It’s a good game and I love rhyming (Cyber Sleuth came out over a year ago and I wrote it straight away and because of Jay not proof reading this when I initially wrote it, the review is coming out with bad timing).
So I thought this would be a great way to start my Digimon Review blog!
I wanted to write this review as soon as it came out but I also didn’t want to finish the game, not because it was bad, but because I enjoyed it too much and wanted to stretch out how much I could get out of this game and I’m still not finished; I want to 100% this game and get every trophy. I am finished the story, have most of the Digimon, and have sunk an odd 200 hours into this game so I feel I can talk enough about this game to warrant writing a game review. I’m not usually a completionist but I am going to squeeze every cent possible out of this game.
First of all I should start of saying I’m a huge and long-term Digimon fan. I have a huge Digimon collection and I co-host a Digimon podcast with my partner (who, unlike me, did not grow up with Digimon and is pretty pessimistic when it comes to the series) so I tried to be as nit-picky as possible and as unbiased as I could so I didn’t just give 10/10s across the board because that’s boring. I have also played most of the Digimon games that have been released, and, while, as a child I borrowed Digimon World from the local VideoEZY so many times I should have just bought the game, I can safely say that this is the best Digimon game in the series.
I can also say in a conceited tosser voice that I majored in Games Design and Development at university so I can pretend that I’m the authority of what makes a good game, and that, as an only child with poor social skills, I have played a lot of games over my years.
I woke up bright and early before work on the 5th of February to download and get my first glimpses of the game. I didn’t really know much about Cyber Sleuth’s gameplay because I wanted to have the freshest experience possible and I had managed to distance myself from the game when I thought it being localised was only an impossible dream.
The first 30 or 40 minutes are essentially a cut scene which I’ve noticed to be usual for games of the same genre. I found it slow and I felt like it threw me into the world and setting without much explanation (thought it was also before 6am in the morning so it’s possible I was off in my own world) but once this game starts, it really starts. The story is fun and unique and I really enjoyed it, and, as I mentioned earlier, much better than any of the previous Digimon Games (even though I really enjoyed Digimon World 2003 and that was my previous favourite and most played Digimon game). I enjoy the cameos of characters from previous Digimon games even though none of them were released in Australia and, with the exception of Digimon Story Dusk and Dawn, weren’t even released in English legally.
The DLC and free mission packs are fun and hopefully Bandai Namco add more in the coming months – even if I have to pay for them I will.
When I first loaded the game I was greeted by familar-sounding music – it sounded like the music in Dangan Ronpa and after a quick google I found out that the score composer for Dangan Ronpa and Cyber Sleuth are the same (Masafumi Takada). The soundtrack never feels out of place and really sets the scene and I’m honestly tempted to buy the soundtrack. It would be great if music from the Digimon anime was included (like how Beat Hit! was used during Jogress evolution in Digimon World 2003).
The sound effects are great and I love hearing the voices of some Digimon as they attack (like how Omnimon shouts his attack and Lilimon saying ‘ready, set!’). However, similar games of this genre usually have a two language setting where the spoken language can either be English or Japanese, Cyber Sleuth only has Japanese voices. I don’t mind because it gives me some Japanese practice but it’s just something that I noticed.
In the first few chapters you find yourself mainly running around the dodgy, hacker and Digimon infested, online zone called Kowloon (named after the urban area of the same name) and by about the time you start saying ‘Man I am really bored of Kowloon’, other locations are added.
While previous Digimon games have mainly existed in an online world or in the Digital World, this game makes you jump between worlds and has a very extensive setting where you can visit Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ueno, and, much to my delight, Odaiba.
The characters are well designed with unique looks and personalities. The playable character is a yellow and black clad, protagonist who constantly wears a gormless look. My one complaint about the main character is the game can’t seem to decide whether they’re silent (responding in facial expressions and ellipses), character controlled (choices are given to the player), or as vocal as the other characters.
Two of the other characters to get Digimon are the playable character’s online friends; excitable bossy pink haired girl with a name that has a certain ringtone to it (Nokia – get it, like the phone ringtone? I’m hilarious) and moody, black haired bloke who feels like Sasuke from Naruto (Arata).
