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Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga

Digital Devil Saga ~アバタール・チューナー~ (Avatar Tuner)
Japanese Site:
US Site:
UK Site:
Japanese Release: June 15, 2004
Retail Price: ¥7,329
US Release: April 5, 2005
Retail Price: $54.99
UK Release: July 28th, 2006
Retail Price: £29.99

US and Japanese Information

Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga was originally released for the Sony Playstation 2 on July 14, 2004 in Japan under the title Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner. Atlus began localization for the United States with an original release date of December 2004. However, the game was delayed until April 5, 2005. The name change was likely an attempt on Atlus USA's part to form a franchise line to tie together any future releases related to MegaTen.

Digital Devil Saga is the first of a two part "series". In a sense, it can be thought of as a prequel to DDS2 (aka Avatar Tuner 2 in Japan), as they are largely two parts of one whole. The stories tie directly into eachother and as such the first in of the two leaves many unresolved plotpoints and seemingly underdeveloped characters by the time the game is completed. However, the sequel ties together these loose ends effectively, as well as improving on the gameplay and design. As such, one should not expect to fully appreciate either title without playing them both.

In terms of references, Digital Devil Saga relies heavily on Hindu and Aryan concepts. While playing, one will likely notice the large amount of locations and words that are either directly from these religions or are based upon them. Other religions and mythologies have roles within the game, but to a far lesser extent, instead largely being utilized as minor enemies.

DDS as a whole is seemingly an attempt on Atlus's part to create a game with style and flash that still holds true to the basic aspects of the franchise. As such, the games feature a multitude of cutscenes, full voice acting and even songs from outside Japanese musicians. The US localization replaces the Japanese voices with English ones (which are surprisingly well done) and the main title theme with an electronic song by Etro Anime.

The US version comes as a deluxe package including the first game, a soundtrack CD and a box to hold both titles once the sequel hits stores. The game was originally going to include a controller sticker (referred to as "controller armor" in press releases), but it has been removed from the package and was only available through pre-orders at certain outlets.

European Information

On July 28th, 2006, Ghostlight Interactive finally officially released Digital Devil Saga in PAL format after a few separate delays. The title could be ordered off of the official site. If pre-ordered, the game was also shipped with a limited Embryon styled t-shirt. Many people received their pre-order copies about a week before the official date.

Unfortunately, there were some issues along the way:

  • Ghostlight has done absolutely no advertising for it in France (and assumingly other European countries)
  • According to SniperZwolf, shops in France have not even heard of the game
  • The game uses a translation extremely similar to the US one
  • The game is only in English, which is obviously an issue for most areas in Europe
  • The game runs in 50hz only

It seems as though Ghostlight was mostly interested in getting this game to areas in the UK. The strange thing about that is that they were shipping the game all over Europe via their website. At this point, it doesn't appear that Ghostlight has any intention of translating the game for other countries over there. SniperZwolf notes that some of this might be because they seem to be distributing the game on their own, whereas Ubisoft helped them with Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call's (aka Nocturne) distribution.

Kaworu Nagisa also wrote in with some extended information beyond what SniperZwolf had provided. Points of interest:

  • "Danger", the opening song in the US version of the title provided by Etro Anime, has been replaced with "Prey". "Prey" was the song present in the original Japanese opening.
  • If you pre-ordered the title you received a "Special Edition" version. This featured a silver foil box (which unfortunately appears as black in scans; thanks to Kaworu for providing the PAL scans).
  • Up until June, Ghostlight was allowing people who pre-ordered the title to "align" with a certain Tribe in the game. If you did so, your name would appear in the manual underneath that specific Tribe's heading.

Sources: SniperZwolf (RPG-Z), Kaworu Nagisa (Kaoru-Net), Official DDS Site, DDS UK Site

© Tony

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