Digimon Survive is a painfully boring TRPG

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

The children do not feel well.
picture: Witchcraft Co.,Ltd. / Hyde

digimon survive, Developed to celebrate the anime’s 25th anniversary, the new video game attempts to juggle and is both a visual novel and a tactical RPG. The result is a jumble of a game that’s 70 percent visual novel, 20 percent tactical RPG, and 10 percent horror. overall 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 summarily transported to a mysterious world where fantastical anthropomorphic creatures called Digimon are running amok. If you think this concept sounds eerily similar to Pokemon, you’re right. Digimon is to Pokemon what DreamWorks Pictures animated film app is at Disney Beetle’s life except that most Digimon can talk. While nefarious Digimon in this new realm plan to use the children for a ritual sacrifice, a small group of friendly Digimon make it their mission in life to bring them home safely.

Digimon survive attempts to fuse the visual novel style of dialogue selection with combat-related social connections a la Persona, but it’s not very good at any of those things.

Combat in the game works similarly to the turn-based combat system live one life, where you can position your party members on a grid during battles. While their placement plays a key role in how battles unfold, battle tactics matter Digimon survive manage to be both a cake walk and a drudgery. As is common with most TRPGs, attacking an enemy’s side or back deals critical damage. The problem with Digimon survive is that it lasts Characters can forever travel across tiles in the game’s major battle arenas, even if you speed up their animations by clicking the skip button. You’ll spend most of your movement getting in range of the enemy, which can take four to five turns before action occurs, depending on the number of party members you’re rocking with.

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

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

Digimon surviveThe adventure and exploration side of follows a visual novel formula where you move your mouse pointer over objects and characters in the environment to discover more things about them. Again, this suffers from being an unnecessarily tedious part of the game. While the game encourages exploration, going so far as to flash the words on screen whenever the moment arises, waste your time clicking on them unless nearby items or people have an exclamation point. Similar to James Sunderland or Heather Mason in the silent Hill series, a click on something like an accordion in an abandoned school leads to flavor text akin to a lazy caption for a newspaper photo: it tells you what to suspect, rather than providing any enlightening commentary or content. See a pile of dusty drums in an abandoned music room? Chances are that Takuma Momozuka, the character you play, will repeat the obvious line, “Damn, those drums are really dusty. I can’t tell you how long they’ve been there.” Thank you Takuma. I could not have reached this point without your help.

Rarely, as you explore, you will be rewarded with items that help you in combat scenarios. I was inundated with health items that I never needed because that was a no-brainer too.

Ryo stares in fear as Saki reads him for dirt.

She’s right and she should say it.
screenshot: Witchcraft Co.,Ltd. / Hyde / Kotaku

The teens and Digimon in the game have the emotional strength of elementary school students, which is honestly part of the game’s charm. There’s an understandable awkwardness to the way they address issues like the boys and girls sleeping in separate rooms. But what got annoying is the Digimon’s affection for their human counterparts. Just like the original Digimon In anime, the digital monsters take great care of their human counterparts. you will be mamoru to hell with them. but Digimon The show forges a believable connection between the pair. Strengthening these bonds leads anthropomorphic creatures to evolve into more powerful beings. in the Digimon survive, developments just sort of happened out of left field in the most clumsy way imaginable. While some Digimon, like the simple-minded overgrown reptile agumon, evolve after seeing you try to protect them. The rest of the Digimon’s evolution occurs after a pep talk that the Digimon give to their human counterparts. This is eye-rolling, to say the least, and feels undeserved when an evolution cutscene interrupts an already drawn-out fight.

You see, Digimon know just about everything there is to know about their partners and can tell them exactly what they need to hear to start a fire in their bellies and fight. This boils down to platitudes, in which Digimon tell their partners how much they love them and how special they are. The only problem is that as a gamer who spent hours farting around with these boring characters, you didn’t get an iota of characterization, so the compliments don’t really land. While the game’s camera tells you this is an emotional breakthrough moment, it comes out as the characterization of the Digimon pulling out of their naughty asses.

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

Don’t cry Saki you are so cool haha.
screenshot: Witchcraft Co.,Ltd. / Hyde / Kotaku

But surely the characters breathe life into what has been a pretty subpar TRPG experience so far, right? I regret to inform you that they are the worst. If you have ever watched the Japanese reality TV show terrace house, especially in the 2019-2020 season in Tokyo, I would say the dynamic, headstrong teenagers are similar to that. There is a heaps of downtime although the characters are made aware that there are Digimon who want to make sacrifices out of them, and the characters run around each other on eggshells until an “incident” occurs, during which they all inevitably voice their grievances. They have a range of archetypes: the mild-mannered girl, the popular girl, the guy with a stick up his butt, the prankster, and the guy with nothing positive to say. Instead of the drama that would ensue when larger-than-life personalities are forced to work together, the characters matter Digimon survive are boring snippets of character archetypes with no semblance of depth.

The drama between the characters is also unconvincing. In a moment, the characters will object to looking for answers in the world they have been transported to. Next time, they’ll be outraged at your inaction while the rest venture out to… I don’t know, find the script for the game so they know what the hell is going on. The characters will fool around waiting for the plot to happen to them. But when the moment comes, they are all surprised Pikachu face about how their inaction has affected the party. Even when a lesson feels like it’s being learned after a lengthy diatribe about the need to communicate better with one another, teens immediately revert to ignoring blatant red flags about one another.

To make matters worse, the characters halt progress in the game while its villains advance the plot. To play Digimon survive felt like reading over the shoulder of someone who is taking too long to turn the page. For hours the characters either talk to each other about their problems or sit on their hands without doing anything to get the plot going. This makes the visual novel choices feel pedantic.

While the developers practically begged reviewers not to spoil anything after the game’s fifth chapter in hopes of preserving the surprising emotional twists the story has to offer, the plot point only tripled, which left me frustrated. I started actively engaging in characters facing their demise because my choices felt demonstrably ineffective. You can promise to be a “deeply personal story” all you want, but if I’d rather just be spoiled than suffer through your game to get to its ending, then it’s not worth the journey.

https://kotaku.com/digimon-survive-rpg-visual-novel-review-1849377900 Digimon Survive is a painfully boring TRPG

Curtis Crabtree

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