Review by Nysuki

"Welcome to Digimon Online."

You know Bandai good and well by now. You know how Bandai is famous for basing their games on licenses like TV Shows/anime, fads, and things like that. You also know that they never really did a good job at it either. Bandai's games aren't Square quality, but they did release a fair share of decent and above adverage games. Too bad if your adverage gamer played the precessors of this game, apatly named Digimon World and Digimon World 2, you know their first opinion on Digimon World 3 Wouldn't be the good kind. Lets look at the reputation of the Digimon games. DW1, a nice monster raising game, borrowing aspects from Monster Rancher and Digimon's ''namesake'', Tamagotchi. The only difference was, well, they fight evil monsters bent on conquering the Digital World. Too bad the butt-kicking monster you raised only lived for 20 days and if it poops once in a place it's not supposed to, you get the worst Digimon in the game. Fun huh? Considering toliets are out in the boonies.. Then DW2, borrowing more RPG aspects, this one two fell flat on it's face through the notorious ''Dungeon Crawl'' complete with randomly generated dungeons. You drive around in a buggy in dungeons, and fight monsters with bland graphics. That's all there is to it. Now comes DW3. Does it live up to expectations? Yes, and no, but it certainly conquers the atrocities that were the past two Digimon games. Sure Bandai might have stole a few aspects from other games, can you blame them? It's better to somewhat rip-off and lay a decent game than to try to be original and lay awful games. The last two games attempted that and failed. Miserably.

Story 8/10 - Something I've learned from Digimon games is that their games tend to swell into their own marketing. You play as Junior (Yes you can rename him soon) who happens to be a big Digimon fanboy, like most of the other main characters you've played as in the previous titles. You are joined by a girl named Ivy, and some other guy named Teddy. Who names these kids anyway.. So basically the three of you are on your way to the station so you can sign up to join a huge, online Digimon game. You can pick the three Digimon you'll start off with, and then your adventure will start. You're treated with a good FMV of your journey through cyber space and viola! You're in the nerd-infested Digital World. Your first order of business as a ''Tamer'' is to raise your digimon very good, explore the lands, and collect badges to prove your worth. Badges, that sounds pretty Pokemon-ish, but there's only 4 badges, and none of the leaders are actually challenging. Anyway, eventually along the course of the story, you'll battle the hacker group ''AoA'' with a few interesting twists I won't give away. Evil hackers sure is an improvement over ''Sucked into the Digimon world to be our sacrifice''. Sure the plot is kinda cliched, but it just matters how it's executed, and it's very well executed.

Music/Audio 7/10 - The songs are plain and simple. Some of them being slight remixes from DW2. Some of the music is catchy, and the rest are just.. normal music that probably wouldn't get on your nerves. It's no repeative endless dungeon music from other RPGs, but it's still not symphonic Nobou Uematsu grade quality. Other than that, the sound effects are much in place with no distortion at all. Still, nothing too much out of the ordinary to write home about. Your Digimon really don't roar, or talk that much for that matter. Your character doesn't talk with Japanese voice-acting either. Not much to say on this section.

Gameplay 8/10 - Now for the actual monster raising aspect. You can really only chose 8 partners (Or was it 9.) which is pretty much of a drawback. There's not much vareity either. Sure you can have a team of 3 Digimon or you can use only 1 Digimon to remain true to the anime or the first game, but you have to chose 3 packs. You can get Guilmon, Agumon, Renamon.. Oh wait. Those are the only somewhat useful Digimon. The others really just take on ''special'' roles until you get far enough in the game were you can recieve other Digimon by defeating their evolutions and recieve their ''DDNA''. Take that to a man who asks for the DDNA of that type, you'll get the Digimon you wanted. The level up system works like a standard RPG, EXP points. However, your digimon don't pernamently Digivolve like in the other games. You can keep an Agumon, and have a Digivolution like as War Greymon, Black War Greymon, Omnimon. You can only fit three evolutions on a Digimon, and you can have three ultimates, three megas, 2 champions and 1 mega, whatever. At level 5, your rookie learns it's ''true'' champion form. At level 20, it's their true ultimate, and at level 40, it's their true mega. Does that mean you can't attain your megas in another way? Not at all, infact, the next thing I'm going to cover could be considered a flaw. The Digivolution line is so messed up, you can attain ANY and EVERY digivolution in the game with ANY digimon. Yep, you can get your Agumon to digivolve into Myotismon or something. All you have to do is raise your Evolution's ''Skill Level''. Skill levels take much less time to level up than your rookie, and you can set your Digimon to start the battle in the form you want to in the status menu. Plus, your rookie still grows levels even when you fight in a different digivolution. So you could stomp enemies with your Skull Greymon, and your rookie digimon will still gain EXP. So thus, if you get a Skull Greymon to Skill Level 99 (Which doesn't take too long) you can get Black Wargreymon. Cool, even though you can be at level 15 and still get Black Wargreymon. Heck, I even had my Renamon get Imperial Dramon at level 18. Imperial Dramon for goodness sake. That tells me I'm not going to be using any of Renamon's Digivolutions for awhile. If you have the patience to raise Skill Levels long enough, you can get the most powerful Digivolutions before you even get your true paths, which makes the game kinda easy, but why would you want to? The battles you fight are jokes, and the game is kinda easy except for optional bosses and bosses like HiAndromon. Then there's training points. Every time you grow a rookie's level, they'll get 5 training points. With training points, you can train at the gym to boost your Digimon's status. You can use 1 TP, 5 TP, or 10 TP, the greater TP you use, the higher points you'll get to the stat you chose. They can still fail to do so even with 10 TP so beware how you ''spend'' them. There is also a card battle mode in this game (Broading your market, eh Bandai?) which I'm pretty awful at playing. You can get some pretty rare cards, and sooner or later, you'll be forced to play a card game to proceed, so I would just collect some good cards to be on with it. How to play the battle, well.. Don't worry about it. The game will tell you. There are some tamers you can fight every now and then, but still not challenging. Also I hear your digimon can die in this game, but they age every 24 hours you play the game, so you won't have to worry about that unless you intend to get every digivolution for every digimon available in the game.

Graphics 6/10 - Nothing special of the sorts. Sure Bandai still hasn't gotten their acts together on the graphics. They are still blocky and pixelated as ever, and the battle screens are just bland. Out of battle however, contain little anime-ish small characters with some good coloration. So out of battle, the graphics are well drawn and colored. In battle, as I said before, is lifeless, and contains two blocky digimon fighting aganist eachother. Most of the special attacks have the same animation but different background. A digimon shooting a purple ball at the opponent. You'll see that purple ball alot though, and this is such a minor gripe, but the sizing is kinda off. I don't remember Imperial Dramon being smaller than a Triceramon, or Black Wargreymon being bigger than a Skull or Metal Greymon. Other than that, everything is all good.

The Final Verdict

Think of this game as the only thing Bandai is going to get right in awhile. I was surprised how DW3 plays. It plays so smoothly compaired to the other DW games, and I thought this one was a real winner. There are some things that Bandai still hasn't gotten right that's basically grown on me now. To play this game, you'll have to have lots and lots of patience. This is so because.. well.. you'll be in battle and training almost constantly. That's probably just me because I never allow the AI to surpass me in monster-raising games like this. You can rent it if you like, considering you can rush on through and beat it. If you are a normal gamer, you should rent it. If you are a digimon fan, you should buy it. I just hope Bandai can deliver a Digimon game as good, or even better than this..

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 07/15/02, Updated 07/15/02

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