In an effort to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the anime, the brand-new video game Digimon Survive tries to balance being both a visual novel and a tactical role-playing game.
The video game Digimon Survive, created by Hyde and Witchcraft, centers on a group of teens who are unceremoniously dropped off on a mystery planet where fantastical anthropomorphic animals known as Digimon are out of control while on a school camping trip.
With the exception of the fact that most Digimon can communicate, Digimon are to Pokémon what the DreamWorks Pictures animated picture Antz is to Disney’s Bug’s Life. A tiny band of good Digimon make it their life’s work to return the children safely while evil Digimon in this new realm want to use them as a ritualistic sacrifice.
Digimon Survive attempts to combine the visual novel format of dialogue options with social connections connected to battle, similar to Persona, however it fails miserably in both areas.
Similar to Live A Live’s turn-based combat system, which lets you arrange your party members in a grid during battles, fighting in this game operates similarly. The battle strategies in Digimon Survive manage to be both easy and difficult, despite the fact that their positioning is a crucial factor in how battles turn out. Attacking an enemy’s side or back causes critical damage, as is typical in most TRPGs.
Digimon Survive’s issue is that, despite the fact that you can speed up character animations by pressing the skip button, it still takes a very long time for characters to move across tiles in the game’s expansive battle arenas. The majority of your mobility will be spent getting close to the adversary, which might take up to four or five turns before any action takes place, depending on how many party members you’re sporting.
The adventure and exploration aspects of Digimon Survive use the visual novel technique of pointing the mouse at characters and items in the environment to learn more about them. This is also hampered by being an excessively taxing aspect of the game. While the game actively promotes exploration by flashing the words whenever the opportunity occurs, unless objects or persons in the area have an exclamation point, clicking them is pointless.
Clicking on something like an accordion in an abandoned school produces flavor text similar to a lazy caption for a newspaper photo: it tells you what you can assume rather than providing any illuminating commentary or of substance, much like with James Sunderland or Heather Mason in the Silent Hill series. You don’t often get stuff from exploration that help you in combat.
Additionally, the character conflict is uninteresting. Characters will soon object to looking for solutions in the new environment they have been transferred to. In the following, some of them are upset with your inaction while the others start looking for the game’s script so they can understand what the heck is going on.
Characters will idle away their time while they wait for the plot to affect them. But when it happens, they’re all taken aback Pikachu face by how the party has been impacted by their inaction. After a protracted monologue about the need for greater communication, even when it seems as though a lesson is about to be learned, the teenagers promptly revert to ignoring obvious warning signs about one another.
Even worse, the game’s heroes advance the plot while its antagonists stall it with their actions. It was like reading over someone’s shoulder while playing Digimon Survive because they were taking too long to turn the page. Characters either hang about discussing their problems with each other for hours on end or do nothing to advance the plot. The decisions in the visual novel become tedious as a result.