Digimon initially emerged as a “virtual pets game” intended to be the masculine counterpart to Tamagotchi. Since then, the franchise has become well known for their video games, anime, manga and trading card games.
Amidst the countless developments, lies incredibly engaging story-lines with the propensity to go where others can’t. In particular, the anime had a much more mature appeal than its competitor, Pokemon, ever did, exploring serious literary themes that others dare not to. And now, Digimon is taking its first foray into Visual Novels with Digimon Survive, an exciting new evolution for the franchise. Or should I say Digivolution?
Anyway, the game tells the story of Takuma Momozuka, a junior high-scooler, along with other kids on a camping trip. Of course, when the group visit their local temple to the Beast Gods an unknown power suddenly plunges them into a world filled with Digimon. Typical! Although many Digimon are hostile, some are amiable and can work alongside you. The world is unlike anything we’ve seen so far, with its surroundings resembling a quaint, deserted Japanese village.
The anime art style further draws people in, just like other popular Visual Novel games.
Playing a Digimon game that looks and feels like an anime could pique the curiosity of those who might not otherwise be drawn to the franchise. Anime is currently more popular than ever internationally, after all. The game seems to be destined for success.
To the uninitiated, it combines the charm of Pokemon and visual novels, except it’s far, far grittier than Pokemon. You kind of have to explore these mature themes to make a killer visual novel, and as mentioned earlier, Digimon openly embraces this.
Whether Digimon Survive will include the Digiworld remains to be seen. Like in past titles, such as Digimon Story CyberSleuth and Cyberspace EDEN, Digimon Survive seems to feature its own unique world.
Digimon Survive shows how interacting with these creatures can affect their Digivolution, just like in the original Digimon Adventures Anime.
This ties in with the game’s tree routes: Moral, Harmony and Wrathful, which manifests in the form of decisions as you try to survive in another dimension.
The Moral route connects to the Vaccine type and Digivolves Agumon into Greymon. Given its name, the Moral storyline will probably be centered on justice.
The Virus type manifests in the Wrathful route. We aren’t aware of the specific Agumon evolution here, but Skullgreymon is a Virus type and is a likely Digivolution. The route name seems to imply a corruption arc in which the main character embraces strength for his own ends.
Finally, Harmony relates to the Data type and Digivolves Agumon into Tyrannomon. Data type Digimon are known for being peace-loving. It’s likely that this storyline will explore the balance between the Moral and Wrathful routes.
A hidden fourth route is also included in New Game+. This route will likely reveal the game’s true ending and feature a particularly powerful Digivolution of Agumon.
Fourth Route Speculations
I’m really interested in how the fourth route differentiates from the others, particularly Harmony. After all, if Harmony is the amalgamation of Order and Wrath, then what could this mysterious fourth path be?
Not to mention, the matter of Agumon’s evolution attribute is unknown in this route. Although, with only the Free, Variable and Unknown attributes left, my view is that all indications connect it to the ‘Free’ attribute.
There are three reasons for this. For starters, the Variable attribute is left for extremely rare Hybrid Digimon who copy their opponent’s attribute. Secondly, there is no Variable-type Agumon evolution to my knowledge. And finally, the ultra-powerful final evolution of Agumon, Agumon Bond of Bravery, embodies the Free attribute. I’m certainly no Digimon expert, but this Digivolution could probably be included in the fourth route. The Free attribute, as its name suggests, has no ties to the other attributes. Perhaps the fourth route is ultimately about not subscribing to any set ideology, similar to the Harmony route, but without the shackles of accepting either side.
According to Chief Producer Kazumasa Habu, each route should take about 40 hours to complete. With 4 routes in total, that amounts to a massive 160 hours of playtime necessary to fully experience the
The creators have acknowledged that this game is a touch darker than earlier narratives in the Digimon universe. Player decisions can impact how the plot develops and even entail “the deaths of friends.”
Combat and Recruiting
While Digimon Survive may be a visual novel through and through, it does include familiar turn-based combat.
Creating the team that best suits your playstyle will be key here. To this end, players can expand their party with more Digimon, who are recruited through dialogue options, similar to the Shin Megami Tensei franchise.
Up to 10 units can be sent out in 2D turn-based battle, adopting a more classical approach.
Players will be able to move their Digimon around a grid and use SP to Digivolve and unleash special powers.
Moreover, there will be a total of 113 Digimon that may be recruited and trained. Surprisingly, this is a low number for Digimon standards. A paltry roster in comparison to recent games. With it
being a visual novel and all, it’s no wonder why they took a step back from adding plenty more Digimon. Instead, they’ve opted to focus on the narrative and world-building aspects. Bravo Bandai-Namco.
After everything I discussed, is it really any wonder why expectations are so high for Digimon Survive? The premise, art and original soundtrack are fantastic, not to mention it’s fair to say that Digimon Survive’s narrative shows great promise, given previous titles. It’s a different game, a throwback, if you will. And it seems to be exactly what people are looking for. All prospects show the game’s gonna be a monster, that’s for certain. We can only pray to the Digigods that it doesn’t Digivolve into a nasty Virus. At Electronic First, our conviction is clear: an extraordinary gaming odyssey need not come at a premium cost. We understand that the heart of a game is the experience it delivers, and that experience should be accessible to all. Thus, our platform can help you in making your gameplay exceptional without demanding a hefty price tag.