Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory (PS Vita) Review

Game Title: Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory
Developer: Media Vision, Bandai Namco
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Availability: Digital Download
Download: 2.6 GB
PSTV Support: Yes

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth really made a name for itself when it released on the PS Vita and PS4, even cementing itself as the best Digimon game of all time, according to Watch Mojo’s list of the Top 10 Digimon Games. Its unique melding of standard JRPG storytelling with a revised and deep party management and evolution system easily made it one of the must-have games for JRPG Vita gamers.

Naturally, when a sequel was announced, people got very excited, especially when it was confirmed that not only its PS4 version, but Vita release would also be coming West (unlike the Vita version of Digimon World: Next Order, which did not release in the West). Several months later, we have it and it has surprised many people with what it contained.

That is, of course, because the game is actually a sequel and not just the original game with a few extras, which a lot of people still believe that it is. Whether you believe that or not, it is time for me to give my thoughts. Here is my review of the PS Vita and PlayStation TV version of Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory!

Story

Although classified as a sequel, Hacker’s Memory takes place at the same time and in the same world as the original Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth. The setting is a world where EDEN, a VR-based network has transformed computer servers and social media into 3D, explorable cyberspace worlds, full of normal folks and hackers who use Digimon to fight in turf wars and break into websites to gain information and even other user accounts to use for their own purposes.

In this game, you play as a young man whose account is stolen, leading to severe social seclusion and him joining up with a hacker group that is a contractor for solving issues in EDEN. As he dives into the world of hacking to gain back his virtual identity, he and the rest of the group becomes involved in the events surrounding EDEN, the Digimon, and the entire world as the events of Cyber Sleuth play out.

Despite being a sequel, you have limited exposure to the characters and events of the original game. Hacker’s Memory has its own, unique cast of characters and a storyline that is connected to, but at the same time, separate and its own thing from the story of Cyber Sleuth. As such, you need not play the original game if you wish to, instead, start with Hacker’s Memory.

Gameplay

Just like the original game, Hacker’s Memory is a turn-based RPG with monster-catching, party management, and some strategy elements thrown into the mix. Despite some new elements, you will still be running around digital dungeons, fighting in turn-based combat, and scanning/collecting different Digimon to evolve and use in your party.

Although you cannot consider this game an enhanced version of the old game in terms of story, you essentially can in terms of gameplay as most elements from the old game have been brought into this new one. As far a NEW features go, though, there are more than 80 new Digimon that’ve been added to the game and more on the way via free updates/patches for Hacker’s Memory. Most notably here is the new Sistermon Digimon line, which is completely new to the franchise. There are also new strategy-based fights known as Domination Battles.

These Domination Battles take place on large grids and have characters moving around and taking control of grid spaces for points. Earn enough points and your team wins, and you must also fight with enemy players in proper turn-based battles to take over enemy zones. These are very strategic and are thrown at you in several major story events.

Outside of that, most of the changes are more in terms of balancing and convenience with some Digimon easier to digivolve than in Cyber Sleuth, although many of the Over-Powered Digimon like Lilithmon are still OP. There’s also a new option from terminals where you can purchase Digimon from the Black Market, so you don’t need to go and grind early-on for certain lower-tier Digimon for getting what you want in your party.

The way the Evolution and Party Management system works has remain unchanged, though. Hacker’s Memory still has level and statistic requirements for higher evolutions, and many of the really note-worthy Digimon still require the grinding for those higher ABI stats. If you thought you wouldn’t be grinding with evolving and de-evolving for ABI and those higher-tier Digimon, that is still here. Your WarGreymons, OmniShoutmons, and Dianamons will still require all of that ABI grinding.

Just like in Cyber Sleuth, that’s the only real downside to the game. While it’s true that you don’t technically have to grind to complete the game, it is far easier with the better Mega Evolutions. Even with only a single OP Digimon and the others just normal Ultimates and Megas, it can still be quite challenging to finish the game. So, while it’s not required if you’re just looking to beat the game, it is certainly recommended.

Speaking of grinding, let’s talk about the game’s length. As a true sequel-like game, Hacker’s Memory is a pretty large time-sink. I cleared the game in slightly under 65 hours, but I would easily give 10-15 of those hours to me senselessly grinding to get my Digi-Crush Lilymon, among others in my final party. So, without grinding, I’d put Story Completion at around 50 hours, which is pretty long for a handheld RPG.

Controls

First of all, PlayStation TV owners will be very happy to hear that Hacker’s Memory is compatible with the PlayStation TV / PS Vita TV.

The control scheme hasn’t really changed from the first game, though. You use the Left Analog Stick or D-Pad to move and the Right Analog Stick to spin character models during the menu screen. L and R each have Guard and Escape options in combat. Then the face buttons interact with everything else. X and Circle let you select and cancel options in the menu or NPCs on the map. Square pulls up Dungeon Skills and Triangle pulls up the Customization Menu.

Presentation

Graphically, the game’s engine is interesting. Cyber Sleuth was an amazing PS Vita engine, as it made the game look nearly flawless in a visual sense, not to mention recreating series-faithful attack animations. Hacker’s Memory’s graphics are a little downgraded from the original game, but you can’t tell if you’re playing on the PS Vita. On the PSTV, it can be looked at and seen, but on the smaller screen, it doesn’t look any less crisp and smooth.

I have no issues with performance, either. The frame-rate is steady and I have yet to have any loading or crashing issues, despite the fact that one of the patches that’ve come out since release had notes about improving stability

 

Summary

In conclusion, Hacker’s Memory is much more than just Cyber Sleuth 2.0. The grind-heavy nature of the Evolution system is still here, but with a lengthy new storyline, dozens of new Digimon, and the new Domination Battles, this is a great monster-taming RPG for fans of the original game and newcomers to the Cyber Sleuth series alike.

9/10

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