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  #301  
Old 12-05-2018, 09:22 AM
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I have some specific comments once I get home but I've spent like two years in convulsions of love for this duology and I keep coming back to how 1) creative and fresh 2) thematically fucking clever it is that "Hellsmash's" protagonist superpower, the thing driving the miracle, is being a living anecdote to irony poisoning in a community full of technologically capable but jaded netizens.

Unaffected skepticism is out, hugging your Digimon is IN
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  #302  
Old 12-05-2018, 12:10 PM
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I wish I knew enough and could articulate well enough to gush about how much I love this game like that. Back when I first played it Hellsmash easily became my favorite Digimon protagonist but now with some hindsight and a lot more consideration I think they're just one of the best jRPG protagonists ever fullstop.

Cyber Sleuth is just so, so damn amazing.
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  #303  
Old 12-05-2018, 03:15 PM
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Oh shit actually I can contribute something fun and cute.

Habu-san dropped some deets on Twitter a while back on her backstory that never made it smoothly into the game. I really wish they had, because I feel like they enhance the impact of her arc and the things she accomplishes.

So, prior to high school, Nokia wasn't the bubbly pop-glamour fiend she is in the present of Cyber Sleuth. There might have been shades of this evident in the flashback - I think as a kid she had a longer haircut, and she spent most of her screentime acting nervous? Per Habu's comments, she was bullied pretty badly, being very timid-acting and an easy target. (Not stated but likely: that timidity probably has roots in the EDEN beta incident, since she admits at the beginning of the game that she panic-freezes in tense situations and the flashback hints it's PTSD from that day.)

She became more outgoing as a sustained effort on her part, after learning about gyaru fashion from an older cousin of hers, finding it a fun, liberating form of self-expression, and remaking herself in a wild fit of faking it till you make it.

That cousin later grew out of gyaru as a phase in her life and adopted a more brusque image. Her name was Makino Date.
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  #304  
Old 12-05-2018, 05:17 PM
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Okay here's a more exhaustive post about THINGS about CYBER SLEUTH that I want to respond to/talk about/make dumb gleeful noises at.

Quote:
playing it--after approaching it with the customary anticipatory resignation and dread--is the release of years of insidious and persistent accrued bullshit rolling off one's back.
Fucking holy shit I know right?! It's hard for me to express sometimes just how significant the lack of presence of certain things is, how...just...tangible the respect Cyber Sleuth has for its characters is, and how it feels to be, like, holy shit, why do we put ourselves through this??

Digimon has always been Good - if you've never watched the OG anime, Digimon Adventure, I recommend checking out the subbed version at some point, it's a kids' anime from the 90s with all that that entails but there's a lot about it that's just really good in ways I'd have to enumerate somewhere else - but Cyber Sleuth is definitely one of the Best wings of the franchise.

Quote:
Its characters exist and live their lives in the social spaces and ecosystems of the Internet as we conceptualize and experience it, or through a near-future fanciful facsimile. The game does not shy away from depicting abuse of the system, or the issues inevitably encountered when interacting with and existing amidst something so formatively life-altering, but unlike so many speculative or commentary-intending fiction dealing with technology, Cyber Sleuth does not frame itself as a hoary cautionary tale of cyberspace disaster run amok, but uses that as a launching point into a wider exploration of how technology and the social extrapolations of it shape ourselves internally and externally.
One of the lines I kept repeating after playing CS for the first time was that it's a story about the internet that really feels like it was written by people who know what the fuck is up with the internet. It's just....effortless. It gets it. This is something that I know Persona does badly but can't immediately think of any specific examples of; there's this feeling I get from Cyber Sleuth of not being talked down to, of being told a story by someone in my circle who trusts my ability to understand what's being discussed, and it's a far cry from Persona's tendency to feel really outside-looking-in about any Contemporary Issues it tries to address. Or, at least, to present them to the player under the assumption that the player must be an outsider. Stories are about certain kinds of people living certain kinds of lives, rather than for those people. The Cyber Sleuth call is coming from inside the house.

