Digimon are Still the Champions
By Ryan Weiser
With Pokémon fans gearing up to celebrate the 20th anniversary, Digimon fans are grabbing their digivices and D-terminals for the 15th anniversary. To celebrate, Bandai Namco entertainment released “Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth” on PlayStation Vita in March 2015 in Japan, and on the PlayStation 4 in February 2016, in North America and Europe.
Since 1999, Bandai has been making Digimon shows, movies, and video games to keep their fans hanging on. With news of the new series “Digimon Adventure Tri” being pushed back, the release of “Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth” in North America has kept western fans satiated for the time being.
Featuring a futuristic Japan, and an online world called Eden, “Cyber Sleuth” takes the player into a reality where the line separating the real world and the digital world is getting thinner everyday. The player is attacked one day while connected to Eden and is transformed into an entity of pure data allowing them to become a hacker using digimon as programs of hope or destruction.
After choosing your starter digimon from a list of three, you are slowly brought into the world of detective work in a time where cybercrime is at an all time high. As the story progresses, the player starts to see the digital world leaking into the real world.
Overall, reviews for the game are positive with Metacritic and GameRankings giving the game 76 out of 100 and a 77% average, respectively. As a player and longtime fan, I would rate the game higher, but these scores are quite fair.
While the game is very nostalgic, there are some things that are too played out. In their review, Destructoid claimed the game to be “either deliciously or inexcusably old school, depending on your tastes.” This was in reference to the game’s use of classic turn-based battles, which is definitely not for everyone.
As a tried and true formula, Digimon has taken certain elements from the Pokémon franchise. With 242 digimon to capture, there is a real feeling of “Gotta catch ‘em all!” While this is not necessary, it is a great post-game side quest.
While playing the main story, the player is tasked with solving cases for people in-game. These cases can range from finding lost items to defeating powerful enemies, and usually reward the player with money, items and experience points.
Training your digimon is more intense as you are given a party team, a farm team, and many individual stats to focus on. The game features the ability to digivolve and de-digivolve your digimon to gain the right combination of stats to your liking.
Digivolution is different, in comparison, to Pokémon’s evolution because all digivolution is hidden behind levels and certain stat conditions to be met for all digimon, instead of the single stat methods known to Pokémon fans. While this may seem complicated, a huge key to understanding lies within the “ability” stat, which can only be increased by de-digivolving into a previous form, a unique feature of Digimon.
“Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth” features a large cast of digimon, fantastic storytelling, great dialogue, and amazing references. For fans of the show Gigantor, a replica statue was included as a backdrop to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the original manga. Other references include Kiss, Pokémon, and Batman.
While the game is great, there are some drawbacks to be addressed. The random encounters system can be frustrating as you are forced to go through lower level dungeons a tedious amount of times. While there is a way to stop these battles, it is not so simple as using a purchasable item.
As you play through “Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth,” remember that this is a much better formula than previous “Digimon World” series games.
With pros and cons accounted for, I have still put 70 plus hours into game play in the first two weeks of release without even finishing the main story. With new game plus mode waiting over the horizon, this nostalgic game has plenty of replayability, and will definitely keep fans waiting on baited breath for the third installation of “Digimon Adventure.”