Remembering Digimon: The Movie

Digimon was a huge thing back in the 90s to early 2000s, at least to a certain extent. Some people say Digimon piggybacked off the successful of Pokemon, which could be true to an extent. They did have similar names, show concepts, and both had successful anime adaptations. Of course, this meant when Pokemon received a theatrical film, Digimon would attempt to do the same.

This resulted in the bizarre anthology film known as “Digimon: The Movie”. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it was an attempt by Fox to capitalize on Digimon’s popularity in the late 90s and early 2000s. The film was stitched together by three completely unrelated Digimon films, and was formed into a singular film for American theaters.

This meant that all three movies were horribly and painfully mashed together into a horrible chimera of a film, that is somehow still one of my favorite childhood movies. Why is that? Well, because it still feels like Digimon! Sure, a lot of the jokes are stale, the film feels awkwardly edited, and there’s way too many late 90s songs in the soundtrack, but it is still a surprisingly entertaining package.

It took the adventures of our heroes, including Tai and Davis, and used it as a vehicle to tell new stories that most American audiences hadn’t even seen yet. Sure, it a Frankenstein’s monster that was stitched together from three separate films, but it had a surprising amount of heart to it.

As bad as a movie as it was, it is still remembered by people to this day. So, why do I bring this up? Well, Disney bought Fox a couple of weeks back. As such, the rights to the movie were transferred over to Disney. This means that they can essentially re-release it, if they wished.

Disney probably won’t do this, though. Disney has made it no secret they hate Digimon, especially how they treated the franchise after they bought the dubbing rights from Saban. Disney will probably just keep it in their “vault” until the end of time, leaving only digital copies for people to watch.

A movie about digital monsters is only available digitally, it’s kind of ironic really. In short, Digimon: The Movie was an extremely flawed film that had some passion go into it. It’s not some kind of cult classic, and I doubt it’ll ever be heralded as such. Still, it’s entertaining in a cheesy nostalgic sort of way. I do hope Disney decides to re-release the film, even if they have no real intention of doing so. After all, I’m sure people would buy it! I mean, I totally would. Then again, I’m a super nerd, so that’s to be expected.

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Top 5 Bandai-Namco Published Games

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Time for a game of “Spot the Super Sentai reference”!

Who loves Pac-Man? Who loves Dig-Dug? Who loves a ton of awesome Japanese games only 5 people have played? That would be me! I’m a huge fan of the game company known as “Bandai-Namco”. They’ve produced countless good games over the years, some of which are my personal favorites! So, I thought that it would be a good idea to tackle a top 5 list of my favorite Bandai-Namco games. Now, please keep in mind that Bandai-Namco is a game publisher, not a developer. All the games that will be listed here were made by other developers.

Still, the games that are published by Bandai-Namco tend to be really awesome. They are one of the few publishers that hasn’t really gone off the deep end, and one of the few that continue to publish really good games. While Namco themselves used to make a lot of games, I wouldn’t be including those here. I will most likely do a separate list for Namco games, if I ever get around to playing them, that is. I’ve only ever played a couple. So yeah, let’s get into this list!

5. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

It’s hard to put into words how much I enjoyed this game! Cyber Sleuth is a turn-based RPG spinoff of the classic Digimon franchise. It plays a lot like the Pokemon games, though it does some unique things. It has a fun story, that sadly falls apart halfway through. Still, it’s definitely entertaining!

While the game is certainly a grind, it packs a ton of punch. It has over 300 different Digimon to collect, and writing that pays homage to various parts of the series. The game also sports some nice graphics for a Vita game, and manages to capture the original designs of the Digimon well. What stops me from putting this game higher on the list is the aforementioned somewhat weak story, coupled with the boring and annoying dungeon design, and constant grinding. Still, this is a solid and fun game that I think any hardcore Digimon fan can get behind.

4. Chroma Squad

I’ll be completely honest with you guys, I’m not the biggest fan of Power Rangers out there. Sure, I loved it back in the 90s and early 2000s, but haven’t really watched the show since. Still, when I heard about this little tactical RPG that takes elements from Power Rangers and Kamen Rider, I found myself intrigued. So, I decided to grab this game and was glad I did!

This little Indie game named Chroma Squad is made by the guys behind “Knights of Pen and Paper 1” and it’s somehow even better than that game! This is a game that combines simulation elements with strategy RPG elements, and puts a Power Rangers spin on it. The game is fun, albeit short.

On top of this, some of the more ridiculous elements tend to water down the game’s already silly narrative. Still, this is definitely a fun game, and it’s art-style reminds me a lot of older games such as Habbo Hotel. I feel fourth place is definitely a good place for Chroma Squad. It’s an extremely fun game, but I wouldn’t feel right putting it above the next three. This game is an awesome homage to Power Rangers, but isn’t anything too spectacular.

3. God Eater Resurrection

I’ve made it no secret I love God Eater. The original game on the PSP was a fantastic little gem, that unfortunately did not get a lot of attention. However, it was eventually remade and released on both PS Vita and other consoles. God Eater Resurrection is a damn fine game that adds so many refinements and modifications to an already strong formula.

