Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth was one of my most highly anticipated titles of 2016 and, now that it’s been out for a month or so, it’s safe to say that fans will be pleased.
Cyber Sleuth follows the protagonist, who you can name and pick the gender of, as they’re caught up in an accident that puts their physical body in a coma but are able to traverse both the real and digital words in a digital form with substance. Most people have access to digital world EDEN, a place for friends to hang out and it’s used by companies for business reasons, but when Digimon appear and start attacking people, users realise that they can tame Digimon and use them to their own ends. The protagonist, her friends Nokia and Arata, and her new employer Kyoko (who owns the Kuremi Detective Agency) fight to protect both their world and the digital world, to protect the Digimon who are being misused and to get to the bottom of why people are becoming comatosed and to wake them up again.
I’ve always considered Digimon to be pretty mature, especially as it originally started as a children’s show, and Cyber Sleuth certainly isn’t aimed at children. With teenagers and young adults seemingly the target market here, you can expect a lot of focus on social networking and virtual reality coming into play and plenty of techno-talk. I enjoyed the story and characters, with plenty of dialogue to flesh them out, but would have liked the main character to have been voiced too rather than a stand-in with a few choices in dialogue to really fill them out – it felt odd that they had very little to say a lot of the time, and it meant that they bounced off of the other characters a bit awkwardly at times.
Cyber Sleuth is a traditional turn-based RPG with random encounters, grinding and stat-building, but you’ll also be focusing on evolving your Digimon into their best form or, if you prefer, to keep them in your favourite form. In battle you’ll be able to do a standard attack, special attack which uses SP, use an item, guard or flee from battle which is all standard affair and I have no issues with it. You can digivolve and de-digivolve your Digimon at Mirei’s lab as long as you’ve met the requirements e.g. health needs to be a certain amount, etc, and whilst you may be thinking “why exactly would I want to de-digivolve?!”, then the answer is mostly to raise the ABI stat. This stat can only be raised through digivolving and de-digivolving and is a requirement for many Digimon, with the only other way to raise it is by feeding your chosen Digimon a very rare meat. You can do this on the farm where they’ll train on their own.
The main story is already several dozens of hours long and there’s plenty of side-missions to occupy yourself with too, and I found myself doing all of them as they came up for the cash and experience. Plus, some of them were quite challenging and funny. Cyber Sleuth isn’t short on content whatsoever and the Western version of the release includes previously released DLC too which gives you even more to do post-story. Cyber Sleuth should scratch the itch for anyone looking for a great JRPG, but it’s full value is appreciated if you’re a big fan of Digimon like I am, as not only is this the best Digimon game the West has seen in roughly a decade and shows that the Digimon IP still has a big fanbase. If we can get more games like this, then I hope it’s performed well enough to encourage Bandai Namco to bring more over in future!
The PS4 version never released in Japan where it was originally created for Vita, but you wouldn’t easily guess it. Whilst the visuals may not blow you away when it comes to detail, the art style does more than enough to make up for it with a living, breathing digital world called EDEN and many areas of Tokyo have been re-created. There are hundreds of Digimon in-game too with plenty of fan-favourites across several generations of Digimon, and these have been brought to life spectacularly – it’s so cool being able to see my favourite Digimon pull off some of their most iconic moves! The character designer is none other than Yamada Suzuhito, one of my favourite designers who has also worked on Durarara!!, Devil Survivor and Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? as he has a brilliantly unique art style which is instantly recognisable to me.
There’s no English Dub, although one of the trailers featured an English voice-over, and whilst this isn’t a problem I definitely would have been happy with the option considering how much dialogue is in the game. Either way I can’t fault what’s included and I’m happy with it, as I am with the OST. It might not be wholly memorable or something I find myself listening to much outside of the game, but it does the job and nicely compliments the world. Yes, you can expect some electronica which fits in nicely with the digital emphasis of Cyber Sleuth.
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is a game that’s easy to recommend and one that fans specifically should make sure to pick up when they can as they won’t want to miss it. Great combat, an intriguing story, gorgeous visuals and a decent OST make for a package that tends to hit all the right notes. It was a lengthy wait and much persistence that got Cyber Sleuth released in the West and whilst it didn’t entirely grip me the way I wish it would have, there’s no denying that it’s an excellent game that keeps fans of the series in mind.