This month, I finally finished Digimon Stories: Cyber Sleuth! This fantastic JRPG fits very nicely in the monster catching/battling genre and since it has been a while since I’ve written a ‘Gotta Play ‘Em All!’ post, I thought I would talk about Digimon Stories: Cyber Sleuth and its place in the genre. Let’s take a look!
What Is It About?
In Digimon Stories: Cyber Sleuth you play as either Ami or Takumi, a young individual, who ends up in a coma after encountering a strange entity while exploring the cyber world, EDEN. Fortunately, with the help of an eccentric detective, you are given a temporary body and a job- to help detective Kyoko Kuremi solve cyber crime cases and uncover the truth about the cause of your coma condition. In order to solve the cases, you will have to delve into the more dangerous areas of EDEN. This isn’t too much to worry about as you are accompanied by your digimon who are able to defend you from anyone that means you harm.
There are over two hundred digimon to befriend, all of which are unique in appearance and personality. Unlike the creatures in games like Pokemon and Invizimals, digimon are able to talk to you and have their own opinions and goals. This really suits Digimon Stories: Cyber Sleuth story heavy style, as the digimon form a crucial part of the story, as well as the gameplay. The way you go about acquiring new digimon is also unique. Rather than battling wild digimon and then catching them, instead every time you encounter a particular digimon you ‘scan’ them and gain some of their data. Once you reach a 100% scan status, you convert the data and create that digimon. This means that you aren’t beating a monster into submission and then forcing them to fight for you but instead creating your own companion. This really fits well with the theme of the Digimon series, which focuses on relationships and the strength of friendship- themes that are very prevalent in Digimon Stories: Cyber Sleuth.
Like with the other monster catching.battling games that I’ve played, the digimon in Digimon Stories: Cyber Sleuth have the ability to evolve or more accurately termed, digivolve. In order to digivolve a digimon, they have to be able to meet certain requirements such as reach a certain level or have their attack statistic be at least 50. Some of the rarer digivolutions require you to either have completed a certain quest or have a particular digimon. Also, Digimon Stories: Cyber Sleuth encourages you not just to digivolve but also de-digivolve as well. You see, each digimon has initial level caps and once they reach that level cap their statistics can’t increase any further but if you de-digivolve them, their level caps increase. The other element of the game that encourages you to de-digivolve your digimon is the fact that each digimon has several different forms to digivolve into. If you are looking to complete the Digimon Guide or just to experience battling with each digimon, you will have to play around with digivolving and de-digivolving.This makes raising digimon a bit more fluid and less following a straight path.
Digimon battles are very straightforward and are very typical for JRPGs, as they are turn-based combat. Each digimon has two types: their elemental type and their digital type. This means your digimon may be effective with their elemental attacks whilst being resistant against the enemy’s attack as your digimon’s digital types beats the enemy’s type. It took a little while for me to get my head around the concept but once I did, I realised that it added another layer to the battles. The other interesting aspect of the battles is the size of your party. You can have three digimon actively take part in the battle and have a further eight digimon in reserve. However each digimon, depending on their digivolved state, uses up a certain amount of party memory. For example, having an Ultimate digimon costs you twelve memory, so unless you expand your party memory you will be unable to have a full team of Ultimate digimon. Overall, the battle system is easy to learn but can be complex, depending on how much time you wish to sink into digimon battles.
What Does Digimon Stories: Cyber Sleuth Bring To The Genre?
Despite often being considered a rival to Pokemon, I feel like the Digimon series has a lot more in common with story heavy JRPGs, like Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. Yes, collecting digimon and the turn based battling with them are important aspects of the gameplay but the real focus of the game is the story. That being said, the way the game encourages the player to experiment with their digimon, with the use of the digivolving system, is definitely unique within the genre. Most of the monster battling/catching games have an evolutionary system but it is often a one way system- once your monster has evolved it cannot return to its previous form. The way Digimon Stories: Cyber Sleuth encourages players to de-digivolve their digimon, in order to make their digimon stronger, is a mechanic I wish other monster catching/battling games would use. Overall, Digimon Stories: Cyber Sleuth proves that the Digimon series is not a Pokemon clone and does have its own identity and approach to the genre. Digimon Stories: Cyber Sleuth is a great addition to the genre andone I would recommend people try.