Monday, March 23, 2015

Let's Play Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Chapter 02 Search for Father ~ Request of Yamashina Yuuko

It's more like "only most of Chapter 02" but that's because the third chapter title card is in a really different place.

For our first assignment as Kyouko's assistant, we're getting introduced to...the whiteboard.

This is an important mainstay of her office that we'll be picking up our quests from. Past Story games had you get them from your Digimon on the farm itself, but Cyber Sleuth takes a Raidou Kuzunoha approach to shake up the formula.

Chapter 02 Search for Father ~ Request of Yamashina Yuuko

Quests are posted to the board as unsolved petitions for help in side cases. They're sorted by the color of their magnets; red for quests essential to story progression, blue and yellow for general quests, purple for DLC, and green for quests from the Digi-farm.

These will give us various rewards for completion, including money, items and the Cyber Sleuth Points necessary to increase our rank. Right now we only have the first quest to do, issued by Kyouko. We need to find the K-café and rendezvous with a certain person there, but Kyouko is leaving it up to us to find it ourselves. Before we can do that though...

"Hello, Mr. Cyber Sleuth."
Mikagura Mirei has opened up shop outside the office. From her phone here we can access the Digi-lab at any time. We'll know it's her out here because of the white cat that hangs out by the phone; in the digital world, her cat is black.

Mirei also has another special program to install in us, which will let us get through level 2 firewalls, among other tasks.

Just outside Kyouko's door is the DLC attendant, who delivers the Digimon I downloaded with the game--Black Agumon, Black Gabumon and two cosplay Agumon. Each of them has a memory cost of 5, and our party has a current maximum of 20, so we can't pick them all up at once and have to do it in trips. Having the Black variants also unlocks their Adult, Perfect and Ultimate forms.

The Nakano broadway has four floors. Floor 1 is at ground level and is where the Kuremi Detective Agency is, but for the other characters the main attraction seems to be Mirei. She's developing her own fan club in the vicinity of her booth giving out advice by telephone like she's Shinjuku's Old Man Ulrira.

Every floor except the top has its own Digimon Medal Gashapon. I really need to resist my primal collector's urges here, because each capsule runs you 300 yen. I blame the Wind Waker for this!

Floor 2 hosts both a CD shop and a...card shop, strangely enough. Way to remind me of how I'm shirking my responsibilities. The biggest fad right now is the band Jimmy KEN, which even has its own set of trading cards out.

And lurking outside the CD shop Rainbow Turntable, we meet Nokia! She's relieved to see that we're all right, but to tell the truth she's still worried about the Digimon she met. She likes the sound of our new job, but doesn't exactly understand what a "Cybird Effective" is supposed to be.

But forget that, Arata's a hacker! Nokia's absolutely furious that Arata turned out to be a hacker, and that he tricked us. She can't forgive this. It makes her so mad, the only thing that can keep her in a good mood is Jimmy KEN!

I think the real world aspects of this game could have been handled better. It makes sense that Nokia would wear lingerie in EDEN because that's a part of her EDEN Avatar and she can't actually feel the cold; but in the real world and a mall? There ought to be two character models for everyone, their real and digital world clothes.

Floor 3 is serious otaku territory, with hobby shops full of mecha model kits, anime figures and the kinds of Blu-ray anime anthologies that only the absolute worst level 99 nerds would buy.

The big fad on floor 4 is Digimon Medals. This guy here is the Digimon Medal Maniac Ojiisan. (But you can call him grandpa.) For him, collecting Digimon Medals is his dream, his life and his everything! We can sell our Digimon Medals here, and this is why it's not really worth buying them but it's also necessary to do so. Each capsule at the Gashapon costs 300 yen, but for all of the single star medals we've picked up thus far, grandpa will give us 170 yen. You need to pull something great or go home to turn a profit on medals. Nevertheless, there's an alleged reward for getting all five hundred medals, so by the end of this LP I will have the collection filled out.

