I was a child of the 90’s; I remember the feuds between Digimon and Pokemon fans. These fandoms were mostly divided, but I found a place in my nerdy little heart for both of them. But Digimon slowly faded into obscurity in the US, while Pokemon thrived on. Little known to us in the States, Digimon stayed strong in Japan with new anime, manga, and card games. Most recently, a new game called Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth was released. Originally an Asia only release, fans of the series in the US begged and pleaded for a localization, and we got just what we wanted.
Welcome to the Digital World
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth is a turned based strategy game where you helm a team of Digimon to help you solve mysteries as a Cyber Detective. Travel between real world locations and digital computer networks, jumping into battle at the drop of a hat. What really surprised me is how solid this game is in nearly every aspect, starting with battle.
Your team has three active fighters and several on your bench, depending on how much memory you have for your team (which is increased by completing missions). Digimon can be switched out during the battle, attack, use buff items to heal your team, gain action points (which are used to attack with special moves), or guard to take less damage. Turns are based on the speed of the individual members of your current fighters and turn order is displayed by a graphic on the side of the screen. You can also choose to have the computer battle for you, kind of like an autopilot. The combat is rich and challenging. With over 20 hours in the game, and I haven’t gotten bored of it yet. If my interest wanes, I just hit the option button and have the game play for me!
Another thing I love about the game is the amount of Digimon you can get and the work that needs to be done to obtain some of them. Certain Digimon take a lot of effort to evolve into the team member you want. There are over 250 kinds of mon in Cyber Sleuth, each falling into different types, like Vaccine, Virus, Data, or No Type. Each type has a subset, such as Dragon, Demon, Holy, etc. represented by a color. You could have a red, blue, yellow, green, light blue, grey, white, purple, or brown vaccine Digimon, which has its own weakness for the main type and a weakness for the subtype. If I perfectly match this with my opponent’s weaknesses, my attack ends up doing up to 3x normal damage. Trust me, it sounds like a lot, but I picked up the system rather quickly.
Putting the complexities aside, Digivolution is obscenely satisfying. Right now, I am working on a Lucemon. For those who don’t know, he is a beastly machine disguised as a little angel baby kid. To get him, my Tokomon needs and ability score of 80. How do I improve his ability score you ask? Well all I have to do is EVOLVE HIM AND DE-EVOLVE A MILLION TIMES! This sounds like a pain, but I assure you, it is actually rather fun taking this little guy through different evolution routes and leveling up, only to go all the way back down to increase his score. Encounters are random in dungeons, so it is easy to find things to beat up. And if you need more than random battling to satisfy that craving, there is plenty of story in this game.
Each Digimon has different requirements to meet in order to Digivolve. Some are just bonkers, but good bonkers. Because of the elegantly complex stat system, you are given something to work for, but not something to toil over, making it much more rewarding when you achieve that super awesome ultimate Digimon.
The one thing I will warn about is there is not a single English word spoken in this game. It doesn’t bother me at all, and it shouldn’t for any big JRPG fan, but no English audio means a lot of reading translations. These are normally filled with humor, and sometimes an odd mistranslation. My one qualm is that if you don’t pay super close attention to the translations, you will have no idea what to do when the dialogue is over. This forces a trip to the Digi-Lab to talk to one of the NPCs for a recap and get back on track. Once you are headed in the right direction, there is no shortage of quests. I am currently about 22 hours in and only on chapter 7. I hear there are around 20 chapters and a bunch of side missions, so I have a long way to go.
Oh yeah, there is also an online battle mode where you can pit your team against those of the online world, which is kind of reminiscent of a three way Pokemon Stadium. Throw in the Digimon Farm, where you can raise Digimon who are not currently in your team to increase their level and stats, and you couldn’t really ask for a more complete game from a series that we haven’t been able to dive into for some time.
Digimon are the Champions!
It’s amazing to see Digimon making a little comeback here in the States. Digimon Fusion Anime and the 6 episode OVA were a small taste. Twenty-somethings like me craved more and Cyber Sleuth delivers on every aspect. The game is a throwback to my youth that has countless hours of gameplay, strategy, and possibilities. If you can find it (GameStop was in very, very short supply), this is a definite pick up! Even though the year is still fresh, I can safely say this is my 2016 game of the year so far.
- Fluid Battle
- Massive Amount of Digimon
- A Lot of Play Time
- Robust Stats and Evolution System
- Sometimes Easy to Miss A Cue