Review: Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth (PlayStation Vita)

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Member Review

PlayStation Vita 13,188 views 5 likes 24 comments
Reviewed by Dominik Dudek, posted Apr 18, 2015, last updated Jul 3, 2015
Apr 18, 2015
  • Release Date (JP): March 12, 2015
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
  • Developer: Media.Vision
  • Genres: JRPG
  • Also For: PlayStation 4
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
It's indeed a Digimon Story.
Dominik Dudek
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Introduction

I'm a big Digimon fan. When Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth was initially announced back in December 2013 I was really exited. The first trailer was really vague and mysterious which kept me engaged. The aesthetic that was shown reminded me and many others a lot of the style used in the 2nd Digimon movie "our war game" which is a great movie by the way. Once more news arrived claiming the game would be made for a more mature audience my hopes for the game were really high. Fun fact this is the first CERO B rated game, which is the Japanese equivalent of our teen rating. All the other Digimon games are rated CERO A which is our equivalent of 7+. With the new reboot of Digimon Adventure Bandai and Toei are trying to appeal to a more mature audience after all. But does the game deliver? Was the long wait worth it? Do I really need to answer this question for you?​

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God damn it! It's Persona 4 all over again!​

Gameplay

This game uses a traditional turn battle system. In fact this game is very similar to Final Fantasy X in terms of gameplay. You run around with up to 11 Digimon in your party of which 3 are active in the Battle. Each Digimon has one or two primary move(s) from the Bandai Canon (like Grey Sword and Garuru Cannon for Omegamon) which are fully animated which look really awesome and satisfying. They also have a bunch of secondary moves that aren't well animated and serve more of a utility purpose. The moves differ from different type attacks to simple buffs and heals.
Unfortunately the difficulty curve is really low and outside of boss battles you will one hit kill all random encounters. The Difficulty then makes a huge jump from "yawn" to "WTF IS GOING ON!" during the DLC missions which is very odd. Maybe the Difficulty was kept low so that casuals don't have trouble playing the game? Which would be another parallel to Final Fantasy X since a huge portion of that game is also way too easy. However Final Fantasy X had that certain point in the game where the game became hard or better said well balanced in terms of difficulty, Cyber Sleuth never has this point in the game which is very unfortunate.

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You know you are f*cked when you see motherf*cking Omegamon pulling out his motherf*cking Grey Sword.

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The Digimon typing in the game was done really well. Every Digimon has a attribute (Vaccine, Data, Virus, None) and a Element (Fire, Water, Plant, Electricity, Earth, Wind, Light, Dark, None). Each attribute/element is very effective and weak against exactly 1 attribute/element, expect for non-elemental attacks of course. This is really well executed and by far better executed than in previous Digimon Story games where you would just have two elements and no attributes. Having elements and attributes separated allows you to deal heavy damage even if your Digimon doesn't have the fitting elemental attack, which happens way too often in Pokemon. However what I dislike is that if you you hit with both, the correct element and correct attribute, you will deal three times the damage you would normally do. I wish the damage multipliers were smaller. This would made the game definitely more balanced in terms of difficulty. The maps are very simple in design and the puzzle that are thrown at you aren't particularly hard to solve. The final dungeon however is really complicated and the random encounters don't die from one hit. But it would be sad if they did considering this was the final Dungeon. Also this game has by far too little amount of playable Digimon. 240 isn't that much at all and many Evolution lines don't make any sense at all. For example I wanted to obtain Titamon which is The ultimate evolution of Ogremon, lore wise. So I got me a nice Ogremon and then had to start to theorize to which Digimon I should evolve Ogremon into to be able to evolve to Titamon next. I figured "Yeah Death Meramon, big muscular guy, makes sense" but no I had to get Digitamamon instead for some reason. I really dig it that all the Digimon are really well detailed but in a potential sequel I really hope they will increase the number of playable Digimon by at least 100 to prevent such evoline problems.

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Well, that beats my fan fiction.​

The game features a fixed camera which is yet another similarity to Final Fantasy X. You can't turn the camera around. All you can do is zooming in and out in certain areas. I suppose this was done to achieve the amount of graphical fidelity that this game has, due to the game having to render only one direction. And I'll talk about it more in the Presentation section. The "Hacking" and "Sleuth" part of the game isn't very challenging either. As a detective you will obviously have to do some investigation. For that you are given keywords that you can ask the NPC's about. However instead of making it into a WRPG kind of dialogue, like in Skyrim or Risen, you just have to find the right guy and use the right keyword on him to proceed. You are given multiple keywords very rarely so it's always straight forward what you have to do. As a Hacker (btw tamers in this game are essentially all hackers) you are given abilities like "Open door level 1-4", "Read data", "Copy and Paste" and "Stealth". Unfortunately only the ladder is utilized in a way that supports the narrative. The other ones are really just there to be used in very simple puzzles.