Quote:
My favourite thing about the game, ultimately, is expressed in its tone: it is deeply kind. It's kind to its cast, portraying them as shaded, flawed individuals, but ones lacking an element of malice even at their worst. There are no villains here, only antagonists. It's kind to the player within the game through its friendly and approachable mechanics, and outside of itself because it does not believe only one type of people play video games. It's kind to its marquee denizens: many interactions with the Digimon are simple, ordinary things like helping one prepare for a job interview, assisting in cooking so they can cheer up a loved one, or offering warmth to someone who seems lonely and cold. It's a story of universal compassion for others, conveyed in the best possible ways.
This is Cyber Sleuth's central theme and I love it so much and it works so well in tandem with everything else the game is trying to do.

CS is a story about what happens when worlds collide. Physically, centrally, the Digital World and the human world, but also the smaller worlds that are people living vastly different lives, hurtling into contact with one another over the medium of the Internet.

Some quick franchise context: the choice of Alphamon for the role she played in CS was deliberate and meaningful. Alphamon was introduced in a storyline back in 2003 that was written to complement the V-Pet toy Digimon Pendulum X 1.0, which featured "mutated", redesigned variants of existing Digimon species. The story went something like this: the birth and growth of countless Digimon had pushed the Digital World to capacity, setting off catastrophic errors, so the host computer Yggdrasil opted to recreate the Digital World, evacuate just 1% of all digital life to it, and clean out the old Digital World with a vicious plague. Digimon being creatures that live to change and change to live, some of those 99% developed the X-Antibody, surviving Yggdrasil's virus and escaping to the NEW Digital World against its wishes.

In the movie version of this storyline, Alphamon evolves (eventually) from Dorumon, a natural carrier of the X-Antibody who never "should have" survived and is heavily ostracized for it. Their story is long and bizarre but involves a lot of death and injustice and tenacity before Dorumon becomes Alphamon of the Royal Knights, claiming their "birthright" and confronting Yggdrasil as an advocate within its own ranks for the surviving X-Antibody carriers who just fucking want to live.

Crucially, in this movie, Yggdrasil itself really isn't a villain, just an antagonist. Yggdrasil is the host, the host is the Digital World; it too just wants to live, and the struggle in the storyline, the question that deserves to be asked over and over again, is how to exercise universal compassion. Across people, across species, across tiers of consciousness - there is no forever answer, but there are moments in the course of things when choices can be made, when compassion is possible, and Alphamon stands for that choice, elevating it to the eternal duty of a functionally-immortal knight of legend.

The parallels are obvious. Cyber Sleuth's version of the Royal Knights excises the X-Antibody storyline, but casts the "Aloof Hermit" Alphamon as a Digimon who stands apart from the other Knights, not for the sake of being Yggdrasil's last-resort weapon, but to be a check on Yggdrasil's divine judgment and the Knights' dogmatic mission. She's an investigator, not a fighter; her duty is to know before acting, and here's the kicker about that.

Alphamon is an investigator. Kyoko Kuremi is a detective. You are a detective. The game revolves around the detective theme, it's in the title, it's in your home base, it's in the mission structure of gameplay, it's in the narrative structure of episodic detective cases that are opened, closed, and drawn on to weave many threads together into a finale.

Her duty is to know. Your duty is to know. And knowing, according to Cyber Sleuth, is an emotional act just as much as it's an intellectual one. It's an act of compassion - it's the act of diving into someone's Eater-pitted heart to find them and save them - it's the act of stepping in and preventing premature harm so that all voices can be heard - it's the act of not acting, of not being the protagonist, of choosing when and where to raise your hand. Yggdrasil is Laplace's daemon, but even the Digital World isn't reducible to numbers and utility; all things are subjective, all entities have perspective, nothing is default, and all things want to live.

The internet is a technological space. The internet is an emotional space. The Eaters are not the villains. Compassion is work.

But it's noble work.