We can also view the 3D models of the medals we've brought to gramps. Look at that 2.2% completion and despair.

As it happens, Digimon Medals were a real product marketed by SMARTGASHOPON in connection with Bandai's Digimon Crusader smartphone game until last year, though there are significant differences between the in-game item and the genuine article. I came across a sentimental blog post or two about the medals, so I would imagine that some Japanese players appreciated the tribute.

The real attraction to the fourth floor is the arcade. No, we're not here for Tekken (why is Pokkén not on that poster? Step your game up, Namco!) but instead for the colosseum. While Mirei can help us connect to online players, to get practice in against computer opponents we have to go back here.

The cat-maid-navigator Olulu will assist us with the offline colosseum nyan ♪

(I threw up in my mouth a little writing that out)

With nothing left to distract us, it's time to finally go to the K-café. It's right next to grandpa, and actually gets front billing on the Nakano Broadway directory despite the arcade the more logical attraction. Maybe they didn't want to double up on otaku appeal?

K-café is managed by an odd pair. It turns out the "part-time" cat maid is the one that's really in charge here. The café master still owns the place, but has no backbone to stand up to the maid with. We pick up Kyouko's coffee beans and leave.

(Re)quests are finished by going to the whiteboard, not by talking to the person that posted it. Not even when it's Kyouko. For this one we get 300 yen, 500 Cyber Sleuth Points and 5 HP Capsule Cs.

Kyouko wants to do a test run of our digital abilities, as well as have us go meet up with Arata in Shinjuku, but before that...she's worried about what our mother must think. We make a quick call home to assure her everything's all right, but really the setup here is kind of goofy--aren't we better off with her thinking we're still in the ICU, since that's where our body really is? This just makes a ton of awkward questions when the hospital still has our comatose body and we're running around texting mom to tell her we won't be home yet.

Mom gets added to our Digiline chat. This is one feature I forgot to address last time; as of recovering our Avatar parts, we can now get text messages and notifications from in-game characters, as well as from our Digimon in the Digi-farm. We tell mom not to worry, and Nokia that we'll try out Jimmy KEN if she really recommends that band.

Before heading off to Shinjuku, I have to screw around with our party a bit. Palmon evolves to Veggiemon, which drives her cost up to 6 and means we won't have room for her for a little while. The main concern isn't Veggiemon, but what's to become of our redundant party members now that we have the DLC Digimon...

Tokomon evolves to Hawkmon mostly because I think we should have Patamon's line on hold for when getting him all the way to Ultimate becomes practical. I should discuss the Support Skills; at the bottom right you can see Hawkmon's SS, Wind Guardians. Each Digimon has a Support Skill, some of which are named after the group that they belong to. Wind Guardians increases wind-elemental skill damage by 15%. Veggiemon's support is Nature Spirits, which increases Grass damage by 15%. I will generally not capitalize Support Skill after this.

Wanyamon evolves to DORUmon (Digital OR Unknown monster), except that he puts me in a quandary because he shares his entire evolution line with the DLC Agumon. The DLC Agumon come with a max level of 99 and exclusive skills that I would need to degenerate DORUmon and evolve him into their forms for, but with an innate maximum level that big I have no incentive to keep using this particular DORUmon.

Basically, the problem the DLC presents is that both cosplay Agumon variants are part of the Koromon line. So it only makes sense to use one. The Agumon cosplaying Takumi has Baby Flame and Heal I. The Agumon cosplaying Ami has Baby Flame and Twin Plus, which increases an ally's combo damage by 50%. I'll be honest; Takumi Agumon is way better for me going on skills alone. There's minor stat differences (Takumi has better Attack while Ami has better Defense, they're tied in Brains but Ami is faster while Takumi has better Speed and way better HP) but the healing skill is the dealbreaker.

