Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor

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  • The game is easier than most of the SMT titles mostly because all monsters are already scanned aside boss Hp/Mana. This also includes weaknesses, and what attacks they are capable of. The game; however, is still a pain in the ass.
  • Money becomes easier to come by so try to purchase demons at the auction with plenty of stars. The cap is 99,999 and at endgame most demons wont run more than ~17,000. If you're low on cash just keep doing the free battles. Don't stress saving money, even early on. Try to buy at least one of each type of demon so you can try different fuse combinations.
  • Buying demons isn't as important than fusing. Fusing is required to get the most out of the game. If you fuse demons that you level they will gain slight stat bonuses and you can transfer any skills that were grayed out to your new demon. You can also "reset" the bonuses by canceling the fuse and trying again until you find stats that better fit them.
  • The game has many Unique Demons, you can only gain them by fusing. If the game says "Combination Invalid" this only means you haven't unlocked the criteria required to own the demon. You can have as many Unique Demons as the game allows (4 pages worth) but you can only have one of each at a time.
  • Grind on Normal Battles then Hard Battles until your party's experience rate begins to drop. The game has a soft cap on experience until you unlock New Game+ . When the experience begins to even out then you can attempt the boss battles.
  • For your first playthrough I highly recommend you reach around 10 Strength, 17 Agility, and 22 Magic. The stat cap is at 40 and you should aim to max out Magic especially for the last few boss battles. Vitality isn't too important unless you do a Defensive build
  • If you want a Str build you will need Pierce (15 Str) and until then you might run into some issues with a few demons and bosses. Later you can pick up Dual Shadow (chance to double attack, 16 Agi), Attack All (16 Str, 17 Agi), Ares Aid (50% chance to crit, 14 Str), Drain Hit (Recover 25% damage, 14 Str/13 Agi), or Life Lift (30% Hp Regen, 15 Vi/14 Agi). As for Command Skills stick with 1 Mana Support ability like Taunt, 1 Attack ability that hits a single targe, and 1 Attack ability that hits multiple targets.
  • Vitality Builds are for masochists and you should never do one unless you want Anti-All (16 Ma/15 Vi). It's still not worth it by the time you get it.
  • HP/MP Rise/Surge stack.
  • Once you hit around level 21 you should be able to unlock Tyrant Jack Frost. He has an ability called Tyranny - combine this with your primary casters and you'll regenerate mana early on. Later, you'll want to have monsters with Sacrifice and much later you'll want the +10% Mana Regen (Mana Aid, 15 Ma/14 Agi) that you can Skill Crack and Drain which is fantastic (Drain is non-elemental and is calculated by Magic).
  • You can Skill Crack any skill regardless if you can use it or not. Towards the end of the game you will only have a few small windows for certain boss-only skills, so keep this in mind when you start seeing things like Barrier, Wall, Anti-All, Hp/Mp Regen (Victory Cry), Magic Yin/Yang, etc . . .
  • The game has a shit ton of multiple endings. Try to follow events that begin to branch without starting too many new ones. Some events will always happen at the same time so it's impossible to save everyone or impress everyone. Yuzu's ending results in a gimped New Games +, the player doesn't get the added move bonus they would otherwise get .
  • Some unique demons require multiply playthroughs to unlock like Lucifer if I recall which requires fusing two unique demons .
  • Last boss spoilers: The last boss is the only boss where magic is iffy but by then you should have Pray and Megido (which hits him for ~300), and hopefully a heavy melee hitter (should hit him ~400) and someone with Recarm because you will fucking need it. Have someone assist your Main Character with full group heals & Recarms ready and only have your main character attack. The last boss likes to rotate between weaknesses (I've only seen Ice/Wind/Melee) and will smack everyone on the field for 60-300 damage, so take that as you will.
  • Yuzu is horrible.
  • End Game Stuff: New Game + allows you to keep all your demons, your money, auction levels, skills you cracked, removes experience caps so you level freaking fast, adds +1 to your permanent movement, changes the splash screen to reflect which ending you picked, and it shows influence paths which I'm still testing.
  • When you look at the skills you can crack, you will see that some are highlighted and some are not. The highlighted ones are the ones your character can currently equip. This is completely irrelevant. Any character can crack any skill, so don't skip cracking some good/unique skill just because you assume you can't touch the dimmed out ones (which I totally did not do, nope, not at all).
  • The auction house resets every time you load the game, which is useful if you want to buy a specific demon but don't want to advance time and/or get the shitty crippled version of it.
  • At one point, a party member will specifically ask you if you want a reminder when a specific event becomes available. This is the biggest bone the game will ever throw you; if you say no and then forget to go to the event on your own, you will be blocked out from every single ending with the exception of the absolute worst doesn't-even-officially-count-as-an-ending ending. So fucking go to the event.

Overclocked Re-release

  • Magic MC. Overclocked apparently made it much more viable to run a Phys MC, but there's still the problem that Atsuro is required for the majority of the endgame battles on most routes and fully speccing two phys attackers is a lot harder than ramming all your best skills on one. A Magic MC also has the advantage that he can sink points into Vit as well and become unkillable, while a Phys MC has to drop points into Mag and Vit, and will come up short somewhere. Get strength to 8 at some point for Holy Dance, 10 for Megido if you want (but Holy Dance is overall the best skill in the game).
  • The Dances are really strong in this game, as opposed to, say, Strange Journey, in which they were nigh-useless. Two hits from a Dance will outdamage a -dyne spell.
  • Get a Tyrant as soon as you possibly can. King Frost was the earliest in the original, not sure about Overclocked. Tyrants have two awesome parts to their passive: they restore mana at the end of each battle, which is flat-out necessary to be able to spam the best spells, and they push back the turns of adjacent enemies. Fuse Resist Fire on King Frost and he'll carry you for a good while.
  • Plan your route! Although with the extra day that Overclocked added even Yuzu's route is acceptable. Some of the characters are tricky to save, you may want to have a guide handy for that alone. In short, always do the events with people listed in the Laplace e-mails, give Kaido the bag on the 4th day (I think it's the 4th), and in Gin's e-mails ask about Haru and ask about Aya. Those are the major tricky bits as far as I can recall.