This is a game that’s essentially a Monster Hunter clone, but adds in things such as enhanced maneuverability and better customization options. Heck, you can even make your own custom bullets in this game! This game also packs a ton of quests and missions into one cheap little package. That’s right, the Vita version was only 20 bucks!

It has such good value for its cheap price. In fact, if it wasn’t such a steal, I probably wouldn’t have bought it! It’s got a ton of new content and improvements, but at its core it it is the same game. With a new story mode, a newer and much more improved English, and several new weapon types, I can say that there is still a lot here for people who played the original game.

I’ve gushed about this game, but it does have problems. Some rather glaring flaws that made me push it further back on the list. For one thing, there no optional Japanese voice-acting option. Now, this is more of a nitpick, but it’s something that does annoy me. When I replay games, I tend to try the other language options, so I get a slightly different experience when I play through it the second time. Sadly, this game does not allow for that.

Couple this was constantly reused monsters, a lack of new creatures, some bits of awkward voice-acting here and there, and a somewhat underwhelming mutliplayer experience, and you have a game that misses the mark on occasion. Still, there’s enough good here that it out-weighs its negative features.

2. Solatorobo: Red The Hunter

I know what you’re thinking: “I’ve never heard of this game before! Why is it on the list?” I’ll tell you why: It’s awesome, unique and interesting! Ever wonder what would happen if Sherlock Hound was a video-game and had giant robots in it? That’s pretty much this game in a nut-shell! You play as a “Hunter” named Red, who is a dog-like being in a world filled with anthropomorphic felines and canines.

After a job goes awry, Red ends up saddled with a mysterious child named Elh. It’s up to Red, his sister Chocolat, and Elh to save the world from 2 different impending disasters. That’s right, two! For you see, much like an anime multiple story arc, the game is split into two parts. Even the second story arc introduces enough new things to keep the experience fresh.

The game’s combat, story, graphics, music, and characters are what elevated this game so high on the list. Here we have a game with a good story and a ton of rich lore, and manages to link back to an equally obscure game called “Tail Concerto”. That’s right, Solatorobo is a shared universe, but you don’t need to play the other games to get it. It is its own story, and a damn good one at that!

Playing this for the first time, I had inklings of what would happen. However, when I reached the end of both story arcs, I was pleasantly surprised! The gameplay is no slouch either, as it introduces a mechanic that lets you throw enemies at other. In fact, most of your time in combat will be spent picking up enemies and tossing them at each other. I always loved this style of combat, and it makes for some refreshing and inventive battles.

With all the good this game has, how come nobody ever talks about it? Well, this game does have a few glaring issues. For one thing, most of its side-quests are superfluous and pointless. The game also forces you to do a large majority of them if you want to progress in the main plot. On top of this, some boss battles are bit on the underwhelming side. The game likes to toss you against a blimp boss a lot, where you have to throw the rockets he fires back at him. That’s whole fight by the way, and there’s little permutations each time you do this.

Also, the game was not marketed well. Despite getting a whopping 100 commercials and airing them all in Japan, the game still flopped hard in its native country. On top of this, Bamco didn’t really advertise this game at all in America or other countries. As a result, it barely sold well at all. Nowadays, the game is hard to find and rare, mostly because nobody really bought it.

It’s really sad, honestly. This is a game that was made with more polish than modern games would get. Yet… Nobody played it. That’s why I feel so comfortable about putting this game so high. This isn’t a game that brings too many new things to the table, but it’s still a fun action RPG with an entertaining and somewhat dark plot. The game may be difficult to find, but if you can get it used I highly recommend you do!

1. Dragon Ball Fusions

People may wonder why I chose Fusions over Xenoverse, which I claimed was a superior game in a previous top 5 list. Well, for one thing I’ve felt I have been talking about Xenoverse way too much lately. On top of this, while I think Xenoverse is a superior game, I had more fun with Fusions. Dragon Ball Fusions is a unique beast, as it is a Dragon Ball video-game with monster collecting elements.

This game does not focus on Goku, but on your own player this time. Goku’s there, but he’s a side character. That’s what I enjoyed so much about this game, is that it feels like your story. All the other Dragon Ball heroes are just along for the ride. The problem with Dragon Ball games (especially Xenoverse) is that it never feels like your own story. This time, they changed it up and made it a lot more refreshing.

On top of this, the game also has a unique turn-based strategy RPG play-style. It’s difficult to describe how this game plays, it’s like an RPG meets a pinball game! That’s a bit of an exaggerated comparison, but I find it difficult to fully explain how this game plays. It meshes so many unique elements and manages to be extremely refreshing.

The game’s customization is its strongest point. You can customize how your character looks in so many ways, even choose the colors of each individual outfit piece. You can choose from five distinct races with enough options to make a character that truly suits you. Sure, the choices aren’t infinite or as robust as Xenoverse, but there’s definitely a good variety.

The game also has a stellar soundtrack and fantastic visuals, especially for a handheld game. I honestly love this game, way more than other game on the list. Despite this, I can still acknowledge its flaws. Battles are way too slow and can often take 15 minutes to half an hour if you aren’t careful. This game is also very grind-heavy at times. On top of this, the game’s unique “EX Fusion” system is cumbersome, despite it being one of the most fun parts of the game. It takes forever to defuse characters, and some of the requirements to get certain fusions is downright insane.

