Digimon Survive is out right now for PS4, but you may have noticed that we don't have a review here on Push Square yet. This is unfortunately due to issues outside of our control, but having sunk roughly six hours into the game, we thought that it would be best to bring you some hands on impressions ahead of the aforementioned review.
As the headline of this article suggests, we're a little bit torn on Digimon Survive so far. The opening couple of hours are incredibly slow as the title lays the groundwork for its story — introducing the main characters and establishing the kind of relationships that they have with one another. Indeed, this is a visual novel first and foremost, but we've found ourselves wishing that there was more monster-on-monster action.
The story starts with a bunch of Japanese high school students on a field trip out in the countryside, but things go sideways when the gang stumbles across an old shrine dedicated to deity-like beasts. You can probably guess what happens next — especially if you're already familiar with Digimon as a franchise.
That's right, the kids end up trapped in an alternate reality where the titular creatures and their strange powers reign supreme. We must admit that our interest in the narrative up until this point was beginning to wane — on a surface level the characters come across as stereotypical, and the dialogue is a bit longwinded — but once Agumon and his digital pals show up, things get much more entertaining.
Agumon — the yellow dinosaur digimon who's something of a mascot — isn't just an effective tool to be used in the title's turn based combat. He's a central part of the story, alongside other friendly digimon who are introduced within the opening chapters. This is something of a fresh dynamic as far as Digimon games go, as the personalities of the monsters themselves are rarely explored outside of the animated shows. Agumon and his allies are all voiced in Digimon Survive, and you can't help but enjoy their quirky, inquisitive natures.
We're looking forward to seeing how this reportedly 30-ro-so hour adventure unfurls, even if some of the game's exploration elements already feel tedious. In typical visual novel fashion, you're often able to move between locations in order to talk to specific characters, or investigate the surrounding environment. Traversal is thankfully menu-based, but there's still a lot of backtracking to be done in order to push the plot along, inch by inch.
And it's this somewhat awkward structure that gets in the way of Digimon Survive's strategic battles. Story-based encounters have been very few and far between, which is a shame, because as is usually the case with Digimon games, the process of levelling up your monsters and expanding your team is a key selling point. We're already addicted to seeing our digimon's stats increase.
So, we're hoping that proceedings become a little more combat-driven as the title continues. The system itself isn't anything revolutionary — digimon move on a grid, and each attack has unique properties — but it seems fairly well made, the animations are nice, and it's easy to understand. Digivolution is also a factor — even at this early stage — as your partners can take on new forms to temporarily increase their power. With over 100 digimon to discover (according to the in-game database), it's safe to say that we're excited to see what's next.
It's clear that Digimon Survive has the potential to be a uniquely engaging Digimon title, what with its focus on player choice, character interaction, and tactical combat — but the pacing has to improve sooner rather than later. We get that visual novels can be a slow burn, and that's fine, but in a game that's asking you to engage in RPG elements like levelling up and collecting creatures, verbose dialogue and tedious exploration can quickly outstay their welcome.
Are you eyeing Digimon Survive? if all goes to plan, we'll have a full review for you in the near future, but until then, let us know if Agumon's set to be your best friend in the comments section below.
Potential without a good base feels so bad these days.
If anyone's got any questions about Digimon Survive I can try to answer them based on what I've played so far. Hope to have a full review at some point next week.
Slower than Yakuza Like a Dragon's opening?
@AstraeaV Maybe not that slow! But I'd also say it's less interesting.
Kind of surreal that this is now out, I lost track of it entirely after the third or fourth delay.
I guess I'll be eyeing footage and such and deciding whether it's something I want to play at the moment.
I found Danganronpa 2 to have a suuuuper slow opening, is it as slow as that (if you have experience with that game)?
I want this game to be good so bad, as I love Digimon but have no interest in the other games focus on grindy RPGness. Hope it begins to really take off, the game looked special when it was first revealed and I hope it retained it!!
Digimon seems to be having a bit of a renaissance at the moment. The reboot of the first series has just finished airing, and they just announced a sequel to the Last Evolution Kizuna movie (aka Digimon Adventure 04). I'm all for it. I used to love it as a kid.
A JRPG with unbearably slow pacing? Nah, those don't exist.
@ShogunRok Thank you for putting this together so quickly. Much appreciated! Question: Have any horror elements begun as yet and what is your non-spouler opinion of them?
@3Above Yeah the horror elements actually start quite early, and I think they give the story a welcome edge. I'm expecting the darker plot points to continue throughout, which would be cool.
It's hooked me. Not usually a visual novel fan but the inclusion of digimon and the tactical battles really bring it to life for me. Between this and Ghos Game, I would love to see them go all-in on the horror side of things in another entry
From what i recall, wasn't digimon a copy of pokemon?
Anyhow, i'm new here so hello 😀
@Brydontk Just so you know, I edited your comment to avoid what people might consider spoilers. Didn't want to remove it completely because the rest is obviously fine!
@ShogunRok Haha I gotcha. I thought it would be fine because it was advertised that those things would happen but I respect it 😂
@Michael2008ish Nah Digimon was a copy of Tomogatchi. The only thing it has in common with Pokemon are the Monsters and the -mon.
@Brydontk @Michael2008ish As was said Digimon is drastically different. Tends to tackle more "mature" themes than Pokemon does. If you're curious I highly recommend watching the 1st 2 episodes of Digimon Tamers (Season 3) That would give you a pretty comprehensive idea of what to expect and how it differs from Pokemon. Also: Hello and Welcome! 😀
Cool. Thanks for the responses.
@Michael2008ish it's like Pokemon's edgy goth cousin.
I'm actually incredibly hooked. Yeah it's slow. But come on, persona 5 had like a huge slow start as well. That hasn't stopped me from enjoying it. I know this is from yesterday, but are you aware of the free battle? That's intended for you to grind and aquire new digimon.
I'm reaching the end of chapter 7. Not a massive fan of thr visual novel stuff but I live my anime and the story has been outstanding plus picking up a free mon here and there. Only minus is the digimon only have one attack move buy you can equip items to add special attacks . Interesting karma system . Story is pretty interesting, going down horror route , kinda similar to 13 sentinels. Also digimon is way, way better than Pokémon. Shame there's no DNA fuzion that would be epic. Much better than cyber sleuth imo
@ShogunRok Thanks for the for the early hands on impression!
Btw, can you tell us why exactly no gaming sites have published reviews?
Did Bandai Namco enforce a review embargo? If so, how long will it last for?
@KidBoruto Nah there was no embargo or anything. For whatever reason, Bandai Namco didn't make review codes available until the launch date. We don't know whether that was the publisher's decision, or whether there was some kind of issue.
@ShogunRok Well at least they didn't enforce an embargo lol. Thanks for the info, it's much appreciated!
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