Digimon World (PlayStation) review
"Feed him regularly, but watch his weight. Treat him when heís ill or injured. Rest him when heís weary. Even take him to the bathroom when the need arises. Your Digimon is yours to love and care for. Do everything right, hold enough patience, and the reward will pay dividends. "
Time is a valuable thing in this world. Itís what makes day turn to night, summer become winter, and years pass in the blink of an eye. Time is a paradox. Often, it seems to drag on forever, yet when itís gone, we wonder where it went so quickly. We complain that todayís gone by too slowly, yet panic when we realize thereís only a few hours to deadline. Time is, quite frankly, an enigma. It may never be fully understood, neither in real life nor in the virtual realm of video games.
Digimon World takes this paradox to a whole new level.
Loosely based off the anime, years are divided into days of thirty Ė there are no months. Watch the needle tick the hours away in your game clock, and time seems slow as it inches gradually around the sphere. Yet, amid a flurry of activity, it passes rapidly. In the blink of an eye.
You may find the actual phenomenon of time passing rather quickly at times, but in order to succeed in this game, you need patience. Lots of it. Your purpose demands it. As an estranged human sucked into the Digital World through a
Tamagotchi key chain, you and your Digimon partner (who seemingly appears out of nowhere), must seek and convince the former residents of the once vibrant File City to return home. They have become feral, corrupted by an unknown but malevolent force.
Patience is a virtue because in order to secure the loyalty of these prior denizens, you must frequently engage in the sort of repetitious activity that may soon have a person napping in a matter of hours.
That activity? Raising your Digimon. He needs to be made strong, after all. He also needs to like you. And respect you. Without these, heíll never do well in battle. Unfortunately, this entails hours of work, about two-thirds of the game, in fact, most of which is training at the gym just outside the city.
But his basic needs come first. Distracting needs that must be attended for the creatureís happiness and discipline. Menial things that take an hour out of the day. An hour or two that could have been better spent boosting parameters at the gym.
Feed him regularly, but watch his weight. Treat him when heís ill or injured. Rest him when heís weary. Even take him to the bathroom when the need arises. Your Digimon is yours to love and care for. Do everything right, hold enough patience, and the reward will pay dividends.
Raised properly and trained well, your pathetically weak excuse for a partner will evolve into a fearsome roaring behemoth unconquerable in battle. Given enough speed and strength, this creature becomes a merciless killing machine, throwing out techs with enough power and speed to disorient any foe. Boost his defense to insanely high levels and produce a tank that can take just about any hit from any attack from any enemy anywhere. With enough brainpower, you can issue any command provided for within the game, even specify which technique you want your Digimon to use.
If you feel your partner is trained well enough, feel free to explore the wilder parts of the island, encountering mighty foes. Or, if youíre feeling for something closer to home, participate in one of the Arena's tournaments. Combat is in real time, as your partner follows you around on screen everywhere. Whenever a fight begins, your character runs to some far corner of the field where heíll issue commands. Meanwhile, your personal bodyguard will stomp around the field, unleashing attacks based on whatever commands you issue. Choose wisely what skills your select, though, for your Digimon can only hold three. Offensive moves come in three ranges with varying status effects and charge times. Defensive moves are just those that boost parameters during combat Ė useful when your enemy is significantly more powerful than you. Deciding which ones to use requires a bit of strategic thinking, but the choices you make can determine the difference between victory and defeat.
Indeed it is possible to win where winning seems impossible. Iíve done it countless times. With only a newly evolved Garurumon (a rather large wolf-like Digimon), whose stats were quite low because it was still early in the game, I managed to defeat a highly powered fire Digimon located deep within a nearby mine. With many a War Cry, a stat-boosting move that significantly increased my partner's speed and offense, I could not be touched. Though my enemyís moves were far stronger, he could never pull them off because the charge time took several seconds in most cases. As for me, Garurumonís speed made it possible for him to throw ice needles at such a rapid rate that my enemy could not retaliate. Though my opponentís large health and my techniqueís relatively weak power caused the fight to last a while, I still won without taking much damage. The correct move set combined with a bit of luck enabled this victory to be possible.
However, you cannot battle for extended periods nor challenge the strongest of Digimon unless you reach the ďnext levelĒ, so to speak. Even in the event described above, I was aided by another intriguing feature of this game. Increase the right parameters within a specific amount of time while making few (or many) care mistakes and your Digimon will literally morph into a completely different monster. This concept of ďdigiviolutionĒ was taken directly from the cartoon, but with a twist. Instead of just one specific Digimon following a single line of evolution, one specific Digimon can transform into many varying forms, some of which are shared by other Digimon. With digivolution comes more power, more capacity for mastering techniques, longer life, and the ability to travel further into the islandís unknowns.
The adventures you undertake with your faithful partner will be long and satisfying. Explore frozen wastelands where many recruitable Digimon dwell. Defeat a troupe of wandering bandits hell-bent on causing nothing but fear and destruction. Journey into the heart of a tropical jungle and help a wilting plant Digimon slake an unquenchable thirst. And, when youíre done exploring for the time being, return to File City and train some more.
But, inevitably, your partner will die. Whether of natural causes or too many losses in battle, his time will come, leaving behind an egg from which hatches a brand new Digimon. And thus the whole process starts all over again.
But despite the hours of tedium that await raising a newly hatched Digimon, the experience is very satisfying. Thereís just so much to do. The almost limitless combinations that can be put into his training more than make up for the systematic method of nurturing your partner. You can raise more than 100 Digimon and still not acquire all their various forms, even if there are only 61 of them. Some forms have such ridiculous stat and care requirements that obtaining them is very difficult indeed, even if you become the best Digimon tamer around.
Itís for this reason Iíve had so much fun with this game. Itís why Iíve spent over 250 hours of my life effectively doing the same thing over and over again. The plot never changes. Nor do Digimon locations. But with the nearly infinite combinations for raising your partnerÖ The dozens of techniques your Digimon can learn and use. The indefinite number of applications these skills possess in battle.. With all the little side questing you can engage inÖ Whatíre so many hours of monotonous training?
Community review by wolfqueen001 (May 16, 2008)
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