Game review: Digimon Survive (PlayStation 5)

There’s been many Digimon RPGs that have been released over the years, and fans have liked a majority of them. However, this year is a little different because Digimon Survive is a visual novel. Unfortunately, being a visual novel means there’s not much in terms of interactive gameplay.

That’s not to say Digimon Survive does not have any type of gameplay, though. In some situations in the game, the Digimon will have to battle enemies in turn-based combat. The tactical RPG style of combat is similar to that of the recently released Disgaea 6 Complete.

Since there’s little actual gameplay in Digimon Survive, the biggest draw card to the game is its long and interesting story. Players take control of a young boy named Takuma, who is supposed to be on a school trip with his friends.

Things start to take a turn for the worse when the school kids visit a local temple in a forest. They start getting attacked by mysterious creatures, although they are eventually ‘saved’ by their own Digimon. The kids aren’t fully safe, though, because they soon realise that they have been transported into a different world.

While the kids are stuck in this mysterious new world, their next goal is to somehow call for help and hopefully eventually make their way back home to the real Japan. Their mission is easier said than done since there are evil Digimon out there trying to kidnap and kill them! Not to mention they’re stuck on an island, and there’s no one else out there to call for help!

This is the main gist of the story, and I found many of the characters to be likeable. That being said, this is a darker game than other Digimon titles, and not everyone in Digimon Survive will make it out alive. I won’t spoil the whole story for you, but there are some sad parts in this game, depending on the choices that you make.

I will have to admit, though, that the game can be painfully slow at the beginning. Since this game is a visual novel, you will have to read through pages and pages of dialogue without any sign of gameplay. Most of the time, you are just pressing the X button to wade through the next scene to unfold.

To break the monotony of the excessive dialogue scenes, there are parts of the game where you do have to do some bits of interaction. For example, there is a point early on in the game where you’re required to find a special room to access the main boss who has kidnapped one of your classmates!

You can also interact with the environment sometimes to find special items and equipment that might prove to be helpful during combat later on in the game. Then there are not-so-exciting segments where you have to talk to pretty much everyone in your party before you can progress further into the storyline.

While it’s not a major part of the game, there are several turn-based combat battles that you need to do as well. This is a tactical RPG which means your characters and the enemies are positioned in a grid-based environment. You and the AI will have to take turns moving and attacking one another.

Moving during combat is quite limited because the Digimon can only walk a few metres at a time. You will have to position them safely on the battlefield to make sure they don’t get surrounded by enemies. Your Digimon will take more damage if they get attacked from the side or behind. They can take less damage if you block attacks from the front.

In terms of your own offence, the Digimon can learn special attacks in order to deal more damage to enemies. Some Digimon can also evolve into more powerful beings that can be helpful if you’re up against the end-of-chapter bosses.

As this game is a visual novel, the developers have been kind enough to add both Very Easy and Easy difficulty modes. You can also choose the auto-battle setting that pretty much simulates battles for you. I will only suggest using this mode if you’re bad at RPGs overall, though.

One thing I do like about this game is that there is some replay value. Even though one playthrough can last around 25 to 30 hours, the game actually has five different endings. If you don’t spoil yourself on YouTube, you can play the game multiple times to see all of the possible endings.

Visually, Digimon Survive isn’t the most demanding game you can get on the PS5. Since this is a visual novel, you’re mostly going to see just illustrations of the characters talking through dialogue. The battle scenes are quite nice as the character models are in 2D and fit the game’s anime style.

Even though I enjoyed several parts of Digimon Survive, I don’t think a portion of video gamers will enjoy what is essentially a very long visual novel. If you want to play an actual game that has lots of gameplay, you are better off playing another Digimon game instead.

Anyway, Digimon Survive is an alright game if you can stomach the lack of gameplay. The story is quite good, and the battle scenes are fun. Just be warned that this is a visual novel, and you will have to read through a lot of dialogue!

Verdict: 8.0/10

[email protected] (Damian Seeto)

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