When not sweet-talking or pounding on devils, Raidou busies himself by running around the various districts of the capital searching for clues. Despite the detective shtick Devil Summoner 2 has going for it, these are the weakest parts of the gameplay because your immediate goals often aren't well communicated, and there are often long stretches without combat. Furthermore, each area is displayed from a fixed camera location, and every so many steps the camera moves to a different spot. Seeing the same scene from multiple different angles can be disorienting, which makes even navigating around the world an exercise in frustration.
If you need a break from mundane story investigations, you can always return to the detective agency and pick up some of the extra case files that build up on your desk and gather dust. While most of these side quests are simple fetch missions, some of them send you to specific locations to track down and dispatch more powerful devils, and others reward you with new abilities you'll need in order to push on in the main game. You can also spend time in the dark versions of the capital to tame more devils to add to your collection, which can then be fused together two at a time to create entirely new ones in the laboratory of the Dr. Frankenstein-ish Victor, a quirky but friendly demonologist. Victor can also synthesize new weapons for you, and using either of his services can be fun and rewarding in and of itself.
Negotiations often take a turn in unpredictable directions.
The rich game world is brought to life with the Shin Megami Tensei series' trademark stylized designs and a jazzy, upbeat soundtrack. Unlike in the recent Persona games, which favored an anime look and feel for the characters, everyone in Devil Summoner 2 is rendered and animated in full 3D. Though Raidou and company look great, they're all suspiciously silent due to a complete lack of voice acting, which makes for some awkward moments during conversations. Nonetheless, the entire game positively oozes with style, which more than makes up for this and the slightly aged graphics produced by the PS2 hardware.
Though it suffers some missteps from the lackluster investigation sequences and poor camera, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon is an engaging and suspenseful adventure through an atmospheric world filled with supernatural intrigue. Fusing devils or recruiting new ones is addictive, defeating powerful fiends is rewarding, and unraveling the story is entertaining. If you're looking for a quirky and fun game to slake your thirst for an RPG, Devil Summoner 2 may be just what you're looking for.