Review by Sui89
"If you enjoy repetitive monotony, this game is for you"
Digimon World: Dusk, admittedly, is a game that I didn't play for the sake of playing. I played it in a game exchange with a friend. As such, obviously I'm probably not going to like it as much as something I picked up myself. But Digimon World: Dusk is a monster RPG that is aimed at one very specific type of audience. If you're not a part of this audience, you probably shouldn't play this game. It loses it's appeal after a couple of hours otherwise.
Technically speaking, the graphics in DWD aren't that bad at all. In fact, pretty much all of the sprites are well drawn and pleasant to look at. If the graphics rating was based solely on this, it would probably get a nine or ten. The problem lies in the other graphical parts of the game. We'll start with where the bulk of the game takes place: the battles.
The battles take place as sort of a first person view from the Digimon participating. Meaning you can't actually see your Digimon attack. I don't really like it when I can't see the attacker during the battle, but I'm willing to look past it, even though it does mostly mean that the developers were just too lazy to make sprites for multiple sides of the Digimon. The main flaw is that pretty much every attack looks exactly the same. If it's a physical attack, a little claw pops up. If it's not physical, a little colored blob comes up. If it hits multiple zones, apply this for all the zones. And that is every attack. I don't even think I'm exaggerating.
The next part that is flawed is the overhead maps. Not so much the graphics on them specifically as the animations on them. There are ladders everywhere. Your character climbs up these. Your Digimon do not. They just kind of sit there while you're climbing up and somehow magically appear again at the top when you get up there. This might seem irrelevant, but it's really kind of bothersome to see it every other screen. There's other little things like this in various places throughout the game that bother me a little bit too.
The music isn't terrible. It's not good either. It's just kind of there making background sounds. I listened to it for a while, got tired of it since it wasn't overly exciting, and then turned it down and listened to my iPod instead. My main problem with the music is the relative lack of variety in the battle themes. There's a regular battle theme and then a boss battle theme. And not a lot more than that. And since the encounter rate is so high, you hear the same song over and over and over again. Which causes the aforementioned needing to turn it off and listen to your own music. But like I said, the music isn't terrible and it doesn't really get in the way of anything. It's just not exactly stellar either.
This is the bulk of the game right here. Unfortunately, it's one of the most flawed parts in the game. The flaws are in several different parts. Again, we'll start with the battling itself.
There's a bunch of stuff I could complain about for the battles, but I'll try to keep it brief. The most important of the flaws is the encounter rate. The encounter rate for the game is stupidly high. Stupidly high. You walk three steps, you get in a battle. You go three more steps, you get in another battle. And so on. It takes forever just to get anywhere because it's making you battle way too often. And to make this effect even worse, there's no item whatsoever to decrease encounter rates that I know of. It's quite upsetting. Secondly, in the battles, there's the aforementioned relative lack of variety of attacks. Maybe there are a bunch of attacks. I have no idea. But it sure doesn't seem like it since all of the attacks do essentially the same thing and all look the same. Meh. And then there's the whole Digivolving thing. It's cool that you can go both forwards AND backwards with this, but I came to a point for some Digimon that I couldn't go forward at my max level because the required level for Digivolving was higher than my max level. That is not cool, and they should make sure that doesn't happen, if anything. Another beef I have is with having five tiers of evolutions. The first and the last are mostly unnecessary. The first because pretty much ALL of them are some variety of colored ball with eyes and a mouth. The last because it pretty much just makes the fourth bigger and adds a canon to their arm or something. It's pretty excessive, and in all reality, you don't even need them. I beat the game just fine not progressing to the Mega stage at all.