The detective that your character works for, Kyoko, is one of the few adults that are main characters (the other being Date, who seems to be very interested in arresting and flirting with the main character).
The members of the occult club are all very cute and unique and I really enjoy the missions where they show up.
The only characters who are rather ordinary are Ryota and Sakura who are meant to represent the ‘normal civilian side characters’, so I can forgive that.
The mechanics are some of the most unique features I’ve ever seen in a game. I love the hacking abilities and I only wish that there were more puzzles based around them.
Medal collecting is fun for completionists and the art used is straight from the Digimon card game which can offer nostalgic appeal to players.
The DigiFarm is a great feature for training your Digimon and searching for missions and items but I feel like in previous ‘Digimon Story’ games it was implemented better. The other ‘Digimon Story’ games were on the Nintendo DS which featured two screens and the player could watch the Digimon in their farms move around, train, communicate, and be just plain adorable. The DigiFarm interactivity feels slightly lacking in comparison, the player can feed them stat-boosting items from the DigiLab and can reply to messages in a chat room that can be accessed at any time called ‘DigiLine’. In DigiLine the DigiFarm Digimon will send you quiz questions or cute little messages, supporting characters will also send you plot-related messages, but I feel it’s missing a PSN friend messaging system, I guess we can’t have everything.
The graphics are crisp, clear, and stunning on both the Vita and PS4 version of the game. The scenery for the real world is beautiful (I mean Kowloon is too if you like the colour blue).
There are a few clipping issues such as Rosemon’s hair clipping through her cape but most games with 3D models experience this. The battle animations are really cutting edge and it really brings the likeness of the Digimon to life and I love how each Digimon has a signature move which has a unique animation for every Digimon. However, some animations I’m not entirely sure on; Gigadramon’s ‘end of battle’ pose has a sort of earthquake effect and when I first saw it, I thought my game was glitching.
I would have liked the jogress evolutions to be animated in the same style as in the show (which was previously included, along with ‘Beat Hit!’, in Digimon World 2003).
The translation is one of the few points of this game that I consider ‘so-so’ or rough. There are a few grammar mistakes but not a huge amount, just more than you’d want.
Some parts of the DigiLine feature seem roughly translated or buggy. a character will say that you’re wrong after choosing the correct answer and the answer they display is the same as what you chose. My favourite is the question which asks you which Digimon dual wields shotguns, if you get it write the Digimon will say “Correct! The Answer is Botamon!” There are also a few names which are get a bit lost in translation such as the Ueno festival mission being misspelt as Nakano, Medieval Dukemon being called ‘Medical Dukemon’, GranLocomon is now GrandLocomon, and my personal favourite, ‘Desperado Blaster’ becomes ‘Death Parade Blaster’.
Other aspects of the translation that seems rough is the lack of changing the DigiLine questions in the localisation. Speaking of DigiLine, a lot of the questions that are asked are about Japanese geography and holidays, which I don’t know much about. I feel that some of these Japan-centric questions should have been changed to more general global-knowledge or removed.
The game seems to assume that the player character is a man even if the player chose the girl meaning that Nokia jokes about female characters being the player’s girlfriend, the police office Date seems to flirt with the character quite often, and the player is given male pronouns and called ‘Sir’.
The difficulty setting can be changed at anytime and personally I found that the two difficulty levels (‘Normal’ and ‘Hard’) provide a good balance; experienced gamers will enjoy the challenging difficulty of hard and less experienced gamers won’t find the normal difficulty too easy. I played on Normal for most of the game.
Overall it’s a fun game, the story is entertaining and some parts are actually pretty funny, the translation seems a little rough but you can understand what’s going on, the graphics are amazing and crisp and the music is catchy. I want to 100% it but getting all the medals is really time consuming, I’ll probably make a full attempt one day. This game is worthy of a replay and I hope Cyber Sleuth’s sequel next year is as fulfilling as this game.
Cost (out of five dollar signs): $$$
Sound effects: 8/10
Story : 7/10
Mechanics and Gameplay: 9.5/10
Difficulty level: Fair