You all know what Digimon is, they are Digital Monsters that range from cute ball of soot to world ending Lovercraftian horror. Recently, Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth was released for PS4 and the PS Vita. The game was made by Bandai Namco and was released February of 2016. As I love going around collecting monsters, I had to try this one out.
My history with the Digimon series has been unstable at best. I LOVED the original anime when it first came out. Watched every episode and recorded it on my VHS. Then it slowly faded away. And it has been years since I thought about Digimon so I thought this may the game to hook me back into the series.
Protagonist is a person that likes to do online chatting. After a series of events, s/he becomes a half cyber person, assistant detective, and a hacker. The character is supposed to be a blank slate, but usually has a really dumbfounded face, like they are completely lost in the conversation. Strangely, it feels like the game assumes you are playing as the male character, even though I chose to play as the female version.
Shiramine Nokia is a girl you meet in cyberspace of EDEN. She is loud and can be pretty obnoxious, I like that. She is very arrogant to a lot of people, but she has one saving grace. She is head over heels for Agumon and Gabumon and cares a lot for Digimons and their freedom. She finds them adorable and wants to protect them at all cost.
Sanada Arata is a hacker that becomes friends with the Protagonist and Nokia. He has a badass Digimon as well. He is pretty chill. He tries to act really cool, but sometimes his more nerdy and dorky side comes out. Unlike the protagonist and Nokia, he is an experienced hacker and seems to have some idea of what is going on.
Kuremi Kyoko is a lady who more or less kidnaps and employs the protagonist. She is a detective and is your boss that tells you to do the next quest. She makes these terrible coffee jokes throughout the whole game, and that is awful. She drones on and on about some stuff I could care less like the term “fishy”…. Can you tell I was not a fan of this character?
It’s a Digimon story, take a guess what the story would be. Yes, that story you had is the exact story for this game. The real world and the digital world are colliding together and Digimon are appearing everywhere. There may be a big corporation meddling with the Digimon to make this happen. It is about a Digimon story as Digimon can get.
Like most cyber-real-world crossovers, people who are hurt in the digital world fall to this “sickness” called EDEN Syndrome. This idea has been done to death…. most recently from anime Sword Art Online. So yeah, this is a thing that happens in this world.
The combat is what you would expect from Pokemon. It is 3 on 3 battles where the monsters have rock-paper-scissors type combat. There are 2 factors for each Digimon, the elemental attribute of the Digimon as well as Digimon Type. Elemental Attribute is exactly same as Pokemon: Water beats Fire, Fire beats Grass, Grass beats Water. Digimon type is similar but is more significant: Vaccine beat Virus, Virus beats Data, Data beats Vaccine, and Free gives no fucks.
So if a Fire Vaccine uses fire attack on Grass Virus, it would do triple damage, where as if Fire Vaccine attacked Grass Virus, it would only do x1.5 damage. So aligning your elemental attribute as well as Digimon type is crucial in battling. From my experience, aligning the Digimon type is more important than aligning elemental attribute.
The more interesting aspect of the game for me was the Digivolve/ De-Digivolve system. Unlike Pokemon where evolution only works one way, the Digimons are more flexible in that they usually have multiple evolutions as well as de-evolutions. Above is an evolution tree for Botamon I found on Reddit, check out the original article here. As you can see, Some of them makes sense like Agumon becoming Greymon, but others don’t like Agumon becoming Poop-mon.
Although the combat is really simple, I do like the vaccine-virus-data system on top of the elemental attributes. So all Digimon fall into one of four categories: Virus, Vaccine, or Data. Vaccine destroys Virus, Virus destroys Data, and …. Data destroys Vaccine, ok. This adds one more layer to just having elemental attributes, and I liked that. Oh, there is Free type that gives no fucks about any of these, and are almost always a pain in the ass to deal with. If you are familiar with Pokemon, you would fit right at home.
All of the Digimons look fantastic. Exactly as how I remembered them. And there are whopping over 200 varieties here. And they use color swaps for certain Digimon, but it made more sense in this game compared to some others who do this. And there is a little details like how the characters have a pink outline around them if they are in the Digital World opposed to not having that outline in the real world.
I like to relax and grind in an area, it calms me down. After long day of work and I want to turn my brain off. For this reason, I LOVE Disgaea. And this game does help people who want to power level with good farming areas and items and abilities to boost EXP gains. For those who want to get high levels fast, look for Tactician USB and Platinum Numemon. This will save you hours of grinding.
There is a lot of problems with this game… Here we go.
The graphics are pretty underwhelming. I think this is because this also came out for the PS Vita and they support Cross Saves. So for the game to work on both PS4 and Vita, they had to compromise on some graphics. These graphics look similar or worse than what was presented in SMT Nocturne, and that came out on the PS2. Bigger problem than graphics is the aesthetics of the environment. I have never been bored this much from the level design as well as environment design. ALL the environment in this game look meh at best and severely disappointing, does not help you literally cannot look around it as there is no way to turn the camera.
