Digimon Survive (PlayStation 4) Review

By Luke Hemming 12.02.2023

Review for Digimon Survive on PlayStation 4

Although a certain yellow rat and his friends have dominated both gaming and popular culture since their birth, there has never been any doubt that Digimon has been the far superior franchise. Better stories, better characters and most importantly, far more interesting monsters to recruit. With Digimon Survive, focusing on a new playstyle and approach than previous entries, can this cult classic take its place on the digital throne?

The new approach taken? Turning the franchise into a visual novel overall with only a sprinkling of gameplay. In the past, players have had full control over their beasties following the standard RPG battle system. This was perfected in the excellent Digimon Story: Cybersleuth so initially it feels like a strange choice and possible mis-step to stray from the RPG format entirely and go down the visual novel angle. Bandai Namco have bet on themselves and the franchise is knowing that what makes Digimon great is the strength of its storytelling and for the most part it pays off, added to that a robust and fun RTS system to back up the text.

For the uninitiated Digimon are (the best) creatures that inhabit the digital world, living on the internet, mobile phones, FITBITS, the lot. Once bonding to a human they tend to battle and protect them, becoming new and greater iterations as the situation calls for. With this bond, greater interaction and higher stakes are usually top of the plot list and Digimon Survive is no exception. Fully embracing the JRPG Stereotype, our intrepid group of adventurers are a bunch of schoolkids ranging from the geeky nerd to the bully, to the goth badass and everything in between. After a field trip to a temple of their 'monster gods', our token Role playing heroes get pulled into the digital world, meeting their Digi-counterparts and setting off to save both planes of existence.

Screenshot for Digimon Survive on PlayStation 4

As expected with what is branded as a digital novel, most of the time will be spent reading. All vocal acting is in its original Japanese so there's no way getting around getting down and dirty with the text on offer. Although there is a lot of what feels like filler, listening to why subject A thinks he is as cool as he is, why subject B is scared etc, the general story is an interesting one. It is fair to say though that the digital team are the stars of the show, providing much more interesting dialogue. A simple yet brilliant feature is also the way dialog branches are selected will decide how your Digimon reacts as well as their Digi-volutions (which is an excellent name and far better than evolving as a term). It's worth building those friendships during the text sections in order to have a greater advantage in battle as well as the chance of turning your T-Rex into a machine gun wielding death merchant.

Combat wise the RTS system is nothing revolutionary but does work as well as you would hope. It can however be a bit of a chore with the seemingly endless options that are given. Turning characters around, moving, deciding to attack, navigating menus upon menus to make a decision, it can be a gruelling task. This can however be adjusted using the battle speed options. Set it to as high as possible would be the advice. Again though, there's that little bit of genius that changes a relatively dull chore into a treat. Digimon can of course be captured but the possibility of this can be improved by talking to enemies, mid battle. By paying close attention to their rants and answering questions based on those observations, foes can become friends much more quickly, feeding that collection urge. With the lack of connection in comparison to the core team however, unless there is a particular favourite on the field, there isnt a massive urge to move from the core team.

Screenshot for Digimon Survive on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Although it's easy to miss the dizzy heights of the Cybersleuth series, it's to be applauded in what has been attempted here - and with an easily accessible series, will convert even the most hardened hater of visual novels. With the superb presentation and the relaxed approach, many Digi-destined (which sounds way better than trainers too) will be happy for the series to continue in this style of digi-volution.

Developer

Bandai Namco

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Visual Novel

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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