Digimon Cyber Sleuth: Review

Written by: Karen Benitez

Games | Mar 29, 2016

Cyber Sleuth Digimon

"Would you die for me please?"

Ah, such sweet words that haunt me to this day. That was a line from the first Shin Megami Tensei. A character, named Alice, someone who you have taken care of, along with, and have returned safely to where she belongs, has suddenly asked you if you would die for her. No, she's not asking if you would for her. She's asking that you commit suicide right in front of her. After all the stuff you guys have been through.

That's the beauty of Shin Megami Tensei games. They are a paragon of contrasting styles and stark artworks full of mind screwing metaphors. For instance, in SMT 3: Nocturne, we see Lucifer in a wheelchair, an outcome from falling from the sky.

The first two Persona games were both a creepy shitfest of macabre awesomeness, but as Persona 3 and 4 rolled out, things got, kind of K-Pop. It's still as twisted as hell, but man, no other JRPG can match up to the caliber of SMT games.

So, when one of my favorite childhood shows, Digimon, got a Shin Megami Tensei treatment, you can imagine the amount of brain matter erupting from the skull.

There are about 240 usable Digimons in total. Most of the fan favorites are there such as WarGreymon and the rest of the Greymon variants, Omega-slash-Omnimon-though, despite being a total fuck fest, we're missing some Digimons from the Frontier season, which is a shame, because I found both KaiserGreymon and MagnaGarurumon pretty cool. I suppose, consolation falls on when I began to doubt my own sexuality when we get a little bit of a lesbian tease between Angewoman and LadyDevimon as they fuse to Mastemon. (Really, Mastemon? Really?)

You capture Digimons, you train them, fuse them, and align them in ways that would best fit your party. You can choose skills that would boost attack, defense, evasion, and so on. This is really a Shin Megami Tensei game with Digimons instead of demons or mythological badasses. It's almost as if Cyber Sleuth is an introductory phase for kids who will someday graduate and find themselves in the twisted horror show that is Shin Megami Tensei. But that doesn't mean this story-driven game is all about childish misadventures of a mere bad guy hell bent on taking over the world or ending all life just because. It features a darker story than expected, though many of its parts are somewhat humorous and sometimes, out of context, though I blame the translation.

The biggest setback is that the game is much easier compared to other SMTs - and certainly, doesn't compare jack shit to SMT Digital Devil Saga. The graphics aren't as sharp as one might imagine for a PS4 game - but then again, this is a Vita port - but then again, I've seen ports done better.

Online battle is accessible between players. Though from my experience, servers kept messing up. When it works, it works, though it's not as fun as playing Pokemon online. There's a lot of room to develop the meta game experience, and considering Cyber Sleuth is an awesome game, I hope future games will be able to add greater depth to it.

Shin Megami Tensei and Digimon are two different things that focus on building relationships. SMT and earlier Persona games allow you to talk to enemies and convince them to join your side, thus making you stronger. Personae 3 and 4, encouraged players to spend time with their friends, developing a system called Social Links that will give access to more Personae with stronger skills. While Digimon, dived into emotional statuses, such as facing fears, accepting truth, and all those cheesy things, to make both Digimon and trainer stronger.

Remember in season 1 when Taichi drew the courage to go through the illusion of an electrical fence? It gave him and Agumon the power to evolve in MetalGreymon. It's one of the coolest moments of Digimon ever.

The combination from both ideas between Digimon and SMT is absent in Cyber Sleuth. You will spend most of your time, listening to characters jibber-jabber, and fight, fight, capture, fight, evolve, and fight some more. It would have been interesting to have a sort of a system where you would be able to build relationships between humans and Digimon to gain access to more skills and evolutions. The rewards would have been wonderful. Maybe the developers, Media Vision, had thought about this, but were pressured into rushing the game, or perhaps there were hardware limitations. (Though the Vita was pretty damn powerful.)

At the very least, we get a complex evolution chart. Whether you go through this blindly or not, it's vast enough to do tons of exploration. Also, you can pretty much capture any Digimons within the chart.

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is the best Digimon game I have played since Digimon World in the first PlayStation. Yes, it's been that long. Though I have immensely enjoyed Digimon Worlds 2 and 3, Cyber Sleuth proves that there is so much more for the Digimon franchise. My hope now is for a more polished and bigger world in the next game to maximize hardware.

About the author: Karen Benitez

Skater, musician, carpenter, gamer. Karen is interested in culture, science fiction, and Cthulhu. She participated in MMA bouts, got her ass kicked many times, and ended up with broken bones. Life is good.

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