Digimon Survive review: two genres, one pretty good package

Digimon Survive

MSRP $59.99

“Digimon Survive mixes tactical roleplaying motion with visual novels to various results.”


  • Interesting story
  • Enjoyable characters
  • Loads of replay value


  • Lackluster exploration
  • Lack of difficulty

What do you get whenever you mix Stranger Things, Shin Megami Tensei, and classic Digimon? Hyde and Bandai Namco’s Digimon Survive is here to reply the query. While playing through this dark and unique entry within the Digimon game pantheon, I went through flurries of pleasure, sadness, and frustration. The extent to which you’ll experience those emotions may vary depending on whether you’re involved in and able to play through a visible novel and strategy game hybrid that usually slacks on the tactical front.

Digimon Survive tries to offer players with a wonderful story and intense tactical RPG gameplay. While it succeeds as a narrative experience, those aware of strategy games will find the sport a bit lacking. To get probably the most out of Digimon Survive, players should give attention to storytelling, know when to alter their difficulty settings, and be able to learn the principles of Digimon.

A latest sort of digital monster

While many gamers are aware of the extensive storytelling present in JRPGs, Japanese visual novels take things a step further as they require players to read through every line of dialogue to reply appropriately to every pivotal situation and conversation. While you would possibly not guess it at first glance, visual novel-style gameplay is a giant a part of Digimon Survive. Players could have to make their way through many intricately written conversations that potentially result in different endings, everlasting character deaths, and different transformations for the Digimon partner Agumon.

“Series fans will find an exceptionally competent story worthy of the Digimon name.”

You play as Takuma, the soon-to-be leader of a bunch of scholars transported right into a world of monsters called Kemonogami, which we all know as Digimon. This latest tackle the Digimon mythos opens the door for traditional Digimon to be scarier than ever and sometimes gives the series a horror-like tone Digimon games never ventured into before.

Digimon Survive‘s visual novel side had me on the sting of my seat throughout. Its entire narrative is filled with discoveries and exciting moments amplified by the sport’s great rating and art. The character writing is a selected highlight because the theme of “children being forced to grow up” is inherently engaging. Any character deaths I caused hit me very hard, a lot in order that I actually needed to stop playing for a moment after some of the shocking deaths I encountered.

The character, Aoi and various dialogue options.

Just like the Persona series, Digimon Survive has a number of moments where players can personally interact with and grow their relationships with certain characters. For some characters, the variety of interactions players have with them determines whether or not they live or die and the way much synergy players have with their Digimon in battle. I spent a variety of time falling in love with these characters, and a hole opened in my heart each time they met a dark fate.

The weakest link of the visual novel a part of Digimon Survive is Exploration. In these segments, players go to different locations and click on around a static environment to search out items and get more context in regards to the game’s characters and world. Exploration doesn’t have the charm or intrigue of the remainder of Digimon Survive, so I avoided the exploration unless it was needed.

Those coming to Digimon Survive for the tactical RPG experience may not take care of these lengthy visual novel segments. Nevertheless, these parts of Digimon Survive were the highlight of the sport for me, and series fans will find an exceptionally competent story worthy of the Digimon name.

Digi Megami Tensei

In the event you’ve played through any of the Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor titles, then you have got a great idea of what you’re moving into with the strategic gameplay of Digimon Survive. Battles happen on a big board where players must complete an objective, which normally winds up being to filter the enemy team. The fun of Digimon Survive’s battles comes through the assorted ways you possibly can carry this out.

Digimon Survive battleground full of monsters and Tyranomon.

Digimon Survive‘s battle mechanics are very enjoyable when the sport actually gets difficult enough for players to interact with them. Positioning is vital, and that may get forced into your mind as you play through the sport’s many battles. Not only do monsters continually have passive perks and usable skills to fight with each turn, but each turn ends with players deciding what direction they need their monster to look in.

“It doesn’t feel like Digimon Survive is engaging enough for fans of its battle mechanics by way of length or enjoyment.”

A monster’s weak points are on their sides and back, so I’d typically end a turn with my back to the wall or back-to-back with an ally to avoid taking maximum damage. This also applies to enemies, so the times once I got an ally to spice up my movement points so I could attack from behind resulted in gruesome damage.

The battle system is one other area where the sport feels lots like classic Digimon. Not only are there elemental weaknesses and strengths like within the Pokémon series, however the Digimon triangle returns here: Data types beat Vaccine types, Vaccine types beat Virus types, and Virus types beat Data types. Digmon may evolve and possibly change types and skillsets on the fly at the fee of SP, so there ought to be an ideal variety of strategies for players to make use of in battle.

Digimon Survive's monster persuasian system

During battle, players can refer to opposing Digimon, and by answering inquiries to their liking, they could join you or provide you with items. Unlike Shin Megami Tensei V though, these answers don’t make the Digimon feel more alive. The truth is, some answers are shared between monsters. While I enjoyed the primary time I talked to a monster, these mechanics had diminishing returns with each latest encounter. That is just the beginning of the battle’s problems, though.

There may be a variety of visual novel and tactical RPG content packed into Digimon Survive, however the pacing and lack of difficulty make the battles tiring, even for tactical RPG fans like myself.  Digimon Survive is about 60 percent visual novel and 40 percent strategy game battles, and lots of of those battles were mindless in the sport’s starting hours.

For the primary eight chapters of Digimon Survive on Normal difficulty, I could just turn off my brain and continually be on the offensive without ever being in any real danger. This led to short battles that didn’t feel engaging or substantial in any respect between the visual novel sequences. Because of this, it doesn’t feel like Digimon Survive is engaging enough for fans of its battle mechanics by way of length or enjoyment. For the very best experience, play on hard difficulty until chapter 8 after which switch back to Normal difficulty for the remainder of the sport.

Our take

Digimon Survive is a novel yet fun latest formula for the Digimon series, but it surely’s easy to see the seams in its two-genre juggling act. While it has those rough spots, they aren’t enough to overshadow the positives the sport presents to TRPG, visual novel, and Digimon fans alike. If the sport gets a more polished sequel, I can see it becoming as great as I’d hoped this may be in any case the delays it faced. As of now, Digimon Survive doesn’t seem to be it’s going to be far more than a cult classic.

How long will it last?

Depending in your completion rate and the way much you explore, Digimon Survive will last about 30 to 40 hours. Nevertheless, players can go for a Complete Survival rating, which implies they saved all their partners on a second playthrough. Considering that and the sport’s three endings, the sport can easily last upwards of 80+ hours.

Are there any alternatives?

While the market isn’t filled with TRPG visual novel hybrids like this, there are games like Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor and Sakura Wars series that do that formula higher than Digimon Survive. That said, Digimon Survive‘s lack of difficulty also means it serves as a wonderful entry point for this genre hybrid, so check those other series out should you enjoy this.

Must you buy it?

Digimon Survive is a game that isn’t only for Digimon fans. It has an ideal story and hints of brilliance within the gameplay, but every person’s mileage may vary with this one. It might be best to attend for a price drop before picking up Digimon Survive should you’re on the fence.

Digital Trends reviewed Digimon Survive on an Xbox Series S.

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