Digimon Survive is a painfully boring RPG

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

The children are not well.
Image: Witch Craft Co., Ltd. / Hyde

Digimon survive, the new video game made to celebrate the anime’s 25th anniversary, attempts to juggle a visual novel and a tactical role-playing game. The result is the slogan of a game that is 70% a visual novel, 20% a tactical role-playing game and 10% horror; total as a waste of 100 percent of my time.

Digimon survives, developed by Hyde and Witchcraft, follows a pack of teens on a school camping trip who are unceremoniously transported to a mysterious world where fantastic anthropomorphic creatures called Digimon go wild. If you are thinking that the concept sounds eerily similar to Pokémon, you would be right. Digimon and for Pokémon as an animated film from DreamWorks Pictures Antz is that of Disney Bug’s life with the exception that most Digimon can speak. While the evil Digimon in this new realm wish to use children for a ritual sacrifice, a small group of kind Digimon make it their lifelong mission to bring them home safe and sound.

Digimon survives seeks to blend the visual novel style of dialogue choices with the social connections related to the battle of fashion person, but he’s not very good at any of these things.

Combat in the game works in a similar way to the turn-based combat system of Live a life, where you can place your party members on a grid during fights. While their placement plays a key role in how battles unfold, battle tactics come into play Digimon survives they manage to be both a walk and a grind. As is common in most TRPGs, attacking the side or rear of an enemy causes critical damage. The problem with Digimon survives is that it takes forever for the characters to travel through the tiles in the game’s large battle arenas, even as you speed up their animations by pressing the jump button. Most of your movement will be spent getting into enemy range, which, depending on the amount of party members you’re swinging with, can take four to five turns before any action takes place.

A slimy Digimon sticks his tongue out in a rocky forest.

You want to calm him down, right?
Screenshot: Witch Craft Co., Ltd., Hyde / Kotaku

Digimon survivesThe adventure and exploration side of things follows a visual novel formula of moving the cursor over objects and characters in the environment to find out more about them. This too suffers from being an unnecessarily difficult part of the game. Although the game encourages exploration, going so far as to make the words flash on the screen whenever the moment presents itself, unless the objects or people in the environment have an exclamation point on them, you are wasting your time doing it. click on them. Just like with James Sunderland or Heather Mason in silent Hill series, clicking on something like an accordion in an abandoned school produces text that tastes like a lazy caption for a newspaper photo: it tells you what you can assume rather than providing enlightening or substantive comments. Do you see a pile of dusty drums in an abandoned music hall? Takuma Momozuka, the character you play, is likely to reiterate the obvious saying: “Dang, those drums are definitely dusty. I can’t tell you how long they’ve been there. Thank you very much, Takuma. I couldn’t have gotten to that point without yours. Help.

Exploration rarely rewards you with items that help you in combat scenarios. I was inundated with health items I never needed because that was a piece of cake too.

Ryo stares in fear as Saki reads it for filth.

He is right and he should say it.
Screenshot: Witch Craft Co., Ltd. / Hyde / Kotaku

Teens and the Digimon in the game have the emotional strength of elementary school students, which is honestly part of the appeal of the game. There is a recognizable embarrassment in the way they deal with topics like boys and girls sleeping in separate rooms. But what she has become grateful for is the Digimon’s affection for their human counterparts. Very similar to the original Digimon souls, digital monsters care deeply about their human counterparts. They will mamoru to the devil. But Digimon the show creates a credible bond between the couple. The strengthening of these bonds is what leads anthropomorphic creatures to their evolution into more powerful beings. In Digimon survives, the evolutions just happened off the left field in the smelliest way imaginable. While some Digimon, like the uneducated and naive reptile Agumon, evolve after witnessing your attempt to protect them, the rest of the Digimon evolutions come after a pep talk that the Digimon gave to their human counterparts. This is nothing short of mind-blowing and feels undeserved whenever an evolution cutscene interrupts an already protracted battle.

You see, Digimon just know everything there is to know about their partners and can tell them exactly what they need to feel in order to ignite their belly and fight. This comes down to clichés where Digimon tell their partners how much they love them and how special they are. The only problem is that you as a player who has been flowing for hours with these bland characters haven’t been given an iota of characterization, so the compliments don’t really come. While the game’s camera tells you this is an emotional turning point, it comes out as a characterization that Digimon are pulling out of their unpainted asses.

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

Don’t cry Saki, you are so cool haha.
Screenshot: Witch Craft Co., Ltd. / Hyde / Kotaku

But surely the characters bring to life what is a pretty bad TRPG experience so far, right? I’m sorry to inform you that they are the worst part. If you’ve ever seen the Japanese reality show Townhouses, especially his Tokyo season from 2019 to 2020, I’d say dynamic rebellious teenagers are similar to that. There’s a pile of downtime although the characters are aware that there are Digimon who want to sacrifice them and the characters walk on eggshells around each other until an “accident” occurs in which everyone inevitably expresses their complaints. 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 the larger-than-life personalities are forced to work together, the characters come in Digimon survives they are bland scraps of character archetypes without a semblance of depth.

The drama between the characters is also not compelling. In a moment, the characters will protest the search for answers in the world they have been transported to. In the next one, they’re up for your inaction while the rest of them venture into … I don’t know, find the script for the game so they can know what the hell is going on. The characters will go around waiting for the plot to happen to them. But when the time comes, they are all surprised Pikachu’s face on how their inaction affected the party. Even when it seems like a lesson is about to be learned after a long diatribe over the need to communicate better with each other, teens immediately regress by ignoring the red flags on each other.

To make matters worse, the characters act blocking progress in the game as its villains carry on the plot. Playing Digimon survives felt like reading behind someone who is taking too long to turn the page. For hours on end, the characters discuss their problems with each other or sit with their hands in their hands and not take action to get the plot moving. This makes the choices of the visual novel seem pedantic.

While the developers have practically begged the reviewers not to screw up anything that happens after the fifth installment of the game in hopes of preserving the amazing emotional twists the story has to offer, the plot point has only tripled by frustrating me. I started actively cheering on characters to meet their demise due to how demonstrably ineffective the group made my choices collectively feel. You can promise to be a “deeply personal story” whatever you want, but if you’d rather just be spoiled than suffer playing your game to reach its conclusion, then the journey isn’t worth it.

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