One nice thing is the actual way you come about getting Digimon though. Aside from the starters you get, you scan in data when you get in random encounters. Once your data scan percentage reaches 100, you can go convert the Digimon and use it. An unfortunate downside of this is that these Digimon always start at level 1, regardless of what the level the scan data was at when scanned. This usually is irrelevant, since the lower levels go by so quickly, and for the most part, you don't care about this. There are apparently about 400 different types of Digimon to collect too. But, like I said, due to having five tiers of evolutions, this is less than it sounds like. 400/5 = 80. So around 80 different lines of Digimon, if I had to guess. I'm sure it's more than that, but that's an estimate. My last beef with the Digimon themselves are that there are sprite recolors all over the place. Agumon and BlackAgumon, for example. They're the same sprite, except one's black and one's orange. It shows a relative lack of creativity for creating new and exciting Digimon on behalf of the game makers.
Next, the boss battles. And just the dungeons in general, actually. Everything was extremely easy. The only battle I had to redo period was the final boss. And that's only because my Digimon were pretty disgustingly underleveled by that point. But each and every boss battle can be won by using your strongest attacks, healing with the excess of healing items you bought earlier, repeat. Sometimes the boss battles take a while. Mostly, they do not. And they get easier as the game goes on since bosses take up three spaces and can be hit with multiple zone attacks. Everything is a little too simple for its own good.
And finally, I have a bunch of miscellaneous stuff to complain about for the gameplay. First and foremost (this is perhaps my biggest problem with the game), there is no map for areas. Period. This is especially relevant since the levels are often very maze-like, and you can't find your way around. Secondly, either you get too much money or stuff is too cheap. I could mass buy products 30 or 40 at a time, and buy every healing item in the shop and spend maybe an eighth of my total money. That shouldn't happen. Next, the way our menu operates. In order to see the next Digimon's stats from one Digimon's status page, you have to go all the way back to the main menu and manually select the next Digimon you want to see. If you ask me, it's kind of blatantly obvious that you need to put in the ability to scroll between status screens with L and R. I mean, you can do this in every other game ever made, so you would only think. Lastly, equipment items are mostly useless. There's not very many of them, and for the most part, you can leave them off and not notice a lot of difference in the performance of your Digimon in battle.
I pity you if you're playing this game for its story. I'll sum it up for you, if you're unaware of what it is: a virus infects the Digital World and you have to save the Digital World from it. That's it. It is extremely unclear as to what the enemy's actual motive is for trying to destroy CITY with a virus. It just seems like they're doing it simply to be evil. Shame on them.
Aside from that, there's not a lot of actual quests that are actually related to the story. You take on quests for random Digimon that are completely irrelevant to anything and everything. There's one where you have to go find a cake for a robot. I am not kidding. I was upset about this for literally days after I did this quest.
Suffice to say, the story is both non-existent and terrible at the same time. It's quite a feat.
Replay value (8/10)
This is actually one of the areas the game is legitimately decent on. As previously stated, there's about 400 Digimon to collect. If you're obsessive and want to collect them all, this would take quite a bit of time to do. Plus there's item completion that would take a little bit of time to complete. And there's extra quests that you don't unlock unless you have a specific Digimon of a specific personality or something like this. Getting all of those, plus doing all of the quests that are unlocked after the game is completed give the game a pretty good replay value, if you ask me. Of course, you have to want to play the game in the first place to want to do all of this stuff, but that is a different matter entirely.
As a whole, DWD is a pretty average game that gets really old and boring to play fairly fast. But as a monster RPG, I guess it's okay. I wouldn't really recommend playing it unless you're a big fan of Digimon or monster RPGs. It's not exactly an outstanding game. In summary:
+ Over 400 different Digimon to collect
+ Game is decent length, taking about 25 hours to complete
+ Not too frustrating, so even a beginning to RPGs could pick it up easily
+ Well drawn sprites make it visually appealing some of the time
- Battle system becomes monotonous after several hours of playing
- Story is practically non-existent
- Encounter rate is way too high
- Menu system has issues
- Many elements of the graphics were lazily implanted
- A relative lack of difficulty adds to the monotony since every battle plays the same
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 05/12/08
Game Release: Digimon World: Dusk (US, 09/18/07)
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