Digimon World was a cult hit that originally released in 1999. It was (sorta) popular for it's interesting number of mechanics and difficulty along with the progression mechanics that were tied into the hub area.
From what I've read it was a game with a great deal of potential but a great deal of bugs and rough edges. It recently got something of a spiritual successor in Japan yet the game did have direct sequels. It certainly sounds like an interesting game if not a diamond in the rough that has had little a spotlight ever targeted at it. Someone really out to write a comprehensive blog reflecting on this game.
Cause I sure as hell can't.
This blog has nothing to do with Digimon World 1 but it has everything to do with the games that came later. After the first Digimon World game their were plenty of more Digimon branded games that followed with most keeping the "World" title and almost none being remotely interesting or good.
So clearly a bunch of uninteresting mediocre games are prime territory to creating an interesting blog right? Moving on...
I own an extensive collection of terrible Digimon games, zero of which are those rad sounding Wonderswan games, and if I ever manage to finish any of the worse offenders they'll get a more detailed blog but for now here's a rundown of how far Digimon games fell for a time:
Digimon World 4
The last of the numbered Digimon World sequels and probably the most aggressively bad. While the other games tended to be mediocre to mind numbing due to their repetition, load times, and boring combat design Digimon World 4 combines all of that with action rpg combat and nonsensical difficulty! More importantly the sound design is downright headache inducing. You know how sometimes you play a game and the sound design for a given action is just straight up satisfying?
Kojima Productions is a good example of a developer that consistently tends to make games with satisfying sound design. There's this completely unrealistic noise that happens when you headshot a dude in MGSV with the tranq. gun that just sounds good.
Digimon World 4 is like the direct antithesis to that MGSV tranq noise. There's this sound, if you can even call it that, that your digimon makes when he's injured and it is just the worst. It's like they deliberately tried to find the worst noise possible. It's like their sound guy managed to step on 300 cats at once. I mean sure it's a noise for when you take damage so it should indicate bad stuff but it shouldn't endevour to give you a headache.
I'd go find you some random, years old, youtube video of this game so you could "savor" the sound design yourselves but the only videos I could find were riddled with music stifling out the hell screeches.
The premise for the game doesn't even make marginal sense in comparison to every other fucking mediocre digimon game. Most of the other games in the franchise are generic rpgs with very basic turn based combat. While that tends to be slow and boring, not due to the genre but the execution, at least it makes sense for the IP.
Digimon is a series about digital monsters, not pocket monsters, that belong to kids that are sometimes referred to as tamers, not trainers, who roam a strange and surreal land. The way said Digimon grow their power is to digivolve to different forms.
So obviously the way to build a videogame adaptation about this franchise is to stick a fucking sword in a digimon's hand/claw/wing, get rid of humans entirely, and make it fucking impossible to figure out how to change to new forms!
At least all the other games in the franchise tend to have you control a small of party of digimon with intricate digivolution trees. Hell I'll play most digimon games no matter how just to see the different digivolution trees. I've played hundreds of hours of Digimon World 3 and I'm still playing it. (Digimon World 3 has a 47 metacritic rating.)
PS: There's a charge move variation of the regular attack in the game and if a I remember right all it does is break obstacles slightly faster. It doesn't do any more damage. THE CHARGE MOVE DOES NOTHING!
Digimon World: Data Squad
Fortunately the series goes back to being a turn based RPG with humans and a focus on digimon forms in this entry. Unfortunately...
Oh you can't see it? Let's get closer...
Do you see it yet? Look at the faces. Look. at. them.
Oh I hear you. Laughing at me. Your saying they don't look all that bad...let's have another angle from the opening cutscene:
Those faces have followed me into my dreams. I was dreaming of being the captain of a boat. I wasn't a pirate I was a nice guy. It was nice for a while and I could smell the sea salt in the air. Calm. Serene.
Then the faces. Those horrible faces! The faces and their shitty animating arms lit my boat a flame and they were smiling. ALWAYS SMILI-
Er um any...anyway.
The strangest thing is that the bad cinematic is their pre-rendered stuff. As in it should look better then in-game! The pre-rendered intro seems to be the only time, besides the cover, they use these models as well. Now granted I haven't finished it, don't worry I'm getting closer, so perhaps they will break the bank for another pre-rendered finale. It's just weird and a strange use of funds. I mean I can't imagine they advertised this game or at least I can't imagine this would help said advertising.
Wow I haven't gotten to the game part of this. It's a turn based rpg that ties into the show that was on at the time originally called Digimon Savers but in the US called Digimon Data Squad. I was marginally impressed that, from what I could tell, they actually got the dub voice actors to reprise there roles. Granted the protagonist is completely miscast but whatever he still punches things to get his digmon to digivolve.
