“Death Is Just the Beginning”
- System: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One
- Publisher: SEGA
- Developer: ATLUS
- Release Date: August 26, 2022
Soul Hackers 2 goes completely against the original design, which worried us a bit but to sum this review up in one sentence, Soul Hackers 2 is incredible and truly worth the long wait. Here is our full review of Soul Hackers 2 for PC and for those who obviously want more reasons why they should shell out for a game sequel that originally came out ages ago.
First, despite this being a sequel, you don’t need to know much about the original Soul Hackers to understand Soul Hackers 2. In this sequel, you assume the role of a special agent called Ringo who was created by Aion—a special sentient being—to save the human world from complete destruction. Ringo and her “sister” Figue, are then summoned to the real world and quickly learn their mission isn’t going to be easy as their protected targets aren’t in the best shape, really. This leads Ringo to perform a special technique called Soul Hacking and saves a young man named Arrow.
We’d love to talk further about the story but there are a lot of spoilers that we could easily run into if we’re not careful so if you want to know what Soul Hacking does for our Arrow and what challenges Ringo and Figue face almost instantly on being summoned to the human world, you’ll have to play Soul Hackers 2 for yourself. Yet, we will say that if you’re a fan of the original, you’re going to quickly notice this isn’t the first-person dungeon RPG you might fondly remember.
Akin to Persona 5—which we have no doubt many will compare Soul Hackers 2 to—the game is third person and that is pretty nice, to say the least. Exploration is very much like a modern Persona game where you’ll open chests, talk to characters, talk to fellow demons to see what they found—a new feature in soul Hackers 2—and get into battles. Yes, Soul Hackers 2 is quite different than the original but we won’t deny this makes for an easier entry for those who might not like the old-school dungeon crawling concept.
Now we have no doubt many of you readers care about the gameplay for Soul Hackers 2 more than anything else and we have much to say about it. Again, like Persona 5, Soul Hackers 2 is a turn-based system but with some rather cool new features. Rather than just summoning demons to battle, Ringo, Arrow, and the others who will join your cause, use their COMPs to unleash special attacks using the powers of the demons you align with. Where you might not summon demons to fight alongside, Soul Hackers 2 is akin to other SMT games. Soul Hackers 2 gives you the ability to equip demons on your characters via their COMP and utilize their moves. Be warned though, equipping a demon gives you their elemental strengths but also their weaknesses. It’s like every character of Soul Hackers 2 is a wild card user but that means you need to be smart on equipping the right demons otherwise a battle can go sour fast.
Soul Hackers 2 might not beat the stylings of Persona 5 and may not be a gorgeous SMT title but don’t let that fool you. Soul Hackers 2 is radiating with its own visual theme that feels both futuristic and real-world-esque. Every character is charming and oozes individualism, the same can be said for the hub world of Karakucho, which feels like a red-light district in real-world Japan. Maybe the graphics feel a bit lesser than Persona 5 Royal or some games of this current age but we honestly were never in the belief that they failed to live up to expectations!
Aside from the stylish visuals, Soul Hackers 2 is, of course, an SMT game, and the music needs to be incredible for us to give it our seal of approval. Luckily, the tunes in this game are fantastic. The exploration sections have a nice jazzy tech sound and battles pump hard with rocking tunes. The OP alone might seem innocent and relaxing at first, but it dives into what Soul Hackers 2 feels like. We already have a list of favorite songs from Soul Hackers 2 and that should tell you why you’re going to want some good headphones to enjoy the beats within!
There is very little we can complain about in Soul Hackers 2 but if we did complain, it would be with the camera which is EXTREMELY close to your MC. This is only a big issue when exploring tight dungeon areas but it can be annoying having to swivel your auto-correcting camera constantly if you’re trying to look around but find yourself fighting the camera’s odd attachment to Ringo’s butt. We also honestly fast-forwarded the Sabbath attacks often as they are cool to watch but really grow tedious when you’ve seen them a billion times. That could be considered another small issue due to the lack of seeing your demons outside of the Sabbath, we rarely felt connected to them like in a Persona game. Yes, they level up alongside you and you can negotiate with them to have them join your squad—which is extremely easy in comparison to other SMT games—but the lack of a demon party in lieu of an all-human one is a bit of a letdown and we have no doubt it will be a major complaint of fans of the original Soul Hackers.