Soul Hackers 2 Review thumbnail

Soul Hackers 2 Review

Stylish yet tedious

Mary Billington

Reviewed by playing a PS5 on 👹

Soul Hackers 2 is also available for PS4, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One

Soul Hackers 2 is rated Mature by the ESRB

With the world on the brink of apocalypse, an AI sends conjured humans Ringo and Figue down to Earth in order to save its future.

│ Just like in nearly all our reviews, you can watch Mary play Soul Hackers 2 below so you can judge accordingly. ▶️

Soul Hackers 2 screenshot 1
Where can I get a nice juicy burger around here?

Premise

Ringo and Figue may look like stylish humans who like to dress in neon clothing but they've actually been created by a super-advanced AI that is aware of how close the earth is to total destruction so it decides to break its rule of "observe only". Upon arriving on the planet, Ringo and Figue find the targets that they are supposed to save to be already dead but Ringo makes use of her super-power to bring the protagonists back to life and enlist their help to search for lost covenants that are making their way into the hands of the bad guys. v1d30chumz 3-235-173-74

Arrow, Milady, and Saizo join the party quite early on; all of whom have the ability to summon demons just like Ringo does. Iron Mask is the main antagonist and the group follows him while figuring out how to improve their abilities so that they may have a chance while fighting him and his lackeys while hopefully getting the covenants back.

Story

Soul Hackers 2's story is pretty out-there but not that strange for a game in the Shin Megami Tensei universe. I enjoyed watching Ringo and Figue as they found joy in partaking in mundane human tasks for the first time and there are back-stories for each of the protagonists. However, I never found myself to be all that invested in the story; perhaps because you're first introduced to 2 characters that have no back-story whatsoever as they're basically "newborn" or maybe the gravity of the situation being dropped right at the very start awoke my nihilistic side thus making it hard to care about what happened to anyone. A slower opening that introduced the protagonists and showed their lives before the impending doom probably would have made it easier to empathise with them. 🙄

Soul Hackers 2 screenshot 2
Or perhaps your hat is on too tight

Presentation

The environments in Soul Hackers 2 are strikingly different between the town and the dungeons. While exploring the town, you're treated to colourful backdrops that have a lot of character to them with a distinct soundtrack to set the tone. Unfortunately, the different areas in town are very small and generally consist of a couple shops and a few people to chat to as you walk between them. I enjoyed walking around and visiting the shops nonetheless because it was a good pick-me-up after visiting the drab and dark dungeons.

For some reason, the developers opted for extremely lengthy, uneventful, and lifeless dungeons that don't really have anything going for them save for the odd puzzle thrown in where you may have to think about how to traverse to the next area. They're so dimly lit, too, which makes me wonder if they weren't as dark, would the repetitive scenery make them look even less appealing? 🤔

Soul Hackers 2 screenshot 3
Time to clip some wings

Dungeons

As you walk around the dungeons, you'll occasionally bump into a demon from your stock that went scouting and they'll grant you an item or introduce you to another demon that's interested in joining. These moments are a delight because you never know what you'll get from them but I can't help but feel like it would have been much more interesting if there was a more traditional way of recruiting monsters. The fact that it makes you randomly stumble across one means that there's much less incentive to commence battles whereas in other Shin Megami Tensei games, you must convince a monster to join you while in battle. I also never failed to convince any of the monsters to join me in Soul Hackers 2 as the negotiation simply involves them asking for something then you respond with what they want and they immediately join. This is in contrast to the more familiar system that requires multiple rounds of bargaining.

Another gripe that I have with the dungeons is that on multiple occasions, it was suggested that I figure out what to do next by talking to one of my demons that are out scouting around the dungeon. With no information about where that demon may be, I found myself tracing my steps back and forth through familiar hallways far too often while trying to bump into the right demon. With that being said, this lack of direction can be contrasted with how well Soul Hackers 2 handles the request system as it gives you just enough information to figure out what you need to do to please your client then helps you along the way by tagging certain enemies in the field so that you know what you're looking for. It also keeps track of how many of a given item you have collected. Requests can be accepted at Club Cretaceous or from characters who walk the streets of town as well as monsters that roam around the dungeons. 😄

Soul Hackers 2 screenshot 4
Finally, I get to eat that burger I wanted...

Combat

Battles in Soul Hackers 2 are mostly in-line with the Shin Megami Tensei series except for the addition of the Sabbath move. By hitting an enemy's weakness you'll increase the level of the Sabbath attack that happens after every character has completed their turn. The more weaknesses you hit, the more powerful the Sabbath will be. This will make you lean towards a strategy where you'll aim to reduce all of the monsters health down to critical at once in the hopes that the Sabbath wipes them all out at the end. I enjoyed this change of pace because in most RPGs, the best tactic usually involves focusing on one enemy at a time. It also requires you to be careful about the monsters that you have equipped while trying to cover as many weaknesses as possible. Some monsters even have special Sabbath abilities that boast extra effects when the Sabbath attack lands such as healing the party or poisoning the enemy.

I found most boss battles to be particularly difficult as they required me to rethink my party setup and spend hours grinding and preparing to take them down. Generally speaking, I appreciate that Soul Hackers 2 makes me put some genuine thought into my strategy for the boss fights but at the same time, when it requires you to amass the right group of monsters yet the method of acquiring said monsters doesn't actually involve getting into battles, it feels rather inconsistent. Having said that, it did also drive me to spend more time with demon fusion to see if I could create the demon that I wanted which can be satisfying to accomplish on its own. 😊

Soul Hackers 2 screenshot 5
This dungeon made me feel asleep

Growth

In addition to demons, there are also quite a few shops to take a look at and doing so can give you a real edge if you equip your party properly by spending your currency at an accessory shop, COMP (weapon) upgrade shop, and a shop that sells various consumable items. On top of that, mystiques can be equipped and levelled up and they provide boosts to certain attacks; that is, assuming you've levelled up your weapon enough to handle them. Finally, there are optional dungeons to conquer where each one is focused on a particular protagonist and by trekking deeper into the dungeons, you'll unlock abilities for them that can be quite useful; if only these dungeons weren't as repetitive and lifeless as the main story ones. Overall, preparing your party is an area that Soul Hackers 2 excels in as I often found myself writing down what I needed and I spent a lot of time preparing to have a chance against the difficult enemies. 🤓

Loading

Before I forget, there are numerous loading screens that last long enough to make anyone impatient, especially because I played Soul Hackers 2 on PlayStation 5 which is supposed to have virtually no load times. The system seems to handle much more graphically intensive games with little to no downtime but Soul Hackers 2 will far too often have you wait for multiple loading screens in quick succession. 😴

Soul Hackers 2 screenshot 6
Jack Frost is looking forward to my verdict

Soul Hackers 2 offers a contrast of colourful and lively towns and characters with dull and dark dungeons that seem to go on forever. Optimizing your party can be quite enjoyable but the inconsistent demon recruiting system takes away from the fun of the grind. Overall, Soul Hackers 2 failed to keep my attention but it definitely has some noteworthy qualities.

  • + Systems for preparing your party can be enjoyable to tinker with
  • + Colourful overworld with lively soundtrack
  • + Sabbath attack allows for combat strategies
  • - Although promising, the story and cast don't do enough to hold your interest
  • - Dark, dull, and overly lengthy dungeons
  • - Demon recruiting is too random and unfun
6.8 out of 10
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Watch Mary play Soul Hackers 2
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