Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Which Digimon Game is Right For You?

For the past few years, the Digimon fandom has been back in full force as the franchise was reinvigorated by new anime, manga, toys, and especially video games. A new movie is fun for a couple hours, but pure entertainment comes from sinking over 80 hours into a 3D adventure. So you might be wondering: which Digimon game is right for you?

This article covers official releases currently supported by Bandai Namco and does not include fan-made games or translations, or games on older systems. Amazon links are Affiliate Links that may generate income for this blog. For more information, click here.

There are currently two main Digimon video game series going on. The Digimon World series harkens back to the Playstation original (unlike its actual sequels) featuring an exploration in a semi-open world as you raise Digimon from egg to Mega and rebuild a great city. The other series, Digimon Story, continues traditions initialized on the Nintendo DS as a more traditional JRPG with turn-based battles and the ability to build an army of Digimon that hang out in a self-sustaining Digi-Farm while you’re off on a story-based adventure.

The Story Behind Digimon Story

Digimon Story began with “Digimon Story” on the DS and was followed by Digimon Story Dawn & Dusk, two “versions” of the same game with some Digimon exclusive to specific versions. Both were redubbed “Digimon World DS” and “Digimon World Dawn & Dusk” in the West. There was another follow-up, Lost Evolution, and another two versions based on the Xros Wars anime, neverreleased outside of Japan. They are all, more or less, the exact same game.

Common tropes introduced in the Story games include turn based battles (first person in the DS versions) and the ability to automatically “scan” the data of any and every Digimon you come across. Survive enough random encounters with a Digimon to get 100% of their data and you can “generate” them at the Digi-Farm and add them to your party. You can only have so many Digimon with you at a time, so the Digi-Farm is where your extra garrison hangs out. At the Digi-Farm you can train your Digimon for extra stats boosts or get some extra side quests. A unique feature is species based experience points. Each “family” of Digimon, such as dragons or mammals, have their own type of experience points. It doesn’t matter for leveling up, but in order to Digivolve to specific forms you’re going to need specific experience points from a specific family. This means you can’t just grind in stronger areas, but specific areas where the desired family of Digimon roam.

In 2015, the Digimon Story series entered the third dimension with Cyber Sleuth on the Playstation Vita, hitting the PS4 for a western release in 2016. Less Digimon were included, family specific experience points were removed, the Digi-Farms got simplified, all in favor of nice, slick 3D models of all your favorite Digimon and no more first person battles. In addition to some beautiful graphics, Cyber Sleuth makes up for its lack of traditional features with an amazing story, possibly the best narrative in any Digimon game at its time Cyber Sleuth was the west’s first look at Digimon’s T for Teen era, games targeted at older fans with a more serious tone and story, as well was some more mature themes including sex, drugs, and alcohol.

Hacker's Memory, a direct follow-up to Cyber Sleuth, was released in Japan in late 2017 and in the Wester in early 2018. Instead of a direct sequel, Hacker's Memory takes place along side the first game, with several characters and plot points crossing between both stories. While playing the first game may not be explicitly required, there are plenty of easter eggs and in jokes in Hacker's Memory that are only appreciated by players of the first Cyber Sleuth. Aside from a new storyline, Hacker's Memory adds over 70 new Digimon as well as other features including Digimon accessories like hats and googles and the ability to change your character's outfit. While the original Cyber Sleuth followed a path closer to detective work, Hacker's Memory delves more into the hacker culture that was only touched upon in the original

If you love long, story-driven Japanese RPGs, turn-based battles, and want to build an army of your favorite Digimon, then you need to check out Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth. If you've already finished Cyber Sleuth, check out another side of the story in Hacker's Memory now.

If you think you're up for both and want to experience them on the go, check out the Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition for the Nintendo Switch. This bundle includes both games for one price and can be enjoyed on the big screen at home or on the go.

The World of Digimon World

The first Digimon World on the original Playstation was the first true Digimon console experience. Based on the original V-Pets, Digimon World saddled players with a single Digimon partner to raise their own way. While exploring a semi-open world, players fed their Digimon, kept them happy, took them to the bathroom, and put them to bed. Based out of a near empty city, your quest involved recruiting Digimon to return to the city and restore it to a populated metropolis with stores, games, and more.

Older Digimon fans got to return to Digimon World with Re:Digitize on the PSP and Re:Digitize Decode on the 3DS. These games revitalized the gameplay and environment aspects of Digimon World and, after NOT coming to the US, inspired a massive campaign for the localization of Digimon games outside of Japan. While we never got to Re:Digitize our nostalgia, we were given something else.

Digimon World: Next Order is a direct sequel to the original Digimon World, featuring a grown-up version of your original protagonist as a supporting character. It’s no secret that Digimon World was a unique and creative idea that was too complex for the original Playstation. Next Order simplifies, explains, upgrades, and enhances all of the original systems making battle and evolution waaaay simpler. In the original Digimon World you were lucky to get a Greymon, but now it’s so much easier you’ll be rockin with your favorites right from the beginning. And double up your adventure with two Digimon partners training and evolving side by side!

If you love exploration and open-ended adventure and are more interested in the V-Pet aspects of raising Digimon in a number of unique ways, the Digimon World series is right for you. Order your copy of Digimon World: Next Order today!


Digimon video games are a unique beast that reimagine themselves with each new installment. Just like Digimon themselves, the games grow and evolve with their players. Which Digimon game is your favorite? Are you more of a Story person or a World person? Which old school Digimon game do you want to see revitalized? Let me know in the comments below!