For example, to even fuse Cell with yourself, you have to complete all 16 quizzes. This requires you to complete a lot of busywork and will most assuredly take you a month of real-life time in order to pull it off. Sadly, a lot of fusions are like this. The game’s worst aspect though is the online multiplayer, which was patched in later.

It’s horribly unbalanced, and it’s possible to lose in just a few turns if your team isn’t overpowered as all hell. The best way to describe it is that its like a game of Chess, but with as many variables as a tabletop RPG. It’s insane, and it definitely sucks a fair bit of fun out of the game. It’s also impossible to find a forum where people aren’t complaining about this tacked-on feature.

Regardless, I don’t think you’ll find a more refreshing and accessible modern strategy RPG. Despite the fact that its mostly geared towards a younger audience, I think any hardcore Dragon Ball fan can get some enjoyment out of it. It’s a game that really shows what Bandai-Namco is capable of as a a publisher.

In Summation

That’s my list of my top favorite Bamco games! Keep in mind that while I am a massive fan of Bandai-Namco, I do acknowledge that they have faults. Their handling of Dokkan Battle was less than stellar at times, and bordered on feeling like a bit of ripoff at times. While I do enjoy their work, they are by no means a perfect company. Regardless, I’ll keep buying their games because I am wildly supportive of what they do.

So, what’s your favorite Bamco games? Feel free to tell me in the comment section! If you guys have any suggestions for specific types of top 5 lists you’d like to see, let me know below. Have a good day and keep it as sweet as syrup!

Digimon Masters Online: The Worst MMO I Ever Played

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Pretty sure that’s not an Agumon…

Yep, I’m talking about MMORPGs again. I’ll be honest, I don’t play a whole lot of MMORPGs. These are games that will eat up a lot of your time and tend to be pretty boring, at least to me. A ton of MMOs (like Phantasy Star Online and City of Heroes) do something unique or interesting. Certain MMOs just have so much passion poured into them, that it’s easy to overlook their flaws.

However, there are so many MMORPGs that are just downright terrible. I’m talking games that are just a wonder to behold in terms of their terrible qualities. One such game is the extremely atrocious Digimon Masters Online. So, a brief synopsis for people who don’t know what Digimon are: The Digimon franchise revolves around humans teaming up with Digital Monsters in order to save the world. Each series and iteration of the franchise is its own thing, and is set in a universe separate from the others.

Somehow, this MMO spinoff really misses the point of the franchise. For one thing, instead of creating its own separate universe, it just uses the one from Digimon Savers. Now, I love Savers, it’s a great show, but the problem is that the setting doesn’t lend itself well to an MMO. It’s about an elite group of digital policeman called “D.A.T.S.”, who are limited in number. Sure, there’s a fair number of them, but not an army like this game seems to suggest!

What’s worse is that the game only lets you choose from four characters, and you can’t customize their appearance AT ALL. Sure, you can dress them in certain outfits, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’ll always be the same character. Most outfits disappear after a while anyways, making this whole game feature feel pretty trivial. Now, it is true you can get more characters later, but they function the same. There’s no real stat differences, and they are just other characters from the show. There are no unique new characters made for the game, only characters that people who watched the anime will know.

That’s another problem with the game, it doesn’t know what kind of audience its trying to rope in. You’d think the game would be made for those who are familiar with the shows, but it gets a lot of the elements of the series wrong. It also blends together several shows into one plot-line, including taking element from both seasons of Adventure. It makes so its difficult to follow at times.

Worse still, certain events will play out exactly how they did in the show. Even if you know the events in advance, there’s nothing you can do to change it. For example, everyone who watched Savers knows that the one mad-scientist guy is clearly evil. Yet, even if you go into this game with said knowledge, you still have to help this guy with his plans. You can’t confront him early, or do something interesting with that knowledge. No, you have to play stupid and help this guy essentially destroy the planet, or at least attempt to.

These are just minor things I’ve brought up, so far. Trust me, there’s a lot about this game that is really terrible. For example, it’s completely pay to win! You want to keep those clothing pieces so they don’t explode off your body? You gotta pay! Want Digimon that don’t suck? You gotta pay! Want better items and gear general? That’s right, you gotta pay! I’m fine with games being free-to-play and using micro-transactions, but not when they are scams like this! This game is completely pay-to-win, you need to buy things to get further in this game. While this doesn’t seem like a huge problem, it is.

If you want to have actual fun in this game, you need to pay out the wazoo for trivial items. It’s annoying and cumbersome, and makes the game feel like a scam overall. Honestly, I’d still be willing to toss the developers a few of my hard-earned shekels, if the game itself wasn’t fundamentally terrible. It’s your typical “click a bunch of things on the action bar and wait for them to recharge” type of MMO.

There’s nothing unique or interesting here, aside from maybe the ability to Digivolve your Digimon during combat. This can change certain things, but is otherwise just as boring as other things in the game. The biggest problem with this game is its terrible translation. I’ve some pretty bad translations, mostly from Bandai-Namco. However, Bamco’s translations are at least legible. Sure, they may be filled with the occasional spelling error and bad translation, but you always know what’s happening in the plot.

