HomeReviewsPC ReviewsDigimon Survive Review

Digimon Survive Review

Digimon Survive

Developer: Hyde
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC, Switch, Xbox One (Reviewed)
Release Date: Available Now
Price: $59.99 USD – Available Here $89.95 AUD – Available Here

Overview

When it comes to Digimon, fans of the series never quite know what to expect. The franchise has seen numerous different anime series of various types including plenty of video games that tackle a wide range of genres throughout the years but perhaps the strangest part of Digimon had yet to come. Then, a new RPG by the name of Digimon Survive was announced back in 2018 and now after numerous delays and change in developer, the title has arrived worldwide and despite its flaws it may be one of the most unique combinations of visual novel and tactical RPG that fans of either genre could ask for and certainly one that Digimon fans will want to experience.

Story

Takuma and a number of his middle-school classmates are on a field trip in the mountains that is meant to be an extended stay visiting historical locations, hiking, and more. The initial plans are ruined when an earthquake causes the paths through the mountain to become blocked off. Things change however when a pair of locals lead them to a nearby shrine, explaining to them the historical meaning behind it and that it is technically forbidden for people to trespass. It doesn’t take long before strange events occur and Takuma and many of his classmates find themselves in a mysterious strange world and pursued by dangerous creatures.

Things grow even stranger as many of them are separated only for more monsters to appear but this time around, these monsters happen to not only be friendly but already seem to know their names. These Digimon come in as helpful allies against the initial onslaught and Takuma quickly learns that Agumon, his partner, is his best bet for surviving in this strange new world and perhaps finding a way back home.

In many Digimon series the process of becoming a “Digi-Destined” seems like a dream come true but this premise is tackled with a far more complex and realistic approach in Digimon Survive. Rather than simply being a happy adventure in a new realm, Takuma and his classmates are initially terrified and under attack on numerous fronts by hostile Digimon that see them as nothing more than food. With few allies, no food or supplies, and located in a strange place with no way home, Digimon Survive is a far darker themed tale than one would expect. This is especially true once the game’s storyline begins to develop further and reveal additional elements about this world and the myths that players learned about at the beginning of the game.

While we will avoid spoiling the more important details, some of the broader strokes see players needing to make various decisions throughout Digimon Survive that will steer the game’s branching storyline down various paths. This includes how players choose to build their relationships with the other characters in the game as the closer Takuma becomes with other members of the cast the stronger their Digimon can become as well as reveal additional story details. In many ways, it can also be something of a double-edged sword though as players can often only interact with others so many times in-between story sequences so and it is not possible to max every friendship out in a single run, so players may want to play favorites but this is where the other side comes into play.

As mentioned, Digimon Survive is a far darker seeming game than one may think and that is entirely true, especially when it comes to survival. There are numerous times that players may witness one of their friends dying in a situation that could have been avoided should certain choices have been made differently and the characters and plot will react accordingly by mourning the loss of their friends. This leads to some rather hard hitting moments and players likely wanting to keep something of a save rotation to avoid locking themselves into a bad situation should they wish.

With real stakes at play and a great storyline to work with, Digimon Survive‘s lengthy visual novel moments that dominate the game are an incredible experience that offers a story unlike anything I believe the franchise has had to offer so far. The characters themselves are nicely developed as well though a few can be a bit annoying, especially at the beginning, and the game’s glacial starting speed can drag the story down a bit but those who stick with it are in for a real treat.

Gameplay

In most regards, Digimon Survive is far more visual novel than anything else but it does offer some solid gameplay outside of simply reading dialogue and making choices. Now, as mentioned before, players will make various choices throughout the game that can affect relationships and determine their story path and outside of these story phases players will also be given time to explore the world map a little by traveling through the rooms of the school and interacting with other characters or searching for items/battles. These relationship building phases help boost a character’s stats and reveal more story elements but thanks to the limited amount of options available players will need to plan accordingly.

During exploration players can also examine their surroundings using their cell phone and take photos of digitized areas of the map. These photos can uncover various items ranging from healing items to even uncovering special crystals that serve as equipment. These crystals range from giving skills to the Digimon that it is equipped to to providing various stat boosts but unfortunately equipment slots are a bit too limited for their own good which limits customization.

Players can also encounter enemy Digimon when photographing these locations and players can either choose to fight them or run away at no risk. These battles serve as “free battles” that players can also choose to enter at almost any time and work as both ways to train up the player’s own Digimon as well as potentially recruit “Free Digimon” to the team. Unlike partner Digimon, Free Digimon will always stay Digivolved and can turn into some heavy hitters. It is worth noting that while it isn’t required to gather other Digimon to your team, it is highly recommended because occasionally battles lock out certain partner Digimon and also serves as a great way to gather all of your favorites on a team. Recruiting a Free Digimon plays out similar to a certain other RPG franchise with players needing to answer three questions  when talking to them and, if successful, trying to recruit them to the team. A failure will result in the Digimon becoming enraged and seeing a boost in its stats so players will want to play carefully at times.

As far as battles go Digimon Survive‘s tactical RPG combat is quite solid if a bit simple. Players who are familiar with tactical RPGs will already know most of the game’s elements such as each unit being able to move a certain distance, make an attack or use a skill or use an item, and then ending their turn facing a chosen direction. Attacks from height advantages, the sides, or from the rear deal extra damage to enemies and players will receive more damage just the same. There are other elements such as elemental strengths and weaknesses but for the most part the combat really doesn’t get too complicated. Players will see that they can Digivolve their partner Digimon into stronger forms at the cost of ever draining SP, which would otherwise be used to perform various attacks. When not evolved, Digimon will recover SP when not taking action or by receiving support from nearby allies. This leads to a fairly simple to understand but also quite fun combat system that players can choose to make as deep as they like. 

Visuals & Audio

From the moment players begin the game they will immediately notice how much effort has been put into making sure nearly every element of Digimon Survive is gorgeous looking. Character portraits have plenty of detail and the environments that players can explore are highly detailed and have a wide amount of variety. The Digimon models, both in combat and character portraits, are gorgeous looking and feature quite a bit of detail with only some of the attacks looking a bit too basic for their own good.

With Digimon Survive being a visual novel it is worth noting that the game only features the original Japanese voice track with English subtitles. The Japanese voice cast has done a great job with their roles here and the localization also appears to work quite well, though one character is a bit more “joke” oriented than some may be expecting. As far as the soundtrack goes, the game features a wide array of music that fits well given the strange occurrences that happen throughout the game.

Overall

Digimon Survive is not the type of game that many would expect going in but it turns out that this is only the first of many great twists that await them in the game. With the title being primarily a visual novel its storyline does the heavy lifting here by offering some amazingly enjoyable writing, especially for Digimon fans, and some great presentation with plenty of replayability while the combat is a serviceable way to take on foes with plenty of room for depth but not quite as much customization as some may want in a RPG.

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

Summary

overall
8.5
Digimon Survive comes as a surprise in many ways and delivers an incredibly enjoyable Digimon storyline told in visual novel style with serviceable SRPG combat.
Travis Bruno
Travis Bruno
After playing games since a young age and getting into anime a bit later on its been time to write about a little bit of everything.
<i>Digimon Survive </i>comes as a surprise in many ways and delivers an incredibly enjoyable Digimon storyline told in visual novel style with serviceable SRPG combat.Digimon Survive Review