(thank you for the good screencap)

(I have more but this wound me up with hype and affection so I gotta cool down first)
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  #305  
Old 12-05-2018, 05:39 PM
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I highly appreciate the additional perspective of someone with experience with the rest of the series, so thanks for writing that. I actually bought Cyber Sleuth sometime in 2016 and let it sit for over two years--and I'm fairly certain your enthusiasm for the game was partly responsible for me taking the dive then and now, however belatedly, so thanks for that as well. Never stop evangelizing!

I'm still riding high on all of this, so I got Hacker's Memory today and started it. It's immediately great, with such a strong core premise that cuts straight to the heart of identity in the digital age and how deeply personal the violation of that is and how severe its consequences on the psyche and well-being of its targets. It's barely started but it's already dishing out thematic richness and authenticity with the same effortless confidence as Cyber Sleuth did. It is also gay as hell, and I'm here for it.
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  #306  
Old 12-05-2018, 05:50 PM
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Oh good I don't have to list reasons to play HM, you did it for me.

All of those things persist, along with improved QoL gameplay stuff, more playing with the cinematography of cutscenes now that they're comfy with the assets, and more Nokia content.

I have a few more things to post about franchise callbacks in CS, and then some for HM once you're finished with it. The tl;dr is that CSHM handle pieces of the Digimon franchise just as cleverly and creatively as they handle character tropes, ideas about technology and the internet, and The Themes; there's a lot of remixing of entrenched franchise associations and tropes that subverts your expectations if you go in familiar with the lore, pays solid homage to the best bits of what came before, and adds flair to some of The Themes by relating them to similar takes and storylines from years past.
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  #307  
Old 12-06-2018, 10:08 AM
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A sidequest in Hacker's Memory:

  1. boyfriend enlists the hacker team Hudie to find their girlfriend in cyberspace, suspecting something's off because they've been out of touch for half a day (intense relationship goals)
  2. the girlfriend is indeed in cyberspace, having been forcibly pulled there by an insistent Lunamon, whose motivation for doing so is making friends and hoping to cheer up people who need it through playing together, like said girlfriend
  3. the resolution of the situation comes not from authoritatively shutting down Lunamon entirely, but from firmly communicating to them that to actually make friends, first you have to respect people's personal boundaries, introduce yourself properly, and allow them to spend time with you or turn you down. It's about meeting people on their level and establishing a mutual rapport.
  4. the girlfriend and Lunamon make friends after the communication gap has been closed because no ill intent was ever intended, and Lunamon's motives were sound: the girlfriend was indeed feeling down because their boyfriend on the couple's numerous dates was only taking them to places that personally interested them, and not thinking of the girlfriend's needs and perspective.
  5. the boyfriend realizes this through seeing Lunamon and the girlfriend interact, and resolves to do better and be a better partner to their significant other, hoping to learn more from Lunamon.


These games are full of this stuff; this is the standard for the collective writing quality and tone and not the exception. They're relentlessly good-hearted, thoughtful, and nuanced, and it's still flooring me how they're pulling it off.
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  #308  
Old 12-06-2018, 10:53 AM
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The quests in HM are really fucking top-notch. Report back on Snow White and the 10K Dwarves, that was one of my favorites.
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  #309  
Old 12-10-2018, 11:23 AM
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Hey!! I said I'd post more about the interaction of Cyber Sleuth with earlier Digimon franchise things!! Gonna make good on that now.

Today we're talking about Digimon Adventure - that's the OG anime with Taichi and Agumon and the crests and all that shit - and specifically the movies made for it.

Both Digimon Adventure movies - the first, which preceded the TV show's airing and acted as a pilot for it, just named Digimon Adventure - were directed by Mamoru Hosoda. Like, Summer Wars Mamoru Hosoda. And a lot of other cool things but Summer Wars is the important one at the moment.



Here's a short little summary/analysis of Digimon Adventure (the movie). It's basically an origin story for Digimon Adventure (the show); the show features seven elementary-school-aged kids who get sucked into another world at summer camp one day, meet evolving monsters that claim to have been destined to be their partners, struggle to survive an onslaught of total bullshit, then find out that they were destined to save this other world (and by extension their own) from Some Shit. They were marked for this destiny by having come into contact with the Digital World once before, years ago, when two monsters appeared in Hikarigaoka and beat the shit out of each other.

