Dashing Nerds would like to thank Bandai Namco for the review code so that we could cover this title!
Another year, another Digimon game. This time, it’s Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory, a follow up to the 2016 title of the same name (minus the Hacker’s Memory part). While Digimon may never again have a solid cartoon in place that is as captivating and interesting as the first 3 seasons, their video game presence keeps getting stronger, and fans keep clamoring for more.
That’s why, when I heard about a new Cyber Sleuth game, I was instantly in.
In case you missed it, I reviewed the first installment with a final score of 9.5. Pretty damn near perfect. It was fresh, had a great battle system, and carried a pretty engaging storyline. This new title, however, seems a little… copy and paste.
What needs to be pointed out from the top is that Hacker’s Memory takes place at the same time and location as the first game. You are essentially going to be seeing a ton of the same characters, places, Digimon, and even plot points as you did in the first Cyber Sleuth game. Previous characters you don’t see will only be mentioned or alluded to, which kind of sucks. I was expecting a few new features, new maps, maybe battle system tweaks, and we did get some, but overall, it literally feels like the exact same game. Now don’t get me wrong, the first game was amazing because of its systems and features, but they could have expanded and built upon what already worked.
The Digimon selection, while still large, was only increased by 100 new characters. Most of these are very late-stage evolutions. If you know the universe, there are over 2,800 Digimon. While it’s unrealistic to get anywhere near all of them in one game, there could have been more. But this all goes back to my point about repetition. Digilab? Same. Menu system? Same. Farm system? Same. Now, taking that all into account, there is a different storyline and a few new features that I want to discuss.
Plotting it Out
Your character this time around is a boy who, I kid you not, is seeking revenge on a hacker that stole his EDEN account. Yes, you become a hacker to find the hacker that hacked you to hack him back. You join a hacking group known as Hudie, which is basically some guys left over from Jude (that group from the last game). In Hudie, you’ll get some more backstory on events that weren’t previously explained. If you played Cyber Sleuth number 1, then this adds some cool unknown story elements. If you haven’t, this story means absolutely nothing to you. But honestly, I almost think this game is better for people who haven’t played the first title; everything you do would be brand new to you. So while you’ll get plot context, returning players will end up using the phrase “Hey! This happened in the first game!”.
So, you end up cooperating with this Hudie group, but they have their own issues. They are working with a lot of the people who you previously worked against in the first game. Think of Hacker’s Memory as the other side of the story of the first game.
What I really liked about this game is they made some changes as to how you track and accept missions. Unlike the initial title, Hacker’s Memory gives you missions from a central hub PC and lets you know what you are supposed to be doing via your player menu. You must complete so many side missions before getting another main mission and advancing your story. This really helps with flow and can put you back on the right path, even if you have put the game down for a while. That was my one complaint with the first Cyber Sleuth, so this mission tracking update was a welcome addition.
One of the other main changes is the addition of a new battle system called “Domination”. In this sequence, you fight enemies and their teams of Digimon on a virtual game board. The objective is to capture points by moving and defeating your opponents until you reach a certain score. First team to reach that score wins. The big downfall of Domination is that it takes a bit of time to beat and you get 0 experience from completing it. Experience is what keeps your ‘mon leveling up and evolving, so this feels like a huge oversight.
Other than that, there are a couple new maps. Nothing really jumps out as a new and exciting feature that is worth buying the game for.
Is the Same Really That Bad?
It all comes down to this question; is making the same game really that bad? When the first title was such a huge success, it kind of makes sense to carry over all the elements that made it a hit, right? I loved Cyber Sleuth and I like Hacker’s memory a lot, even though nearly everything is familiar. Making the game easier to follow is a huge plus that is really only taken down slightly by the emptiness of the Domination battles.
As a fan, you will still have fun with this game. You’ll collect, evolve, farm, and quest for hours (even if it’s begrudgingly) because you are a fan. You are a fan of the games, you are a fan of the story, and you are a fan of Digimon. Next time, Bandai Namco, switch it up a little bit for us fans. Please?
- Same solid systems
- Same great battle
- Fixed quest system
- Other side of the story
- Almost the same everything
- New battle system isn't rewarding