We've spent around five hours with Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth on PlayStation 4, and we're tempted to say that we're already addicted. Admittedly, the game's first hour or so is a bit humdrum as you're shown the ropes of cyberspace and introduced to several main characters, but it wasn't long before we were hatching digimon eggs, evolving – or digivolving – our allies, and generally just watching our little 'mons get more and more powerful.
That's not to say the story's no good, though. There are some interesting themes at play here, with advanced virtual reality worlds giving way to hackers, and of course, digimon themselves. However, as already alluded, it's clear that things start off slow, so we expect that it'll be a couple of hours yet before events really kick into gear.
Needless to say, it's our digital friends that have kept us entertained so far. You're given one of three digimon to start with, and after that, you're free to recruit any beasts that you find. Doing so is easy enough, too – every time that you stumble across a certain digimon in a random battle, it'll automatically be scanned. Once you've encountered the same type of digimon enough times, this scan reaches 100 per cent, and you can head to a hub area known as the Digilab to hatch it from an egg. From that point on, it's yours to level up and do with as you please.
What's intriguing is that the basics of building a team of digimon seem simple, but there's definite depth to be found if you're willing to dig beneath the surface. For example, each digimon can be digivolved into multiple different creatures once they level up enough or meet other specific requirements. There appears to be a lot of player choice involved when it comes to forming a good group of 'mon, and that's sure to be a consistent element throughout the game, as there are almost 250 of the buggers to discover.
Battling is another aspect that's simplistic at first glance, but before long, you're introduced to digimon data types and elemental weaknesses. Including the three active digimon that fight for you on the front lines, you can have up to 11 of the critters with you while you're traversing cyberspace, which means that you can switch your party out if things aren't going as planned. In other words, there's potential for some deceptively deep strategy if the first several hours are anything to go by.
Stepping away from gameplay, Cyber Sleuth isn't a bad looking PS4 title, despite being a port of the Vita original. Sure, there are some low resolution textures and a few jaggies here and there, but overall, the game's got a pleasant art style and uses a heck of a lot of colour. At points, it really does pop on the big screen.
Following the title's launch in Japan last year, we've heard good things about the game's soundtrack, and so far, we can see why. There are some catchy electronic tunes on offer, and a couple of tracks have featured subtle vocal performances, which is a bit reminiscent of the music found in Persona 4 – and that's certainly no bad thing.
First impressions are positive, then, but it goes without saying that we'll have to spend a lot more time with this role-playing release before we can pen a real review. If Cyber Sleuth can keep us engaged with its digimon development loop, and its plot starts to move at a slightly quicker pace, then we can see this being well worth checking out if you're a fan of Digimon, or even Japanese RPGs in general.
Are you already playing Digimon? What do you think of it? Tell us all about your adventures through the digital world in the comments section below.