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Shin Megami Tensei Spinoffs You've Never Heard Of

"Shin Megami Tensei," also known as "MegaTen," is one of Atlus' earliest claims to fame. In fact, the now-popular "Persona" series actually started as a "Shin Megami Tensei" spinoff. Some might not know that the turn-based mechanics, elemental spells, and demon bosses of "Persona" trace back to its occult-themed predecessor. 

"Persona" now ranks among other popular series like "Legend of Zelda," "Fire Emblem," and "God of War." In fact, "Persona 5" even made it as a Game of the Year nominee in 2020. It's essentially part of the mainstream, and the main "Shin Megami Tensei" series might not be too far from achieving the same status. After all, "Shin Megami Tensei 5" might have a chance to appeal to younger generations as a modern installment on the Nintendo Switch. 

However, there are quite a few spinoffs that didn't get as much attention as other Atlus games. Here are some "Shin Megami Tensei" spinoffs with global releases that are worth some attention. 

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor

"Devil Survivor" and "Devil Survivor 2" follow a similar storyline. The protagonists must prevent the world's destruction with the help of their teammates and demon allies. Each character leads a team of two demons — kind of like a Pokemon trainer. Players place characters on the map while considering positioning, movement speed, and the number of turns, like in a tactical RPG.

The first "Devil Survivor" rereleased as "Devil Survivor Overclocked" for the Nintendo 3DS, which added additional content and voice acting. "Devil Survivor 2" later received its own 3DS adaptation called "Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker." For some reason, "Devil Survivor 2" became enough of a hit that it even earned its own 13-episode anime series.

Newcomers might want to try "Devil Survivor" or its sequel for a "Shin Megami Tensei" meets "Fire Emblem" experience with heavy anime inspiration and alternate endings. "Devil Survivor 2" counts as a sequel, but the two games are actually standalone and don't need to be played in order because of their different plots and characters. If you don't have time to play either "Devil Survivor" game, you can still watch the "Devil Survivor 2" anime to learn the gist of that game's story. 

Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers

"Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers" launched as a sequel to the first "Devil Summoner" game, which had a Japan-only release. Both these games depart from the typical apocalyptic premise of "Shin Megami Tensei." "Soul Hackers" in particular follows a group of hackers called the Spookies in a battle for the sake of humanity against demonic forces.

"Devil Summoner" and its sequel resemble "Shin Megami Tensei"-based detective stories and incorporate many of the same mechanics. They feature familiar demons and spells from the main "Shin Megami Tensei" games and incorporate many of the same RPG elements. Turn-based combat, demon fusion, and demon shops are just a few similarities over different Atlus sub-series. However, the two "Devil Summoner" games greatly differ from each other in terms of cast and settings.

"Soul Hackers" originally launched as a Japanese exclusive, but the Nintendo 3DS port delivered it to global audiences. According to the product description, the port features improved graphics, added voice acting, and other technical enhancements. 

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

Imagine the high school hijinks of "Persona" clothed in a "Fire Emblem" theme. "Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE" mostly pulls inspiration from "Persona" and "Shin Megami Tensei" and barely resembles "Fire Emblem" aside from the weapon triangle and character cameos.

"Tokyo Mirage Sessions" gives off a more lighthearted vibe compared to "Shin Megami Tensei" or "Fire Emblem." The game stars a group of young idols in a talent agency that's actually a demon investigation business. These heroes defeat demons with the power of friendship, performing arts, and help from "Fire Emblem" spirit friends. 

Players can join the oblivious and overly kind protagonist as he manages a harem and earns the respect of his overly critical rival in this turn-based JRPG. You can expect positive outcomes, friendship speeches, and dance moves that might not fit in with fight sequences but happen anyway. At the very least, the music does sound like something straight out of a high school anime. It's surprisingly catchy!