- System: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC
- Publisher: BNE Entertainment, Namco Bandai
- Developer: Witch Craft Co, Hyde
- Release Date: July 28, 2022
- Rating: T for Teen
- Genre: Visual Novel, Tactical RPG
- Players: 1
- Official Website: https://digimon-sur.bn-ent.net/
Despite never reaching the level of fame that Pokémon achieved, Digimon has proven it doesn’t need to. Quite popular with kids from the 90s to now, Digimon has continued to stay alive with newer movies aimed at the fans from the past and now a game that has been delayed for too long. Titled Digimon Survive, this hybrid visual novel and TRPG has been on our eyes here at Honey’s Anime for quite a while but finally after many delays and holds, we have our hands on it and wow…this isn’t the Digimon we expected.
Players assume the role of Takuma Momozuka, who looks a lot like Tai from past Digimon titles, and alongside his friends/classmates find themselves thrown into an unknown world where Digimon exist and aren’t all cute and cuddly too. Some of the Digimon obviously side with our lost teens but most are just waiting to tear up these lost souls the minute they see them! With such an exciting story, we have to wonder if our wait was worth it or not. We find out in our review of Digimon Survive for the PS4!
This Isn’t The Cheerful Tale We Remember
Digimon has always been a pretty simple story to tell parents or fellow friends. A group of kids are taken from their world and thrown into a digital world where they team up with cute, sometimes scary, monsters to fight and find a way home. Later tales have the human world fusing with the digital but even when things get a bit more serious, there’s always a light-hearted feeling to the world of Digimon despite the semi-scary thought of kids being whisked away without much warning. Digimon Survive keeps some of the similar themes from the original anime and earlier adaptations but adds a darker tone where Digimon are quite unknown—thought to be an ancient race in Digimon Survive’s lore—and people face death from these powerful entities. The opening alone for Digimon Survive even plays out almost like a low-key horror anime with characters being distorted and seemingly put in an abandoned school ripped from a series like Corpse Party! There are still some light themes of friendship, teamwork, and obviously, childlike wonder with the monster designs. Digimon Survive isn’t like most Digimon stories and that makes it perfect for a wider range of gamers.
We mentioned it briefly in our opening but you read it right, readers, Digimon Survive is a hybrid game and what that means is it’s one part VN and one part TRPG. The game splits both concepts—with a lot of focus on VN segments—that make for quite a peculiar experience. As Takuma, you’ll explore beautiful anime-esque landscapes via a simple point-and-click-like experience as well as talk with others in various locations. Depending on the choices made, players can alter their Digimon transformations via a semi-confusing 3-layered moral system—we will explain the confusing part soon enough—and then end up in battle when the game shifts into the TRPG element. You’ll also raise affinity points with characters you favor that will lead to them assisting you in the combat portions more frequently.
Combat is very straightforward but has just enough tactical gameplay to keep from being too simple. Players will take their parties and maneuver them across a grid-based map where they must utilize their party’s Digimon group to survive. Of course, elements like Digi-Evolution and skills mirroring the anime/past games return which, we won’t lie, made Digimon Survive very appealing to us fans. You can even recruit some Digimon allies to increase the strength of your team similar to negotiation ideas seen in the Shin Megami Tensei games!
Art Out of This World
Digimon Survive is gorgeous, there isn’t anything less we can say about it. While the combat moments are obviously not hyper-detailed like the VN parts, the former is almost like watching an anime movie unfold. Character models are extremely detailed with expressions being made almost constantly and environmental set pieces—while repeated a bit in the early game—look absolutely stunning. Digimon Survive is without a doubt the most beautiful Digimon game we’ve ever played and we pray this is the standard going further.
Digimon Survive has it all, great visuals, solid TRPG concepts, and a solid VN format with a truly engaging Digimon-orientated narrative. However, there are a few minor problems we noticed while playing. The first is the moral system called the Karma System, which honestly, we needed a guide to understand everything. There are three Karma elements that determine your Digimon’s digital evolutions: Moral, Wrath, and Harmony. These act as the Digimon system of Data/Vaccine/Virus ideals from the past games/series but the way they are isn’t so simple to understand without a literal guide. The other minor gripe—and we really mean minor—is the wonderful Japanese voice acting in Digimon Survive. It isn’t constant during the VN portions, meaning, sometimes you’ll have it and other times it’s a mute experience. These issues don’t ruin Digimon Survive in the slightest but they do keep it from being perfect.
Digimon Survive is a game you need to buy right this second if you’re a fan of the franchise or just want a good VN with a pseudo-dark story and solid TRPG concepts. We can’t stop playing Digimon Survive and want to 100% this game in every single way we can. Seriously, folks, Digimon Survive might have been delayed and undergone a lot of issues during development but the end result proves that no game can use that as a justification for a bad product. Digimon Survive is excellent and we can’t praise it any harder!
Are you playing Digimon Survive currently or plan to after our review? Kindly let us know via the comments below! Keep stuck to our Digimon Training hive here at Honey’s Anime for more game reviews and anime articles!