It's a new year, and time for a new gaming journal. I considered continuing the previous one, but it feels more fitting to keep them compartmentalised since they correspond to each year's longform challenges. You can find last year's journal here.
As with before, I'll be posting gradual updates for each session of playtime for most games, especially longer ones. Sometimes though, mostly with shorter games, I'll just post a single summary.
Goal: Complete Fifteen Games Completed: 1/15 Currently playing: Genshin Impact, Brilliant Diamond (Post Game), Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond - Summary
I want to log every game I do, but I'm going to keep this one really brief since the Pokemon games have their own section. Suffice to say though, I really enjoyed this game. It was both a faithful recreation of the original Pokemon Diamond but also an improvement on it. The story, characters and great worldbuilding remained unchanged, some thing were altered. Everything that was altered though still kept the feeling of the DS game and mostly took the form of quality of life improvements.
The graphics for BDSP have been very divisive, but I really liked them. They managed to be very evocative of playing Pokemon Diamond as a kid while still bringing the game into the 3D era with clean visuals. The music also sounded great.
As far as the gameplay itself goes, there was little to dislike. The revamped underground is both a homage to its forbearer but also an improvement and it's a lot of fun. It also helps mitigate the lack of fire types at least a little. The removal of HMs is something I'm very happy with. They were always one of the most irritating elements of the older Pokemon games. The new version of contests is a lot of fun and actually a little challenging even at the higher ranks. Most importantly, the battling felt good. The AI has been improved upon over the originals and also over recent entries into the franchise like SwSh. Opponents would keep type advantages in mind (usually), make switches and make use of held items like Leftovers or damage-reduction berries as well as bag items like potions and full restores. The league was the most challenging it's been for me in years. Cynthia especially has held true to her reputation and legitimately made me work for my victory.
The one thing that irked me a little bit was that the experience Share wasn't a toggle. While I much prefer the way it affects the whole team rather than just a single Pokemon, I would have liked the option to turn it on and off. This is mostly because there were a few patches where I ended up overlevelled for the opponents I was facing. Things always balanced out again, especially by the end, but it's my one real gripe.
I look forward to exploring the post game and any locations I haven't really gone through. I'm even contemplating completing the regional dex.
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth - Part One
So, this game has been recommended to me a lot over the last few years. Which is odd, because I've not been shy about how much I disliked the other games in this franchise I played. But, it was on sale over the holidays. So I figured why not?
The game opens up with a cute little chat room scene where I and a bunch of others were discussing hackers. Right on queue, a weird hacker's avatar appeared in the room and promised gifts if we met him in EDEN - basically virtual reality. Myself and two others agreed to go, because we're idiots. This lead to us ending up in a shady EDEN district where we were promptly split up.
Along the way, I met this guy named Yuuga, a hacker who gave me the run down of how things work. He also gave me my choice of starter po - I mean partner digimon. My choice was between Terriormon, Palmon and UglyMcGearFace. It was tough between the former two, who I am familiar with and like. In the end though, I went with Terriormon. Terriormon and Yuuga's psyducking MachineDramon kicked the muk out of an enemy for a bit and then I left to meet up with Nokia (I shouldn't laugh, I know I shouldn't) who made some friends of her own. We then headed back into shady hacker town to meet up with the third member of our little group, Arata (who is totally not some sort of super hacker already). We were attacked by some weird eldritch horror thing as we tried to leave, barely making it out... sort of. They got out fine, I ended up half-digitised and laying in the middle of a road somewhere.
I was saved from impending arrest thanks to the timely arrival of this lady called Kyoko. To my surprise, she turned out to be a detective and not a stripped like her attire implied. She's also acting as something of a tutor character so far, but looks like she'll be giving the missions from here on. Back at her agency, I jumped back to EDEN through her TV so I could start collecting avatar pieces to reconstruct my physical appearance. Kyoko seems quite keen on making me a test subject and I'm not really in a position to refuse.
So I went back to shady town, EDEN. There I proceeded to brutalise my way through a bunch of other Digimon with my partner to collect all my pieces again. Along the way, I collected enough data to add a Koromon, Pabumon, Poyomon and Tsunomon to my roster. I was in the process of doing some light grinding to get the newcomers to a point of not being cannon fodder when the game glitched the psyduck out and I decided that was enough for tonight. No idea how much progress I lost, but hopefully not much since I've been saving fairly frequently. So, not exactly a high note to end on.
My thoughts so far? It's early days, but it's definitely better than the previous titles I tried. The gameplay, while clunky when not using a controller for sure, is much nicer than the other games and the story and world are at least intriguing. The characters... eh. There's plenty of time for them to grow on me. But... what the psyduck are the female characters in this game wearing?! Jesus Psyducking Christ. Their designs are stripperific and horrendous. If you're going to make your designs blatant fan-service, can you at least make them somewhat pleasing aesthetically?
I remain cautiously optimistic, but so far the experience has been middling.
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth - Part Two
Good news, I only had to pick up from just before I grabbed Tsunomon so there wasn't to much replaying to do after last time. I was also pleased to discover that while I'm not a huge fan of the battle controls still, the game does indeed play much better on a controller than on keyboard and mouse - especially moving around in the overworld.
