I remember when I was younger, about 17 years younger, I managed to get my hands on Digimon World for the PlayStation. Admittedly, while I did enjoy it, it wasn’t something that particularly held my interest for all that long. I tended to stick to the shows and card game (yes, that was a thing when I was younger) and never really paid any more attention to the games. So when I heard “there’s a new Digimon game coming out” my first thought was “Okay”. When a friend asked if I was interested in playing, I thought “not really”. Boy did that change fast. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is the Digimon game I didn’t know I needed in my life.
In Cyber Sleuth you take control a young man/woman in a fancy new world of technology and science. In this world you can “dive” into a digitally created world (not to be confused with the world Digimon come from) using your subconscious mind, and special terminals installed throughout the world. After hearing some interesting rumors about a digital ghost, you decide to join some of your friends in uncovering the mystery behind this so-called phantom figure. Unfortunately, not everything turns out how you would hope, as a weird virus thing grabs and attempts to devour you. Lucky enough, you manage to get away. Sort of. Turns out your consciousness has been split from your body, forming a half digital body that is somehow able to partially manifest in the real world. Using your newfound powers, with the helpful assistance of a local detective, you must solve the mystery of your new body! As well as random miscellaneous requests sent to your agency.
Gameplay is roughly split between undertaking requests for the detective agency and progressing your storyline. Solving mysteries usually involves roaming around areas, talking to people, and the occasional battle or two. The story progression is what takes you through the various digital labyrinths that house some of the more powerful Digimon and puzzles, attempting to stop you from finding out the truth. Because of your half digital body, you have many tricks available to you, such as encounter rate modifiers, a cloaking mode, security hacking and more. While most of the puzzle related aspects are story based, the encounter rate modifiers are determined by the rank of Digimon, and number, in your party. As you travel some of the more dangerous locations, you will be involved in the occasional random battle, assuming you haven’t eliminated them with the “eliminate encounters” skill. Battles involve up to three in front and eight reserve members. Fights are turn based, with order being indicated by a gauge with your Digimons portraits and order on the right side of the screen. On your turn, you can: guard, attack, item, skill, change, escape. Each Digimon has a character specific set skill, and can change with a reserve member whenever one of your turns comes around. Yes, you can swap out during any of your turns, and you can swap out more than one character in one change, although it will use your turn.
In order to acquire more skills for your Digimon, you simply need to level them. Once your Digimon hit certain level and stat requirements, you can go visit Mirei to digivolve you Digimon to the next, or previous, form. Mirei is the caretaker of the Digifarm, Digibank, and basically everything you need involving Digimon. The Digifarm is a neat little place you can send your Digimon not currently in your party to train and gain levels. You can also request them to make items or find cases for you to solve. You can store any Digimon you aren’t currently using in the digibank. So, how do you actually acquire new Digimon? Well, when you enter a random battle you start by scanning the enemy Digimon, as long as they aren’t the highest ranking Digimon. You get a scan percentage, the lower the rank the more percent, and once you hit 100% you can spawn the Digimon. If you get up to 200% you can spawn them with additional ABI points. Which I may rant about later. Mirei also lets you explore previous areas that may no longer be accessible. In the same area you can also visit the “online coliseum”. There is also an offline coliseum which will unlock harder and harder ranks as you both win and progress through the story. The “online” coliseum basically just uses some other users party to fight you. There are also a set of presets if the online function can’t find anyone. The Digifarm has a lot of intricate mechanics, and is useful for acquiring those stat points you need for some of the higher ranking Digimon.
As good as Cyber Sleuth is, it isn’t without its faults. The areas you explore seem short, or lackluster at times, and I wish there were more areas to explore. Most of the top tier Digimon require ABI points, which are extremely annoying to improve, with you needing to digivolve and dedigivolve MANY times. Based on how you play, the game can either be incredibly easy or infuriatingly difficult, and some of the bonus side quests basically require certain types of Digimon you may or may not have. Like Imperialdramon, because he is not a nice person. Despite how much time I have put into this game it still feels short, and I was left wanting more. While the characters are interesting, and there is plenty of character development and revelations, the game felt like you weren’t the main character, but rather you were watching the main character through your player characters eyes. The plot can get a little corny, okay VERY corny at times, as well. The “green requests” at the office though have to be some of the most annoying quests I have ever undertaken. They are basically fetch quests that only require you to roam around a really low level area until you find a shiny item, and then return to the requester. That’s it. No special enemy or anything, just busy work.
Despite these small flaws, the overall quality of this gem is still really high. The battle systems is smooth, characters are all interesting or quirky in their own way, the amount of Digimon you can acquire is amazing, and the requests for the detective office are a great way to break up the standard dungeon crawling experience. The music in Cyber Sleuth is also stellar, and I found myself with the soundtrack saved to my phone within a day of playing. If Cyber Sleuth has taught me anything, it’s that I really should have given the Digimon games more of a chance, and a good way to spend many hours of fun. Also, it has taught me to never trust coffee. Ever.
Bandai Namco Games
Article by Richard