Digimon World Dawn, Dusk, and Data Squad - Preview
Reviewed by Brandy Shaul
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2007-09-18 Nintendo DS RPG E10 (Everyone 10+) Namco Bandai

While many games have revolved around those digital monsters known as Digimon, the trio of new titles, Digimon World: Data Squad, Digimon World: Dawn and Digimon World: Dusk are set to take the realm of RPG gaming where it's never gone before. At a conference call with Namco Bandai, I learned just how they expect to do it.

Digimon World: Data Squad

Data Squad, while outwardly very similar to past Digimon games, offers gamers a chance to experience a new battle system, collect over 250 items, and team up with over 140 different Digimon.

The new battle system has a major focus on player / Digimon compatibility and relationships; that is, your Digimon will react a certain way, based on the way you have been treating them throughout the game. Not only do the Digimon react differently in battle, but the interactions you have with them will actually impact the type of Digimon it will eventually Digivolve into.

In keeping with the Digimon television show, Data Squad will present a true side-story to the main plot that takes place through the TV series, and as such, will allow players to interact with the main characters that they have come to know through the cartoon. Thankfully, the same actors from the show will voice these main characters, and will each come equipped with the appropriate Digimon, as seen on TV.

One thing that does differ from the Digimon game series and the TV shows is the naming of certain Digimon. In keeping with the ratings board for children?s television shows, some of the names had to be changed, and the game will reflect this.

On the more technical side of things, Data Squad abandoned the idea of graphical realism in favor of a cel-shaded look, which is obviously more in keeping with not only this recent trend in gaming, but with the television show itself. For those that have played the Japanese version of the game, you can expect the musical soundtrack to stay the same, but will only find an English voice over track, instead of the option for both.

While the battle system has been revamped, most of the aspects of the game will be familiar to diehard fans of the franchise, but that's not to say that only they will enjoy it. Even though the story is set around the same characters from the television show, you don't need to be an expert to find fun in the game. The same can be said for the pair of DS games, Digimon World: Dawn and Dusk.

Digimon World: Dawn and Dusk

At first glance, you might think that Dawn and Dusk are simply a Pok??mon Diamond and Pearl knockoff, but in that you would be wrong. Where Diamond and Pearl offered almost the exact same game, with the exception of a few rare Pok??mon, Dawn and Dusk offer two different stories, both set on the same theme.

Depending on which version you possess, you will either be placed in control of the Light Fang or Night Claw factions. Each side believes that the other is responsible for the violence being strewn throughout the land; so playing each game will result in a different take on the situation. Likewise, since neither group is actually responsible for all of the hardships in the game, you will have to figure out who is, with each game presenting a different avenue to the same goal.

As expected, along with the two different storylines, each version will also contain new and exclusive Digimon, meaning in order to collect them all, you will either have to buy both games, or take advantage of the Wi-Fi components available. Through a Nintendo DS Wi-Fi Connection, players can battle against opponents all over the world, as well as create eggs, with certain rare eggs only being available through these matches with other players.

Taking the DS's two screens into account, the top screen will be used to show the status of players' Digifarms, as well as info concerning battles, like character order and status. The touch screen will then hold all of the battle choices, and the rest of the action.

Since Dawn and Dusk both revolve around a story that is, for the most part, completely separated from those stories of past games, they present a great opportunity for new players to come in and experience the Digimon world for themselves. Like in most DS games, the action is very easy to get into, but hard to master. Each game has an expansive array of RPG-like elements, which will help the majority of unfamiliar faces fit right in, but also contains enough customization (armor, new items, etc.) to keep the diehard fans playing until the very end.

In all three games, there has been a real focus on newer breeds of Digimon, without alienating the classic breeds from the beginning of the series. With an experimental battle system, advanced RPG elements, a focus on player / Digimon chemistry and interaction, along with the elements from past games like Digifarms, both new and old players alike are sure to find something they like.

All three games are set to release on September 18th, 2007. Stay tuned for the reviews!