Strategy Session – Devil Summoner 2, Part I

In Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abbadon, you’ll be spending a fair amount of time in the Gouma-Den’s basement, fusing demons with Victor. The process itself is pretty simple, but there are a lot of things you’ll need to know about in order to make the most of the fusion system. So join us as we take an in-depth look at the arcane process of Demon Fusion, and unravel the secrets of Victor’s obsessive-compulsive disorder.

We’ll start with the basics of Fusion. Unlike other Shin Megami Tensei titles, Devil Summoner 2 offers only Double Fusions; that is, you can only combine two demons at a time. Each demon has a class, which determines not only the Investigational Skills it has available to it, but also what class of demon you’ll receive when you fuse it. For example, fusing a Frost demon with a Skill demon will result in a Pyro-class demon. Which specific critter comes out of the fusion is determined by the combined level of the demons you are fusing. Well, to be more precise, the calculation is the demon’s combined levels divided by two, plus three. But as a hard and fast rule, the higher the combined level of the demons you’re fusing, the higher the level of the result.

One interesting kind of special fusion occurs when you fuse two demons of the same class. The end result will be an Element, which, when fused, will raise the rank of certain classes of demons. For example, if you create an Aeros (which are made by fusing two Wind or Skill demons together) and then fused it with a Wind, Skill, Pagan or Volt-class demon, you would be left with the next most powerful demon of that class. An Angel would become an Archangel, and an Alp would become a Mokoi. Using Elements to rank-up your demons is a great way to make sure you always have a useful member of a specific clan. This is extremely useful in the case of Pagans, whose Mind Read Investigational Skill is used pretty much throughout the entire game.

As with most fusion systems in the SMT series, the skills a fusion-produced demon inherits from its progenitors are determined randomly. In order to get exactly the moveset you want, you can back out of the fusion and reselect it in order to roll the dice again, as it were. There are some skills that some demons are less likely to inherit, but for the most part, there doesn’t seem to be any complete prohibitions against any demon learning any ability. For example, Thor is perfectly capable of learning breath-style moves like Fire Breath, stat increasing moves like War Cry, and pure magic such as Bufurati.

Passive skills, however, are a completely new addition to the series. Unlike normal skills, which are acquired through leveling up, passive skills are acquired when the demon maxes out its Loyalty. Since you can only max out Loyalty once, each demon can learn just one passive skill, but these skills are all passed on through fusion. For example, if you fused a Cu Chulainn with Fire Boost and Fire Resist with a Lilim that knew Halve Mortal and Life Boost, the final result would be a Dominion who knew all four skills. Which passive skills a demon will actually use out of the multitude of those inherited is determined by the player right after the creature is fused. Demons can equip as many passive skills as they have slots for them, which are gained through fusion; every time a specific demon has undergone fusion, it’ll gain another skill slot, up to a maximum of six.

The key to successful manipulation of the skill transferrance system is found, strangely enough, in the Elements. These demons can be fused with one another, leading to some bizarre and powerful results: Mitama. The usefulness of Mitama lies in the fact that they don’t actually change the rank, type, or level of the demon they are fused with. Instead, Mitamas pass on only skills and a stat boost. While the stat boost may seem the more useful of these effects, the ability to pass skills on without altering the demon in any other way means that you can give any demon almost any skill you’d like simply by cooking up a Mitama. Simply train up a demon with the skill you want, fuse it with another demon of the same class to produce an Element, fuse that Element into a Mitama, and finally paste that Mitama onto the demon you want to transfer the skill to.

This technique is exceptionally useful on Fiend and Evil-class demons, who don’t follow the normal rules of fusion. The only way to get one of these creatures is via an event called “Fusion Fever,” which is a state of hightened excitement that Victor enters during certain phases of the moon. Victor will ask you for a series of three gems, the combined value of which will determine what rank demon you’ll receive, while the class is determined by your luck; if it’s extremely high, you’ll get an Evil-class demon. If you’ve got extremely low luck, the result will be a Fiend. But regardless of which class the end result is, and this is the rub, the demon will not inherit any active skills. Passive skills will be inherited, along with the appropriate number of skill slots, but the new demon will start with only Strike and its base level skill.

That’s about it for the basics, complex as they are, of the fusion system. I hope we’ve piqued your interest in this complex and flexible system, and that you will put your newfound knowledge towards producing massively dangerous and destructive critters.

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