

The general order that I'd try the PS2 titles in, if you were to play them all, would be something like Nocturne, DDS1/2, P3 and then 4. If you're interested in the Raidou games then definitely play them in order, or go with the 2nd. The first looks to have the far superior story, but the refinements that 2 made make going back to 1 very difficult.

The same could be said of Persona 3 to 4. Although that's simply my recommendation. Some people have no issues going backwards, but P4 added, or tweaked a lot of features that made P3 sometimes feel frustrating.
#9mixedmethodsPosted 1/2/2014 8:50:02 PM
Brave_Pirate posted...
I most likely will try Overclocked first since it's one of the most accessible games for me, and if I end up really liking it, I can also get Devil Survivor 2 for the DS. I know Devil Survivor isn't exactly like the other SMT games in terms of gameplay, but I think I'll enjoy it anyway since I am a fan of turn-based strategy to begin with. My only issue with Soul Hackers is that it's first-person, and I'm just a bit worried that navigating dungeons in first-person might make me dizzy or something. The voice acting and good reputation of it does still make me want to get it, but I would probably would have to spend a while getting used to that different point of view.


I bought DSO used off on Amazon (I think it was Amazon Warehouse, so used was "mint condition"). I imagine it's a pretty huge download, so you might want to check there as well.

DSO will always allow you to see enemies on the map, due to the combat style, but the game itself doesn't have characters interact with backgrounds and all characters are rendered with sprites. (As for the voice acting: I found it ungodly annoying, so I turned it off, but your mileage may vary.) It's essentially a visual novel with combat.

The first-person perspective in Soul Hackers really isn't a big deal. Soul Hackers devotes the bottom screen to the map (or, if you pause to open your comp, functions like "use item"), while the top screen simply shows you the scene (e.g., corridors, doors, walls if you're facing them, etc.). It's very similar to IV's look, actually, since IV was pretty close to first-person perspective in many ways. The ability to see enemies in dungeons (and strike with a weapon for preemptive advantage) is from Persona 3 FES, where the dungeon crawling there is all about avoiding being back-attacked and securing the first round of attacks. It's much less frantic looking than IV, actually. If you found the opening dungeon for IV kind of "WHERE ARE THESE RED THINGS COMING FROM," then Persona 3 FES will be much easier for you.

The bigger difference is that Soul Hackers simply doesn't show you enemies: if you're in an area with demons, they'll attack you as you wander around. You can buy apps that reduce your chance of backattacks or give you preemptive advantage more often. (You also won't see enemies in the landscape in Nocturne, DDS, and Persona 2.)

The game that will take the biggest "getting used to" is probably Persona 4, as it uses a free-rotating camera. I am totally biased here: I have an autoimmune disorder and my core symptoms include "dizziness" and "fainting," so the spinning camera did me no favours, health-wise, and I wouldn't have played Golden if I'd known about it. (The game literally made me sick after a period of time, because my body is shredding its nerves. So I obviously faced a different challenge than most players and my experience is atypical.) Even leaving aside the fact that my reaction was amplified, P4 is probably the game that will give you the steepest learning curve.

Soul Hackers, Nocturne, DDS, and Persona 2 all involve some puzzle maps (which is what guides are for), but I didn't find them problematic and I'm prone to dizziness -- so assuming that you're in good health, you should fare fine.
#10Brave_Pirate(Topic Creator)Posted 1/2/2014 10:00:15 PM
mixedmethods posted...


I bought DSO used off on Amazon (I think it was Amazon Warehouse, so used was "mint condition"). I imagine it's a pretty huge download, so you might want to check there as well.

DSO will always allow you to see enemies on the map, due to the combat style, but the game itself doesn't have characters interact with backgrounds and all characters are rendered with sprites. (As for the voice acting: I found it ungodly annoying, so I turned it off, but your mileage may vary.) It's essentially a visual novel with combat.

The first-person perspective in Soul Hackers really isn't a big deal. Soul Hackers devotes the bottom screen to the map (or, if you pause to open your comp, functions like "use item"), while the top screen simply shows you the scene (e.g., corridors, doors, walls if you're facing them, etc.). It's very similar to IV's look, actually, since IV was pretty close to first-person perspective in many ways. The ability to see enemies in dungeons (and strike with a weapon for preemptive advantage) is from Persona 3 FES, where the dungeon crawling there is all about avoiding being back-attacked and securing the first round of attacks. It's much less frantic looking than IV, actually. If you found the opening dungeon for IV kind of "WHERE ARE THESE RED THINGS COMING FROM," then Persona 3 FES will be much easier for you.

The bigger difference is that Soul Hackers simply doesn't show you enemies: if you're in an area with demons, they'll attack you as you wander around. You can buy apps that reduce your chance of backattacks or give you preemptive advantage more often. (You also won't see enemies in the landscape in Nocturne, DDS, and Persona 2.)

The game that will take the biggest "getting used to" is probably Persona 4, as it uses a free-rotating camera. I am totally biased here: I have an autoimmune disorder and my core symptoms include "dizziness" and "fainting," so the spinning camera did me no favours, health-wise, and I wouldn't have played Golden if I'd known about it. (The game literally made me sick after a period of time, because my body is shredding its nerves. So I obviously faced a different challenge than most players and my experience is atypical.) Even leaving aside the fact that my reaction was amplified, P4 is probably the game that will give you the steepest learning curve.

Soul Hackers, Nocturne, DDS, and Persona 2 all involve some puzzle maps (which is what guides are for), but I didn't find them problematic and I'm prone to dizziness -- so assuming that you're in good health, you should fare fine.


Well, honestly, SMTIV didn't feel so first-person to me, so if Soul Hackers isn't too different, I can probably handle it then. It's too bad about not being able to see the demons in the field, though; I rather liked pre-emptively striking those blue blobs, which I had no problem spotting and avoiding most of the time. Not seeing enemies in the field and not being able to save anywhere I want will probably be the things I'll need the most getting used to, but I'll manage in due time. I liked the voice acting in SMTIV, so the voices from DSO probably shouldn't bother me either. I'm most likely going to download the 3DS ones from the eShop, so hopefully there's room for both. As for Persona games, when I do start them, I'll be sure to put FES at the top of my list, but that won't be for a while (maybe not even until P5 comes out)!