Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth: I Just Can’t.

Last updated on December 15th, 2016

I can’t do it anymore, I’m done. This game has just completely lost my interest. To be fair, Digimon Story, Cyber Sleuth has some good stuff going for it. Though it may be easier to have a knee-jerk reaction comparison to Pokemon at first, it’s actually quite a bit more like Persona or the Shin Megami Tensei series, though not as charming as the former, and not as difficult and grimdark as the latter. The combat is done with teams of 3 Digimon who level up, evolve, gain skills that they keep and can use even after evolving or de-evolving to different Digimon, making building your party a bit more complicated on an individual basis than Pokemon who only have preset skills and preset learnable skills through external means. In this game, any Digimon can both learn any skill and eventually become and other digimon through evolving and de-evolving. So rather than a “tree” or a “line” the evolutions in this are more of a network. This is a pretty cool feature that I totally like and appreciate. And in fact just about everything having to do with battle is great. Random battles are mostly too easy even with Hard mode on, but that’s to be expected for the most part, and the fun, pretty difficult boss fights make up for that, as long as you do have hard mode on. They actually challenge you to think about how you’ve built your team and to organize your members strategically. Granted, it’s never extremely tough, but it’s a fun level of challenge at least. There’s also online battles with other players but I have never done that so I can’t really talk about it, and it’s certainly possible that that aspect alone might be enough for some people to love this game.

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No, those types of things are not what I have a problem with. The problem is everything related to the story and characters. You see, in Pokemon, for the most part(I have not played all of them), the stories are very simple and straightforward, and in fact most of them don’t’ even really have a plot. This really lets you focus on the pokemon. Collecting them, training them, fighting with them, all that good stuff. However, in Digimon Story, there’s an ongoing plot about worlds intertwining and solving the mystery behind a corporation conspiracy and stuff. That’s cool and all, but the problem is the Story is completely uninteresting and the characters in it are making connections not based on actual evidence you’ve found but based on the need to move the story along. I really, REALLY tried to stop doing side emissions to get the plot rolling but 7 chapters(of I think 20 or so) in and not a single interesting thing has happened. I don’t care about any of the characters, except one kind of, any of the plot points, and even the world building is really weak.

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This on top of horribly cliché characters that don’t even show a hint of having real depth. In Persona 3 and 4, when you first meet most of the characters they are very much standard tropes, but you very quickly learn that they aren’t that simple as both a plot and gameplay device, it’s brilliant really. This game doesn’t have any of that, or if it does, it certainly doesn’t even hint at any kind of deep, human thoughts within the first 3rd of the game, and I’m sorry, but all this is not ok for me when you have a JRPG where story and characters are often strong points.

Even if you wanted to ignore these and just enjoy the battle system, it feels like the story is constantly popping up at inopportune times, right as I am enjoying the game most. There is no way to skip scenes and text in this game so it all just comes to a dead stop. There are multiple useful system related things behind boring sub quests and just, every time the game forces a character trope down my throat without justifying it by making that character legitimately interesting, I just groan.

I was struggling so hard to tough it out and not even try to review the game before finishing it, but damn, it’s just so freaking annoying.

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Additionally, though this is not a problem with the game itself but how it was handled in localization, the translation is just straight up poorly handled at times. Now, I’m not saying that the translators did a bad job, in fact, most of the mistakes I saw in English compared to what the characters were saying in Japanese were mistakes that would really only happen if the translator was not given enough context. If say, they were given just the plain text without any sort of information on how scenes connect from one to the next or what lines are said by or to what characters.

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For example, there’s this line where in English the guy says “I didn’t call for you, cop”, but in Japanese he says “呼んでねぇだろうな、警察(yondenee darou naa)” which in this context means “You didn’t call the cops right?”

That’s a completely different meaning because of the context, but if that line was just said alone, without knowing anything else, it wouldn’t be an unreasonable translation. This is definitely not a rare issue either, and even if you don’t know any Japanese, you can still tell the translation is poorly handled at times because there are certain points where the dialog just literally makes no sense all of a sudden, much like this example.

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So, sorry for not really reviewing it, but I need a break. I might still try to grind through the story to see if it gets any better, and if I do and actually have any different opinions I’ll make an addendum to this video, but as it stands, I doubt it,

Look, if you’re someone that loves a good RPG battle system and is ready and prepared to slog through subpar story and characters, then you might want to check the game out at least. But to me, it’s just a pretty good combat system with a horribly boring story and stale characters, and that’s just not enough for me. If the systems were mind-blowingly awesome, I could be ok with it maybe, but it ain’t that good in my opinion. For anyone else that cares about the experience as whole, I’d recommend staying away.

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4 comments on “Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth: I Just Can’t.”

  1. Avatar WyrmHero says:

    Digimon stories are crap, the fun is in raising and digi-volving the monsters. Digimon World 1 had a pretty good story, but it was based around the monsters, not the humans. I have faith in the series getting good.

  2. Avatar BlueSilence says:

    Certainly the story and the characters are not the strenghts in Digimon games. Building your dream team is where the fun is and DSCS delivered it nicely in my opinion.

    I tend to be very forgiving with these "flaws" anyways, DSCS has been really fun, it has made me laugh with its silly jokes and pop culture references and cliche. A very good game to sit back and relax while waiting for something deeper, darker, salty and full of soul.

    EDIT: Altought it would have been interesting to develop more the "Sleuth" part. Mixing elements of Ace Attorney would have been pretty cool in my opinion.

  3. Gasarocky says:

    I’d never played one before so I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into, so I can understand saying "well the point of the games is this" and that I may have missed that, but as I pointed out, if the digimon are the main point, then they should minimize the story, not make it constantly interrupt me. Thing is, I DON’T believe that was the only main point, I think they DID want a cool story, I think it just fails.

    And a silly game can have soul too, Persona 4 is, again, a great example. There’s tons of humor and lightheartedness, AND soul and depth.

    And yeah the "Sleuth"ing was non-existant.

  4. Avatar PrimeraEspada91 says:

    I brought this game when it came out and i love it. I have been a tamer since ps1 Digimon World, so the concept of making a digiteam is nothing new. However, you nailed lots of negatives that the game does have like poor translation, weak story/characters (even though the story is somewhat reminiscent of Digimon World 4 Frontier with Dynasmon and Crusdermon). This is had the potential of being something great but I have issues making some of the strongest digimon like Lillithmon who have very high prerequisites. The game is also very easy on normal mode but the jump on Hard mode is quite welcoming for random encounters, but, when boss fights happens they get absurdly tough. Im currently on Chapter 19 on Hard Mode and Dynasmon just One Shots everyone on my team even with type advantage. Even the digifarms seem very easy to manage compare to previous titles in which i think is a good thing. If you a hardcore digifan you would like it more but overall its okay game with standard shortcoming. I hope it doesnt impact future ports of digimon games since America waited since about ’05 for another digimon game, and, while this game isnt perfect, it still has some value.

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