The Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth line is a series that has adopted some rather notable themes. I’m not talking about the idea of collecting Digimon to use as hacking tools, creating and combining them along the way. Both the original title and Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Hacker’s Memory have certain hallmarks. One is the notion of identity, as we follow a new Digimon user as they begin to cope with a new role in society. The other is the idea of justice, aiding others who are not lucky enough to have a Digimon to help them solve their problems. Finally, there is a search for some sort of truth. All of these things are designed to draw people’s interest and give them a chance to do more than just raise Digimon.
In the original Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, we are presented with a young man or woman who ends up with a half-digitized body after a mysterious encounter in Eden, the futuristic version of the Internet present in the game. They go from a novice hacker to someone who suddenly can go between the real world and virtual one without the technology and computers others need. Much of the game looks at the transition and growth from an ingénue to master. Likewise, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Hacker’s Memory takes us on a similar journey with Keisuke Amazawa. While we can’t choose the character’s gender, something I found a little unfortunate since Keisuke is a silent protagonist and the romantic elements could have worked for a protagonist of either gender, this installment’s avatar is quite similar to the original game’s Aiba.
After all, when we find Keisuke, he has totally lost his identity. A rogue hacker stole it from him in a phishing incident. People no longer trust him, since in this future only people who broke the law have their avatars confiscated. So, he adopts a new identity for himself. He makes a new avatar and account, heads into Eden’s underbelly to search for the criminal, and finds himself recruited by Hudie, a hacker group taking requests from its BBS and Zaxon to help people in need and keep the Internet safe. Just as we did with Aiba, we get to watch him grow in Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Hacker’s Memory. We see someone who lost his sense of self take charge and change his own fate. It is rather empowering.
As are the actions Keisuke takes. Like Aiba, he finds himself on the side of the good and the just. Aiba had Kyoko Kuremi and her Kuremi Detective Agency to aid in their endeavors. Through her, we would find people in need of help and investigate the mysteries of the Internet. Aiba does good for the people around them, gradually accomplishing more as their skills increase. Kyoko helps round up cases. Likewise, Keisuke has his own savior in Hudie’s Ryuji Mishima. He finds Keisuke when the young man visits Eden’s Black Market for the first time, gives him the Digimon Capture ability, battles an unscrupulous merchant alongside him, and finally invites him to join the hacker group. Even though Keisuke is now stepping into the same profession as the person who wronged him, he’s doing it for what are hopefully the right reasons and taking up the mantle of a hero. He takes BBS requests from Hudie’s hub, aiding people directly.
There’s also the underlying greater mystery. Both Keisuke and Aiba are looking for answers, and many of the chapters tease you with minor updates that bring you closer to understand what has happened to these characters and setting things right. In each case, technology factors heavily into what happened to them. Aiba’s is more mysterious and deals with an unknown figure and restoring their original identity. Likewise, Keisuke ends up looking into wrongdoings and eventually getting the initial identity back. It seems like, in each case, they are searching desperately for something that, through the course of the story, may lead more toward helping other people rather than totally restoring their original selves.
Its these commonalities that may help people connect with Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Hacker’s Memory. After all, this midquel takes place during about the same time period. Some of the same factors come up. It only makes sense to also explore the ideas of identity, handling of justice and pursuit of truth too. It leads to things feeling comfortably familiar.
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Hacker’s Memory is available for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.