25 years later, ‘Soul Hackers’ is still one of the best cyberpunk games ever

imagine a world where a handful of big tech companies control everything. These giants drive virtual reality and offer the opportunity to live life in the real and virtual world. They say that their products change your life, that they will make everything easier, but it seems that they are sucking your soul. I know, a bit exaggerated.

This is the world of Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, a 25-year-old game that has mostly fallen into oblivion. But with a snazzy sequel due out on August 26, the original soul hackers it stands the test of time remarkably well thanks to its challenging gameplay and overly prescient cyberpunk plot.

ghost in the shell

Soul Hackers combines cyberpunk, mysticism, and demons for a truly unique experience.Atlus

soul hackers the full title is a mouthful – Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers. Released in 1997 in Japan for the Sega Saturn and globally in 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS, soul hackers is a sequel to a spin-off of the Atlus hit Shin Megami Tensei series of role-playing games, which also spawned the Person franchise.

SMT, Personand the devil summoner All series share similar gameplay elements with slight variations depending on the title. SMT it typically has a darker, more apocalyptic theme, while Persona focuses on the social aspects that come with the high school setting. The defining aspect of Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers is the use of cyberpunk aesthetics and plots.

Taking place in the port city of Amami City, Soul Hackers follows the nefarious technology company Algon Soft. With the rapid growth of the technology industry, Algon has connected every home and business in Amami City to its network, giving citizens access to the Internet and a virtual reality world known as Paradigm X. You play as a hacker who, with the help of your friend Hitomi (who is possessed by a demon named Nemissa) and your gun-shaped computer (which might be cooler than a razor) tries to uncover the nefarious secrets behind Algon Soft.

But not SMT the game is complete without demons to collect, merge and fight. this is where soul hackers a unique mark of rare comes out. In addition to being a cyberpunk story filled with hackers, the game also has a corporate espionage underworld that relies on the use of summoning demons and storing them inside a gun-shaped computer.

soul hackers he spends equal time in Amami City and Paradigm X, portraying a world obsessed with the possibilities of digital life. All the mystery that surrounds Along Soft unfolds in a twisted narrative that reaches incredible levels that make it feel at home next to a novel like William Gibson’s. neuromancer or Neal Stephenson’s snow crash. At the end of the game, you find out that Algon Soft only gave the public access to their network to literally steal their souls while people explore Paradigm X. Despite being released in 1997, soul hackersThe belief that big tech companies can’t be trusted with people’s data in a digital world feels completely understandable in the wake of data privacy concerns at companies like Meta.

pattern recognition

soul hackers adds a layer of complexity to the traditional SMT mechanics.Atlus

For those who have played modern Person Y SMT games, some aspects of soul hackers it will feel familiar. The main form of combat occurs through the summoning of demons. These demons can be traded within dungeons to join the protagonist’s party, and can also be fused together to create more powerful demons. But soul hackers goes one step further in its demon management.

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Demons are not a catch-and-forget affair, they demand constant attention. Each demon has a personality, and it is integral that you learn them. Demons can be aggressive or friendly, and depending on how you order them into battle, they may not be happy. A friendly demon will prefer to heal, so if you order him to attack, he may choose to ignore you. Put a friendly demon next to an aggressive one and the two won’t get along, making combat even more difficult for you. soul hackers it also encourages the player to use the auto battle mechanic, as letting the demons decide their own moves will build their bond with them. Forget either of these mechanics too often and the demons will leave your party.

soul hackers 2 will return to the cyberpunk world of the original.Atlus

As stressful as it sounds, it adds a layer to the traditional SMT combat that feels more in-game, aside from the typical dungeon crawl. Even after 25 years, soul hackersThe dungeons are some of the best of any SMT game has to offer. The dungeons in Amami City generally lean towards a corporate espionage feel, while the dungeons within Paradigm X focus on logic and test the player’s ability to solve problems without demons. Highlights include an art museum whose paintings lead to individual dungeons and an astrology-based quiz dungeon. The immense variety and willingness to challenge the player in ways beyond traditional combat make each dungeon in soul hackers a new and exciting challenge.

with the surprise of soul hackers 2 picking up the torch that lit the original 25 years ago, a lot of people might be curious about Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers. Even after all these years, the game offers a compelling reason to play it, whether you’re into cyberpunk or immersive and challenging turn-based RPGs.

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