The latest entry in the Shin Megami Tensei family is Soul Hackers 2, a sequel to a 25-year-old hidden gem. Just like other games in the SMT and Persona franchises, Soul Hackers 2 is full of dungeons to explore and demons to collect. While it won’t take you quite as long as other Atlus RPGs it can still be intimidating to know where to start. Here are 8 tips that will help you on your journey to stop the end of the world.
8. Grab a drink
Gone are Persona’s social links and in their place are hangouts. Bar Heidrun is the local watering hole with a trusty bartender slinging drinks. Ringo can choose a party member or party members to have a drink with. This is one of the best ways to get to know your party members and get some insight into their personal motivations. It also boosts your soul level, which is needed to progress through their respective Soul Matrixes. Don’t be afraid to prioritize hangouts when you are notified new ones are available.
7. Keep everybody fed
The safe house is a place to relax between combat, it also has a kitchen! Throughout the game you can purchase food throughout the world as well as receive new recipes from your party members. Every food item can buff the party in a different way such as increasing the experience gained when battling higher-level enemies. Each party member has their own likes and dislikes when it comes to mealtime so test new dishes out to see what satisfies everybody.
6. Diversify your portfolio
Combat in Soul Hackers 2 is all about exploiting your opponent's weaknesses. With the stack system, every time you successfully take advantage of an enemy's weakness you add to your turn’s stack counter. At the end of each turn, Ringo performs a Sabbath. Similar to Persona 5’s all-out attacks, these scale with the number of stacks you have.
When collecting, fusing, and equipping demons it becomes integral to make sure your team has all the elemental bases covered when it comes to dealing damage. You don’t want to get stuck in a situation where an enemy can resist or block everything you can throw at it, so make sure to keep track of what demons have what abilities when heading into dungeons.
5. Do some soul searching
You don’t have to do every dungeon in Soul Hackers 2, but it is worth it to explore the Soul Matrices. Located at the Axis, each Soul Matrix represents the inner mind of a party member. Progressing through a Soul Matric relies on a party member's Soul Level. Each Soul Matrix has five floors and allows Ringo to learn more about her party members and give them passive upgrades. While fighting through the same pixelated dungeon repeatedly can get boring, it is worth it to unravel the stories of Arrow, Milady, and Saizo.
4. Visit Tatara
The tool of a Devil Summoner is the COMP. It lets Ringo and company summon demons and do combat. Over the course of Soul Hackers 2 upgrading your COMP is one of the most important things you can do to stay ahead of tough enemies. To upgrade the COMP just visit Tatara in the Mansei Realm from the world map.
While there are basic upgrades to attack and elemental damage the most useful upgrades Tatara offers are Commander Skills. These are special actions in combat that refresh after a set number of turns. The two essential Commander Skills are ‘Stack Optimization’ which adds a stack to every action during one turn and ‘Conversion’ which allows you to swap out a party member’s demon to switch up combat. ‘Stack Optimization’ especially is an overpowered tool that can make some of the hardest encounters in the game last only a couple well thought-out turns.
3. Embrace your demons
Demons you collect allow you to wipe the floor with enemies, but that isn’t their only purpose. In place of demon negotiation from SMT and Persona, at the start of every dungeon, Ringo will send out her demons to explore and pick up items and even recruit other demons to join your cause.
Exploring dungeons to find your demons is a worthwhile endeavor as they will give you one-of-a-kind items and bolster your roster of demons to fight with. If you ever run into a difficult enemy or just don’t want to fight, talking to a friendly demon will make enemies disappear, giving you a second to take your breath.
2. Take odd jobs
There are two forms of side quests available to the player throughout Soul Hackers 2. The first are Aion Directives which are available in the Axis, they are a collection of tasks to complete inside the Soul Matrix dungeons. The second, Requests, are available at Club Cretaceous from Madame Ginko.
There is no limit to how many Requests or Aion Directives you can accept at a given time so load up on them when they become available as they usually require you to complete some tasks inside the game’s several dungeons. If you already have the Request of Aion Directive picked up, then when you progress through dungeons you can naturally knock off all these side activities. As a reward, you will get special items and upgrades to make combat easier.
1. Don’t rush
Coming in expecting a 100+ hour game like Persona 5 is the wrong mindset to come in with for Soul Hackers 2. With a relatively short runtime if you end up rushing through the game you will find yourself at the end before you know it. Just take in the sights and explore all the game has to offer.
While this will keep you from wrapping up too quickly it is also a great way to keep from burning out on Soul Hackers 2. Dungeons are the main event, and they can be long and boring, don’t force yourself to grind for hours. This is a sure-fire way to get tired of the game and could potentially turn you off of it.
Soul Hackers 2 will release on August 26th, 2022, for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series consoles, and PC. Inverse reviewed the game on PC.