The translation for this game is so awful and illegible, that half the time I don’t know what’s happening! Dialogue seems so shoddily written, and each sentence is mired with dozens of grammatical mistakes. It’s hard to find a single line of dialogue in this game that doesn’t reek of poor translation. Yes, I know translation is a difficult undertaking, but this is a game meant to be played by millions!

People are expected to throw tons of cash at this game, but will end up getting a product that is littered with terrible writing and impossible to understand dialogue. The last thing I want to touch on is the soundtrack… It’s okay. It’s not awful or anything, but it’s not special either. You got some pretty good sounding guitar riffs, but otherwise nothing too interesting.

As you can tell, I really did not like this game. In fact, the only thing that kept me playing was the Digimon branding. Without Digimon, I never would have touched this game. I respect that some people may like it, but I just don’t. To me, this game was the antithesis of what the series stood for: Which was reinventing itself and its universe with each new installment. Instead of getting an MMO with its own story and setting, I was just playing through the Savers plot, that was hashed together with plots from other seasons.

In the end, there’s not a whole lot of good things to say about this game. I mean, the graphics are okay. The designs look like how they would in the show, and the game never seemed to lag all that often. Aside from that, there’s nothing that really stood out to me. This was a game that was just boring, and felt like it was trying too hard to con me out of my hard-earned cash. In order for me to put down cash for a free-to-play game, I need to feel like I was being given a good demo of the game. If this is a demo, than I definitely don’t want the full package!

Looking Back At 20 Years of Digimon

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You never do find out what he’s pointing at.

It’s hard to believe that just a few days ago Digimon turned 20. This is a series that I enjoyed as a kid, and a franchise I find myself getting interested in once more. For those of you don’t know what I’m talking about, Digimon is a series about Digital Monsters existing in an alternate universe often referred to as “The Digital World”. These creatures often enter our realm and interact with humans, mostly kids and teenagers, in order to save the world.

It’s a pretty basic formula, but somehow the series manages to do something new with the franchise in each successive season. With 7 different shows, over 15 films, dozens upon dozens of video-games, and several manga series, there is definitely a Digimon series for everyone. The way that the franchise constantly manages to do something unique with each iteration is something grand to behold.

Even if some of the seasons were more on the mediocre side, they still did something interesting with the basic Digimon formula. The first two seasons were a more “Alice In Wonderland” type adventure, while the third season was a fairly dark melodrama filled with deep character analysis and epic confrontations. Each series is its own thing, which may turn off a lot of people.

Individuals may look at this franchise and say “it lacks identity”. I do like this though, the idea of constantly showing glimpses of similar yet very different alternative universes is very enticing. The games further exemplify this, with each one focusing on its own universe with its own set of characters. Partaking in any part of the franchise is like watching the Twilight Zone, you’re getting singular stories that are (usually) separate from other parts of the franchise.

You can play the Digimon World: Next Order video-game, without having to play the many other Digimon World games in said series. If you do play previous games though, you get somewhat of a bonus, because in some games they do establish a “multiverse” of sorts. Certain games link in small ways to each other, but those are few and far between in the franchise.

What I really liked about Digimon though, is the fact that they looked like monsters. Pokemon are supposed to be monsters as well, but 90% of them looked more like super stylized cartoon animals. They were always a bit too cutesy, never really looking like ferocious hideous beasts. Some of the Digimon in this series (especially the ones meant to be adorable) can look utterly ugly or hideous at times. Digimon never really followed a set design path, almost all Digimon looked different from one another.

Of course, certain Digimon were palette-swapped clones of the other, but this was never too excessive. Am I saying Pokemon is terrible? No, I was just never a fan of the concept of them being “monsters”. Then again, I guess you can’t really call them “animals” either. I guess you could say I’m being picky, but hey, I’m a huge fan of monsters in media.

The thing that I found most fascinating about the franchise is its switch in audience. A few series aimed for children tend to market themselves more to adults over time. An example of this is Samurai Jack, which started off as a kids show, but recently had a final season aired on Adult Swim. Much like Samurai Jack, Digimon has started gearing itself more to the kids who grew up with it.

Believe it or not, its often hard to appeal to the children of today, especially with the constant changes in the market of animation. So, Digimon became a series that started to drift away from being marketed to kids and more towards adults. Digimon Savers, Digital Monsters X Evolution, Digimon Adventure Tri, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, and Digimon World: Next Order are all attempts to bring the franchise to older audiences.

Of course, Digimon is still churning out series that are aimed more towards kids. However, one may argue that this series just feels better as a show geared towards the older demographics. After all, I can’t think of too many “collectible monsters” shows that have tried to appeal to those who grew up with it.

To me, Digimon is something more than nostalgia. It’s something I can still come back and watch, even when I’m out of the age demographic for most of its shows. A lot of series have an entertaining and well-written quality to them, and they manage to tell interesting stories with large stakes to them.

Believe it or not, the past few Digimon shows in the franchise have flopped somewhat in Japan. Though, with the release of Tri, the series has once again began to pick up momentum. I’m honestly liking where this franchise is going, and I can only hope that the new entries of the Digimon franchise that are coming out soon can continue to entertain. Anyways, I thank you for reading my long diatribe on a 20 year old cartoon/anime franchise. I hope you all have a good day and fantastic weekend.

