Soul Hackers 2 breathes life into a forgotten series. It’s also a unique game that features strong characters like Ringo, an AI obsessed with human culture, and begins with an interesting premise. It offers conventional JRPG combat, but the game is dripping with style born from cyberpunk. The game is a strange mixture of depth and shallowness.
While the characters at first seem like they will be interesting to follow, by the game’s end, most of them feel a bit unrealized. And while the gameplay style is nothing new, underneath everything there are some small and charming details as well as Easter eggs that suggest a great deal of thought was put into the making of this game.
8/8 Shipping Containers
Soul Hackers 2 starts in a freight yard. The player guides both Ringo and Arrow through the area, where each of the containers includes references to other Atlus games. Orange containers in the game bear the word, “SHACKER”, which is almost certainly a reference to the series title. These containers also include a 4-letter prefix on the upright right, which read SHAC.
In the shipping industry, these prefixes act as an abbreviation of the name of the company shipping the container. The area also features green containers with the abbreviation DVS, which likely stands for Devil Summoner, which is another entry in the Megami Tensei franchise.
Blue containers in the game bear the abbreviation MTS, which likely stands for Megami Tensei which is how the series games were labeled in the West. At the side of MTS containers, you can find the prefix MTSA. Through goroawase, a type of wordplay involving homophones, you can arrive at sekaju, which is the Japanese word for Yggdrasil, or the Norse world tree.
The second half of the word leads to meikyū, which is the Japanese word for labyrinths or dungeons. When sekaju and meikyū are combined, this form the same title as Atlus’s Etrian Odyssey. As a result, the freight yard contains several references to Atlus games.
7/8 Ringo’s Name
Ringo is a recently born being and an agent of Aion who is curious about the human world and its culture. She comes to Earth along with her partner, Ringo, to save the Earth. If you pick up on Biblical themes in Soul Hackers 2, you are not the only one.
The Japanese word for “apple” is Ringo, while “Fig” is an abbreviation of the word, fig. Consequently, the two sisters in this game are purposefully meant to evoke the story of Adam and Eve.
6/8 Milady’s Name
Milady is a Devil Summoner who ultimately helps out Ringo and Figue in the game. A member of the Phantom Society, Milady is killed for uncertain reasons and later resurrected by Ringo through soul hacking. Milady is a calm and logical thinker.
Milady shares a name with a character in Atlus’s Persona series. Milady’s name also sounds a lot like “Melody”. Another famous Milady is Alexander Dumas’ Milady deWinter, who appears in The Three Musketeers. In the book, Milady de Winter is a spy for Cardinal Richeliu. Milady ends up involved in a plot with the Queen’s diamonds then an assassination attempt. Much of Milady’s themes revolve around vengeance, which is startlingly similar to Milady in Soul Hackers 2 who is motivated to seek revenge in the game.
5/8 Achieving The True Ending
Soul Hackers 2 offers a true ending, which the game does not tell you how to achieve. Additionally, to obtain 100% completion in the game, you must unlock the true ending to obtain the “Paradise Lost” achievement. This then can be used to unlock the ultimate achievement in the game. If you really enjoy the game or want to know how it truly ends, this is an ending worth pursuing.
To obtain the true ending, you must make sure that each of your three characters has reached a soul level of 100 or above. At least three of the characters must have completed each of their Axis dungeons. Later, in the 24th Municipal Tower, you will converse with four characters. In response to each character, you must answer “I don’t”. After beating the game’s final boss, you must then pick the “Reach out to her” option to achieve the true ending.
4/8 Breaking Mart
Four shows are viewed as comprising television’s second golden age including The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad. The series increased gradually from its premiere to last season. Eventually, Breaking Bad won back-to-back Emmys during its last two seasons. Breaking Bad had an influence on all sorts of entertainment, and people across the world fell in love with the series including the creators of Soul Hackers 2.
In the district where you can find Delamancha, you will also find Breaking Mart. While the reference might not be immediately apparent, when you see how the shop’s logo is written, it becomes clear that Breaking Mart was purposefully written in the same style as Breaking Bad. This TV show reference is easy to miss.
3/8 The Purpose Of Stack Optimization
The explanation of Stack Optimization in Soul Hackers 2 is easy to misunderstand. As a result, players often proceed through the game without understanding the exact role of Stack Optimization in Soul Hackers 2. Stack Optimization is a skill that increases your stack gains when serving damage by 1. The effect of stack optimization combines with other stack skills.
While stack optimization might not be helpful to everyone, it certainly has its uses.
If stack optimization is placed on Saizo in addition to a zan skill, debuffs, and heals, in certain fights you can use several additional stacks to condense damage and optimize for better defense. Stack optimization also might be a good idea if you construct a team whose Sabbath stacks reset with each turn.
2/8 Don Quixote
In the Karakucho district, players can find a store called Delamancha. In Spanish, this translates to “From” La Mancha. De Cervantes’ titular character Don Quixote is also referred to as the man “of” La Mancha. As a result, this store’s title is almost certainly a reference to the novel. Don Quixote is about a man who reads so many books about knights that he begins to believe he too is a knight errand who is saving his country.
A comment in the game informs you that Saizo is a frequent shopper of the discount store where consumable items can be purchased. Saizo is a romantic and dreamer at heart and shares some similarities with Don Quixote.
1/8 What The Magazutite Symbol Means
The meaning of the Magazutite symbol is explained early in the game, but then never again. As a result, it’s easy for players to miss on what this symbol means. Magazutite is a currency in the game that the player can use to purchase Mistiques. Mistiques are items that can be purchased in-game that can be utilized to improve a Summoner’s proficiency for certain skills.
As players proceed through they game, they are sometimes awarded Mistiques too. Some of the things that you can do with Mistiques include reduce MP consumption and increase augments. The stronger the Mistique, the stronger your character will need to be to use it.
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