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Digimon Survive Review: A Fascinating Finale That Can’t Save Shallow Posts

The itinerary for a class trip often includes the usual, safe things – such as visiting a historic landmark and learning to collaborate with people from other schools. You’re less likely to experience a class-sized spider or severe personal injury, and hopefully, you won’t be held responsible for a friend never returning home. But these are just some of the daily hardships for the underprivileged group of high school students in Digimon Survive.

Developed by Hyde, Digimon Survive burdened with developing the series’ traditional blend of monster farming and turn-based role-playing – namely with the addition of visual novel elements. But that burden proved a bit too heavy to carry. The visual novel aspects seem ideal for the story Digimon Survive wanted to tell, but whether from a lack of confidence in its own characters or from a misunderstanding of what makes the visual novel such a powerful narrative vehicle to begin with, it no longer has the bountiful potential its.

Digimon Survive opens with strong similarities to the original Digimon: Digital Monster anime: A group of students from different schools gather in the countryside for an educational camping trip. Your usual personalities are on the trip, whether they like it or not – a popular girl, a prankster and his serious companion, an erratic loner and an insecure class president – but without a sense of adventure optimism as they land in the digital world, the series’ name for the alternate reality where Digimon live.

A conversation in Digimon Survive

Image: Hyde / Bandai Namco Entertainment

Digimon Survive splits its long run time between exploration, idle, and combat segments. As you explore, you chat with your fellow students, look for important items or the way forward, and often gain insight into what’s happening in this strange parallel world; At least, you try. Digimon Survive very tight when it comes to world building and leave most of it to three of the game’s final eight chapters, or about 15-20 hours out of a total 60-hour run.

Even so, the broader story’s main beat goes nowhere as a surprise, despite a promising start. It outlines most of what becomes the main plot point at the beginning. Digimon Survive At its core is a story about what we owe each other and how we can work together to balance tradition and move toward a better future.

Here, more than any other Digimon game or anime, the characters’ monster companions are essentially digital representations of their subconscious, aspects that they find it difficult to acknowledge in normal life or want to forget completely. Learning to survive in a cruel and menacing world is like the practicality of finding food and shelter is like learning to identify and live with your weaknesses.

The problem is Digimon Survive Go about telling these stories, or more specifically, not telling them. Four of the game’s eight chapters pull out what could make for a plot that fits two 20-minute animated episodes into 20 hours, depending on your play style. The first chapter is essentially two hours four of the characters arguing over what to do next, just to remain complacent.

Relationship menu in Digimon Survive

Image: Hyde / Bandai Namco Entertainment

The second chapter is more similar, it’s just that now, they argue about foraging and whether or not they should seek out others, before that, again, they do nothing. There are some worthwhile moments, but Digimon Survive too happy to drown them in meaningless repetition for them to stand out. Even after finding six months’ worth of food supplies, the next thing the team did was debate where they could find them. than dish.

I can see how these ideas will look solid on paper. Naturally, finding supplies is an essential part of survival, and when venturing outside could lead to your death, it’s deciding whether to risk finding your missing campmates. should be an easy choice. But execution suffers because it’s never made sense or interesting with these segments – it never uses them to build character development or tension, and barely uses them. them to move the story forward.

If Digimon Survive inspired by Aquaplus’ Utawarerumono games – and the strategy/fiction combo certainly shows that – it seems to be rooted in the false philosophy of those games. That’s true Mask of truth spends almost 80% of runtime on vignettes and character moments that don’t make much sense to the plot that unfolds at the end. In the process, however, it gradually stitches together the complex personalities of each of the key characters, so that as the main storylines unfold, you have to invest heavily in what’s going on. out.

Help Minoru in the forest in Digimon Survive showed me that he wanted people to see him as a capable leader. In a later scene with Saki, Takuma accidentally walks into the gym where she is changing clothes. There’s confusion afterward and an awkward conversation, but the encounter doesn’t have ripple effects or broader character implications, at least as far as Takuma’s relationship with Saki is concerned. It’s upsetting to see the normally stern Shuuji endlessly deducing Lopmon’s mentality in chapter 5 to make the loyal Digimon feel inadequate like Shuuji. Up to that point, however, the game only offers a rough look at Shuuji’s background, and the unrealistic pressures his father has placed on him have eroded his own confidence. There was even little time to see Shuuji’s inner struggles.

Regardless of who’s alive and what my choices are up to when the credits roll out, the cast feels the same as when they first met – a set of disconnected people are thrown. each other because circumstances beyond their control decided that was where they had to be. It’s a missed opportunity, in terms of potential not only in Digimon Surviveof the broader theme, but in its vivid original characters.

Unrealized potential is also a good description for Digimon Surviveof combat. These systems are standard for most strategy games (which is why I’ve devoted only three paragraphs to their complexity). Digimon has a standard attack and a small selection of special attacks that require stamina. Attacking from the side or behind deals extra damage, and they can boost their defense by choosing not to take action that turn.

Battle in Digimon Survive

Image: Hyde / Bandai Namco Entertainment

You can evolve your Digimon depending on certain choices you make in the story, although this almost feels unfair. The evolved Digimon can easily take on most opponents, except for the extremely difficult battles in the new game plus. New Digimon recruitment happens in a Shin Megami Tensei-style chat where you try to guess the answers to random questions in the hopes that your answers match that Digimon’s personality. However, it’s even more frustrating than SMT, as you only have one chance per enemy Digimon for the entire battle.

Combat isn’t all about creativity, but there’s simple joy in crushing a tough opponent with well-timed evolution, or seeing Agumon spew fireballs across the map. I just wish there were more. Also, to compare with Utawarerumono, Digimon Survive there are fewer battles and even less variation in the map design, which makes combat feel more like an afterthought than an important ingredient.

Digimon Survive very difficult to play, boring in the first half, and mostly just disappointing. The framework for something much more compelling exists beneath the reckless, careless gameplay and shallow character development, and you can get a glimpse of what could have been in some moments. better engraving of the story. I hope Hyde and Bandai have a chance to create another visual novel style Digimon game, build on Existfoundation to create a more lasting and memorable experience.

Digimon Survive was released on July 29 on Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The game has been evaluated on PC using a pre-release download code provided by Bandai Namco. Vox Media has an affiliate partnership. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find Additional information on Polygon’s ethics policy can be found here.

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