Digimon began as Bandai’s line of Tamagotchi V-Pets for Boys, and has since led to many fantastic anime, and games. Unfortunately, due to timing, the series carries a misconception of being a Pokémon rip off, when that couldn’t be further from the truth, and hinders the series from becoming massively popular. As a result, Digimon has gained a strong but niche following. The games eventually stopped trickling West, and for some time, Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth was believed to may never get a chance to see the light of day in receiving a localization. Long time fans petitioned (Operation Decoded) and begged Bandai Namco to bring over the series, and then it happened…Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth digitized overseas and to Western gamers.
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth takes place in a world where cyberspace is far more integrated into human society, in the form of a virtual space called EDEN. However, lurking beneath the wondrous cyberspace, trouble is brewing, and the heroes quickly find themselves caught in the conflict.
If you’re into manga and anime, then you probably recognize the art style right off the bat. It’s easily distinguishable and has a certain flair. If you’re not familiar or can’t quite place it, then perhaps you may know some of Cybe Sleuth’s artist’s notable works, which include Durarara!!, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 1+2, Digimon World Re:Digitize, and DanMachi.
Personally, I’m a fan of Suzuhito Yasuda’s style of work, and it’s absolutely gorgeous to look at on the PSVita, and the PS4.
The game plays very similar to a Shin Megami Tensei game, and is a dungeon crawler, where you will have random encounters with Digimon. Battles are turn-based, and turn orders are influence by stats (mainly speed) and status effects. The strength and weakness system is pretty straight forward, and if that’s too difficult to follow, the game will show you different colored circles to let you know when to proceed.
During each battle, you collect data on the Digimon you’re fighting, and when you gather enough data of the same Digimon, you can convert it to the Digimon.
Story and Characters
Keeping true to the franchise, Digimon often tells a story about growing up, overcoming difficulties and real life problems, with Digimon being more of a manifestation of a person’s innerself, almost like a persona. Cyber Sleuth is no exception, and throughout the entire game, you can see the characters grow from acting like children to maturing into adulthood.
For those unfamiliar with the Digimon lore, the whole franchise exists in a multiverse, with each version having their own set of rules. Cyber Sleuth follows suit with its ties into this multiverse.
As for the Cyber Sleuth’s world, it’s more similar to our world, with EDEN/Hackers/Digimon being representations of us and the internet. The whole first half of the game serves as a setup to familiarize the players to understand the concept of hackers, and their relation to Digimon, as well as how it parallels our world. Once that is established, the story quickly picks up and it’s more action than grind.
The game isn’t afraid to break the fourth wall, and crack jokes. The humor can range from hilariously bad responses to self-referential humor. So, just because the story leans towards a mature approach, don’t think it’s not afraid to make a few knocks.
Normal is too easy, while Hard seems to add difficulty by increasing enemy health while giving only slightly better rewards/experience/yen over normal difficulty. The AI doesn’t feel smart. Luckily, you can switch between hard and normal without it affecting any trophy unlocks.
Only 242 Digimons
The Digimon franchise consist of over 1000 Digimon (but a good chunk of them are sort variations/different forms). Cyber Sleuth focuses more on the popular ones, and the ones more known to players who’ve seen the popular anime series, namely Adventure 1 and 2, Tamers, and Savers. However, the game’s goal is to attract non-Digimon fans, as well as appealing to Digimon fans. So, while the Digimon represented are decent picks, the game could have done better.
Raising Digimon Unclear
Cyber Sleuth does a poor job at familiarizing players with the ins and outs of Digimon stats, digivolving/de-digivolving, Digifarm, ABI, CAM, and so on. The grind itself may seem brutal until you do your research on the internet, or *shiver* read through the entire tutorial guide.
Anyway, ABI is gained by de-digivolving and digivolving. CAM is gained by having the Digimon in the battle field at the end of the fight (or throw digi meat at it/use friendship). Building the perfect Digimon is more for online battles.
The game has typos and odd grammar structure in the dialogues. However, part of the fault lies with how the game is coded, and as a result, the game engine spits out confusing dialogues.
One of the most noticeable issues is references to the main character. In Japanese, you can use gender neutral pronouns but not so with English. So the translation sometimes will refer to male characters as she, while female characters as he.
But this also leads to hilarious dialogues.
Blank Slate Main Character?
The protagonist is meant to be a blank slate, but the story pretty much establishes the main character is something for the players to relate to. Other times, it feels like the player is the plot device itself, and only serves to push the story forward. In fact, it feels less about who the player is, and more about all the characters around the player. “Oh hey MC, please fight for me!” “Thank you MC for coming with me!” “MC, so what you’re really saying is that we should go here and do this!”
You never have a true voice, and other characters speak for you most of the time. Then there are the automatic tone deaf generic responses, which most people wouldn’t say.
Cross save is useful, especially if you have both versions. In fact, it works really well. Just go to save, press triangle, and upload your save file.
So why do I find it mixed? Well, for starters, you better have the DLC downloads on both versions (The DLCs are NOT crossbuy!). If you have DLC on one version, and not the other, you get this nice message:
Can’t Skip Cutscene/Fast Forward Dialogues
This can be annoying if you ever need to replay certain aspects of the game. Why would you need to replay certain aspects? No autosave. So reminder: save frequently.
No Real Choice
Once in a while, Cyber Sleuth asks you to pick a choice. It really doesn’t matter what you pick since the response will generally be the same. Why bother? I’m not really sure.
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth is a good game, and is made for both Digimon fans, and non-Digimon fans alike.
After playing both versions, on the PSVita, and PS4, you can’t go wrong with either. The PS4 has slightly nicer graphics, and faster load times. The PSVita version is portable, and can play online with Japanese players.
And if you buy now digitally before the end of February, you can still get the launch bundle which includes BlkAugumon, BlkAugumon, and all their digivoluton line (the dlc is the only way to get Omnimon Zwart), Kerpymon Vice, and Beezlebumon BM.