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Hey there fellow gamers and welcome to the first of my weekly column Level-Up where I will talk about anything and everything RPG related.  I’ll be talking about big RPG related news, what RPG’s I’m currently playing and some classic RPG’s you may like to know about or maybe passed by without giving them a chance.

What better way to kick off the first Level-Up then talking about some big news. Final Fantasy XIII finally has a release day for Japan and that date is December 17th 2009. This enforces Square-Enix’s promise that Final Fantasy XIII would arrive in Winter 09 exclusive to PS3 in Japan. With the game finally seeing a release in Japan and seeing as we have already gotten word that the English voice over for the game is already complete it won’t be that much longer until we see a US release for the game. Many have been speculating a June 2010 release but until Square-Enix gives us solid confirmation treat that date as rumor.

Final Fantasy XIII

Something else about the announcement that may shock a few people is Final Fantasy XIII’s price point. The game will cost roughly $100 in Japan and some people seem to be shocked about this. However it’s not much of a shock. Japan doesn’t have a standard pricing system for games(like how the majority of games in the US are sold at $59.99) Instead games tend to be priced depending on the cost of the development. It’s common to see new games go for as low as $20 up to $70. Considering the development cost of Final Fantasy XIII it makes sense that the game would be priced somewhat high.

Now that we got that  out of the way I’m going to talk about a game I have been playing quite a bit of lately and it so happens this game was very overlooked. The game I speak of is Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor. I have to admit that after playing SMT games like Digital Devi Saga, Devil Summomner and Persona 3 and 4 that I was a bit cautious about the SMT series making the jump to the DS. However my worries were for not as Devil Survivor turned out to be a incredible game. One of the incredible things about Devil Survivor is how it manages to be a new and completely original game in the Shin Megami Tensei universe and yet still feels like it belongs in that universe despite the change in game play.

Anime Paradise Devil Survivor

I’ll break down the story and game play to give you a better idea of what I’m talking about here. The Hero(yes you have to name yourself just like in Persona) and his friends Yuzu and Atsuro are in Tokyo to meet the main characters cousin Naoya when a horrible explosion occurs and demons begin to run rampant around the city and the group must solve the mystery of what caused the disaster and how to fix it. The great thing about the story of the game is that there are so many great characters and you will be sure to find someone you like or can identify with which is always a good way to add some much need emotion to a game.

The games plot goes a lot deeper then my little description and I left out a lot of key points that leads to the events I mentioned. The great thing about the game is that there are many multiple endings. For each character in the game(mostly) there is a ending you can follow. Which adds a massive amount of replay value. Depending on how good you are you can complete a single play through in about 15-20 hours(longer on your first play though).  Multiply this by 5 times or more and  you have some massive play time.

Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor

Game play wise the game literally plays like a cross between Final Fantasy Tactics and Persona. You will move characters along a grid like field in combat and once you reach a enemy you will engage them in a more traditional turn based battle system. During a battle you will fight in groups of 3 on 3 and if you defeat the enemy leader the enemy team goes down as well(Although this nets you less experience) You of course will have the chance to earn extra turns by taking advantage of the enemies weaknesses just like Persona. Of course the game play goes much deeper then this but it really is amazing how well the different types of game play mesh.

Now with a game this great and unique with the Shin Megami Tensei name it makes one wonder why it was so over looked by both gamers and critics alike. Now don’t get me wrong the game did receive favorable reviews from the few outlets that actually reviewed it but the majority just passed it by. A lot of my friends as well had never even heard of the game which was quite a shock as my close group of friends are SMT nuts.

Now a lot of you out there will say it’s a SMT game they tend to sell only to the hardcore fans and that’s it and in a way Atlus depends on that. However in this case I’m very much reminded of the situation The World Ends With You went through in that it was a great game but so overlooked by everyone.  It seems as if Devil Survivor failed to obtain the recognition it deserved. Whatever the reason it’s a shame a game as original and fun as Devil Survivor was overlooked. If you are a RPG fan I would highly recommended checking it out as it’s certainly worth the money and offers a mass amount of play time for a low cost.

Devil Survivor logo

It’s nice to see that despite the game being so overlooked that it was so well done. Some may have already heard that the next full game in the Shin Megami Tensei series entitled Strange Journey will be coming to the DS. This is quite a undertaking and early impressions look good. It seems the game may be pushing the DS quite a bit and after Devil Survivor I’m sure we are in for another great DS exclusive.

That’s it for Level-Up this week. Agree, Disagree? Got something to say? Be sure to let me know in the comments section. No registration required.