Later franchise entries kind of touch on this trope, but Cyber Sleuth grabs it and shakes it up a little, as those who have played it will know and those who haven't played it should play it to find out because I'm being coy with the spoilers. The central concept: a wistful sense of fate, coincidence bringing people together and apart and together again, strangers emerging from the misty world of childhood memories to fulfill old prophecies and enlighten heroes to their birthright. One layer deeper: the strange unfairness of having been a child, and having made or not made decisions, and being handed over to a fate you didn't understand or couldn't have chosen, and likely don't even remember. Both Adventure and Cyber Sleuth express this on both fantastical and mundane levels. Becoming a Chosen Child, being present for the fall of "Eden"; growing up with divorced parents, losing a sibling, bearing the weight of societal expectations.

That's the prologue to Digimon Adventure (the show). Let's skip to the epilogue.

Our War Game (Bokura no War Game, sometimes subtitled Children's War Game) is a fun as fuck movie wherein a virus Digimon based on the Y2K bug starts eating the Internet and the Chosen Children have to come out of "retirement" to stop it from doing that, battling ill-timed vacations, interpersonal spats, and shitty rural internet to do so. Colored outlines and VERY cool visuals abound in the internet realm, the humor is on point, nuclear missiles are launched and deactivated, and Hosoda's flair for the artistic mundane gives the wild world of Digimon an absolutely gorgeous real-feeling touch.

"but holo"

yeah what

"isn't that summer wars"

YEAH MAN IT IS Hosoda actually did Summer Wars after Our War Game because he wanted to do his own thing with the concept I guess. If you like Summer Wars, thank Digimon for inspiring it. Also maybe give OWG a watch, it's short and pretty comprehensible and funny even if you don't know who anyone is.





Here's another summary, this one on OWG. And this page has some of the predictable kind of dumb comments about it, but it lines up a bunch of screenshots of narrative and visual similarities between OWG and Summer Wars.

So what does Cyber Sleuth owe to Our War Game?

EDEN, first of all. If you started up CS and thought "man this intro to EDEN feels like Summer Wars" that's because it's a visual style that's rounded the bend, originating with Digimon in Our War Game, jumping to Summer Wars, and then back to Digimon after a decade to bring Cyber Sleuth's virtual universe to life. The swooping flights across white backgrounds, organic/inorganic imagery flickering dreamlike through sight, and colored outlines denoting VR avatars are all owed to Hosoda's work, as is the general feeling of groundedness the game's world has in how the physical and virtual worlds overlap, and a lot of its emotional tenor.

(Hosoda also did episode 21 of the Digimon Adventure tv show and boy it is a weird and overwhelmingly atmospheric one; it involves the leader of the Chosen Children getting kicked back into the Digital World for a single day, visiting home, wondering whether everything he experienced was just a dream, witnessing eerie overlap between the two worlds, and eventually answering the call to go back and fulfill his destiny in the Digital World, where time moves faster and the group has fallen apart in his over-a-month absence.

....Actually, now that I think about it, that sounds a bit like the interlude in Cyber Sleuth. Huh!)




The other big thing CS owes to Our War Game is much more NERD SHIT than the above. It's the choice of Digimon used by the main characters - the Keramon -> Diablomon line, and Omegamon (Omnimon in dub). When Agumon and Gabumon appeared on screen together in CS' prologue, franchise-familiar players immediately knew what was eventually going to happen. Partnering them to the same person made it more egregious. Anime and JRPGs are such that, personally, I almost didn't believe it. Giving the hero of hero Digimon to the girl? Whaaaaat? That doesn't happen. Digimon has never been short on interesting female characters, but it still has the thing where they always play second string in terms of which marketable monster they'll be bundled into action figure packs with. She'll get knocked out and they'll evolve on their own to save her, or someone else will take her place, or they'll separate from her somehow beforehand, or something.




:')


Cyber Sleuth is a good game.

