Archives by Day

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC
Genre: RPG/Strategy
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Release Date: Oct. 18, 2019


As an Amazon Associate, we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

Switch Review - 'Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Jan. 6, 2020 @ 1:00 a.m. PST

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition brings everything fans loved about Japanese RPG's Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth and Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker's Memory together in one game.

Digimon is basically Pokémon's first big competitor. Born originally as a Tamagotchi-like device, it eventually evolved into video games, anime, comics, and all sorts of other things. While it's never quite reached the absurd popularity of Pokémon, it still has a dedicated fanbase. Perhaps that is why Digimon: Cyber Sleuth ended up being such a surprise hit. It's pretty much everything a Digimon fan could ask for, and Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition is about the best value you can get as a fan of the franchise.

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition actually contains two full games: the titular Cyber Sleuth and its expansion pack, Cyber Sleuth – Hacker's Memory. Both take place in a modern-day setting, and the protagonists find themselves drawn into a mysterious underground of digital danger, including the presence of powerful virtual monsters called Digimon. It isn't based on any of the existing Digimon stories but uses its own setting. The two games take place roughly at the same time and in similar locations but with different characters and stories.

If there's one core problem with the narrative, it is the sub-par translation. Both games suffer from what seems like a very basic translation job with a lot of noticeable errors, mistranslations, and awkward dialogue. The issue stands out in such a plot-heavy game, since I occasionally had trouble understanding what was going on due to the poor translation.

Otherwise, both games are sci-fi adventure stories that happen to feature Digimon rather than dedicated Digimon stories. They're pretty engaging, but Cyber Sleuth stands above Hacker's Memory because everything feels fresher and more creative. It's hard to get into the nitty gritty without spoiling the plot, but there are enough twists and turns between the two games to keep players engaged for quite some time.

As expected, Cyber Sleuth is a turn-based RPG where you collect and raise monsters to fight for you. It and Pokémon are in the same monster-raising genre, but beyond that, they're not too similar. Digimon are collected by beating enough of them up to make your own. From there, you can evolve them into countless different evolutions, including giant fire-breathing dragons and literal piles of poop. Unlike Pokémon, battles in Digimon are always three-on-three and encourage you to build defensive and support characters in addition to fighters.

The combat system is fairly by the numbers. In three-on-three battles, you fight until one side falls. Sometimes, you'll face bosses or strong enemies who are merely three-on-one, but even that doesn't change the core formula. A major element of the game is creating the perfect team to take on fights. The game strongly encourages you to swap, and it even allows you to de-evolve Digimon so you can take them on a different evolutionary path. There's a lot of potential for min-maxing, but unless you want to get every Digimon or get certain very specific ones, it isn't necessary to grind.

While Digimon have traditional elemental systems that are important to damage, nothing is as important as the Digimon types. Digimon come in three types: Data, Vaccine and Virus. They form a rough triangle where Vaccine beats Virus, Virus beats Data, and Data beats Vaccine. This is probably the top priority when building your team. A team that has a type advantage over the enemies is incredibly strong, while a team at a type disadvantage will be hit with massive damage.

There is a problem with this, and it's more prevalent in Cyber Sleuth than Hacker's Memory. For plot reasons, the majority of dangerous bosses are of the Virus type. This means that Data types suffer a huge disadvantage throughout the game when compared to the other two types. It's disappointing that one-third of the cast feels unreasonably at a disadvantage.

With that said, the games are fairly easy. On anything below the hard difficulty level, you'll probably breeze through 90% of the fights regardless of your team composition. You should be fine if you create a team of hard-hitting Vaccine types. The hard difficulty level adds some nice challenge and also adds some extra grind, but you can reduce that with careful development of specific Digimon.

Both games have a good amount of additional content. There are puzzles, mysteries to solve, random side-quests aplenty, various ways to raise Digimon, and more. Hacker's Memory has more diverse side content than the original game, including team-based battles and a greater emphasis on hanging out with NPCs. Neither game is lacking in things to do, and if you do every side-quest that pops up, you'll probably spend hundreds of hours combined on both games.

The biggest selling point of Digimon: Cyber Sleuth Complete Edition is that it has two pretty fun JRPGs in a single package. Neither game breaks the mold in terms of JRPG formulas, but they're both solid games. Considering the $50 price tag, you'll be hard-pressed to get more bang for your buck if you're a JRPG fan. It's probably a lot more fun if you know Digimon, as there are a lot of references to the franchise that will be more exciting if you know the difference between the colorful characters.

Speaking of which, the game looks excellent. It was originally a title designed to run on the PlayStation Vita, so it isn't taxing on the system, but the simple colorful graphics mean that it has aged well and runs smoothly. The designs are faintly reminiscent of Shin Megami Tensei titles since the character designer worked on the Devil Survivor games. It gives the entire game an odd alt-universe Persona feeling. The soundtrack is also pretty solid and contains some memorable tunes that help set the mood.

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Complete Edition is one of the best values that a JRPG fan can get on the Nintendo Switch. The games are fun if not particularly special, but they scratch the "got to catch 'em all" itch. They're marred by some issues, like inconsistent difficulty and a dodgy translation, but nothing ruins the experience. If you're a Digimon fan or just RPG faithful looking for something new to try, it's worth giving Cyber Sleuth a shot.

Score: 8.0/10

More articles about Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition
blog comments powered by Disqus