Yes, the camera is fixed. I do not understand this at all. Why can I not turn the camera?! There were items that I almost missed, or possibly strategically placed to be hidden, just because of the camera. Sure Silent Hill had fixed camera, but they were technologically limited, BUT they used it to make the atmosphere a lot more interesting. The camera cannot turn and the things you see are just meh. The digital world, and the real world, are nothing to boast about. They are meh to look at and not impressive in any way shape or form.
So much of the conversations in this game can be thrown away. There was literally windows of dialogue talking about the word “fishy”. I usually do not like to blaze through conversations in games, but with this game I had to. If the dialogues were slimmed out and removed the useless garbage, I think the writing would have been better. To make things worse, those rare times when the player is prompted to make dialogue choices, most of them either don’t matter or only has one option. What is even the point of giving an option! These are absolutely some of the worst dialogue choices I have ever seen. People complain about Telltale games’ dialogue options, but seeing this makes Telltale’s worst choices look like masterpieces.
There is also this thing where NPCs and your Digimon you have send you text messages. At first I thought it was cute, but this got so ridiculously annoying I threw my controller at my couch, I usually take a real good care of my controllers…. Most of these conversations are optional, and I get that. But more Digimon you get, the more they send texts. So my the end game, every 2 to 3 minutes I get a text from some Digimon I have asking me if people are scary for the 95th time! It was annoying and I wish I could disable this feature…
The story for the game does not get interesting until about the last third of the game. And even then there are so much unimportant dialogue. And if most of those dialogues were useful, say like the Witcher, it would be one thing. But there are so many times where I got nothing out of it other than things I already know or some attempt at poor comedy. Kyoko, your character’s boss has one joke about making bad coffee, and this joke is repeated every time your character finishes a quest and throughout the ENTIRE game. That coffee joke got old as soon as it was said the first time, and all the following ones were just cringe-worthy.
On many MANY occasions in the game, there are these battles you are forbidden to win. Sure some games have one or two times like this, but this game has way too much of it. I got used to and annoyed by this, so when I get into a boss battle and do 0 damage, I just give up and waste my turns until some Deux-Ex-Machina character comes to save me because that was in the script. If I was not meant to win, why not make this a cut scene? It is more frustrating knowing that I can easily beat the boss I was scripted to lose to. My team is all lvl 99 and in their Mega-form, and I fight and lose to the boss without doing ANY damage because it was scripted to. Then when I fight that exact same boss again, and my team did not change as they are already maxed out, I beat the boss in 2 turns flat. If they give me a reason to lose, like in Devil Survivor again Beldur (he is invincible to all things in the world except for this tree branch, so you had to find this branch to kill him) I would be acceptable of it. Or better yet, have an alternative dialogue if the player wins like how all Disgaea games do. There are too many of these, they make no sense, and makes me feel like I wasted SP and items for no damn reason.
I am going to talk about length here, god…. this was atrocious. How did this game take me longer to finish than either of Digital Devil Saga!! I finished the game in about 55 hours, sure I did some grinding here and there, but this game was WAY too long. If this game was about 10 to 15 hours shorter, it would have been a nice and sweet, but it went on and on and on. And that ending, oh god. Like Lord of the Rings, this game has like 6 endings. Not different routes, but one ending after another. I was so bored by the all the cliche endings this game threw at me. Thank god it is finally over.
- Will I play this again? Definitely not. There are better RPGs of this nature out there. I would recommend Pokemon games over this, or SMT Nocturne as they seem to have tighter mechanics and story.
- Do I recommend this? No. The only people who I think would enjoy this are people like me who grew up with the original anime series or hardcore fans. This game has neither great story nor great gameplay for me to recommend this.
- Overall thoughts? If this had a sequel that improved on the foundation made here, I think that would be a real solid game. As it is now, it leaves a lot to be desired.
But I have to face it, the real value for me here is just nostalgia, and this nostalgia did get me through the entire game. I wanted to collect all the Digimon from my childhood like WarGreymon, Omnimon, Diaboromon, and so on. But I don’t think it will be a lasting long in my collection, in fact I plan on selling it next chance I get.
If it wasn’t bogged down by so many useless dialogue, terrible un-winnable boss battles, jokes that were not funny, and instead had deeper game mechanic and cut down its length, it could have been great. If this game had a sequel that fixed all those things, I think that game would be fantastic. But as it is now, there is no way I can recommend this to anyone who did not have the nostalgia like I did.
Well, that was my review. Have you played this and think I was completely wrong? Let me know in the comments.