It’s hard to imagine that Digimon has been an ongoing franchise since 1997 with ‘digital monsters’ virtual pets that you carry on your keychains. I remember being hooked on the show back when I was a child. The show left a mental pin in my head so that if I ever see any form of Digimon I would immediately remember everything from it again as if I watched it yesterday. That being said, Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Hacker’s Memory was unrecognizable to me at first, the reason being is that the series, itself, has evolved(pun-intended). The game has gone from a simple evolution based series following monsters that transform in a linear order to Digimon with the ability to transform into a handful of evolutions. The game takes what made the original material great, throws in new lore and characters, and makes a great rpg out of it all.
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth Hacker’s Memory follows a guy named Keisuke in a near-future world that exists around the same timeline as the first game. This future features a fictional online hub, Eden, accessible to anyone to chat and enjoy time with players online. Eventually Keisuke has his account stolen which leaves him to explore Eden in hopes of finding the culprit. The story is a very nice fit as far as Digimon stories go, a good amount of nicely designed and thought out characters(some are recurring from the previous title), and a cohesive rpg system that takes advantage of the evolution aspect of Digimon. The games graphics are on par with the last game although it may look a smidgen better, I couldn’t really tell which is definitely a bad thing. The main characters design felt a little too generic as far as protagonists go, although it is mentioned throughout the game as a joke of some sort. It’s a bit disappointing compared to the design of the main characters from the previous titles as well as the option to choose between a male or female character. The level design is basically the previous titles, with the ability to explore areas from the previous game with a bit more access to some. Don’t worry, there are some new areas for those who are looking for something different.
The music in Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Hacker’s Memory is some of its best yet. The soundtrack for the game was produced by Takafumi Takada who had a hand in various titles such as Super Smash Bros and No More Heroes. A large amount of the soundtrack is very electronic styled beats with the rest of the soundtrack being completely different to symbolize the difference between normal play and bosses. Some are great jams although you may hear the same themes over and over again until they become annoying. The system in Hacker’s Memory is your fairly typical rpg styled affair, giving you the opportunity to either follow the story and encounter each enemy as if it may be your last or spend hours grinding until your character is so strong it can punch a Digimon back 3 generations. The one aspect that definitely stands out from the series is always the evolution system, where you are able to evolve and devolve your Digimon to change them into a variety of different types of evolutions. The variety and options seem endless, the last time I checked one of the Digimon was able to evolve to only 2 types, now that same Digimon can evolve to 4 or 5 different evolutions. Some evolutions can be very tricky, requiring a severe amount of grinding or work to achieve although many are unlocked the further you play through the game.
Although the game may go over new players heads such as my own, Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Hackers Memory strikes a very fine balance of enjoyable story, characters, and Digimon although it does not seem that it’s much different than the original Cyber Sleuth besides a few new evolutions and a few modes. The game is not for the weak at heart as some areas take some time to grind through unless you’re the sort that enjoys that, in that case, this game will be right up your alley. NUKE THE FRIDGE SCORE: 8/10 Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Hackers Memory is currently available on PS4 and PSVita.