Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth (PS4) review
Bandai Namco Entertainment‘s Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is a game that left me with mixed feelings, on one hand I love the Digimon franchise, but, on the other hand, I felt that if you removed the Digimon brand from the game it wouldn’t be that fun. Yes, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth heavily relies on the Digimon brand, which recently celebrated the 15th anniversary of the first Digimon anime.
Growing up I remember playing the original Digital Monsters virtual pet toys, and watching the original Digimon anime and its subsequent sequels, so for me Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth was very much a nostalgia overload as I recalled each Digimon’s next Digivolution with a surprisingly high amount of accuracy, although to be honest it isn’t difficult to forget that Gatomon becomes the powerful Angewomon.
So, first and foremost Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is a game that heavily relies on the player’s love of Digimon, which means non-fans and those who are looking to get into the franchise may not enjoy the game.
Now, that’s enough of an introduction, let’s jump into the game’s story. To be honest, I really didn’t find it very interesting. The overarching storyline of finding a cure to EDEN Syndrome and saving those who lost their physical forms seems to waver as the immediacy of the issue is played up and down as other issues such as where Digimon come from and why are digital and real world locations merging creep into the story.
So, before going any further what is the basic premise of the game? At its basic level Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is about a detective agency trying to solve crimes that primarily occur in cyberspace and in the EDEN Network, the EDEN Network is essentially an online virtual reality environment in cyberspace, the network is incredibly popular and it is used primarily for business and entertainment purposes, although hackers and Digimon have found ways to exploit the Network and steal money, accounts etc.
In the detective agency known as the Kuremi Detective Agency, there are two members, Kyoko Kuremi, the scantily clad female detective, and you the player who is her assistant. Although, while you are her assistant you do much of the heavy lifting as an attack from a monster in the lower levels of the EDEN Network has caused your body to become digitized, which means you can freely access cyberspace, but also walk around in the real world as you can use your EDEN avatar in the real world.
As I said earlier finding out about the EDEN Syndrome is one of the primary points of the story, mostly because finding a cure will allow you to return to your own physical body, but the fact you have a digitized body is rarely brought up and those who don’t know what happened to you, don’t notice that something is wrong.
While I do feel the story is hit and miss, the concept does intrigue me as I enjoyed the idea of a detective who specializes in cyber crime who has an assistant who can freely traverse cyberspace.
Now, of course, if you are interested in playing this game, you are likely wondering how it relates the various Digimon anime. While there is no direct connection to any of the anime, the game does take inspiration from the various anime with the most noticeable inspiration coming from Digimon Data Squad.
Now, while I disliked the story let’s talk about the game’s core component, Digimon. At its core, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is about capturing, training, battling, and Digivolving Digimon, and to its credit, the game executes this important core component extremely well. I found myself getting hooked on capturing, training and Digivolving Digimon almost to the point of ignoring everything else in the game. There was something intriguing about taking an in-training Koromon and leveling him up to Agumon than Greymon and then onto MetalGreymon, alas for all my trying I couldn’t get the guy to WarGreymon.
Essentially, while the core component is Digimon, you could argue that it is also nostalgia. As I mentioned earlier my love for Digimon goes back to the original anime and the Digital Monster virtual pet toy line, so for me leveling Digimon was all about trying to get the Digimon I grew up loving, and honestly, that is the main reason why I played the game for 20 hours.
Now, you are probably wondering how do you capture Digimon? Well, it is very simple. Every time you enter combat via random encounter or match you automatically scan the Digimon you encounter. This scan gives you a portion of the Digimon’s data, with each encounter offering around 20-25% of their data, so after you encounter one particular Digimon 4-5 times you gain 100% of their data. After collecting between 100-200% of their data you simply go to a place called the DigiLab and select DigiConvert, this takes the data you gained and turns it into the Digimon you were scanning. It is a very simple yet effective way of increasing your Digimon roster.
So, while collecting Digimon is easy, is it possible to be weighed down by too many Digimon? The answer is thankful no. The answer is no because of one feature, the DigiFarm. The DigiFarm is a location where unused Digimon can passively gain experience and help you find detective cases and items. The DigiFarm is essentially level grinding without the work, as you can simply put a bunch of Digimon in the DigiFarm, wait a few hours and return to see if the Digimon are strong enough to Digivolve. Although, while the DigiFarm is a great tool it doesn’t work for certain Digivolutions as some Digivolving requires the Digimon to reach a certain level and have certain stats, and one stat that can’t be raised, via normal means, in the DigiFarm is called camaraderie, which can only be raised by using the Digimon in battle.
Of course, there are other pieces of gameplay in Cyber Sleuth. When not completing story missions you can complete case investigations for money and Cyber Sleuth points. You can also talk to friends and Digimon via the DigiLine, this DigiLine provides some fun interactions including random quizzes related to both Digimon and Japan, although asking an international audience about where in Tokyo is the Dog walking park makes very little sense.
While I said you can do investigations while not attempting to complete the story you can simply ignore them as well and just explore the world, which is something I highly recommend, as EDEN looks amazing with a lot of interesting structures and colours, however while the locations are eye-catching you can’t fully take in the views as Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, unfortunately, has a fixed camera, which I personally find really annoying as I like to look at the environment
Now, from the high of Digimon training and gameplay, it is time to talking about the worst aspect of this game, its combat. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth combat is an active turn-based combat featuring 3 active Digimon and 8 reserves. If I was to sum up this game’s combat in two words they would have to be “dull and boring”. Everything is simple, attribute types while supposedly making a difference is barely noticeable, combo attacks seem to occur at random, and to cap everything off the game has an “auto mode”, which means after you activate it you can put the controller down and watch because with this mode plays the battles for you.
What also weakens combat is the fact that you can level Digimon outside of battles, which means you can easily out level most enemies, for example in the early part of the game my three Champion level Digimon were fighting in-training or rookie level enemies.
So, combat in Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is a bit of a snooze, what about the characters you meet in the game?
Well, they have their up and downs. As a fan of the franchise, I am happy to see the main character does have goggles, which is a nod to how the leader in the various Digimon anime wore goggles. Kyoko Kuremi, the owner of the Kuremi Detective Agency, is odd, to put it mildly as she dresses like she just fell out of bed and makes some of the oddest sounding coffees I’ve ever heard off, but apart from the main character she is the most interesting person you run into as she appears smarter than she looks and enjoys teasing others. However, it seems the main character and Kyoko received all the character development love because 20 hours into the game all the other characters you meet feel flat and aren’t that interesting.
As I approach my conclusion let’s talk about the game’s sound and graphics. When it comes to sound Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is Japanese only audio with English text, personally, I would have preferred an English audio option because there are small moments when a line of Japanese is not given any English text.
Graphically, the game runs at 1080p 30 frames per second, and both Digimon and real-world characters have a cartoon-like an appearance to them.
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is a game that heavily relies on the Digimon license. While collecting and training Digimon is incredibly fun the game’s story and combat left me wanting more.
|+ Digimon training, capturing and Digivolving is fun||– Combat is bland|
|+ Great use of the Digimon license||– Japanese only audio|
|Media.Vision||Bandai Namco Entertainment||JRPG||12+||PS4 (reviewed), PS Vita||February 5, 2016|
For more information on Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth or to find out where to buy it, visit https://www.bandainamcoent.eu/product/digimon-story-cyber-sleuth/playstation-4.
Author: Aaron Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.