Brave New Digital World – Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth Review (PS4)

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Digimon is one of those franchises I was into somewhat as a kid but not that much. I watched the first 2 seasons of the anime then stopped watching and don’t really remember it well. As a result I have no real attachment and am able to view this game objectively and not with the eyes of a longtime fan with expectations. What I knew of this game going in was that it was targeting an older audience. Well if that was the case, then job well done and they succeeded.

Cyber Sleuth takes place in the distant future, where the net has become a fully digitized version of modern life called Cyberspace Eden. Avatars of people do business, hang out, go on dates in a full virtual reality while others do less than honorable things. Our protagonist soon gets drawn into events with the seedy underside of Eden with hackers and events leading them to gain access to Digimon and becoming half digitized themselves and able to travel between the real world and the digital world much easier through terminals.

The gameplay is very much in line with other Mon JRPG games. You collect Digimon and use them in battle but there is a twist. You must battle a Digimon several times in order to get information and data that will allow you to acquire said Digimon. This is a unique take on the genre and actually makes multiple battles something to look forward to, since they bring you closer to the Digimon you want.

Battles are turn based  ( how I prefer most JRPGs) and fun. The battle system has a Rock, Paper, Scissors format where Digimon of one type will be strong against another but weak against yet another. Against a Digimon they are strong against they can do extra damage but if they are against one that they are weak against, then they will do less damage. If this seems confusing, don’t worry. The game helps by giving reminders and an in game system showing which are strong and weak against what type and even giving advice in battle. This is not a case of holding your hand like some might think but something that very much comes in handy during the tougher parts of the game.bt2_back

When you acquire a Digimon or evolve/Digivolve one, they start again at level one. This may seems annoying but is actually very welcome as it forces you to plan strategically on when to digivolve and how to level up. There are areas to leave the Digimon to gain experience while you progress in the game as well so that was a nice touch.

 

The visuals are absolutely amazing. The graphics show off the stunning art design and while the environments might seem a little on the small side, they have plenty to explore and their size actually helps them stand out visually. The game runs at a smooth sixty frames per second and I experienced no slowdown, screen tearing or frame-rate drops at any point. There is a fixed camera that while annoying at a few times, is mostly done well and actually helpful.

 

The music in the game is absolutely fantastic. The battle themes, area themes, sound effects and more are all spot on and fit the mood perfectly. I love it. I was looking for any fault I could find with the sound in this game but in the end I could find none. The sound in the second half of the game in particular is excellent and really fits with what the game becomes thematically in that part.

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I was afraid I wouldn’t understand anything going on in the game given that I am not super familiar with Digimon. Thankfully my fears were for not as the game does not require that much prior knowledge and fills you in on what you need to know. As mentioned above, the developers were targeting an older audience with this game and it shows. In the second half of the game it becomes a much darker game and takes on new themes but it never becomes an alienating premise. I appreciate a game like this a great deal.

If I could say one problem it is that the game can be too easy at times. When you get some of the more powerful Digimon then it becomes extremely easy. Its annoying since the grinding is handled well for the most part. As I understand it previous games had the opposite problem with extreme difficulty due to a reliance on level grinding, but this swung to the other extreme. Its still a good game but the difficulty or lack there of is very surprising. I like when RPGs are difficult ( but not extremely difficult with a requirement to grind) because when an RPG is too easy it takes away the sense of accomplishment I get when I play them. I play to progress and be triumphant and if the difficulty is too low I just don’t feel that same triumphant feeling when I finally beat that one boss. It isn’t a deal breaker for this game but it definitely sticks out like a sore thumb.

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth is a game I was expecting to have trouble getting into. Yet I had none in the end, this is a fantastic game and I must recommend it to any JRPG fan. If you own a PS4 or a PS Vita, you must get this game. It does not matter if you are not into Digimon, the game is stand alone enough to be exciting to you. I very much recommend it.

 

 

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