Well, after battling both demons and angels for a little over forty-five minutes, after losing every single team save for P-san’s, after constant spamming of gun-run-heal tactics, I finally did it. Victory was mine, earned with sweat, devotion, new strategies, the use of the Drain skill, and various sacrifices. I beat that mission in Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner Overclocked that has repeatedly kicked my ass these last few days, constructing a roadblock of sorts. With the angels and demons defeated, P-san and his friends Atsuro, Yuzu, and Midori escaped the lockdown, bringing Honda and his frantic buddies along with us for good measure. Y’all welcome.
However, immediately upon exiting, a strange lighting storm appears over the lockdown. The angels, who P-san was beginning to side with, declared that the lockdown was a failure and decided to kill everyone inside it with lightning. Pew pew pew. For those outside the lockdown–namely, P-san and friends and remaining family members–the angels have declared humanity to be in default of their responsibilities as children of God, and an angelic army appears to enslave the world. Anyone who is not immediately subservient is killed outright, and the remainder are stripped of their free will. This is all told via text on the screen, which is then promptly followed by the words “Mission Failed,” sending you back to the main menu to load from a previous save.
It’s heart-wrenching, and not necessarily from a storyline perspective, but the suddenness of a GAME OVER screen after all that story and choice and time spent battling monsters and trying to survive to live another half hour really does leave something to be desired. I mean, this whole time, we’re trying to escape the lockdown, and now you get the chance to, and if you do it YOU LOSE. The logic behind is severely flawed. Evidently, you are supposed to the fight demons and angels and then attack the humans to break their COMPs while also protecting them from the previously mentioned angels and demons who can, in one hit, take them out, and any civilian dying is a mission fail status. So the easiest option of kill everything and run for it results in death, despair, and dropping you back to the start screen.
Evidently, there are six endings in Devil Summoner Overclocked, and of them, one is literally called “the Early Bad Ending,” which is obtained by breaking through the barricades of the Lockdown on Day 6 and escaping after defeating both the angels and demons in your way. I had no idea about this as I played; I was just playing, making the choices that seemed right and logical, like escaping the demon-filled lockdown at first chance. For that, I felt like I should have been rewarded, but instead I was punished.
When the “Mission Failed” text came up, I literally started at it for over a minute, mouth agape and heart-rate increasing. I just couldn’t believe it. This game loves to waste your time and test your patience, and despite how patient I actually am, I’m over it. I took Devil Summoner Overclocked out of my 3DS and tossed it back into my cartridge bag; now, if I was truly over it, I would have put the cartridge back in its case and then on the shelf to sit untouched for the remainder of days. But there’s a sick part of me. It’s hungry and demanding and greedy and covered in dirt. There’s a sickness within me, and this side still wants to see how things are supposed to go down (or one of five possibilities) before deeming the experience over. I mean, after thirty-seven hours am I just suppose to accept an early bad ending as the final say in this story? Especially now that I know what I’m supposed to do to “beat” the mission correctly.
I’ll try again, I will. Devil Summoner Overclocked and I just need some space, the kind you build after everything breaks down. I’ll end this fail-driven blog post by quoting Nick Hornby’s fail-driven High Fidelity, which I think does a good job of summing up this Day 6 battle set on the fringe of the lockdown that literally tore me apart: “What went wrong? Nothing and everything.”