I’m one of those people that will always sing at the top of my lungs when the Digimon theme song comes on.
I do the same with Pokémon, Sailor Moon, Spongebob and Catdog, as I’m sure many others my age do. My point is that, when it comes to one of those fandoms, I’m loyal to the end so when I was given the opportunity to look at the second Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth game, I had to take it.
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory is based in the same universe as the first Cyber Sleuth game, in the future of Shibuya, Japan. In this future, there is an advanced form of the internet called Cyberspace Eden where people can actually physically enter into the digital world. You play as a young man who had his Eden account hacked which causes him to be accused of committing crimes he has nothing to do with. Your goal is to find the person that stole your account and get it back. In order to do this you join a group of “good” hackers called “Hudie”, hired by Eden to keep control of illegal hacking, and work together with them to find the thief.
The beginning of Hacker’s Memory is very dialogue-heavy, but the story itself is intriguing enough to keep your attention. Once you’re through with the long introduction you’ll be able to read through a variety of tutorials. I’m going to be honest; I clicked quickly through all of the tutorials, too eager to find my first Digimon and love it forever. I was still able to pick everything up pretty quickly; all of the rules and details may seem overwhelming, but I found it much easier to learn by doing rather than reading.
When you’re finally given the ability to roam the world of Eden and Shibuya, you’re still not totally left to your own devices. You’re pretty much trapped in a couple of boxes complete with invisible walls that you’re unable to go through. While working with Hudie, you’ll be given a few different quests to take on that will give you an opportunity to explore the areas that you do have access to — but for the first couple of hours, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory is pretty linear.
There are many possible types of quests to complete but some of the more common quests include running errands for other Hudie members, investigating possible illegal hacking being done in Eden, or quests given to you by the mysterious “K,” a man who claims to want to help you retrieve your account back. While you’re completing quests you’ll encounter different digimon that will allow you to level up your own digimon and eventually add more of them to your team. You can do quests in whatever order you choose, or not do them at all — it’s a nice amount of freedom that makes the game feel different each time you pick it up.
Sure, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory has a great story and gameplay that’s easy to pick up, but it’s of course the digimon you really want to know about, right? Hacker’s Memory features over 320 digimon from the animated series including fan favourite (i.e. my favourite) Agumon. When you first begin the game, you’ll have to make a choice between Betamon, Tentomon, and Gotsumon — who each have their own unique characteristics as well as unique evolutions. Your starter digimon will be the first that you use in battles and it will probably be the first that you’ll watch digivolve. They grow up so fast. Despite it seeming like a difficult choice, unlike Pokémon, your choice of starter digimon doesn’t really have a huge effect on the game. I still won’t blame you if you get attached. I know I did.
Even though Hacker’s Memory is a Digimon story, I found that it focused much less on digimon themselves and more on their world. It was definitely a surprise, but after realising that I was still awake at three in the morning clicking through dialogue and giggling at some of the character’s theatrics, I was fine with the less Digimon-focused story. They’re still present and valid, but not really the main idea.
I fell in love with Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory after just a couple of hours, and I’ve found it hard to put down since. It’s very easy to get sucked into the futuristic universe and connect with the characters — even the really weird ones. Despite the lack of focus on digimon themselves, fans of the animated series will surely get a kick out of the familiar humour and science fiction elements that are prevalent throughout the game. I highly recommend giving Hacker’s Memory a try if you’re a fan of the Digimon universe and enjoy a good visual novel with lots of role play elements.