Digimon series has been one of the victim of bad games. While the world itself carried a lot of potential, it was never fully realized until the release of Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth. There have been a few good Digimon games in the past but it is easier to find the bad ones more often than the good. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth was a well balanced game that was based on the premise of the show but took liberty with some of the ideas to create a fun turn-based RPG. The release of Hacker’s Memory is basically aiming to be an expansion of the ideas laid out in Cyber Sleuth, and it works well in this context.
The story in Hacker’s Memory deals with a digital world and personalities that people have developed in them. The main character is a hacker called Keisuke Amazawa whose life is ruined one day when someone hacks his personal digital profile forcing him to resort to using an alternative profile while looking for the culprit. He ventures further into the digital world to look for the hacker who has claimed his credentials but ends up with a chain of events that leads to him joining a popular group of hackers and ultimately saving his loved ones from danger.
If you are expecting many new gameplay changes in Hacker’s Memory, you will be mostly disappointed. The game retains a lot of the same gameplay mechanics from the previous Digimon Story game. However the story in Hacker’s Memory is essentially running in parallel with the original Cyber Sleuth, which is good for the fans who wanted to know more about the events from the previous game, but not for those who were expecting a completely new adventure here.
The one aspect of the game that is often well written is the dialogue and banter between the characters. While the story feels like it is a typical anime plot, the dialogue, character banter between the main cast and the witty but often light nature of the game is what elevates it to a special experience. There is just something about the world that keeps you busy and clamoring for more of the story, even if you can figure out the twist coming from a mile away.
Once you are done with the intro of the story, you will be thrown into the world with a mixture of sidequests to tackle. You can accept these quests from a notice board by accessing your PC. These quests are fairly basic in the nature of their execution but the writing again works its charm here. You can choose to go for the main story or tackle the sidequests. The game can offer a lot of optional content for you, if you are interested in digging deeper in the Digivolution for your party. However, on the default Normal difficulty, there is not a lot of challenge to be had here. You can breeze through most of the fights easily if you stick with a good party of Digimon and make sure to exploit the weakness of the enemies.
As an RPG, Hacker’s Memory doesn’t offer you much freedom to explore. You will have a digital world which is shaped in the form of a dungeon that seems to be mostly rehashed design from Cyber Sleuth. Even the real world locations are repeated and there is some new stuff thrown here and there, but it will be hard to shake the feeling of Déjà vu when playing Hacker’s Memory. Despite this, the game is still a fun romp thanks to its excellent character development that comes at the cost of a little humor, even during some of the more serious situations.
The most important change for Hacker’s Memory is the addition of 80 new Digimon in the game. You will pick from the 3 new starters that have their unique evolved form, just like it has been the case with a Pokemon game. Aside from them, you can attempt to collect broken robots using your hacker ability to fix them and find some collectibles. You will be able to get bonus like a memory file that will let you learn some extra info or see backstory for some of the characters. It helps in adding more context behind some of the in-game events while also letting you unlock the new Digimon.
Of course, it won’t be a good RPG without a combat system. The basics of the combat rely on assigning each of the Digimon a combat type and giving them elemental weakness or strength on top of it. It will be your best bet to exploit these in battle and since it is easy to switch a Digimon in and out during a battle, you should make sure to keep an ample supply and variety of Digimon that can help during some of the tough boss fights. The game has also added domination battles that work like a chess match but with the teams divided between ally and enemy. You need to collect area points to win during these battles.
If you are tired of the turn-based nature of the combat, there is the ability to enable auto-attack which helps a lot with the random battles you will have to go through sometimes. The regular enemies might not prove to be much of a challenge but boss battles can end up being a little tricky with the way enemy weakness works. Finding the right type of Digimon for a particular battle can be fun to figure out. There is also a combo chain that can be executed in battle depending on factors like the affinity between two Digimon. This can result in a number of different outcomes like a powerful normal or powerful skilled attack.
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory is a role-playing video game developed by Media.Vision and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita as part of their Digimon series.
There is a lot of depth to the combat and a good amount of replay value for the main story content, however the similarity to Cyber Sleuth, even if it is all intentional, makes it harder for the game to stand out on its own and as a result, it looks like an expansion of the previous story with its own twists added on it.