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: One Year Later

It may be hard to believe, but it’s been a whole year since I first played this game and reviewed it. Since then, I feel my opinions on it have changed considerably. Having logged over 80 hours worth of time with this game, I feel that I’ve grown from just liking it a lot to loving it considerably. Having played this game so much, the flaws have become far more apparent to me. So, I want to go into full detail on my current opinions of this game. Why? Honestly, this is one of the best video-games based off an anime I’ve ever played.

This game definitely had a lot going for it. It had a ton of Digimon from over six different seasons, and even including some that only appeared in manga and other games. It had an interesting plot, which sadly became formulaic halfway through. It also had a cast of memorable and bizarre characters, including Jimiken, who is somehow the best and worst character at the same time.

This game also managed to incorporate a bunch of elements from several of the TV shows. The game had a simplistic turn-based combat system, but with enough varied special moves and flashy attacks that it rarely got boring. The game was fun, albeit grindy. In order to obtain any of the really powerful Digimon, you had to grind for days on end.

While their were ways to circumvent this, grinding was still a tedious affair. This was especially annoying when you couple it with the fact that you need certain stats to get certain Digimon. It turns from grinding into a bizarre maze of stat increases and trips to the farm, making the arduous task of getting the strongest Digimon that more annoying. I know that they are supposed to be difficult to get, but certain Digimon like Omnimon were a pain to obtain. Especially because Omnimon was a lot weaker than the Digimon that I had to fuse together to get him.

One of the shining moments of this game was the designs of all the Digimon. They all looked great, just like how they did in their respective seasons. Some may say that it’s jarring to see all these creatures in one game, especially when a lot of them were originally drawn in different art-styles. Still, having such a various cast of color creatures to collect made the game that more entertaining.

It’s still hard to believe how hooked I got on this game. For a while, it was all I played. I beat it twice and even got a ton of the really hard to get Digimon! Still, after a while I got burned out on it. Fun game with a unique setting and world, but a game that still feels very repetitive.

Another problem with the game was the spotty translation. It’s not as bad as the translation job done for Dragon Ball Fusions, but it leaves a lot to be desired. You know your game has a problem when it starts to referring to its main villains as something completely unrelated to them at all. Regardless, this is still a game that I can back to even after a year and still get some fun out of.

Sure, the difficulties are either too easy or too hard with little middle-ground, and the game may drop its interesting plot halfway through, but I still find it to be one of the better anime-to-game adaptations. This was the first time I ever gave an updated opinion on what I think, and to be honest it hasn’t changed all that much. Still, I thought since the 20th anniversary of Digimon is fast approaching, I’d take time to revisit one of the best Digimon games in my opinion. Now I pose a question to you the reader: What is your favorite Digimon game? Feel free to tell me in the comment section! Keep in mind, you don’t need a WordPress account in order to post comments.

Sweet As Syrup: Digimon Adventure Anode/Cathode Tamer Veedramon Version Review

Yep, this is officially the longest title of anything I’ve ever reviewed on my blog! I thought I’d talk about a Digimon game that I’ve been getting into as of late, a rather forgotten title known as “Digimon Adventure Anode/Cathode Tamer”. This was one of the first Digimon video-games ever made, and was created while the series was at its most popular in Japan. It also introduced the world to Ryo Akiyama, a character who would make appearances in the first three seasons of the series.

This game was the series’ first foray into tactical RPGs, and one of their last. Sadly, the series would rarely revisit this genre. Regardless, I want to discuss this game. With Digimon’s 20th anniversary fast approaching, I feel it’s time I take a look at a forgotten classic. Without further adieu, let’s dive right in!

Background Information

Digimon Adventure Anode Tamer was originally released in 1999 for the Wonderswan, which was a Japanese exclusive console. A second version was released in 2000 called “Cathode Tamer”, and eventually a third a version of the game was released for the Wondereswan Color. This will be the version I’m looking at, the one known as “Veedramon Version”.

Unlike the other two versions released, Veedramon had an English version and was primarily released in English-speaking parts of Hong Kong. The Digimon Tamer series on Wonderswan proved to be very popular, and soon the main character Ryo Akiyama started making appearances in the show. It started off as a few cameos, but eventually he became a canon part of both the second and third seasons.

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Can you smell that? That’s the sweet sweet smell of 90s nostalgia!

Plot

Taking place after the end of the first season, Digimon Anode/Cathode Tamer focuses on a young man name Ryo. One day, Ryo is chatting on a message-board, until he gets a strange message on his computer. After foolishly touching a Digi-vice (a tool used on the show to enhance the power of a Digimon) our hero is pulled into the Digital World.

This is where he meets Digital Monsters, known as Digimon. Ryo is forced to work alongside a lizard-like Digimon named Agumon, in order to rescue the Digidestined from the original show. You see, all the kids have been defeated and captured by the villains of the first season, who have resurrected and become more powerful in the process. Ryo is tasked with using Tai’s Digivice, along with partnering up with the chosen Digimon to once again defeat all of the Digidestined’s foes. Not only this, but Ryo has to go up again an all new villain named “Milleniumon”, an evil hybrid Digimon who represents the Y2K virus.

