It seems like fans of Digimon just can’t get a bone. The fans in the west must really be at their wits end lately, because overseas fans get awesome games like Re:Digitize and the upcoming Digimon Cyber Sleuth title while they get Digimon: All Star Rumble.
Two generations ago, there were developers publishing games for everything from obscure anime, to loose concepts. That was the age of the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube, where it seemed like just about anything could make it onto your home console, and here we are on the PS3 feeling that way again with this game.
First up, the story. The story, instead of taking advantage of some of the amazing Digimon lore, takes place in an age of peace in the digital world. The premise of the story is literally “I’m bored, so lets fight.” That’s it. If you were looking for a game with some kind of sustenance, this isn’t it.
You go around fighting with a few different digimon in the classic ‘walk into an area, defeat X enemy in a battle, continue walking’ style. The handling of walking around feels pretty loose, and poorly optimized for the kind of game that this tries to be.
One thing that I will note is, having played this game before release (at a special event), the frame rate was definitely improved significantly. The game had maps and areas that were almost unplayable (in both single and multiplayer) and it’s good to see that Bandai-Namco worked hard to get those kinks fixed.
Once you beat the story with one of the selectable characters, you’ll be able to choose to start “another” story with another character. Why is another in quotes? Because it seems like little thought was put into each Digimon’s story mode. They’re all pretty similar in style, and it gets pretty repetitive once you get through a few.
But this is “All Star Rumble” so you didn’t just come here for story right? The fighting has to be pretty good right? Fighting with other Digimon that you remember from the old days has to be the best right? Well… It isn’t horrid. There is fun to be had here for most. It isn’t a deep fighter. You have punches and kicks and ranged attacks usually. There are air combos that you can set up and launchers and all of that jazz.
One thing that fans will enjoy is the chance to Digivolve into the many different forms of their favorite Digimon. You get a feeling of being overpowered, but for anyone who has watched the show, they know that is part of the reason you’d even want to digivolve.
Overall, the whole experience feels like its missing something, and it never really gets you feeling like you belong. You never become immersed into this world or your character, as a lot of the fights are “punch punch digivolve repeat.” The soundtrack isn’t too shabby, and being able to play against three other friends is neat, but it just isn’t enough to save this game, even with the $39.99 pricetag.
Hopefully Bandai Namco learns from the reviews that Digimon: All Star Rumble is receiving and figures out what Digimon fans really want.
This review was based off a retail copy of Digimon: All Star Rumble for the PlayStation 3 provided by Bandai-Namco.