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Majin Tensei II: Spiral Nemesis English Translation completed


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(Not sure if someone put a thread for this before, please let me know)

Thanks to the efforts of DDS Translations, Majin Tensei 2: Spiral Nemesis, is available to play beginning to end in English! (not gonna post any links here, just Google "Majin Tensei: Spiral Nemesis English Translation")

I've never played any Devil Survivor, but I have to say, this is exactly what I wanted to see when I saw a "SMT x Fire Emblem" project: SRPG gameplay, recruitable demons, mechanical differences between your human and demonic allies.

Unfortunately, the game plays at a very slow pace compared to current-gen titles like Fire Emblem: Echoes. It takes the game at least a couple of seconds after the "enemy phase" beginning for even the first enemy unit to move. You will want to use a "Fast Forward" key for how slow this game's normal pace moves.

Majin Tensei 2 seems to put everything in an isometric perspective in the vein of Final Fantasy Tactics or Berwick Saga, a shift from Majin Tensei 1's top-down perspective. I'm not gonna lie, I was ready to give this game up thinking it would try to juxtapose a "diagonal" cursor movement scheme onto the D-pad like Sonic 3D Blast. Imagine my surprise when I found that the way the game's creators worked around this control problem by the cursor moving "half-steps" with single d-pad presses. That immensely made the game's control scheme playable for me. It's a dumb thing to point out, but "game feel" can make an otherwise mediocre game enjoyable. I'd still have preferred it if Majin Tensei 2 was top-down, but eh. There also seems to be a very SLIGHT delay between input and game response. Anyone who's played Mystery of the Emblem on the SNES knows what I'm talking about when I say this. It's not a dealbreaker, but it does take playing the first couple of chapters to get into the rhythm of.

Presentation-wise... holy crap. This game sounds fantastic. The presentation is superb, the opening cinematic looks like something out of a thriller. That's a feat I thought unthinkable on the SNES, but Majin Tensei 2 just pulls it off like it's nothing. Sprites are easy to read, and you can immediately tell the different units apart.

Gameplay-wise, it has a biiiiit of a difficulty spike at the beginning chapters, like when you start out with three party members, then you get reduced to just using 2, then 1, and then the very next chapter throws you up against about 7-9 demons with the expectation of the player learning how to recruit demons. Chapter 4 has you pitted up against a Tan-ki which, if you haven't put all of your main character's stats into speed, will likely double you and kill you, and the heal spots it runs to, combined with its 10 MOVEMENT AND ranged attacks (like wtf), made it almost impossible to clear the chapter. Demon recruitment in SMT in general is always slippery and bears no chance of success whatsoever, and this game is no exception. Chapter 5 is VERY "Sink or Swim", in that you need to recruit demons, FAST. It teaches players that they can't always recruit demons, but amassing an army of demons is necessary to even so much as survive.

You can actually CHOOSE which stats to level up your human characters with, so hooray, no RNG statscrewage!

Your item inventory and macca is shared. Unlike Fire Emblem there are no "item slots", and every unit has access to your item inventory; imagine if you had 10 Vulnerary uses, and each unit could use it on their turn no matter where they were.

Putting speed into your MC's level-ups is critical; again, the Tan-Ki in chapters 3/4/5 have insanely high speed and will kill you if you don't put your first level-ups into speed. It takes a difference of 5 Speed in order for a unit to do a "double" attack, like Fire Emblem: Awakening. 

Saving takes its cues from Fire Emblem 4, in that you can save at the beginning of every turn.

Magic takes MP, just like SMT, but because of how powerful it is, it takes a lot of MP. Pixie, likely the first magic-using demon you acquire, can only use Zan twice before running out of MP, but those two Zio attacks go through enemy HP like a hot knife through butter, making them like heavy artillery uses.

Heal spots heal a huge fraction of HP and MP at the beginning of your turn, which means you want to take those spots, and gang up on any enemies that take them. It also means that so long as you have a heal spot to retreat to, you can use Pixie's magic pretty often, if you're willing to accept a high turncount.

When you recruit a demon, you can either talk to it, or offer it macca. Macca seems to be more sure-fire, but takes your resources, whereas talking may give you the demon for free, but has a MUCH higher chance of failure. You gain EXP, macca and magnetite from defeating demons, and like Fire Emblem, 100 exp levels up your characters. When you successfully recruit a demon, it disappears from the map, and you have to spend additional magnetite to summon it. When you summon, both you and the demon you summon use up you AND the summoned demon's turns. It's a "risk versus reward" system that seems to be SMT's answer to Fire Emblem's weapon triangle, and I freaking love it.

As for the translation script quality, the character writing sure as hell isn't as good as BwdYeti's, but it's leagues ahead of the translation quality of SNES games released at the time. Had this game's English translation been commercially released at the time, I'd imagine a lot of us would've hailed this translation as one of the best of the best for its time.

One of my complaints is that (apparently?) you can't see your demon's stats until you summon it, which kind of stifles your capacity to make an informed choice of whether or not to summon a demon.

The game's OST ranges from "serviceable" to "holy crap this is pretty freaking great". I love how the game's "boss theme", when you whittle the enemy force down to just one unit, plays both on the map screen and the battle screen, and it is T E N S E, and I love it. 

All in all? The game has a lot of polish for its time, and getting into its game flow makes it easy to forgive what little design flaws it has.

So, should you play Majin Tensei 2? Well:
-Do you like SMT's brutal difficulty spikes?
-Do you like SNES games?
-Do you want to see basically what everyone was expecting when they announced "SMT x Fire Emblem"?
-Are you willing to wrap your head around the game's antiquated aspects, such as its slow engine?
-Do you like the SNES's soundchip?

If you answered yes to all of these, then you've got yourself one hell of a time. Play it.

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8 hours ago, Von Ithipathachai said:

I heard about this and would consider playing it, but I'd have to beat the first Majin Tensei beforehand.

Majin Tensei 1 doesn't have an English translation, and as far as I can tell, Majin Tensei 2 has zero connection to Majin Tensei 1. It's basically a standalone game in the series.

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