Yeah, the plot for this game is pretty generic. While it’s cool that you get to fight all the villains from the first season in game form, the reason they are all there feels a bit like a cop-out. They are all conveniently resurrected by the new villain, and none of them offer any interesting bits of dialogue. I get that this is a Wonderswan Color game, and that they were limited in what they were allowed to do.

Still, I can’t help but feel that they could’ve done more with the setting. Digimon Adventure was a show that had a universe that was ripe for expanding upon. Instead, they decided to rehash season 1 all over again. This wouldn’t bother me so much if they got the character portrayals wrong. Sadly though, characters behave in a very unfitting way. For example, after you save every Digidestined, they just leave the Digital World and basically abandon you to your quest. They never offer to help or stay, and they never come to your aid.

I get that this is done so that more attention is put on the player character, as opposed to side-characters. It’s just really out of character for the Chosen Children to just have somebody else do all the work for them. Am I thinking too deeply about this? I probably am, that’s just how my brain works. Regardless, I felt the plot to be very bland and forgettable. Very few interesting things happen, and it just ends up feeling like a hollow story overall.

Gameplay

The game is pretty basic in terms of structure. You can have a maximum of 3 Digimon in your party at at time, same goes for your opponent. In these 3v3 fights, you take turns with each individual Digimon. You move them across the grid to attack your opponent Digimon. While it seems simple, there are some things thrown in that help spice up the gameplay.

The game introduces something called “Variable Moves”. These are basically Digivolutions, a form of transformation evoked by Digimon in the series. However, Variable Moves are different in that they only last for one turn, where Digivolutions often last a lot longer in other games. Variable Moves are basically special summon attacks, and can be used to attack your opponent, heal an ally, or even buff your part members.

You can also use items both in and out of combat. These range from average healing items, to food or waste disposal items. That’s right, the game has some simulation elements to it. You have to take care of your Digimon, by both feeding it and cleaning up after it. Unfortunately, these particular elements of the game felt tacked on. More often than not, it felt like the hunger system was just an excuse to send me running back to the village to buy more meat. Thankfully, this doesn’t become too much of a problem, since you are given meat in battle.

Outside of combat, you can acquire new Digimon and travel the over-world. The over-world isn’t fancy, and it lacks any real depth to it. You just travel to new dungeons to send your Digimon to. There’s no secret areas, hidden zones, or anything to make it remotely interesting. Even the Pokemon games had wide open areas for you to explore! Sadly, the areas you explore feel so barren. There are very few Digimon to talk to in such areas as well.

Speaking of the game’s flaws, there was lot of elements to this game that generally rubbed me the wrong way. For example, the aforementioned Variable Moves system is rather annoying to get working properly. The game starts you off with no moves for any of your Digimon, you have to unlock them all by scratch by experimenting with different party combinations. The problem is that you get them entirely at random. It’s possible to get moves that could’ve been useful two dungeons, while in a completely new dungeon.

Balancing is another issue with the game. Certain Digimon that you are given at the start of the game feel way too overpowered. A good example of this was Veedramon, who pretty much broke most boss encounters. I liken Veedramon to Frederick from Fire Emblem, put in the middle of a battlefield and everyone will die in an attempt to take him out.

The game’s biggest offense though is its repetition and length. The game is very repetitive in its combat system. Certain fights will drag on for what feels like 30 minutes, sometimes longer. It gets really old, really fast. All the while, you’re stuck watching the same animations over and over again. It’s like if they made an episode of Digimon and only had a budget of 5 bucks and only about 20 frames of animation repeated over and over.

I feel like that’s an apt summary of this game in a nut-shell: “It’s like Digimon, but not as good and extremely dated”. It may sound cruel, but in terms of gameplay I feel it just doesn’t measure up to the flawed gem known as Digimon World, which came out the same year, but for a different console.

Visual Stimuli

This game looks pretty good for the time, to be honest. The sprite work is typical of a Wonderswan Color game, but they manage to capture the art-style of the original show very well. Digimon are well-designed and the battle sprites look nice enough, even if a few of them can look a bit uncanny valley at times. Sprites on the over-world can look a bit too simplistic though.

The problem with this game comes in the sound department. It sounds pretty bad, which is a result of the console’s limitations, I know. Still, the soundtrack felt grating at times due to the loud blaring noises. Another problem I had with the game was the odd translation. For some reason, the English version of the game chose to use a mixture of both the Japanese names and the American localized names. This made certain scenes feel a little odd for me.

While I did like the graphics, I felt the localization and soundtrack were a bit too stale for my tastes. As previously mentioned, the audio was blaring and the game’s localization couldn’t decide which translation it wanted to stick to. In all honesty, I found the production values of this game to be fairly hit-or-miss.

In Summation

I know that I have been fairly harsh on the game up until this point. I know it isn’t entirely fair, seeing as how this game was one of the first few Digimon games ever made. However, it did help kick-start an entire sub-franchise, and introduced the fandom to a character who would be popular for years to come. I guess I went into this game with too high of expectations.