Oh right I should mention that the show it was adapted from was basically Digimon's attempt to clone popular shonen action anime. (Am I using those terms right?) The protagonist is the HOT BLOODED Marcus a street punk that meets a dinosaur and thinks the best thing to do with it is to challenge it to a fist fight.
So being the nonsense cliche that he is he typical punches the digimon of the week in the face to charge his "digisoul" so that his Agumon (pictured left) can digivolve into a GeoGreymon. So if there is one absolutely unadulterated positive to this game it is that this concept translates perfectly into the game.
In the game when you fulfill the conditions for one of the new forms, for example the conditions for turning into GeoGreymon, you have to go into a fight so you can use the digivolution battle command. After the initial command use you can switch the equipped digivolution via a menu. The reason for the first time inconvenience is simple.
If your digivolving Agumon to a new form for the first time Marcus will punch whatever enemy is in the battle. It will do damage and I have killed an enemy off that damage once. It's fucking dumb and I love it.
This stupid dumbass just fucking punches the clearly more deadly monsters as a game mechanic! It's great!.
Now granted the full game is straight up so bad that it seems like they didn't even bother finishing it. It takes like 30 seconds for you to leave the battle screen or enter most of the menus. In the after action report they'll show you a bar beneath each party member representing their current experience progress yet they don't show you their levels.
So you can level up in the game but not now what level you are now until you save or open the menus so you can wait 30 more seconds. Now sure that's rather minor but we can do worse. The game uses an almost interesting battle system in which move selection is presented like this:
The actions the digimon wants to do are repeated the most. Doing things they want to do improves your friendship and is slightly reminiscent of the original pet sim idea. Now as you can see from the image though it makes selecting a move a bit of a visual clusterfuck and more importantly there's no way to know what the attack does until you try it. If you want to know what an attack move does you have to, again, wait 30 seconds for that menu to load out of battle, wait another 10 seconds to get into the evolution trees menu, and then finally get a fucking description of the moves.
On the upside the voice acting is marginally better then the english release of Final Fantasy X...marginally.
Digimon World Dawn/Dusk (Dawk?)
This game on the other hand certainly does not deserve kudos but considering I've spent hundreds of hours between the two different versions of this game as well I'm not sure the game cares!
Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds adn hunderdaa;dkfja;sdkf
Sorry I passed out there for a second. So this game, like Data Squad, is a turn based rpg that's generic and time consuming. That being said there are reasons for why I spent way to much time on it. As is likely evident from it's duel release this is part of their attempt to just straight up go after Pokemon's thing without any shame so as part of that the gameplay switches from the typical party of a three or so digimon to just being able to gobble as many digimon as you want!
It's an interesting concept and really enforces the idea of the digimon as "digital" monsters but it causes a number of problems. Only enemies that you can encounter infinitely can be scanned so unique encounters like the legendaries aren't a factor killing the thrill of finding something rare. Creating a digimon out of 100% scan data gives a weak digimon that you then have to train.
There's drastically more recruiting going on in this game to the point were they've got a pokedex in this game. More so the single interesting mechanic in this game, because all these mediocre games tend to have a single neat mechanic, is that the way you capture enemy digimon is by scanning them. When you encounter a digimon you automatically get a percentage of scan data and once your percentage of data scanned for that digimon reaches 100% or higher you can then create that digimon for yourself.
Something that does help slightly alleviate the tedium of training them up is another major mechanic of the game which is the Digifarm. It's so major that it is always present at the top of the DS.
Well this is all good and well but why would I spend hundreds of hours on it? HUNDREDS OF HOURS! Well because I'm dumb...mostly. Part of it is because there's a metric ton of digimon with their own digivolution trees and intersections between those trees and crazy looking endgame digimon. The other part is that the menus are snappy and the loadtimes aren't nearly as insane as every other Digimon game.
Yet this doesn't get past the fact those endgame Digimon only look cool because there's nothing of merit to do with them when the battle system is about as boring as the rest of the Digimon games. Worst of all during said battles you don't even see your own digimon. It's like if Nintendo looked at their Pokemon games and came to the conclusion that no one wants to see the back of Pikachu's head all the time so the just made it first person.
This is just a primer of the bad licensed games I've wasted way to much time in. Some of these digimon games have taken HUNDREDS OF HOURS of my time. It's the worst and yet I still do it. There's still some hope for me though it's not like I respect any of this stupid shit I use the game case to Digimon World Data Squad as a coaster.
Anyway I'm going back to playing Digimon World so I can power level SkullGreymon to 99 to get BlackWarGreymon so that I can eventually get Diaboramon to save all pigs from a giant digimon that's fused with a battleship that now wants to fuse with the Earth.
Next Time: Arkham games...