Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth is the best damn Pokemon game I have played in years.
Flashback to 1999. I was a nerdy little kid starting his highschool journey. The only things I cared about consisted of being one of the ‘cool’ kids and Pokemon. I remember playing Pokemon Red and Blue for the first time, levelling each of my favourite Pokemon to level 100 and trying for hours to use strength on that damn rock behind the S.S. Anne so I could get a Mew. I remember thinking, “they should make a 3rd person Pokemon game! That would be AWESOME!”.
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth brings that dream closer to reality than ever before. It captures everything I loved about the Pokemon games in an exciting, new way and gives the familiar formula a fresh coat of paint for what could very well be my favourite RPG in recent years.
I am currently around 15 hours into Digimon and the story is slow to start. I won’t comment too much on the writing or character development, as I don’t think I have seen enough to have a firm opinion. From the dribs and drabs I have been fed so far though, I’m giving it a pass, albeit being a very ‘anime’ storyline.
Depending on whether you chose the male or female protagonist at the beginning of the game, you will play as either Takumi Aiba or Ami Aiba, male and female Japanese hackers, respectively. From here you are introduced to Cyberspace Eden, a virtual reality version of the internet. Defying logic, Cyberspace Eden is a stark, clean place. Filled with bright neon colours, large empty spaces and considering this is the internet, a surprising lack of violence, stupidity and depravity. After receiving your Digimon Capture device and coming across an ‘eater’ in the lower levels of Eden, your body becomes half digitized and you are transformed into a half internet person, half person, person. This allows you to travel to and from Cyberspace Eden from various terminals throughout the real world. Like I said, it’s a very ‘anime’ storyline.
As far as negatives go, environmental design is the games largest. Cyberspace Eden is supposed to be a bustling, online, virtual reality, yet it feels empty and lifeless. The ‘real world’ is static and lacks that heartbeat, that feeling of warmth and realism that other games manage to give their cities.
None of this matters in the end though, because really, when it comes to capture games like Pokemon and Digimon, who gives a shit about the storyline anyway? Or the character development? Or the environments? We just want to catch ’em all! Thankfully, Digimon fully delivers in this category, creating one of the most entertaining and addictive capture and evolution gameplay experiences I have ever had. Capturing monsters in Digimon is a little different to other games you may have played in the capture RPG genre; In order to catch one of the adorable little digital monsters, you have to scan the monster repeatedly, until you have the ‘digital DNA’ of the Digimon. Then you can simply create one inside the DigiLab! Scanning a digimon happens automatically at the beginning of a battle, so battling any given monster a couple of times means you can shoot off to the digilab and create one for yourself. You are also able to create a stronger version of the Monster by scanning the digimon past the usual 100% needed and instead reaching 200%.
I’ll admit here that I have never been a Digimon fan, I haven’t seen the anime or any of the movies. (although, I’m considering watching the anime now) So every single Digimon in this game, I am seeing for the first time. With the exception of Togemon, a giant cactus wearing boxing gloves. Pretty sure I have seen him before, or maybe I’m just thinking of Cactuar from the Final Fantasy series. In any case, the design of each digimon is great, they look superb and animate well in battle. It’s also really cool to see the 3 digimon you chose to be in your party following you around Eden. At the time of this writing, I have seen around 70 digimon, of the 250 available in the game and each one has been cool and unique in its own way. Whether looking at Leomon, who appears to be the lovechild of He-Man and a lion. Or Nanimon, who looks like someone interbred Hulk Hogan and the Cool Aid Man. Each Digimon is imaginative, colourful, interesting and to be honest, better designed than most of the Pokemon I have seen. (especially some of the newer ones, I’m looking at you, Klefki)
The game has a New Game + mode available and from what I can gather it is primarily there for trophy completion. So replayability depends greatly on how much you enjoy the game and want to go for the platinum trophy. Which, according to online sources, should take around 100 hours.
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth is an engaging, addictive, monster capture RPG. The slow and (at times) rather uninteresting storyline is pleasantly offset by incredible Digimon design and a smart capture/evolve system. The unbelievable and empty world means that you won’t be ohh’ing and ahh’ing at your surroundings, but if you are like me and still waiting for that Pokemon experience, perfected in a Next-Gen console, then Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth is the closest you are going to get.
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth