Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory Game Poster Image
Gritty new Digimon adventure feels just like previous game.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

While main focus is on stopping an evil plot, clearing your name, a number of strong positive messages, including themes of friendship, particularly in raising, caring for your Digimon, helping out others in time of need.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Features a range of characters with wide variety of personalities all over moral spectrum. Plenty of good, positive characters willing to help player accomplish goal; friendships player builds pay off in noticeable ways.

Ease of Play

Combat relatively easy to navigate, turn-based nature gives players plenty of time to think over actions. Things get more complicated when it comes to managing Digimon you collect, raise, train. 

Violence

Digimon characters fight each other with wide range of attacks, including magic, melee attacks, weapons like swords, guns. While most Digimon are cartoonish creatures, some (such as Sistermon) do have human appearances. Damage sometimes accompanied by small splatters of pink "blood."

Sex

Some sexually suggestive lines occasionally in dialogue. Also, some female characters presented in revealing clothing (extremely short skirts, lots of cleavage, etc.) with sexualization emphasized by certain camera angles.

Language

"S--t," other mild language appears occasionally.

Consumerism

Latest addition to Digimon franchise, which includes toys, comics, cartoons, collectibles, more. Also the second "Cyber Sleuth" game, which takes familiar characters into a new setting geared toward older fans of series. Also supported with additional downloadable content.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory is a role-playing game for the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita. The game's set in the same world as 2016's Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth and continues the series' more mature take on the popular Digimon franchise. Players befriend and raise a variety of digital creatures to fight for them in a virtual landscape. There's a fair amount of violence in these fights, though most attacks have a sort of cartoonish feel (throwing "poop," bullets with whistles and sirens, etc.), sometimes highlighted with splashes of pink "blood." Due to the game's more mature take on the franchise, many female characters are presented in suggestive ways, and some dialogue includes bits of innuendo and occasional crass language.

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What's it about?

The world of DIGIMON STORY: CYBER SLEUTH - HACKER'S MEMORY is a world that relies on connectivity. Nearly every device and every person is connected together via the Eden virtual reality network. Players take on the role of Keisuke Amazawa, a young man whose Eden account has been recently stolen. Things go from bad to worse when Keisuke's account is used to frame him for a crime he didn't commit. Now on the run, Keisuke ends up befriending and teaming up with the digital monsters, or "Digimon," that roam the virtual world, discovering that he's just a part of an even greater mystery. With the help of his new Digimon friends, Keisuke must work both the real and virtual worlds to uncover the truth, clear his name, and quite possibly save the world in the process.

Is it any good?

While this adventure takes a more mature spin on the franchise and the characters of the digital world, it also feels a bit repetitive and unoriginal. When the first Cyber Sleuth game came out a couple of years back, it took the popular series that fans grew up with and crafted a Digimon adventure in a world that grew up along with them. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory dives back into that world with a brand-new story and a fresh coat of paint. For newcomers to this grittier side of the Digi-verse, the game feels unique and special, like a shot of adrenaline to the franchise. But for fans of the first game, there's also an overriding feeling of déjà vu just under the surface. While it's not necessarily a bad thing to revisit the past and see callbacks to the first adventure, the overall gameplay and flow can't help but feel repetitive to returning players.

The core gameplay remains relatively unchanged from the first game. This means that there's still a lot to do at any given time. Whether you're pushing the story forward, working on side quests, raising and training your army of Digimon, or simply duking it out in the virtual world and grinding for XP, there's not a lot of downtime in the game unless you're specifically avoiding finding something to do. While the visuals have improved somewhat over the original Cyber Sleuth, it's still not exactly pushing the hardware to its limits. Moving around is still a bit stiff and wooden, though the action scenes in the turn-based battles are anything but. While Hacker's Memory does manage to maintain the overall feel of the original adventure and is a great entry for those who missed out the first time around, this sequel's lack of any real standout or finely tuned features may leave Story veterans with a case of "been there, done that."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about growing up. How do our interests change as we get older, and is it good to have those things we loved as kids evolve and mature over time with us?

  • Talk about developing friendships. What are some good ways to build new friendships, and what are some of the traits of a genuine friendship?

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