Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is an enjoyable experience for those seeking a traditional RPG. Much of the franchise’s unique notes are displayed exceptionally, and you can’t help but enjoy seeing the sprites of Digimon both old and new appear onscreen. Cyber Sleuth re-introduces this beloved genre to its audience through the form of a mystery that you, the main hero/heroine, must uncover to return the world to its previous status-quo — Again, a very traditional RPG.
Taking place in a near-futuristic Japan, our main character takes part in the discussion in an online community over the involvement of hackers causing disruption on the digital service of EDEN. EDEN serves as the large digital forum for this modern age, where people can hang out to chat, shop, or engage in other daily activities. Receiving a message by hackers in your private chat-group to show up at a location in the online world, you and your online friends set out to determine the validity of their statement. After a series of events, you are thrown into the crux of the story — Without divulging too much of the continuing storyline, you set out to unravel the truth behind a mysterious syndrome causing users of EDEN to go comatose.
The driving narrative of the game combines the vibrant aesthetic of the world with the darker themes underlying its story. Much of the gravity of the exposition will pit you against various forms of conflict: Individuals needing to accept themselves, accepting the loss of family or friends, enslaving others for personal gain, and many other themes. While these darker tones exist in the game, they aren’t delved into very deeply any more than the game’s aesthetic allows it to. At the forefront is still the colourful and vibrant universe Media Vision has laid out. While these themes are centrally explored to help move the plot forward, the short amount of time spent facing each theme leaves their final lessons and meanings rather shallow. This trend is continues towards much of the main cast and supporting roles. While some harbour their own insecurities, most are still plain and simple in motivation.
In light of a shallow story, the world Media Vision created feels inherently like a ‘Digital World’. The designs of the Digimon are varied and colourful. Each possess their own special animations for special attacks, and idling animations make them feel more alive. From EDEN, the net, to the bright recreations of the various regions of Tokyo, Cyber Sleuth is a vivid technological society and robust society focused on ‘brightness.’ In this regard, while the setting clashes with the themes of the story, it is made abundantly clear that this digital Japan is an altogether different world worth inhabiting.
Sticking to very traditional roots, Cyber Sleuth’s gameplay is a very ‘by-the-book’ turn-based system. You will select variations of regular ‘Attack’ commands, to using special skills with varying elemental effectiveness and physical/special damage types. Not too different from another popular monster capture based game, takes a page off their system and applies it here. Digimon have different character traits, and the possibility of adjusting individual stats through Farm Training (where players leave Digimon to raise stats and level). The game intends for players to take advantage of enemy typing, attack typing, and keeping your Digimon party levelled up to take on the next formidable foe.
Where the differences begin branching off is the digi-volution system, where Digimon evolve into stronger forms. Digimon are allowed to attain multiple forms upon digivolution, not just one. My Agumon was able to evolve into both series favourites ‘Greymon’ and eventually ‘Wargreymon’ however it could also follow a path immediately to Tyrannomon and its evolutionary line. All while being able to keep attacks and skills learned in the branching evolutionary lines. Possibilities are not endless, but the choice to explore varying branches allows players to see and experience other digimon not commonly known through the TV series or prior games. This freedom to explore was a delightful experience.
This tendency was addicting. To explore multiple evolutions, a variety of attacks and skills, and constantly reforming your team to see what new Digimon you could level and arrive at for the next challenge ahead. In this regards, Cyber Sleuth captured the spirit of the genre.
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is not without its flaws. While the game sits well on the seat of nostalgia, its repetitive nature and flat characters stick out in an otherwise vibrant yet distorted world. However it is nonetheless a wonderful addition to the franchise, and easily accessible to seasoned fans, and a newer generation of players.
Lot of customization
Limited challenge until End-Game
Developer: Media Vision
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Released: February 2, 2016
Reviewed on the retail version of the game, on PlayStation 4 and Playstation Vita.