When I finish The Colour of Magic you guys will have my first impressions of Terry Pratchett. But until then it’s more video games.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I thought Digital Devil Saga was pretty rad, but that because it was a duology I couldn’t really evaluate it until I played the second one. The first entry leave you with a bunch of IOUs for its followup to pay back.
I still haven’t beaten DDS2, but I’ve logged enough hours into it to form some impressions. Alas, given its nature as a continuation it’s difficult to go into the specifics without touching on spoilers. Suffice it to say that the gameplay continues to be excellent, while the story dropped from great to serviceable. While DDS1 was very taut and no-nonsense, DDS2 starts to indulge in some of the heavy handed pseudo-philosophical BS that JRPGs are often wont to do. And while the characters weren’t particularly original to begin with, they’ve come across as much more stereotypically anime in the second entry.
All this is to say that I still really like it, and that it still has a chance of winding up on my top 15 list, but it just doesn’t quite make good on the potential it had. I mean, it’s still the weird link between Shin Megami Tensei and Final Fantasy that I never knew I wanted. Of course, it could get worse (or better) from here.
I should also mention that it features what is definitely one of my favourite soundtracks (by Shoji Meguro). A good sample is the track, “Spider’s String (The Second Movement).” It plays in the final dungeon of DDS1 in a dynamic fashion: it starts as a simple guitar strum with a rattle and some ominous strings. But as the player progresses further into the dungeon, the game adds more layers to the track until it bursts out into a full-blown melody. It’s a remarkably effective example of using minimalist techniques to ratchet up the tension.