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Digimon World
Score: 78%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Bandai
Developer: Bandai
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: RPG/ Fighting

Graphics & Sound:
The graphics in Digimon World are actually quite good. The main character’s model is rather bland; a young kid with a hat on, but the various Digimon that he can control are interesting. My personal favorite was the Centarumon, with his hooves clacking away on the ground. The world itself is statically-rendered 3D, a la Final Fantasy VII, and is generally nothing to write home about. It feels a little too, shall I say, digital, although that could be because it’s sort of part of the game... kinda. Uh, anyway. The FMV is passable, although I thought the character design was pretty obnoxious in it -- but this game isn’t really being made for me, is it?

The sound in the game is alright. At times it can be incessantly cute, with chortles and cheers (‘Yak-Ta!’) in battles and whatnot, but once you get a cooler Digimon, they don’t sound so damned cute. My Centarumon had nice grumbly metallic noises, which I liked. The music is completely unmemorable, to be honest, and I couldn’t hum a bar of it to save my life. There’s nothing too spectacular about the presentation of Digimon World.

There’s nothing too spectacular about the gameplay, either. Digimon World is basically a Pokémon clone (although people in the know might remember the Tamagotchi, one of Bandai’s earlier efforts, which Digimon World more closely resembles.) Yes, there are RPG elements, as you explore File Island in search of Digimon to bring back the splendor of File City, but a lot of the time is spent chastising or cheering your Poké... Digimon, and getting him to go to the bathroom. It was entertaining with the Tam, because it was with you all the time and it actually made you pay attention, but in a video game, it seems like these sort of micromanagement things just extend the gameplay artificially. I hate having to run back to a toilet so my Digimon can poop. Bah.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the RPG elements were entertaining, but they’re barely passable. As the game goes, your Digimon evolves. You can also train him at various sites, which increase his stats, and you can have him fight, which gets you both money and increased statistics. In battle, you start off only being able to run or let the Digimon do what he wants. Increase his intelligence enough, and you can suggest defending or fighting. Still, it’s nowhere near as interactive as I would have liked, and sometimes I screamed in frustration as the Digimon never used the stronger attacks that I knew he had. As you fight, a ‘Finish!’ meter fills up, and you can pump the buttons to blast the enemy with a strong attack once it’s all the way full. Entertaining, but nothing special.

Other problems crop up with the game. There are some odd bugs -- text will stop for a second, and then keep going. There were other bugs in the prerelease version, but most of them seem to have been quashed since I first played this game.

I felt that I may not have given this game a fair shake the first time around, so I started playing it again, and it really didn’t feel much better. The load times were noticeably improved (probably because my aging PlayStation has problems with copies), but I still found the incessant Tamagotchism embedded in the otherwise relatively solid Pokémon-style gameplay irritating, and the plot still felt insipid and pointless.

To be fair, this game is being marketed at kidlets who are really interested in this sort of thing, though.

If you don’t properly train your Digimon, prepare to be whomped... a lot. As the game goes, and your Digimon digivolves (digitally, ugh), he can take on a few more enemies before having to run and get healed. The game itself isn’t all that difficult, if you’re willing to put in the time to train your Digimon, which isn’t exactly enthralling.

Game Mechanics:
The controls are alright, with a simple menu-based interface to check on your Digimon’s stats and praise or scold him. You can also set which special moves he can use, which is a rather neat trick. But Digimon World just isn’t up to par. As an RPG, it lacks any real soul. The translation is bad, and the gameplay is almost nonexistent. If you’re a big fan of the digital-raising genre, you might want to pick up Digimon World. If you’re a fan of the portable game or the animated feature, chances are you’ve already picked it up. But for those of us not enthralled by either of these, there are better ways to spend your money this summer.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

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