Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker’s Memory is both new and a return to what some may know from the original Cyber Sleuth game. It’s new with its own unique and fleshed out story that is set on a familiar backdrop to anyone who played the last game. It features the same monster collecting system that was already great with a few new digital faces that fight with a both an old and new exciting battle system, all to a cool electronic soundtrack that has been remixed more than it’s been recomposed. But if you’re anything like me and have been looking for an excuse to return to Cyber Sleuth somehow, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker’s Memory makes it well worth it because despite its familiarity, what it adds in both story and gameplay takes an old game and makes it better.
There is a bigger story going on in the world of EDEN and as the title suggests, a big theme for this Cyber Sleuth addition is ‘memories’ and this is concept is touched upon in many different ways as you help people on behalf of Hudie. Missions have a wide variety of tones, ranging from light-hearted chasing girls to Digimon stealing memories and even darker missions that touch on things as dark as murder which makes each mission feel like a dive into a story and mystery of its own. In and out of missions, the members of Hudie make for a great cast of new characters to spend time with, with each of the main Hudie members featuring their own archs, comedic highs and emotional lows that made me feel very connected to all of them as their stories progressed. From each chapter and mission, I felt like every story brought something to the overall theme and while its story spans through many chapters, as the original Cyber Sleuth’s events influenced Hacker’s Memory’s own story, this story’s ability to bring itself to new heights while exploring the concept of data, real memories and how they work together with its wonderful cast was a true highlight of the experience.
Digivolve into you favourites is still in place and the process of seeing my party get stronger and weaker as I Digivolved and De-Digivolved mine to try raise certain stats higher was still a lot of fun. There are over 300 Digimon to collect, including around 90 that weren’t in the original and while I haven’t kept up well enough with Digimon over the years to tell you if the new ones are good or not, I did come out with some new favourites and I’m still keen to try and get more and more because the Digivolution process feels so rewarding when finally achieving all the stats needed to make the best Digimon available to fight with.
Hacker’s Memory’s regular battles are also pretty close to the ones in the original Cyber Sleuth game, which made it easy to jump in after a while away from it. It features the same turn-based system that relies on finding type and elemental weaknesses to pack the biggest punch and features many status ailments that a lot of JRPG fans will find familiar and easy to pick up if you like turn-based JRPGs. My favourite addition to Hacker’s Memory’s battles though is the new Domination Battle system, a special battle system that incorporates tactics and an enjoyable point race and base-stealing feel to an already good system and these battles were what I looked forward to most in Hacker’s Memory. On a board, each square represents an amount of points and there’s usually a goal of getting a certain amount to win, with squares with high point values usually resulting in a decisive one round battle to try steal the square from the opponent to send them and their Digimon back to square one. Since Cyber Sleuth’s usual turn-based system is pretty straightforward, this element of strategy really revitalised the battle system and my only complaint is that there should have been either way more of them or at least had them included in its online mode.
Familiarity to its last game is probably the main negative that could be said about Hacker’s Memory as you’re not gonna find a lot of new places to explore and the overall visual style makes it near impossible to distinguish the old and new Cyber Sleuth games put side-by-side. In both EDEN and its version of Tokyo in Hacker’s Memory, a lot of the main dungeons and areas are basically the same, with only the area of Ikebukuro added as a new area to explore in Tokyo. All the areas still are very good replicas of modern day Tokyo even without an upgrade, but I can understand those who are put off by the idea of running around the same areas all over again. It does try to add small new elements to refresh things in EDEN, such as new traps in some dungeons, a few new hacking mechanics and costumes and collectible lore to give its own feeling of exploration which is better than nothing. However I also at times wished that maybe some of the time spent adding new things to returning areas was also spent fixing certain old features like DigiLine, the Digimon messaging feature that still sends weirdly localised replies to my poor well-meaning Digimon.
Let the Agumon Army begin.
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Did you play Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory? If you played the original, did it affect your Hacker's Memory experience?
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