'Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory' is a familiar Digi-Destined dream

'Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory' is a familiar Digi-Destined dream

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Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth -- Hacker’s Memory is a worthy follow-up to 2015’s Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, but one that requires the first game more than it’s able to stand on its own. The good news is that that’s not neccesarily a bad thing.

For fans of the Digimon franchise, this latest entry is a juggernaut of fan service, offering something for every fan of the series, whether you were there for the Fox Kids English dub or listened exclusively to the Japanese radio dramas.

But fan service aside, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth -- Hacker’s Memory is a more than competent JRPG, one that blends the social aspects of series like Persona with monster battling and collecting in top form, even matched up against the leaders of the genre.

Players take on the role of Keisuke, a kid whose online account is phished. But in this digital-heavy world, a stolen account means more than a bank account or a password -- its your livelihood. So, Keisuke joins a group of do-good hackers in an attempt to thwart future break-ins in the world of EDEN, a Second Life-esque virtual world where humans and Digimon reside and battle each other.

And the game’s combat is mostly the same as its 2015 predecessor. That being said, the first Cyber Sleuth game pretty much nailed that, from its accessibility to pacing. Combat is complemented by the raising and breeding system of Digimon, where you’ll spawn monster created from scanned data in battle, build up a Digi Farm for them to hang out and, well, feed them to each other to make the target monster stronger. It’s a lot less weird than it seems.

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But the true strength of Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth -- Hacker’s Memory comes in its direct relation to the original game, taking place alongside its events. Sure, this means a ton of reused assets, characters and plot points, but it also offers a unique perspective -- one we don’t often see in gaming.

Unfortunately, this means you almost certainly have to have played the first game to really get the mileage out of this one. You’ll catch cameos and glimpses of major events from the first game, and later find yourself almost completely enveloped in its story. To those that did play the original, you’ll find that your save data carries over, which means any monster data you collected will already appear in Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth -- Hacker’s Memory. That means you won’t be hunting for hours to fill up your journal with every single Digimon again.

And for completionists, the more than 700 medals collected from the first game will also carry over. If you’re like me, that’s a miracle and tens of hours saved from standing in front of the game’s gashapon machines.

Overall, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth -- Hacker’s Memory offers the perfect stopgap for what will inevitably be a new entry in the series. And for those that didn’t quite take to last year’s Digimon World game, this one’s for you.

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth -- Hacker's Memory is now available for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. A review copy was provided by BANDAI NAMCO.

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