Digimon. I'm pretty sure that's a name I don't need to explain. Most of us probably shared a childhood in Digimon when the first Digimon Adventure series aired across the world and most of us have played the Digimon games growing up. Personally, I have only played World 1, 2 and 3 and never quite finished any of it. They were either all too slow in pace or never quite became what I wanted them to be. Digimon games were quite disappointing to me and I never picked another one up ever since World 3.

Around more than a decade after that, the Digimon series simply became known as my childhood and nothing more. I never bothered with any of the newer series' that were aimed towards children or any of the games. Its evolution over the years was lost in translation with me.

I wanted to love it again and hold it dear to my heart but the way it was going, I knew I could never do that anymore.

That is, until Digimon Adventure Tri was announced.

One could say that that was the pinnacle of what I can call the revival of my childhood. It brought back the characters I loved with a more mature theme added to the mixing pot while still maintaining the original soul of the series. Admittedly, it could have been done better with a higher budget (which is what I expect of any childhood revival fantasies) but I'll take what I have.

Of course, Tri was only a 2-hour nostalgia trip every couple of months. It feels misplaced when compared to the weekly runs it had many years ago and trying to surf a wave that comes every so often is not easy. It requires patience. That is, unless you can surf a different wave.

I heard about Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth a while back but did not pay it any attention. After all, Tri was the anime I wanted but I never asked for another Digimon game. In this respect, one could say I passed the baton to Pokemon. I saw maybe one short trailer of the game but was not particularly interested and when I found out it was simply an English port from a Vita game to a PS4 version, I was completely ignorant of it. Then, one fine day after its release, a streamer I follow who plays JRPGs decided to play it. A week later, I picked up the game and after having beaten it at the 80 hour mark,  I can say that my only regret is that I did not pay full price for it (I used a coupon of sorts that I could have saved for something else).

The game is best described as a budget Persona game with the Digimon series as its foundation. It lives and breathes nostalgia with a satisfying modern twist. It provides a new approach to the Digimon game series and I very much enjoy it. The premise is that you are serving as an assistant detective in solving a mystery that expands to both the real world and the digital world. Sounds classic, sounds cheesy but is quite effective in execution. It starts out slow but builds up eventually, supplementing the experience with quite a number of optional side quests, bombastic and idiosyncratic characters, a progression system, collectibles, and a hefty serving of nostalgic fanservice.

The turn-based battle system is far more fluid and approachable than the previous Digimon games that I've played, with each Digimon having 1-2 unique skills that comes alongside a unique animation in its execution. There's a strategic layer as well, with buffs, debuffs, attributes and types thrown into the mix. You can't shrug the generic feel of the combat, but neither can the three Megas that received a double-damage and attack buffed Wargreymon's Terra Force.

The fact that I can control my digivolutions lies on a fine line between gameplay excellence and fanservice. How many times you digivolve a Digimon, what they become, how often you use them in combat and what you equip them with can either make or break a Digimon. It's gameplay excellence in that your efforts in training your Digimon will give it a bigger skillset and give it more opportunities to combo with your other Digimon. It's fanservice in that I get to fight with my Seraphimon that I nurtured from a Poyomon. It's what I always wanted and building my dream team of all the megas from the Digidestined has been a rewarding experience, if only for my own sake.

The music is excellent, though evidently quite generic in terms of the genre. Admittedly, the final boss theme and the Royal Knights combat theme rivals that of Persona, and that's saying a lot coming from me. It's brilliantly done with beautiful art thanks to Suzuhito Yasuda, who brought us the art of the Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor series.

Everything was done solidly, with the start of the story, to the exploration and combat, to the hours of grinding I put in to get my dream team (and basically every other dream Digimon I wanted), to me bobbing my head to the final boss theme and finally, to the ending that gave me a complete flashback to Tai and Greymon from the original series.

This in combination with Tri is the reason I say I can call this the revival of my childhood. The anime I always wanted and the game I always wanted from the Digimon series. The anime will definitely remain strong what with 4 more movies to go but I really hope that the feedback from this game can lead to many more great Digimon games in the future.

It is without a doubt that Digimon is my childhood and will always be my childhood. And I know now that I can always love it and hold it dear to my heart.

P.S. This was supposed to be a review of the game but I ended up rambling about Digimon in general but later remembered to focus on just the game but wanted it to be about Digimon in general. And well, as you can see, it's pretty much disorganised, much like my thoughts.


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