Now, do I hate this game? No, but I have trouble saying that it’s a good game. It’s a middle-of-the-road game. I enjoyed parts of the game, and was totally a sucker for the nostalgic elements of it. The problem was that the game was too short, lacked an interesting plot, and didn’t do enough to distance itself from the many other tactical RPGs coming out around that time.

So, with that I can say that the game isn’t as sweet as syrup. Do I recommend it? Well, kind of. I can only really recommend this game to two kinds of people: Those who love Digimon and Ryo, and those who love tactical RPGs. While you can easily skip this game in favor of future games, I do suggest at least trying it. It does introduce the hero and villain of this series and is fun for an hour or two, but that’s about it. Anyways, that’s my personal thoughts on the game. If anyone else has played this game, I’d like to hear your thoughts on it as well. If you feel I presented any elements of the game incorrectly, feel free to call me out on it. Regardless, I hope you all have a great day!

Sweet As Syrup: Digimon Next Manga Review

Good news, everyone! The Digimon marathon starts today. I figured I start off with something Digimon-based that not a lot of people know about. I discussed the Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01 manga, but have yet to discuss its spiritual successor. You see, there’s been several Digimon manga over the years, but few of them have actually run that long. The second Digimon manga series to run for a fair bit of chapters was Digimon Next.

After finally finish V-Tamer 01, I quickly dived in to this series and read through it in the course of a week. I think it’s about time I cover this series. Is it worth reading or enjoying? Well, in this review I’ll let you know if this older Digimon manga is worth reading or not.

Background Information

Digimon Next was a manga that released a couple months prior to Digimon Savers / Data Squad, which was the newest Digimon anime at that time. The series began in 2006 and ran until 2008. While using similar elements to Savers, Next borrows most from Adventure V-Tamer 01. Much like most Digimon manga, this series never received an American release.

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That’s probably the most badass Greymon I’ve ever seen!

Plot

The story revolves around a young Japanese teenager named Tsurugi Tatano. One day, Tsurugi is whisked off to the Digital World after playing an online game, where he meets up with his partner Agumon. The two start off on a bad foot, but quickly become good friends and reliable allies to one another. Tsurugi quickly becomes friends with a bunch of other humans too, who have also ended up in the Digital World. Tsurugi meets up with other characters like Yuu and Ami, while doing battle with the mysterious “Black Winged Knight”.

While this does sound like it could make for an interesting manga, it sadly does not. The story feels very derivative of the previous Digimon manga. I felt like I was reading most of the same story again, just with different characters. The villain in the motives behind said villain felt like they had been done better in V-Tamer 01. Is it terrible? Of course not! However, the plot never feels like it does anything interesting with the setting.

The problem I find with the manga that it never manages to take the series in a unique direction. It’s stuck taking elements from Savers, without being able to deviate too much from a typical Digimon manga. This bothers me greatly, especially due to the fact that most entries in the Digimon franchise manage to do something unique and interesting with each installment.

Again, it’s not a bad story. It doesn’t feel too rushed or poorly paced, the characters are interesting and like-able enough to stand on their own and it has a decent amount of chapters. On top of this, the finale to the story itself is pretty dang awesome. Regardless, it felt like a bit of a slog to get to that point. I gave up on the manga several times before I could fully finish it. I still enjoyed what I read, despite my qualms.

Artwork

The art for this series was done by the ever amazing Takeshi Okano. This man also helped co-write Hell Teacher Nube, one of my favorite manga and anime series! Okano manages to make character designs really interesting and manages to make the Digimon look really nice. Backgrounds are decent, though some can seem a little bare at times. Action scenes are intense, and Okano manages to pack a ton of fast action into each individual panel.

The art overall really saved this manga for me. While I had difficulties fully getting into the plot, the art-style really hooked me. It managed to combine simplicity with higher detail, creating something that could be considered both cartoon-ish and serious at the same time. It’s an art-style that can invoke a feeling of both excitement and goofiness.

In Conclusion

It’s got a hit-or-miss plot, but rather nice-looking artwork. I say that if you’re cool with a more formulaic Digimon plot, then I think this would be your thing. I recommend reading V-Tamer 01 over this. If you like V-Tamer and want something similar to it, then I can recommend this series to you. I got a decent amount of enjoyment out of this series, so I can definitely say it is sweet as syrup. It’s not perfect, it feels a bit generic, but it manages to capture what I love about Digimon. In the end, that’s all I can really ask for.

Why I Prefer Digimon To Pokemon

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Would you believe me if I told you that Veedramon was my favorite?

Believe it or not, I haven’t always been a huge fan of the “Mons” franchises. I’m talking Digimon, Pokemon, Monster Rancher, and those various Pokemon “clones” that come out each year. Digimon in particular is a series that I haven’t visited in quite some time. That was until 2015, when I started getting back into the franchise. Digimon Adventure Tri comes out, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth gets announced and released, and my interest is at this point piqued.

Digimon did something that Pokemon could never do: Aim its content and material towards adults. Pokemon to this day is still mainly for kids. It’s a franchise that hasn’t grown with its audience. I apologize in advance if I offend any by saying this, but Pokemon just hasn’t matured or grown as a series. Newer Pokemon games seem to just be exactly like the old games, just with better graphics and more features.

