The first Digimon game I’ve ever played was Digimon World (1999) on the PS1. I played this random kid who had suddenly dropped into the Digiworld, partnered with Agumon, to save a dying town by recruiting more monsters to work regular jobs. I was basically networking through Digimon battles.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4, PS Vita
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Developer: Media. Vision
Release Date: January 19, 2018
This review is based on a review code provided by Bandai Namco Entertainment.
I was already a fan when I went on that adventure. I knew all the Digimons I encountered. I loved Gabumon best, thought Leomon the coolest, and thought Terriermon the cutest. Digimon was part of my childhood, and I even owned digivices with designs from Digimon Tamers and Digimon Frontier! I was that mad into it.
However, this is the first Digimon game I’ve put my time to since Digimon World 3 (2003). And despite not trying the first of this series, this game does not disappoint because the tugs on nostalgia and how it challenges your curiosity are certain. I was not lost in the story, but found myself wanting to find out more and more as the narrative goes on.
Digimon Hacker Sleuth: Hacker’s Memory puts you in the center of identifying what is real and what isn’t. You work as a hacker searching for other hackers in a virtual world called EDEN: an enhanced virtual reality experience (like a futuristic version of Facebook). Meetings, events, dates as well as jobs, are held in the cyberspace, and thus a rule is set that requires users to own an avatar that looks exactly like them.
The plot begins when your character—a plain-looking, wide-eyed teenager—had his EDEN account stolen by a hacker. Hackers are rampant in EDEN; they are notorious individuals who take pleasure in raiding other accounts. To retrieve yours, you team up with a group of vigilante hackers, Hudie, who work for clients in searching and shutting down the notoriety. In this hacker vs. hacker world, the only way to traverse the dimension is with a Digimon by your side.
Some time prior to the events of the story, Digimons had begun appearing in EDEN out of nowhere, with no one knowing who created them or why they started showing. Digimons are believed to be just data created by a developer, and because data is believed to have no real feelings, the apathetic hackers use Digimons for their own personal use without fear of consequence. You—the hero of this story—will not only be faced with finding the thief that had stolen your account, but also tasked with uncovering the mysteries behind Digimon.
DRIFTING IN CYBERSPACE
When you are not in EDEN, you are in the real world. You access the virtual in a net café owned by Hudie. And when you are not uncovering the mysteries behind this world and the virtual, you—as a member of Hudie—will complete certain tasks accessible through your desktop. Tasks or “cases” will come from users of EDEN who require the assistance of hackers. The ability to access your desktop just like you would with your own computer is a small yet pleasant touch in a game that centers on technology.
Of course, a Digimon game isn’t a Digimon game without being able to access numerous monsters and exploring the many possibilities of digivolution. You are able to “scan” the date of Digimon you encounter in battles, and then store, train and evolve them in a location in cyberspace called the “Digilab.” I have honestly spent more time in the Digilab, evolving and devolving my Digimons to unlock more characters. I’ve also spent more time in completing cases then continuing the narrative. It’s enjoyable just making my Digimon stronger and evolving my guys and seeing how they look as we walked along EDEN, it’s as if the story was the bonus feature.
The Digimon battles are nothing new, however. Normal battles are turn-based, just as most RPG fantasy games are, and you rely on the skillsets of your Digimon and how strong you’ve raised them to be. A special battle between hackers is different. The hacker vs. hacker battle involves you, accompanied by two other teammates, in a fight for territory. In a set number of moves, you need an amount of points to win. This involves more strategy and I liked having to control my teammates Digimon and triggering special bond events afterwards.
Initially, the game didn’t trigger my fancy, as it wasn’t my sort of aesthetic. But I was intrigued and missed being able to play a Digimon game, and I eventually found myself enjoying and even addicted. Character conversations may be dragging, but as you get to the action, you can’t stop. You’ll find simple pleasures in collecting Digimon data and raising their level and power, as well as the quirks in “chatting” with them via the Digiline. As I’ve said, it’s as if the story is the bonus feature and its main points are on the battles, collection, and accomplishing the random cases.