Please Remaster Digimon Adventure
After playing through both Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth games ages ago, I really wanted to play more Digimon titles. But then I never got around to it, until fairly recently when I found out about the fan translation of 2013’s Digimon Adventure, a Japan-exclusive PlayStation Portable title.
Developed by Prope and published by Bandai, Digimon Adventure adapts the 1999 anime of the same name. It was released as part of the 15th anniversary celebration of Digimon — the virtual pet, not to be confused with the Digimon Adventure 15th anniversary in 2014. Or today, the 10th anniversary of the Digimon Adventure videogame… Dang, I should have waited five more years to play this…
The game is an RPG that has you controlling the original DigiDestined as they try to get home. Enemy Digimon are wandering around each region — coming into contact with one begins a turn-based battle with your party of up to three Digimon. They can attack or do one of three special moves, and as you unlock digivolutions you can select those which unlock new special moves. Enemies respawn, there are save points scattered around each map, and each “episode” is literally based on and named after an episode of the anime. Normal RPG stuff, right?
To say that it followed the plot of the show closely would be an understatement: Digimon Adventure was the anime in videogame form. The kids were taken to the Digital World, met the in-training forms of their partner Digimon, and were attacked by Kuwagamon… The ghosts, Devimon, returning to the real world, going back to the Digital World, the diner, taking on the Dark Masters…! It was almost completely voice acted by most of the original cast, and even had some guest stars.
The game actually goes beyond just the anime. It also had some episodes based on the Our War Game movie, as well as an original endgame storyline which sees Taichi and Agumon teaming up with the main protagonists (AKA the Goggle Heads) from Digimon Adventure 02, Digimon Tamers, Digimon Frontier, and Digimon Xros Wars. In all, it took me nine hours to finish the post-campaign content, which was honestly staggering to me, but also annoying due to having had to grind levels in the final quarter of the main story. The campaign took me about 45 hours in total, and fun fact: the world record speedrun on Speedrun.com weighs in at just over seven hours. They finished with most of their Digimon under level 40!
To be fair you can grind levels outside of the episodes thanks to digital dungeons, but I didn’t spend very long in those. I had been managing fine until the last handful of bosses before the boss rush, so it was annoying that I didn’t have a suitable save to return to for grinding purposes. I had to use the very limited number of respawning enemies outside of the boss rush to reach the mid-to-high level 50s… Three spawns giving between one to three enemies each time, it was slow going. It might have been faster to go back to the older save point, but after a handful of levels I was able to take down most of the bosses, it’s just unfortunate that Piedmon took a bunch more… All told, it was about 10 hours of grinding, so my advice if you play would be to get to level 50 ASAP with as many characters as possible, because not all of them are available to use at all times…
You’re able to customise each Digimon using DigiPieces on a hexagonal grid. The grids increase in size at certain levels, but I wasn’t quite sure how often they were. Pieces include passive and active abilities, as well as stat increases so there’s a lot of variety to use on each Digimon’s grid. For the postgame portion I had to keep changing Agumon’s loadout for each of the four bosses, as the guest party members (who you don’t control) were reluctant to use their powerful healing abilities and kept dying.
There is also a crafting element in the game, as most fights end with you being rewarded with materials. Use them to craft Digipieces or items, but you need to find the recipes hidden around levels in boxes first. Then there‘s the fact that drops are random, and the chance of anything even dropping is also random, so I reached the postgame content only able to craft two resurrection items. Given the amount of grinding I continued to do (I hit level 72 by the end), I was quite annoyed at how few materials were being dropped. You literally encounter the final boss from the Our War Game episodes as a random spawn, sometimes even when you walk into a completely different Digimon. Spoilers, you cannot digivolve into Omnimon (used to fight said boss) with Shoutmon as your only other party member!
Regardless of all of the grinding, Digimon Adventure was a great little RPG — if 54 hours can be called little — that really deserves a remaster. It still holds up, so it doesn’t need to be a full remake! What’s more, it could spawn sequels, where you play through the entirety of the other Digimon anime. Sure, the original anime is still the most beloved (they literally remade it in 2020), but there are fans of the other series too, and exploring those episode-by-episode would be great! While ideally they would all get dubbed too, the English speaking audience has proven itself to be accepting of subtitles-only in games: Digimon Survive for example!
Bandai Namco is working on the next entry in the Digimon Story sub-franchise and keep saying that they don’t want people to wait for a long time between Digimon titles, so why not keep Digimon Adventure Remastered in mind? It honestly doesn’t have to be much of a remaster as the graphics still look fine for the most part, they just need to make sure they have Brave Heart by AYUMI playing when you digivolve, and I’ll buy it. Those opening guitar licks are hot.