PS2 REVIEW: DIGIMON WORLD 4

There's not much I can say in its defence when it comes to the unoriginality of the Digimon series. It's a blatant rip-off of Pokemon. Now Digimon World 4 goes after the hack and slash, dungeon crawling RPG genre and once again proves that Digimon is a follower of trends, not a leader.

"So what," you say? "There are tons of games that are inspired by one another." I don't see anything wrong with taking some of the best elements of another game and putting them to good use to further the evolution of gaming. It's how things are done in many disciplines. But what Digimon does should be called stealing. They take and use entire gameplay concepts. It's just too bad that Bandai didn't "steal" better graphics, sound, storyline and gameplay features for Digimon World 4.

Access to the real world has been blocked. As a digital security guard it's up to you (and hopefully a few of your buddies) to eliminate the threat by entering into a digital world filled with deadly enemies, traps, treasures and tightly locked security areas. To access locked doors you will need ID passes to open them but first you'll have to clear a path through the enemies.

If you're going to play this game you will definitely want to play it with at least one other person. It was designed for co-op play. The single-player experience is a lesson in frustration as the enemies are just too powerful and numerous for you to make much headway. Things do get better when you level-up with more weapons, armour and power but until that time you will have to contend with unfair swarms of enemies that take huge chunks of your health, while health power-ups and save areas are few and far between.

Stealing elements from Diablo, Final Fantasy and Gauntlet the focus of the game is on battles and dungeon crawling, both elements are represented in a very shallow vein. Enemies may be deadly but they are unintelligent. They have very predictable patterns but there are so many of them coming at you it's damn near impossible to figure all of the patterns out at one time.

Attacks can be physical or elemental. Your magical powers will be increased as you acquire new skills and spells in your dungeon crawls. You can also enhance your physical skills by finding or purchasing armour and weapons. There is a central hub where you must return to buy, sell and trade treasures for things that will assist you in battle. Going back and forth to this hub gets old pretty fast.

There's no reason this game can't look as good as the cartoon, but it doesn't. It's not any better looking than your average PSX game. The graphics are blocky and choppy. There are some nice environments but the character models and the animation are sloppy and can't even compare to anime which should tell you how nasty it looks. The sounds aren't bad but the voiceovers are just as annoying as any anime cartoon ever created.

Digimon World 4 is a poor imitation of a solid RPG. It plays like a knock off. On one hand I'm glad to see that Digimon is changing its direction but on the other hand I have a finger that can't wait to press the Off button. You would have to be a really big fan of the Digimon franchise not to be disappointed in this game.


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System: PS2
Dev: Bandai
Pub: Bandai
Release: June 2005
Players: 1 - 2
Review by StewXX
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.5
GRAPHICS
2.5
CONTROL
3.0
MUSIC/FX
3.5
VALUE
3.0