What I'm Playing - No. 130
Welcome back to another weekly wrap-up of the games I’ve been playing over the past week!
Spoiler-warning: there are final boss spoilers for Digital Devil Saga 1, and some story spoilers. Watch out!
Click a title to skip to that section. Games contained within this post:
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga (PS2)
I finished Digital Devil Saga this week! It was great, with the remainder of the experience filled with more challenging battles, challenging bosses, and interesting dungeons. The story is interesting too, but rather mysterious - and it’s left on a pretty big cliffhanger at the end, to be picked up in the game’s direct sequel, Digital Devil Saga 2.
Like Nocturne, the final dungeon of the game is several hours long, with the occasional boss fight to mix things up. This dungeon is the huge tower to Nirvana, which the group finally begins to climb after having defeated the leaders of the other tribes. There’s really only one complaint I have about the dungeon: some of the random encounters had really annoying enemies. One of the nastier ones were the Samael, which could petrify you and shatter your stone body with a followup attack, killing a party member instantly. Worse than them were the Laksmi though. They had an annoying habit of casting Dormina, which has a chance of putting each party member to sleep, and following it up with Calm Death, which insta-kills sleeping party members. I wound up running from a number of random encounters with enemies like that, because it just wasn’t worth it. At times like that, I was also glad to be playing this in an emulator where I could use save states between battles in case I did end up dying to some random enemies. Eventually, I made it to the top of the tower with my party, where the final boss was waiting.
The first two forms of the final boss were a cakewalk, even on my first attempt. But its final form gave me a bit of trouble. I tried to defeat it with the party build I had for a while, reloading a save state I had made at the beginning of the fight whenever I died. It soon became clear that I had to make some changes to my party. I did a bit of grinding, and also checked an online walkthrough at that point to see if there was some aspect of the boss battle I was missing. There was definitely something I hadn’t thought of: using magic attacks that hit all enemies. What made the boss battle so difficult the first time around is that the boss has 6 elemental stones floating around it, and each counts as an enemy. So in addition to the boss attacking each turn, each stone also gets an attack, and each one uses a different element so they will hit someone’s weakness in your party if given the chance. While a stone is active, the boss will be protected by a barrier that repels attacks of the corresponding element. On my first try, I was able to take down 1 stone a turn, heal any injuries my party had suffered, and get 1 attack in on the boss itself. Then on the boss’s turn, it would re-summon the stone I had just defeated, and then unleash 7 attacks in a row. I was obliterated by this within a few turns every time. As the walkthrough suggested though, the key here was to use powerful magic to hit all enemies at once. By first targeting and eliminating the elemental stone of fire, I was able to have Serph cast Maragidyne and hit the remaining elemental stones and the boss for big damage. Thanks to the high magic build I’d given Serph, this wiped out the remaining stones, and damaged the boss by a decent chunk too. Follow that up with a debuff on the boss, and then it would usually spend its turn removing the debuff from itself instead of attacking. With this strategy, the boss went from impossibly difficult to one of the easier bosses in the game, and it was defeated very easily.
Afterward, the whole tower begins collapsing under everyone’s feet, and they rush toward the column of light at the tower’s center. Everyone is enveloped in the light, falls through it dramatically, and the credits roll. After the credits, there are a few scenes. We see Serph in a cloak, walking through a ruined city, and afterward the text “Are you ready for the real world?” displays. Now what could that mean…? I think I have a pretty good idea (thanks to the Wikipedia spoiler I mentioned last week), but I’m still really excited to see what the 2nd game brings! My final playtime was 23:43. This was a fairly short RPG, but still quite satisfying!