Last edited by hologramblue; 12-10-2018 at 11:33 AM.
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  #310  
Old 12-10-2018, 12:20 PM
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Thanks for the writeup! I haven't seen any Digimon anime, as mentioned, nor Summer Wars. Regardless of my potential personal opinion of them (and I suspect I'd like them), I'm somewhat glad I got to experience Cyber Sleuth "fresh", outside of the context of its associative creative and legacy influences. Now I get to retrofit those fuzzy feelings back to the sources whenever I get around to them!

I'm still playing Hacker's Memory. I'm somewhere in chapter eight or nineish, and suffice to say it's got me very hard. I'll leave the more comparative and developed thoughts for later, but a few highlights at this point:
  • dating with Yu (it's a main story event; you can't plausibly deny it away--I'm reeling)
  • beetle rivalry gone viral (I'm still invested in bug Digimon the most)
  • memories and ownership of physical spaces associated with them explored through bizarre aquarium cybercrimes; similarly, bullying and group mentality-emboldened abuse and the points at which their targets can become the abusers themselves (the denouements for these stories are painful, non-conclusive and melancholic, despite them being "resolved" in practical terms)
  • ToyAgumon just want to play with the children
  • YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO [continues for like five pages] ooooHHHHhoooOOOOO!!!
  • Fei has company now, but she's still Queen Gay. Also she's Chinese-Brazilian-Japanese. She's the best.
  • more reaffirmation that love is the most powerful force in the Digiverse

It's such a good game and follow-up.
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  #311  
Old 12-10-2018, 12:30 PM
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Hacker's Memory makes Jimmy KEN good, actually.
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  #312  
Old 12-21-2018, 11:45 AM
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It's a day of unfortunate dualities: Cyber Sleuth and Hacker's Memory are on sale in the giant January sale on European PSN... while Cyber Sleuth appears to have been delisted from the North American store entirely, both Vita and PS4 versions. Unless it's some temporary slip-up, that's pretty dire. The PS4 version was released physically, at least.
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  #313  
Old 12-21-2018, 12:12 PM
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...u-uh. Uh oh.

Bandai????
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  #314  
Old 12-21-2018, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peklo View Post
It's a day of unfortunate dualities: Cyber Sleuth and Hacker's Memory are on sale in the giant January sale on European PSN... while Cyber Sleuth appears to have been delisted from the North American store entirely, both Vita and PS4 versions. Unless it's some temporary slip-up, that's pretty dire. The PS4 version was released physically, at least.
I guess it could be some weird licensing issues? Dunno about Hacker's Memory, but I know Cyber Sleuth had some real world brands outside of the Bandai Namco stuff in-game.

As for the Xmas sales, Digimon World: Next Order is also part of 'em, at least in the US store.
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  #315  
Old 12-21-2018, 06:00 PM
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Next Order: Not as good as Cyber Sleuth.
I enjoyed it, but only after researching the most efficient combat-grinding routine.
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  #316  
Old 12-21-2018, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LancerECNM View Post
Next Order: Not as good as Cyber Sleuth.
I am not surprised by this.

Still, I expect things have come a long way from the janky PSone era Digimon World games.
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  #317  
Old 12-21-2018, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetManMas View Post
I am not surprised by this.

Still, I expect things have come a long way from the janky PSone era Digimon World games.
Not as much as you'd think. And I play the original Digimon World with some frequency. Next Order still has Digimon World's biggest issue (the endless loop of grinding until you're as strong as you can be, then go progress) now multiplied by two, without its biggest strength (an absolutely incredible world full of character).

There's not really a balanced space between underpowered or overpowered. Either you're overpowered or you're wasting time you could be using to make a competent Digimon. Plus, they exploded the stat ranges to max out at 99999/9999 instead of 9999/999, so you can even get a Mega level Digimon that's just not good enough to compete with late-game rookies. It leads to a more measured progression in a game where the actual progression isn't fun.

