Digimon World Data Squad
PlayStation 2
Reviewed: 10/21/2007

Digimon World games have usually had a limited following and been marked pretty poorly in reviews. Data Squad does not reach up and raise the bar sky-high, but it is an improvement over previous non-handheld titles.

Among the good things Data Squad has going for it is certainly the evolution system. Instead of each monster having a linear evolution path with steps unlocked by level or some other single stat, the Digimon are placed in the center of a “galaxy,” featuring many different possible courses of growth. Each new form will require a handful of prerequisites, such as defeating a certain number of Champion-level foes, using supportive actions so many times in battle, taking a certain amount of steps in the dungeons, and so on. Some have more requirements than others, and opening all of the many forms for each party member can be good fun.

What makes the system even better is how a Digimon’s emotions play into things. When the attack menu pops up, several blocks fill the screen, each one representing a smidgen of the monster’s desire to perform that action. One does not have to sit there and count each one to compare figures, though, as they are color coded (red for attacks, yellow for guards, blue for evasives, and green for supports), and highlighting one with simultaneously highlight all of that same action’s spots. If one simply wants to do what the monster wants to do, simply selecting a vague command (e.g., “Attack”) will perform whatever is the most common attack command of the ones on the screen. Doing what the monster wants to do on a cosistent basis will build a positive trainer-monster relationship, have an effect on the monster’s mood, and as a result, impact its stats and growth potential. Fortunately, things do not simply degenerate into always selecting the most common action, as there are some evolution forms that require a specific type of relationship, including some that require a bad one.

Screen Shot
The periodic table of attack options.

The biggest negative aspect within Digimon World: Data Squad is how slowly it moves. When walking around in dungeons, there will be a random battle on average every five seconds; I used a stopwatch to record this. There could be as little as two steps taken in between fights, but rarely will one encounter a stretch of more than, say, nine seconds of running without getting a battle. Combat has always been a staple of the genre, and is the key to monster growth, but its frequency gets a little ridiculous here. This is especially true when considering that the combat itself moves a bit too slowly. There are plenty of unnecessary camera angle changes, and many attack animations take too long to execute. It doesn’t help that there is often a very simple puzzle looming over the player’s head that he/she can’t wait to solve, but is being held up by constant battles. Between the slight slowness of the fighting and how often these battles occur, Data Squad feels very slow-moving.

Story is Digimon World: Data Squad is a side story to the anime of the same name. Oh.

The cel-shaded graphics looks pretty darn good–probably a perfect look for a PS2 game based on an anime. The sound effects are all pretty good, and the music is enjoyable in-game, though nothing warranting a soundtrack purchase.

Digimon World: Data Squad‘s unique growth system is kind of neat, but the overall slowness of the dungeonplay due to random battles every few seconds, combined with overuse of certain attack animations and slow combat make it unappealing to those who are not already Digimon fans.

-Heath Hindman

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Average
Story Average
Graphics Very Good
Sound/Music Average
Replay Value Bad
The Verdict: 5