While it’s true that Digimon games have been mostly hit-or-miss, the rest of the franchise has fared far better. Better manga, better anime, better films, etc. The Digimon series featured all these differing universes with own unique rule-sets. It’s impossible to play a single Digimon game or watch a Digimon anime without discovering a new variation on the pre-established world.

Pokemon almost always takes place in the same universe with the same rules, yet introduces new Pokemon which shake up the formula only a tad bit. You’d think introducing god Pokemon into the franchise would gave the series a touch of uniqueness, but the gods are just legendary Pokemon that you can catch. Sure, they’ll play a part in the story sometimes, but not too often.

The Pokemon world felt a bit too grounded, if you ask me. Sure, crazy and weird stuff can happen in the Pokemon world, but the varied nature of all the Digimon universes felt more diverse. On top of this, I always liked the designs of Digimon better. Digimon actually looked like monsters, at least in my eyes. Pokemon were just more adorable versions of real-life animals, instead of being traditional monsters.

Pokemon is a decent series, but it’s never stuck with me the way Digimon has. I can’t pick out too many moments from the Pokemon anime that were memorable or that interesting. Yet, I can remember every single villain the Digidestined ever fought. To be fair, that culd be just a form of bias or selective memory.

To be fair, Pokemon isn’t a terrible series. The games in Pokemon have always been better than the ones that came from the Digimon series. Sure, Digimon had some good ones like Digimon World 3, Digimon Anode/Cathode Tamer, Digimon World DS, and Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, but most of these games were critically panned. Pokemon has always had that massive appeal with their games, which always tend to score high and rake in the cash.

At this point, Pokemon just feels a bit too bland to me. I respect that people enjoy and like it, but I just can’t get back into it. There are too many Pokemon games at this point, and I have no idea which new game to play first. I haven’t touched a Pokemon game (unless you count Pokemon Go) since the original Gold and Silver over a decade and a half ago. Is it time I changed that? Perhaps.

For now though, I’m going to stick to Digimon, with a series that I love. It’s also a series that appeals both to my inner-child and to my adult side. It’s something that I feel I can continue to enjoy, even later in life. So… What do you guys think? Which do you prefer, Pokemon or Digimon? Feel free to leave a comment telling me what you think, let’s get a friendly discussion going and talk about two series that were an integral part of many 90s kids’ childhoods.

Next Marathon Is Coming Up: Digimon!

Alright, I thought it was time to start a new marathon. I’m mostly done with my Phantasy Star Marathon that I stared last year, in which I review various games from the series and talk about the franchise in general. Well, now I want to do this with one of my favorite multi-media franchises: Digimon. I want to review various manga, anime, movies, and even games from the franchise.

Digimon was my childhood and come July, the franchise will turn 20 years old. I thought this would be the best time to talk more about the series itself. I have reviewed a few Digimon related things, but I want to get into the full swing of things and review a ton of things associated with the series. I wanted to see how much I can cover in the span of a month and a half, before the 20th anniversary of the series rolls around. Expect more Digimon-based content soon, guys!

Comic Book Convention 2017 Swag!

At the recent comic book Expo in Regina, I picked up some rather neat things. I honestly love going to cons, and I don’t really spend a whole lot when it comes to personal items for myself. If you guys like this, I’ll be sure to post pictures of stuff I got from previous years, since I have picked up several awesome things over the years. Anyways, let’s get this rolling! (Also, apologies in advance if the photos are a bit blurry, I’m not expert when it comes to taking pictures)

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A very courageous crest indeed.

One of the first things I picked up at the con was a tag and the crest of courage from Digimon. This is a little plastic replica of the crests commonly seen on the Digimon television show. I honestly loved this anime, so I jumped at the chance to own a crest of my very own. The crests were 5 bucks less than the Digivices (Which I felt looked really amateurish) which is why I ultimately decided on the crest. It makes a fancy little pendant, I must say!

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Wander Over Shiren!

The next thing I bought was the game “Shiren The Wanderer”, the PS Vita version to be precise. I heard this was a great little roguelike, and I jumped at the opportunity to have it on my Vita. I have yet to open and play it, but I’ll be sure to do so this weekend. I look forward to both playing and reviewing this game in the future!

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No joke, I still have yet to see this movie.

During the convention, my friend brought me to a booth run by the guys who made the film Wolf Cop. This was a film made in Regina that was a parody of old 80s cop shows and films. I had never this film before, nor even heard of it for that much. However, when I saw the comic there, I knew I had to have it! The art on the cover was so striking and memorable, making it impossible for me to say no! Honestly, I love 80s stuff, even when it’s made in the modern day as opposed to back then. I read through this comic in one setting, and I gotta say it was a fantastic. I still have yet to see the film, but I’ll be sure to tackle that next!

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And here’s an image of all three things together. Roughly, I spent about 75-80 bucks on personal purchases, this isn’t counting money spent on travelling, food, the tickets themselves, or the hotel. I fully intend to review both the Wolf Cop comic and Shiren at some point, and maybe even do a mini review of the crest replica itself. Anyway, hope you enjoyed this little convention special. I do have one more image I’m going to post, but I’ll save that for later. Trust me, it’s the high point of the convention.