Digimon Survive Is A Painfully Boring Tactical RPG

Digimon Survive Is A Painfully Boring Tactical RPG

A group of teenagers and their Digimon stand outside an abandoned school.

The Kids Are not Alright.
Image: Witch Craft Co., Ltd. / Hyde

digimon Survive, the new video game created to celebrate the anime’s 25th anniversary, attempts to juggle being both a visual novel and a tactical RPG. The result is a game that is 70 percent visual novel, 20 percent tactical RPG, and 10 percent horror; totaling as a 100 percent waste of my time.

digimon survive, developed by Hyde and Witchcraft, follows a group of teenagers on a school camping trip who are unceremoniously transported into a mysterious world where fantastical anthropomorphic creatures called Digimon run amok. If you’re thinking that concept sounds eerily similar to Pokemon, you’re right. Digimon Is for Pokemon what dreamworks pictures animated film Antz it’s for Disney bug life with the exception that most Digimon can talk. While the nefarious Digimon in this new realm wish to use the children for a ritual sacrifice, a small group of kind Digimon make it their life’s mission to bring them home safely.

digimon survive tries to fuse the visual novel style of dialogue options with battle-related social links to the Person, but he’s not very good at any of those things.

Combat in the game works similarly to the turn-based combat system of live alive, where you can place your party members in a grid during fights. While your location plays a key role in how battles play out, battle tactics in digimon survive it manages to be both a piece of cake and arduous. As is common in most TRPGs, attacking an enemy’s side or back results in critical damage. the problem with digimon survive is that it is needed forever for characters to travel through tiles in the game’s vast battle arenas, even if you speed up their animations by pressing the jump button. Most of his movement will be spent getting within range of the enemy, which, depending on the number of party members he swings with, can take upwards of four or five turns before any action occurs.

A slimy Digimon stands with its tongue sticking out in a rocky forest.

You want to calm him down, don’t you?
Screenshot: Witch Craft Co., Ltd., Hyde / Kotaku

digimon surviveThe adventure and exploration side of things follows a visual novel formula of moving your cursor over objects and characters in the environment to discover more about them. This also suffers from being an unnecessarily arduous part of the game. While the game encourages exploration, going so far as to flash the words on the screen whenever the moment arises, unless the items or people in the environment have an exclamation mark on them, you’re wasting your time clicking in them. As with James Sunderland or Heather Mason in the Silent Hill series, clicking on something like an accordion in an abandoned school results in text that tastes akin to a lazy caption for a newspaper photo: it tells you what you can surmise rather than providing illuminating commentary or substance. See a pile of dusty drums in an abandoned music room? Chances are Takuma Momozuka, the character you play as, will reiterate the obvious saying, “Damn, those drums are dusty. I couldn’t tell you how long they’ve been there. Thank you very much, Takama. I couldn’t have gotten to this point without his help.

Rarely does exploration reward you with items that help you in combat scenarios. I was inundated with health items that I never needed because that was also a piece of cake.

Ryo watches in fear as Saki reads it for dirt.

You are right, and you should say so.
Screenshot: Witch Craft Co., Ltd. / Hyde / Kotaku

The teenagers and Digimon in the game have the emotional strength of elementary school kids, which is honestly part of the game’s charm. There is an identifiable awkwardness in the way they approach issues like boys and girls sleeping in separate rooms. But what became irritating is the Digimon’s affection for their human counterparts. very similar to the original Digimon anime, the digital monsters care deeply about their human counterparts. they mamoru out of them. But Digimon the show forges a believable bond between the pair. The strengthening of these ties is what leads anthropomorphic creatures to evolve into more powerful beings. In digimon survive, the evolutions just happened out of left field in the clumsiest way imaginable. While some Digimon, like the simple-minded giant reptile Agumon, evolves after witnessing how you try to protect them, the rest of the Digimon’s evolutions come after a pep talk that the Digimon give to their human counterparts. This is mind-blowing, to say the least, and feels undeserved every time an evolution cutscene interrupts an already drawn-out battle.

You see, Digimon simply know everything there is to know about their partners and can tell them exactly what they need to hear in order to set them on fire and keep fighting. This boils down to commonplace Digimon telling their partners how much they love them and how special they are. The only problem is that you, as the player who’s been farting on these bland characters for hours, haven’t been given an iota of characterization, so the accolades don’t really come through. While the in-game camera tells you that this is an emotional breakthrough moment, it comes across as a characterization of Digimon coming out of their butts without drawing.

Saki falls to her knees as a monstrous dinosaur Digimon reveals her insecurities.

Don’t cry Saki, you’re great haha.
Screenshot: Witch Craft Co., Ltd. / Hyde / Kotaku

But surely the characters bring to life what has been a pretty unsatisfying TRPG experience so far, right? I am sorry to inform you that they are the worst part. If you have ever seen the Japanese reality show house terrace, specifically their Tokyo 2019 to 2020 season, I’d say the dynamic and wayward teens are similar to that. There is a lots of downtime even though the characters realize that there are Digimon who want to make sacrifices with them and the characters walk on eggshells around each other until an “incident” occurs in which everyone inevitably voices their grievances. You have a cast of archetypes: the meek girl, the popular girl, the guy with a stick up his butt, the prankster, and the guy who has nothing positive to say. Instead of the drama that would ensue when larger than life personalities are forced to work together, the characters of digimon survive they are soft cuts of character archetypes without a semblance of depth.

The drama between the characters is also unconvincing. At one point, the characters will protest against searching for answers in the world they’ve been transported to. In the next one, they’re up in arms about your inaction while the rest venture out to… I don’t know, find the game script so they can figure out what the hell is going on. The characters will entertain themselves waiting for the plot to happen to them. But when the time comes, everyone is pikachu surprised face about how their inaction has affected the party. Even when it feels like a lesson is about to be learned after a lengthy tirade about needing to communicate better with each other, the teens immediately back off and ignore the blatant red flags between them.

To make matters worse, the characters act by stopping progress in the game while their villains advance the plot. Playing digimon survive I felt like reading over the shoulder of someone who is taking too long to turn the page. For hours on end, the characters talk in circles about their problems with each other or sit idly by without taking action to move the plot forward. This makes the visual novel options feel pedantic.

While the developers pretty much begged reviewers not to spoil anything that happens after the game’s fifth chapter in hopes of preserving the surprising emotional twists the story offers, the plot point was only tripled to frustrate me. I began to actively encourage the characters to meet their demise due to how demonstrably ineffective the group collectively made my choices feel. You can promise it’ll be a “deeply personal story” all you want, but if I’d rather be pampered than suffer playing your game to reach its conclusion, then it’s not worth the trip.

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