They almost got it right! Almost!
And now we get to Cyber Sleuth, and I'd say Namco finally got it right. Kinda. Y'see, the battle system is fantastic, it flows fast, but has depth and it's actually fun to play. I also love having my 'mons running behind me, it helps that I've always loved Digimon's designs far more than Pokemon's. The game's story is surprisingly dark, with a few rather mature themes mixed with the more lighthearted otaku-culture centered set-up. The supporting cast is a bit bidimensional, but I can forgive that.
But where the game falters is with how raising Digimons work. Firstly, the memory capacity is a total downer, since Digimon have different 'sizes' and you can't go over the memory capacity, and each digievolution makes them heavier. It sucks. It's specially annoying when 'Hacker Skills', which are needed to progress through dungeons are tied to how many Digimon and of which type you are carrying. To add insult to injury, there's an 'ABI' stat that rises every time you digivolve or devolve your 'mon. Chances are you won't be able to reach Mega on your first time through, so you'll have to devolve your mons, which translates into a ton of grinding. I just spent about 5 hours grinding, and even after meeting the ABI requirements, some of my stats didn't, which meant I had to train my 'mons on the Digifarm, and training requires at least half an hour of real time. It's really annoying. Specially because De-volving should be a reward in itself, since you can go through alternate evolution paths and get different skills this way. It works really well, but the ABI requirements are just ridiculous. FIVE HOURS GRINDING. FIVE.
I actually got jealous of an NPC, while I had to devolve my Metalgreymon. TWICE(Which meant getting Greymon to level 30 three times total, which isn't fun) in order to meet the ABI requirement, and NPC gets an Agumon turned into a Wargreymon. For free. FOR FREE. Like, seriously? I've to grind my butt off and she just gets him for free? SERIOUSLY?
What I liked:
- The story. It's relatively interesting, with surprisingly mature themes thrown into the mix.
- The combat. It's fast and fun.
- The Digimons. They look badass and you can have them running behind you.
- The presentation. The game looks beautiful, both character models and environments.
What I didn't like:
- The ABI stat. It translates into grinding, and that's its only purpose.
- The translation. They... they goofed a lot. For instance, there's a Digimon called Bakemon, and Bakemono means monster in Japanese. Well, when talking about the Eaters, a special kind of enemy, sometimes characters refer to them as 'Bakemono' or 'Monsters'... the translators didn't get the memo, and call them Bakemon. They.... they really screwed up. I also came around about three different instances of having to pick an option from between two or three... except that it's only ONCE sentence that takes up two to three lines on the text box. Seriously? And it's a bit surprising, since you can tell that they had fun writing the dialogue.
- The DLC. Getting the Asia version means that I couldn't get the BlackAgumon and BlackGabumon DLCs, but even worse, there's paid DLC Digimon. Just imagine if Pokemon started selling their mons? At least they've patched some free Digimons, but still....
What can I say, after playing the horrible Ar Tonelico 3 I kinda lost all hope on modern JRPGs, but Cyber Sleuth is really good. Like, REALLY good. Sure, some of the character designs are a bit pandering, but they don't go overboard with gratuitous camera angles or anything of the sort.