Gym grinding has new quality-of-life stuff, but it still boils down to spending eight days in one room. Battle grinding is now viable, but it's extremely weighted towards digivolution stage bonuses. You always want to be fighting Digimon that are a higher digivolution than you, regardless of their actual stats. If you don't battle grind quickly enough and digivolve before you can reasonably take on a digimon of an even higher digivolution stage, you've effectively locked yourself out of battle grinding. It's so specific, I've got notes written down on what order to do what in somewhere. I'm talking like "go to place A and fight Digimon B right outside of map transition C until your stats are about 2500ish, then go to place D and fight Digimon E outside of map transition F until your stats are about 3800ish" level detail. It worked, but for every ten days of adventure, I'd have another ten of grinding. It was mind-numbing.

At the very least, Digimon World 1 lets you make a nearly endgame-ready Digimon your first cycle if you know exactly what you're doing.

It's a real mess, built on an infrastructure that I love... but an infrastructure that is deeply, deeply flawed as well.

Quoth me, a year ago:

Quote:
You know how Digimon World for the PS1 has a really stop-and-go pace due to your Digimon's life cycle? And it's hard to tell how strong an enemy Digimon is at any given time?

Well Digimon World: Next Order takes that game's mechanics, makes it sixty hours long, gives you two Digimon so you have newbie Digimon twice as often, multiplied the maximum stats by ten so there's an even wider gulf between power levels, and is a complete joke difficulty-wise by the time you can get any Digimon of note.

In other words, I don't recommend it unless you're the kind of person that finds raising a Digimon inherently compelling, and doesn't mind walking in and out of the same map hours at a time to refight the same Digimon forever. I mean, sure, you spend less time in the gym now. But you spend waaaaay more time grinding against Digimon than you did in the gym in prior games because there's a cap on how much power you can gain from a single fight - +26 to any given stat. That would have been amazing if this was Digimon World for the PS1, where 700 in a stat is unstoppable. But in Next Order, 4,000 in a stat isn't quite good enough to beat the game.

Last edited by LancerECNM; 12-21-2018 at 07:00 PM.
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  #318  
Old 12-21-2018, 07:37 PM
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Oh good I thought I was just shit at NO
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  #319  
Old 12-21-2018, 07:38 PM
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Survive is gonna be fucking good, though
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  #320  
Old 12-21-2018, 07:49 PM
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Oh yeah, I did a pretty quick turnaround on being like "aw I haven't even seen a Digimon", because I watched Digimon Adventure and wrote about it here. It's good! Better than good! I want to watch the Hosoda films real bad too.

Pretty thankful to Cyber Sleuth at this point for flipping the switch in my brain allowing me to pay attention to the series.
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  #321  
Old 12-21-2018, 08:01 PM
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I saw that post! It was a great post! I haven't seen all of any given Digimon series myself - my love for the series is almost 100% founded in Digimon World 1, which isn't anything like the anime or Cyber Sleuth. Cyber Sleuth is so bizarre in that it's actually a good video game, not just a video game that I put up with for Tentomon, Patamon, or MetalGreymon.

EDIT:

I just looked at Survive. It's a tactical RPG? Neat. Looks like digivolving mid-battle may be possible. Depending on whether or not they incorporate the "can digivolve into different things" aspect of the series, that could let you adjust your strategy on the fly. I know there were some Digimon tactical RPGs on Wonderswan, but we never officially got them, did we?

Last edited by LancerECNM; 12-21-2018 at 08:26 PM.
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  #322  
Old 12-21-2018, 09:10 PM
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Awww fuck yes!! I did a rewatch (first watch of the subs) of Adventure myself after playing HM and was astonished by how actually good it was; glad you enjoyed it. The follow-ups are not nearly as good, 02 being kind of janky and much more obviously driven by the need to sell toys and games, and Tri being....nnnnrrggg.....just kind of a mess with frustratingly good ideas embedded in a total lack of focus or thematic coherence.