Now that I had a physical appearance, it was time to head back to Kyoko. With her again, I met an old detective guy and learned of something called EDEN Syndrome, an illness that causes EDEN users to mysteriously fall unconscious. My bet is that the weird monster from before has something to do with it since it seems to eat data and in EDEN your consciousness is basically just that. We went to the hospital to investigate where I came across my actual physical body, that caught me by surprise a bit but it probably shouldn't have. It seems t0o lend further credence to my theory since the monster before is what properly stopped me from escaping. I also met a girl could Yuuko and (sort of met her guardian). It seems she has some sort of connection to the company that runs EDEN and wants to preserve their image and prove their innocence. It also seems like she has a relative suffering from the syndrome. Props to her for being the first female character in the game that I actually like.
After escaping further detection at the hospital, I got my first detective job from Kyoko... sort of. I had to go meet all the people in the complex her ofice is in and pick her up some coffee beans. So I did that, running into Nokia along the way. She seemed glad I'm okay but is kind of freaked out by the muk that went down and is worried about her Agumon and Gabumon partners. After that, I was tasked with venturing into Shinjuku to see if there's any rumours floating around about me. I ran into Arata there and he's pretty irate about things because the EDEN company is stonewalling him on info about what happened. I decided to leave things there for now.
So far, the story does hold my interest! I really want to figure out what's going on. Like the game's title implies, it really is a proper mystery. The game play itself is a bit convoluted with how levelling work and the sheer number of menus the game has, but the combat is pretty fun and I do like the ability to move Digimon back and forth through their evolutionary branches. The combat is pretty fun too although I do still prefer Pokemon's more simplistic gameplay. I did some evolutions today! Koromon is now Dracomon (because Agumon and Guilmon are too mainstream I guess lol) while Pabumon is now a Yokomon and Poyomon is now a Bukamon. Not sure what I'm going to do with Pabumon long-term, but I'm going to evolve Bukamon into Gomamon as soon as I can cause I love that little guy.
No glitches today. I thought using a controller instead (like I usually do lol) might help with that and it seems to be holding true.
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth - Part Three
My investigation of Shinjuku went by quickly and it didn't take long to learn that... mostly nobody was that bothered by my freak appearance in the middle of a busy street. They have muk to do, you know? I did have an amusing run-in with some old school buddies though.
After that, I headed back to Kyoko's where we had a meeting with our client, none other than Yuuko. She claimed her father had disappeared, but his accou7nt was still active on EDEN. With account raiding suspected, I was sent in to investigate. First things first, I had to do some asking around for information. Eventually, this got me into the Zaxon hacker groups forum. In turn, this lead me back to Shady Hacker Town, but now with access to the second floor. I breezed through there with my brilliant new disguise (a Zaxon mask they gave me for free in their forum) and eventually made my way to a guy named Mephisto who was somehow under the control of his Growlmon partner and collecting EDEN account data. He seemed to be responsible for the account activity, so I beat the crap out of him.
After than, Kyoko found out the missing man's daughter went by a different name. So we went to his house and... met him. Interesting. We also met his real daughter. They got pretty evasive when we started asking about EDEN though. Seems like Yuuko was trying to find out something about this man by posing as his daughter. The plot thickens and I am curious to find out what exactly is going on.
None of that matters though, because my Butamon EVOLVED INTO MY BOI GOMAMON. WOO. Game complete. The real objective has been met.
Okay fine. I'll keep playing. But this was the highlight.
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth - Part Four
I didn't make a lot of major progress today, but I've now properly unlocked the whiteboard so I can pick and choose my missions more freely now. That's a nice feature. I've unlocked the farm now too so I can have digimon who aren't on my team find me hacker locations and do some training and stuff. That's another nice feature.
As it stands, aside from driving a weirdly bulky Poyomon out of a mobile game, I spent most of today's play session beating up hackers in Kowloon for Mirei until they changed their ways. Which did lead me to discovering a new gripe. Sometimes, objectives do not show on the mini map, so if they're tucked away in a corner you can walk past them several times. This happened to me when I was looking for a hacker and it was kind of annoying. Now I know to be really thorough when searching for people.
Still enjoying the game though! Will probably make a lot more story headway tomorrow. I've accepted my next story case. The aircon in Nakano is going wild and every time I get near a source of ventilation I start receiving transmissions from a girl I don't know, but her audio is just white noise. Obviously that's because she's somehow tied to the air-conditioning issue. Should be fun to see how that plays out. It actually seems like it could be related to the other story case on the board perhaps - or even to my own situation and EDEN syndrome. Guess I'll find out soon enough.
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth - Part Five
I completed another chapter of the game today! 18 to go.
To start things off, I continued my investigation as to the aircon situation and the weird transmissions. I tracked down the source to an old computer system in the shopping centre that used to run centralised airconditioning and used my connect jump to get inside. There I met a time capsule that had taken the form of a digimon. It was being attacked by a Frigimon, which was causing the situation with the cold. As it turns out, it was just using the avatar of an 80s pop idol to communicate with the outside for help. I defeated the Frigimon and saved the time capsule, fixing the dilemma. It's weird though, there's still unanswered questions as to why the time capsule was there in the first place. Still, seems like my original guess was way off. But hey, I got a Kerramon which is hype!
So was my thoughts on the other pending major case. That task took me to Kowloon and then Shinjuku in search of a hacker who was targeting the police. In the end, this lead me to Shinjuku and then Eden where I found a guy being possessed by a Veggiemon (second Digimon possession now, this is becoming a proper plot point). I freed him, but as it turns out, the hacker was a different guy that our detective friend caught on his own anyway. A bit of an anti-climax, but I'll take it.
After that, Chapter Three commenced with a job coming from none other than our terribly-dressed friend from the beginning, Nokia. She wants me to track down the pair of Digimon that helped her out back in the first chapter. I'll be tackling that tomorrow. I hope it leads to more main story stuff too.