Review: Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory [PS4]

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Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is arguably one of the best Digimon games to be released, just take a look our review of it from two years ago, so then there’s no doubt that we were extremely excited by the prospect of another instalment in the series.

 

 

Release Date: January 19, 2018 (WW)
Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Genre: Role-playing
Player(s): Single-player, Multiplayer
Rating: PEGI 12
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Developer: Media.Vision

Not quite a sequel to Cyber Sleuth, Hacker’s Memory, works in parallel to the events of its predecessor and even features more than a few references to characters and some crossovers. Hacker’s Memory focuses on a new set of characters and plot threads which have been uniquely intertwined with that of Cyber Sleuth’s story which makes it all the more enjoyable having played the previous instalment.

Our new protagonist, Keisuke, is a far cry in terms of usefulness from the capable Takumi Aiba/Ami Aiba of Cyber Sleuth. After having his EDEN account hacked, Keisuke joins the hacker group HUDIE in an attempt to track down his account and the hacker that took it. Creating a new account on EDEN is without question met with unfair suspicion, its seen as a sure-fire sign of illegal activities. Your EDEN account is considered much more than just some email account or the like but your digital passport of sorts and without it, even life outside of EDEN can become complicated.

Alongside a new cast of characters in the group HUDIE so too are there new areas to explore in both the real world and EDEN. Of course, there’s a number of returning characters and places from Cyber Sleuth but they are worked into the story in a way that still feels fresh. Given the nature of a game like Hacker’s Memory, there’s an understandable concern that too much of the assets will be reused and rehashed but that is far from the case here. You’ll no doubt be retreading a lot of the same ground but with new plot threads, side memories, characters and Digimon to keep you occupied it never feels like more of the same.

What is the same, and should clearly never be changed, is the fantastic turn-based battle system. It’s still a joy to play now as it was through many hours of Cyber Sleuth this is all in part thanks to the immensely enjoyable Digivolution system. Literally, hundreds if not thousands of hours could be spent on this aspect of the game alone. While Pokemon has a very fixed system in place for evolutions Digimon does and doesn’t at the same time. There can be a very clear and defined Digivolution route for every Digimon but that doesn’t mean you have to take it. In a lot of cases, it may be beneficial to try out various routes before proceeding forwards. That’s the great thing about this system in that you can Digivolve and De-Digivolve as much as you like to get the desired results.

If you have Cyber Sleuth save data on your system then alongside some items you’ll be awarded you also get to keep the Field Guide which can save you a lot of time on trial and error when Digivolving. But even with a complete Field Guide, you’ll notice there’s a good deal of new Digimon to work towards.

In an effort to further distinguish itself from its predecessor Hacker’s Memory has a new mechanic in Domination Battle. This is a chess-like system where characters are moved from area to area in an effort to gain points and take control of the board. When taking an area from an opponent a standard battle will take place and the losing side will respawn on their respective side. The basic aim is to acquire a set amount of points and be declared the winner. There are a few variations in winning conditions from game to game but it’s a fun mechanic that adds a new layer to the game.

Suzuhito Yasuda’s character designs and Masafumi Takada’s soundtrack shine through in Hacker’s Memory just as they did with Cyber Sleuth. The new characters look great with Keisuke looking suitably borderline background character material, as he should. The new tracks and remixed editions give the levels shared across games a new lease of life and really help to give the game a different feel. Excellent attention to detail has made this game a great title in its own right and an even greater title when paired with its counterpart.

Verdict

90% Great

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker's Memory is a fantastic update and addition to an already great game in Cyber Sleuth. The parallel plot threads have been masterfully implemented and made the game an absolute joy to play through and experience. If you're unfamiliar with the predecessor then worry not as Hacker’s Memory stands tall as a great game in its own right and will only leave you wanting more.

This title was reviewed using a PlayStation 4 review copy provided by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe.

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About Author

Co-Founder & Writer of @JapanCuriosity / Writer for @MangaUK. Lover of Anime, Manga and Games. Current obsession - Metal Gear Solid!