So the thing about Survive is this:
- it's by the same team that did CS/HM (apparently it was going to be the next Digimon Story game, but then their plot ideas inspired gameplay changes and the Story brand denotes games with that Pokemon-with-prestiging system, so it turned into its own thing and they're still working on another Story game), and
- where CS/HM are like a modern distillation of everything that was good about OWG/Tamers/Savers/the real world bits of Adventure, Survive appears to be distilling down everything that was good about the early parts of Adventure with kids lost in the wilderness alone with their Digimon

That writing team has proven their shit and then some with CS/HM and I'm ready for them to shred my heart in a new continuity. Like, if anyone else said "Digimon tactical RPG about middle schoolers lost in the Digital World and characters die if you screw up" I'd dismiss it as edgy shock shit but I trust Habu with my life at this point.
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  #323  
Old 12-22-2018, 01:48 AM
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Octopus Prime Octopus Prime is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hologramblue View Post
Survive is gonna be fucking good, though
And that one is coming to the Switch!
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  #324  
Old 12-31-2018, 06:14 PM
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Apparently Atlus did some dumbass P5-related shit yesterday and I capitalized on it to buy Cyber Sleuth for three beleaguered Persona pseudo-fans*, and Hacker's Memory for one person who rather enjoyed CS.

Hoping for good results!

*The term for people whose fandom activity consists mostly, and actively, of rewriting Persona to be much better than it is
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  #325  
Old 04-14-2019, 08:27 AM
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IDK where to put general Digimon stuff since it's a multimedia franchise but CSHM is the best Digimon so I'll put it here.

Sleepy sleepy non-essay-format thoughts.

I was watching some Homestuck videos (don't ask) and happened across a video that looked at a reference to Gnosticism in Digimon Tri. I'd forgotten about that! Yeah so at the beginning of the first Tri movie there's some visuals with an egg and a voiceover going over the core Gnostic myth of the Demiurge and the world without spirit and etc etc.

Tri is bad, but that was interesting, because I don't think Digimon has ever explicitly referenced Gnostic ideas before but in retrospect it's kind of like...the whole franchise is kind of like....

So there's a couple of common narrative beats across the franchise. Obviously the Digital World is made of data. It's often made of or influenced by the leavings of Earth's internet. It's often home to bizarre landscapes that mash up organic and inorganic imagery, like it's imitating the forms of reality but doesn't understand why things are they way they are. Images without idea. Digimon are symbols, myths, and feelings remixed without context, shapes of dinosaurs and knights and demons plucked from their origins. And they imitate, but they also have their own meaning. There's their history as expies of things from the human imagination, and their history as individuals in the young and tumultuous Digital World.

Frequently, Digimon will be "just programs", until someone realizes that they're not "just programs". They are compared to soulless human creation, then understood to have developed mind or soul or significance on their own, reaching past humans to something that doesn't require human confirmation.

Not many wings of the franchise deal with the idea of humans having deliberately created Digimon, but Tamers did. The Wild Bunch weren't good or evil, just a bunch of programmers doing something interesting, until they realized that what they'd made was a lot more than they'd intended to make.

Humans are often depicted as batteries for evolution. It's implicit in Adventure, with the crests and the emotions and the Digimon mirroring kids' personal growth. It's a little more explicit in Tamers, with the hordes of Digimon coming to Ruki and pleading to be chosen. It's very explicit in Savers, where Digimon come to the human world deliberately to feed on human desire and be made greater by it.

The first Digimon video game was a raising game. The first Digimon toys were V-Pets. There's a "god game" fantasy kind of woven into the whole premise. Raise, nurture, evolve, optimize. Enlighten? And in the fantasy, they're "just data", except that they're not. And in reality, they're "just Tamagotchis", except that as long as you give a shit about the lore they're not, because the pixels are representative of a concept and the concept is what you connect to.

There's something vaguely Gnostic about Digimon as a whole, except that humans play the part of the Demiurge and the Aeons at the same time, falling and rising based on their own growth. Humans discover the Digital World, see that it's "just data", and exploit it. Humans discover the Digital World, see that Digimon are "alive", and enrich it and are enriched by it. Humans create the Digital World, intentionally or unintentionally, and the world of matter becomes a world of spirit because mind-body dualism is an outdated philosophy and we are meat and Digimon are data.

Children grow up and realize that they act and create and exist and that they are responsible for the outcomes of their actions and creations and existence. They raise Digimon and realize themselves as gods.




Hmmmm
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