Introduction ~ Danger vers (US) / Introduction ~ Pray vers (EU/JP)
Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner is a pretty cool duology for the PS2, that was released in 2004/5 to the point where both games were released only around 5-6 months apart from each other. No matter how you slice it, it's pretty clearly one game that was split into two in the vein of things like Golden Sun and White Knight Chronicles.
Unlike those, however, this one isn't complete unmitigated dogshit. Admittedly, I may not be the most impartial person (see below) but hey. It has nice music, nicer design ideas even if I do dislike some of the later dungeons conceptually.
It uses Hindu mythology above all others for its main plotline. And I don't just mean the usual Shiva or Vishnu or what have you. This convention doesn't extend to everything, though; the main characters have quite possibly the laziest naming scheme imaginable (you'll see). Even more plot relevant stuff sometimes dips its toes into other mythological lines for a break or (in at least one memorable instance) for what I can only hope is a terrible, terrible gag.
Naturally, this will cover both games because it'd be weird and pointless to stop halfway through. And even though NG+ (which is a thing; it's mandatory for something... very special too!) lets you do silly things right out of the gate, that's not as fun to me so I won't be doing that. At least not at first. Be starting fresh, and then working up to the wackier antics.
Oh, and in 2011, a book called Quantum Devil Saga was released. I haven't read it, but there is an English translation available, albeit only for Avatar Tuner Vol. 1 (of 5), that was just released in July this year. Maybe it's good, but who knows. It was written by Yu Godai who was the original scenario writer for the games, but she had to quit for "health reasons" (quote marks because that's just a catch-all excuse that seems to be used every time someone quits suddenly). It's not quite a 1-to-1 adaptation of the games, but, again, I haven't read it.
At times, you might notice some stuff next to links. Should be obvious, but just to be safe:
These are videos. Where possible, you should definitely just watch these.
These are music tracks. Using Integral since it has both DDS1 and 2's stuff on it, and more from each game than their separate ones too. Hurray!
Anahata (Part One)
Anahata (Part Two)
Manipura ~ The Second Movement
Co-Ordinate 136 (Part One)
Co-Ordinate 136 (Part Two)
Co-Ordinate 136 (Part Thr-Hee)
Svadhisthana ~ The Second Movement
Samsara Tunnels ~ The Second Movement
The Si Xiang
Yellow Dragon and Silver Wings
The End of the Junkyard
New Game+ ~ The Demi-Fiend
Random Encounters plague the thread! (by blankd)
Internment Facility (Part One)
Internment Facility (Part Two)
Karma Society Tower (Part One)
Karma Society Tower (Part Two)
Karma Society Tower (Part Three)
The EGG Facility (Part One)
The EGG Facility (Part Two)
The Power Plant (Part One)
The Power Plant (Part Two)
The Corrupt EGG Installation
Five Years Before
Airport (Part One)
Airport (Part Two)
The Third and Fourth Layers
The Fifth and Sixth Layers
Conquest, Destruction, Preservation and War
Mantras are an important aspect of these games. It's basically just a giant grid what costs money to activate stuff on. It's also how you get skills. There's a grid for each person, and their names are written in the bottom corner but it might be a mite hard to read. So their portraits are also on the grid for easier visual reference.
The top section is Physical skills, the middle bit is Magical skills and the bottom bit is also magical skills but it mostly focuses on buffs and debuffs along with instant death stuff and there's some very special stuff here and there. The further to the right it is, the more money it costs, the more advanced it is and there's some incredibly silly shit at the far end. Grey is mastered, blue is available but not obtained yet and yellow is currently active.
There's no shorthand and easy way to tell what mantra contains what this time around, unfortunately. It just circles out from the center; mostly the top and top-right are physicals and hunts, whereas everything else is a spell of some kind. As it gets further out, it becomes clearer (force to the right, fire to the bottom etc.) but its not a perfect thing by any means.