Shin Megami Tensei is basically a stamp of excellence, both in storytelling and gameplay the way I see it. Digital Devil Saga lived up to that, wowing me with its gameplay and deep storyline. The gameplay is extremely hard- experienced RPG fans will find themselves losing and losing, unable to understand exactly why. This is not a Final Fantasy-in other words, a easy for everyone, RPG (excluding FFXII, haven't played).
Instead, it requires a great deal of patience and planning. Weaknesses MUST be exploited or you will lose, not only in boss battles but also in random encounters. You must also cover your own, because of the unique press turn system. Everytime your weaknesses are exploited, the enemy gains another round of attacking. I won't go into detail here, but if you miss or hit a null on the opponent, you lose two turns. Turns are very crucial, so if you mess up once, you can just fail in a battle easily. But, if you hit their weakness, you'll gain a turn. It's more complicated by this, but I'll leave that to you when you play, especially with flashing/stationary icons and the numerous skill systems.
The story is great but very hard to follow. Note that this game is the first out of two games-the sequel explains much of the first. So, don't try to figure everything out in the first, instead question all you can and keep those questions for the second. The party members look weird at first. You have Heat, the badass grenade launching guy with the Atma that turns him into Agni. Argilla, rifle aiming emotional woman with a freaky Atma indeed. Gale, the logical tactician and Cielo, the happy go lucky guy with a sweet Atma. Lastly we have the emotionless (or is he?) silent protagonist Serph, with the
What is Atma? Why, it's the mark that lets you turn into your demon form, what you fight in during battles. Demon form?
Well, I won't spoil that...but all I'll say is that the maxim in the intro is true. Kill...devour...slaughter your enemies. You must feed to survive, child of purgatory.