A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The game has the usual "good vs. evil against the pending apocalypse" concept. Heavy focus on teamwork, not only between party members, but also between the characters and the demons they recruit to fight for them. Story and gameplay also feature themes of regret and making amends.
Positive Role Models
Most party members have their own personal motivations for joining the fight. Despite differences of opinion, beliefs, and circumstances, they're willing to work together. Many characters, both human and nonhuman, operate with a distinct code, honoring their agreements and fighting out of sense of duty.
Party members (including male and female heroes) have unique backgrounds and personalities. Demons also have a surprising range of personalities and appearances. Not much racial diversity.
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Ease of Play
Main combat portion is relatively easy to learn, with players focusing on exploiting elemental weaknesses in enemies to activate more devastating combo attacks. Lots of micromanagement involved between battles, particularly in recruiting and upgrading demons and building social bonds with party members.
Violence & Scariness
Substantial amount of violent and disturbing imagery that could be too much for younger audiences. Pools of blood and dismembered limbs shown on-screen plus some other scenes of graphic violence. The demons players fight and recruit range from elegant creatures to silly cartoonish characters to grotesque monsters.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some female nonhuman characters are presented in a suggestive manner, with some showing partially exposed and strategically covered breasts.
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Some strong profanity, such as "f--k" and "s--t" appear often in the dialogue.
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Products & Purchases
Lots of downloadable content available for purchase in the game starting at launch, with more scheduled for periodic release. While most paid content is simply cosmetic in nature, some adds extra story content and additional missions, which expand on the plot of the game.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Soul Hackers 2 is a supernatural futuristic role-playing game available on the Xbox One, Xbox Series, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Windows-based PCs. Players take on the role of an artificial humanoid in a futuristic setting attempting to fend off a pending apocalypse. Players and their party member recruit otherworldly creatures ("demons") to fight for them against other supernatural threats. The game has a fair amount of violence, including graphic depictions such as blood pools, dead bodies, dismembered limbs, and more. The game's dialogue includes some strong profanity, and some female creatures are depicted in a sexualized manner. There's a lot of downloadable content available for purchase, including both cosmetic items and story and gameplay expansions.
Is It Any Good?
It's taken two and a half decades after Soul Hackers first launched in Japan and a decade after hitting the global market for the Megami Tensei spin-off to finally get a sequel. Thankfully, Soul Hackers 2 is more of a reboot than a sequel, not bogged down by too many ties to the original. It also borrows heavily from other games in the Megami Tensei franchise. On the one hand, this makes it feel more familiar to fans of those titles. On the other hand, it also holds Soul Hackers 2 back from developing much of its own identity. Recruiting and collecting demons. Fusing them together into other creations. Pitting certain elemental traits against others to gain an advantage. It all feels like just about any other Megami Tensei game that's come before, which, it has to be said, winds up feeling much like a mature-themed Pokémon game.
The gameplay of Soul Hackers 2 is pretty much left to a cycle of exploring dungeons to encounter demons, contracting those demons to either fight for you or be sacrificed for better demons via ritual, triggering a bit of plot advancement, then heading back to another dungeon. Wash, rinse, and repeat. Still, in spite of the overall monotony, it's fun to sway a particularly powerful creature to your side. And even when you fail to, the sometimes snarky letdowns are worth a chuckle. Finally, the biggest draw for Soul Hackers 2 has to be in its character development. You meet most of your team relatively early on and forge bonds with them throughout the game. Each also has special personal revelations that not only unlock new skills, but also give deeper insight into their former lives. This brings a surprising level of humanity to a game loaded with inhuman forces, giving you incentive to keep playing so you can learn more about your crew.
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