Digimon Battle Preview: Fangasm to the Extreme!
By Vincent Haoson (Vincenthaoson), OnRPG Journalist
When I was still in High school I was a big fan of Pokemon and Digimon. The two were then in their first season and I was very into the whole monster craze. However, among the two, I was more of a Pokemon player because of the GBA Pokemon game versions and the Trading Card Games (I used to be a pure psychic Pokemon TCG player). The Digimon franchise only had very expensive Digivices which was a glorified Tamagotchi toy.
I still consider those toys up a hyped up version of Tamagotchi but that didn't stop me from wanting them especially when tamers released their merchandize. Since then the only experience I've had with Digimon games comes from the PlayStation and PlayStation 2. Back then I didn't have any notion of MMORPGs and online games so it never crossed my mind to make an online game about online pets.
Then somebody told me about Digimon Battle.
It took a few years (about 5 seasons of Digimon) to finally make someone think of creating a game about kids who were transported into the net and have their Digimons, or digital monsters fight for them. The series reeked of MMO potential but nobody actually took notice of it, till now.
Digimon Battle is in fact a game that is very much rooted into the whole Digimon concept. You have your avatar take care of a Digimon, raise it till it reaches certain levels to digivolve (the Digimon version of evolving to another form) and fight other Digimons (owned or wild). However, in the series, the digidestined (or the chosen children) are bound by duty and are required in one way or another to do it. In your case however, you are just thrust into the world of Digimon without any story to follow.
Digimon Tamer Profile
Jump right at it
Digimon Battle doesn't go through the usual MMO rituals of stories or plots that give you a reason to play the game. You just create an account. Afterwards you get to choose a character as your avatar based from the four series mainstays, Takato, Henry, Rika and Jeri and get one from the current roster of in-training Digimons, Gigimon, Viximon and Gummymon. Then you are given a beginner's quest to understand how the whole game system works and that's it.
Without any goal set, the game is more of a grindfest and a Digimon nurturing MMO. Actually I think it really works well because that's what Digimon really is. You partner yourself with your Digimon and make it stronger to beat down the bigger Digimons. The game system is kept simple, with the mythos behind the game being backed up by the series on which is was based (season 3, Digimon Tamers) it's the familiarity of the Digimons, the avatars and the whole concept of finally being able to play against other people without the need of a real life Digivice is what the game is all about.
The game is PvP-centered, the tamer and Digimon record system makes it sort of a "requirement" for players to keep their Digimons in tip-top shape. The game controls are easy to understand, and the gameplay is similar to Final Fantasy 7. This keeps you glued to your seat during battles. There's a variation in the number of Digimons you face in each battle. There are times when you face only one but there are other times that you need to defeat five Digimons all at the same time.
Digimon PVP Battle
The camera angle is in the isometric perspective both in battles and during traveling so there will be moments where you may find it hard to travel. Keeping the right mouse button pushed keeps you from consistently clicking through the places where you want your avatar to go.
Leveling in Digimon Battle is a mix of stat allocation and basic stat growth. You are given 2 stat points to allocate on your Digimon's four stat categories and at the same time the base stats of your Digimon grow as it levels. Digimons also have attributes that are separated into three classifications. The classification works like an elemental system in other MMOs where one classification works better against the other and the other one works on the third and so on.
The game also allows you to capture Digimons and use them in your battles. You can switch them through battles much like how you can switch Pokemon during Poke battles. This concept goes way out of the original Digimon concept but it works quite well with Digimon Battles. It provides you an ace or at least leverage when you are faced with a Digimon or tamer whose attribute are strong against your Digimon.
Use different digimon in battle
The game also incorporates crests and Digieggs that boost your Digimon's stats. In the series, the crests are earned by the Digidestined when they show exemplary character in situations while Digieggs are either passed or were found by the Digidestined. However, in the game, these two are earned through crafting.
Also, instead of just helping the Digimons evolve, the crests and eggs serve as a stat booster for your Digimons. Each crest and egg has its own stat affinity and this serves as the "equipment" of your Digimon in the game.
There's also the card system implemented in the game. Much like in Digimon Tamers, the cards have acorresponding use and you can only use them if you equipped them before a battle. The cards provide you with a variation of tactics you can use and this keeps you on your toes during PvP.
Digimon info sheets
What the Game Lacks
Overall I don't really have much to complain about with the game because it has stayed true to the essence of Digimon while adding some elements that make it more interesting. However, I have two gripes with the game.
My first gripe is that the game has little to no customization features in terms of how you look. As I mentioned earlier, the avatars you can choose in the game are the main characters of the game. I personally would've liked the idea that we were given the choice to create a character that we can connect ourselves to, but then the game is relying on the familiarity of the third season, Digimon Tamers as its base so that's quite understandable.
My second gripe with the game is that it uses very dated game graphics. Digimon Battle's graphics reminds me of Fairyland Online. This was my first and biggest disappointment with the game because I expected it to have a very crisp game look. Sadly, I was sorely let down.
The game's redeeming quality is that Digimon Battle satisfied my Digimon game craving that the console games seemed to never fill. The game feels exactly how a Digimon tamer should feel and that's the reason why players stick to the game regardless of the dated graphics engine. That doesn't stop me from trying to get my Terriermon to reach the champion stage, so why should it stop you?