Presentation

The Presentation of this game is superb. The great amount of graphical fidelity and cyber punk aesthetic work perfectly with each other. However because this game was meant to play with a predetermined camera angle many textures have a really low resolution because from the distance you would be looking at them they would look good. However in cutscenes you are able to see just how poor some textures look. But that's just a small nit pick. The character models look really good and the animations look really carefully crafted. The attention to detail especially in the real world is very high. Here are some comparison Photos a friend of mine summarized in her Blog. The Music is really good too. It has a wide variety of cyber punk themes that really fit the atmosphere and the mood of the situation during dialogue. However some tracks feature vocals which I found irritating, especially during the parts of the game where the voice actors were speaking but that again is just a small nitpick.

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I booted up Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth and ended up playing Final Fantasy X... with Digimon...

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Story

The game is set in the near future where a technology exist to completely digitalize your body and travel in a man made digital world called EDEN. Not to get confused with THE Digiworld where Digimon live naturally. That is a completely separate thing.
One day our MC (main character), Nokia and Arata get invited by a hacker to a deep and old part of EDEN to receive a present. This present is the hacking software "Digimon Capture" and allows to catch Digimon programs that are used by hackers for hacking purposes.
Unfortunately our MC and friends get trapped in the deep part of EDEN and search for an exit. This is when a unidentified species, the "Eater", attacks our protagonists and absorbs the body of the MC while logging out from EDEN. When regaining consciousness only tidbits of data is left of the MC. Kuremi Kyouko picks you up however and helps you regain your body. After doing so you discover a conspiracy regarding the company that is running EDEN. This evolves into a story where multiple worlds collide and cause chaos all over Tokyo and the Digiworld.​

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The Digimon franchise has many separate universes and this game uses it as a central plot point to include characters from different games. It's great!

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What I really disliked about the story is the MC. It's a silent protagonist that in my personal opinion shouldn't be silent. The character of the MC is relatively fleshed out and the fact that this game is filled with choices that aren't real choices doesn't help either.
At one part of the game it literally looked like the MC is trolling other NPC's by simply not talking at all. And I know that people create silent protagonists to make them easier to connect to the players but like I said the character of MC is pretty fleshed out. It isn't like in Persona 4 where you have a certain control of what your character is like. You could go to a different sports club of your choice, different job, different girlfriend, different activities each day. There is none of that in Cyber Sleuth. Final Fantasy X had a pretty good MC that was not silent and people could still connect with him well. So why shouldn't this game?

Warning: Spoilers inside!

Lasting Replay

You'll be playing the story for approximetly 40 hours. After that you can do the Royal Knight missions, DLC Missions, Colosseum Fights, Side Quests, and filling up your Digidex.
There isn't that much to do but enough to keep you entertained for a few extra hours. The fact that you can't battle your friends online is really a bummer.
Verdict
Pros
+ Great soundtrack
+ Beautiful graphics and aesthetic
+ Solid gameplay
+ Good story that perfectly catches what Digimon is about
Cons
- Low difficulty except for the DLC missions
- On disc DLC that is free anyway - Annoying for people playing on non JPN PSN
- Many non-choices & a unnecessarily silent protagonist
- Small amount of obtainable Digimon makes some evolution paths really stupid and unpredictable
- Online Multiplayer restricted to random players - Friends need to play locally
9 Presentation
This is by far the best looking Digimon game so far. However the camera is locked to one perspective and if you dislike it it might be a big issue for you when playing the game.
7 Gameplay
Nothing revolutionary but also nothing broken. If you liked the previous entries in the Digimon Story series you will like this one as well.
7 Lasting Appeal
Due to the inability of fighting friends online the lasting appeal gets a huge hit.
7.9
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
This game is the reason I bought a PS Vita and I really hope it's going to be localized. Even without the ability to read Japanese this is my favorite Vita game so far and I would heavily encourage you to buy a PS Vita if this game gets localized.
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