Digimon have games come and go and yet none have impacted most gamers' the way the original Digimon World series had, captivating us into the world of Digimon. The anime also supplemented the franchise and went on to have multiple iterations. And for a while, there was nothing. Digimon has never been the number 1 "-mon" franchise, but it does has its loyal followers. In 2015, the Digimon franchise had a sort of revival, with the release of Digimon Tri, the second sequel to the original Digimon Adventure anime series, and also with Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth hitting PS4s. This marked the triumphant return of full-scale, 3D, Digimon RPGs to consoles.
Hacker's Memory is the sequel to the original Cyber Sleuth, though technically it's not a sequel but more of a side-story that runs concurrent to the original story of Cyber Sleuth. The story starts with your character, a boy this time around instead of getting to choose between a boy and a girl, getting his online persona stolen by a hacker. To regain your online persona, you join up with a morally good hacker group, called Hudie, to retrieve your stolen account. While the initial setup of the story is a little different from the first game, eventually it does thread some of the same beats, with the whole mystery in the Digital World and your job to uncover it. The main difference besides the main characters is your place in the story, in this game you're a kid who gets wrapped up in some hacker shenanigans which leads to your Digimon adventure, while in Cyber Sleuth your character was more in-line with the Digidestined of the anime series with a detective twist to it. Though I would say that the story to Hacker's Memory can get a little fuzzy without playing Cyber Sleuth first.Presentation wise, Hacker's Memory looks exactly the same to it's predecessor, down to the hub world of future Shibuya, Japan, to even the Digimon within. The same can be said to the gameplay as well. Your party can have up to 3 Digimon, with 8 more in reserve. Your starting Digimon is different though, with Gotsumon, Betamon and Tentomon being able to be your first Digimon. In the first few acts of the game, you'll encounter the usual glut of Digimon, in the usual segmented and themed worlds, though with a sprinkling of new Digimon. Fans of Digimon Frontier would be happy with inclusion of the Agunimon line of evolution, complete with Susanoomon as a new must-have fusion Digimon in the same vein as Omnimon and Imperialdramon from the old games. One thing I would like to add is that, though many would consider this game and its predecessor a tad repetitive in the gameplay and presentation department, I'd say it's a nice addition to the previous game, and if you see it more as an add-on, or a very robust DLC, than you will find enjoyment in this title, especially if you've played the previous one and hasn't gone back to the Digital World since. While Persona 5 was released last year to monumental success, I see the two Cyber Sleuth games as a sort of Persona 'Lite'. With the Japanese city setting, a high-school aged protagonist, the capturing of enemy monsters to join your party, the Digimon games have quite a bit of similarities with Atlus' flagship RPG series, albeit without the style or high school-centric setting that Persona is known for. So if you've played Persona 5 and you are itching for another full-blown turn-based RPG for your PS4, I would highly recommend Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker's Memory.