Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth Switch Review: A Digivolution of Classic Monster Taming

It’s fitting that the definitive version of the Digimon 20th anniversary game came out just in time for the West’s 20th anniversary. Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth Complete Edition features not just one but both fully fledged well received Cyber Sleuth games to grace this console generation marking a return to digital monster taming and evolving greatness not seen since the days of the PSX, however this is not a spiritual successor to the original Digimon World. When starting you’re given a choice of which game to play with the sequel side story; Hacker’s Memory oddly placed on the left and no warning of the spoilers ahead if you choose to play it first.

The holy golden poop.

The games are too big to do justice as a combined review so this will just be Cyber Sleuth. You play as I assume a teen of consenting age who hangs out in an online chat room with cheesy avatars when a hacker comes in and invites you to EDEN an online VR virtual life using real life avatars. With a few of your far too attractive to be cooped up in a cheesy avatar chat room friends you go to investigate and are given the power to capture Digimon; programs hackers use for good or evil. After getting your first Digimon an evil Digimon eats your data as you log out dumping you into the middle of Shinjuku in the real world as a mass of physical skinless data when a braless blonde private detective in a classic American Pontiac Firebird scoops you up. You start working for her and your parents are conveniently working abroad. It doesn’t get more anime than this folks.

They actually acknowledged how weird JRPG protagonists are.

Throughout Cyber Sleuth you play detective aiming to solve the mysterious case of Eden Syndrome while looking into lots of strange happenings around Tokyo relating to the Digital world. Hackers are the only people with Digimon and are extremely organised in this world following their own set of rules to keep their own kind of order and despite the negative preconceptions about hackers most are there to look after EDEN not cause chaos. Everytime I thought the story was getting a little stale another twist happened, some only small and some I saw coming but there was enough to keep me coming back not just for more Digimon taming but more story too and yes the story does get to typical JRPG world ending scale.

Pe-ru-so-na.

In Cyber Sleuth battles are up to 3v3 but you can carry up to 11 Digimon, depending on how much party memory you have with each Digimon using up a certain amount for example Champions using 6 or 8 and Ultimates 12 or 14. The action takes place in JRPG style dungeons with random encounters and you automatically scan wild Digimon when you encounter them, once the scanner hits 100% you can make one or wait till 200% to make one with 5 ability. Ability is needed for some digivolutions and multiplies the bonus stats gained from training in the farm which is where a lot of your spare Digimon will sit and slowly level up. You gain ability by digivolving and de-digivolving your Digimon and can’t even make a Mega form Digimon without at least 20 ability. Some digivolutions are locked away behind very specific stat requirements needing your limited training bonus to all be piled into one stat (which stats increase depend on the personality of both the individual Digimon and the leader in the farm.

All out attack!

Digimon can be one of three different types and 9 different attributes giving rise to a few attack triangles. You can set up to 6 skills but learn 20 however you’ll generally only use a Digimon’s most powerful attack as a Digimon’s type is far more important for damage than an attack’s attribute.

You can take part in online battles, either in a room, ranker or event battles with special rules that change regularly. Online plays well and you can unlock accessories for your Digimon through it, the only problem is no one’s playing, I’ve managed a few fights but it takes awhile to find one. To half remedy this you can battle CPU in the online mode, not a bad idea at all.

That’s one huge Digimon.

The character models look stunning, a perfect representation of the anime nature of the Digimon franchise and with all 341 Digimon available in both games (92 more than Cyber Sleuth on other platforms) your eyes are treated to an extravaganza of digital monsters especially as you encounter so many of them as enemies throughout your adventure. The environments are varied and unique in the real world and while not being quite up to today’s standards you must remember this is effectively a port of a PS Vita game. Unfortunately backgrounds in the digital world didn’t get given the same love, however they do a good job of representing the vastness of how I would imagine digital space to be.

Important conversations are voiced in Japanese but the protagonist is both silent and textless like they communicate through telepathy. Cybersleuth has a brilliantly varied soundtrack with each genre fitting the feel and location such as the synthy soundtrack of the digital world of EDEN and the upbeat jazz of the detectives office. However with the length of the game and only having a few tracks, they do get rather repetitive. The sound effects are a mix of modern and nostalgia summing up the game in general. 

This is as good as the dungeons get.

It’s not all perfect in Cyber Sleuth as there aren’t any clues on where to go if you forget so make sure you save in a location when it’s obvious what to do next. Sometimes instructions aren’t very clear such as being told there’s an emergency we’re somewhere in Kowloon, at this point I had unlocked 4 of the 5 Kowloon labyrinths, generally location is one of the most important details in an emergency. There’s a whole system of side missions involving finding an object in a dungeon or beating a hacker but you can only take on one at a time and you can have 8 missions at once all to find objects, I usually do every side mission but gave up on these horrendously boring ones. 

He’s not the only LBGT character either.

I was completely addicted to this new way of collecting digital monsters. Digimon Cyber Sleuth is an almost perfect evolution of the old school JRPG. You can easily wrack up over 100 hours between the two games so even though you might be able to find them cheaper on other platforms the value for money is extraordinary and the added portability makes it well worth the price of entry as everyone knows RPGs are best handheld.

As an added note those wanting to know about the Sistermon Noir/Ciel debacle, Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition on Nintendo Switch has Ciel and not Noir.

A huge thank you to Bandai Namco for supplying the review copy. Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition is available now both digitally on the eShop for £54.99/€59.99/$49.99 and physically where it can be found cheaper.

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