But we also will lose the Agumon costumes forever if we actually evolve or degenerate the DLC Agumon. Our 100% completion will be lost! So, DORUmon gets to live. There's no such stipulations with the Black Agumon or Gabumon though, so Nyaromon gets crunched down to scan data and summarily replaced by Gabumon. Eh. My partner Digimon is whichever one proves strongest.

More Mirror Dungeon fun! I recreate the hospital network to train Black Agumon, Black Gabumon, and Hawkmon up to more reasonable levels.

Veggiemon chills out on the Farm Island for much of this chapter, building up her Friendship. I leave Ami cosplay Agumon there mostly to keep Veggiemon company, but will probably crunch her into scan data as well.

So, to preemptively curb my addiction but make certain that the collection finishes by the end of the LP, every time I enter Nakano Broadway I will buy one medal.

...Just not from the front desk's medal machine. That one's for suckers. It's right by the entrance, so all the little kids use it and I bet it doesn't have any rare medals left. 

This one in the back of the first floor, this is a medal machine for winners. My first capsule is a four-star Angewomon medal!

Shinjuku is southeast of the Nakano Broadway.

Not realizing how much it would help with navigation, a couple weeks before release day I literally set the map of this area as my computer's background wallpaper. It was the only thing Cyber Sleuth related that would fit cleanly.

Our current objective is to talk to Arata, but before that...

At the upper left of the screen is our first five-star rarity medal, Arkadimon.

We also stumble on an optional event with these two jokers. Ryouta is trying to get his girlfriend Sakura to talk about something other than Jimmy KEN, but she's completely oblivious to anything but the subject. Ryouta thinks she might find a Cyber Sleuth interesting, but doesn't really get what it is himself. From now on they'll be messaging us on Digiline--Ryou's all about finding ways to impress Sakura, while Sakura just wants to talk about Jimmy KEN.

Arata's glad to see we're all right, but has his mind on the monster we saw at Cron. It was the first time he'd seen it outside of rumors. From what he could tell the monster had a dangerous program that absorbed other data. When we bring up Nokia's subject of if Arata's a hacker or not, he suddenly gets really evasive about it and remembers he needs to be somewhere.

While we were out, Kyouko went and made us a new EDEN account. Our previous one wouldn't recognize us in our new consciousness because of the invasive nature of Connect Jump.

"Now, it's about time..."

>>For a snack?
"A snack? ...I see, you were hoping for my coffee? I'm sorry, but I'll have to leave you in anticipation of our next coffee break. It's time for work, my assistant."
"Excuse this the Kuremi Detective Agency?"

"...!! You're..."
"Oho, do you two know each other?"

This is girl is our next client, Yamashina Yuuko (山科悠子). Recently, her father Yamashina Makoto (山科誠) disappeared, and has been missing for some time now. Yuuko wants us to find him, and is providing some standard data to help track him down. In particular, his EDEN account is still active in spite of his disappearance, but there's no reaction from it when she tries to contact him.

Kyouko finds Makoto's account quickly. It seems he's been subject to something called account hunting, and to track him down we'll need to investigate this practice and who's behind it. From her search we get the keyword account hunting.
"Your turn, Watson-kun."

Keeping my promise, I get another medal. This one's the three-star Witchmon. Current expenditures are 600 yen to 170 recouped.

We need to take the elevator up to the fourth floor to access EDEN. There's no terminal in Kyouko's office. This is a little weird given how the Story games have consolidated their areas in the past; in Digimon Story and Sunburst/Moonlight the Digi-farm and dungeon gates were right next to one another in a centralized location, so you could literally pop out of your home base and walk right over into another server, with external resources like shops and colosseums being centrally planned around those areas. Cyber Sleuth's central hub is just as homey as in past games, but the design isn't as elegant.

"Yaa! I'm Navito-kun! EDEN's mascot character!"
There's an actual Navito-kun at the EDEN Entrance now, which is enough to make me wary. It's like not being able to trust Doraemon anymore after playing through Dangan Ronpa.

Using the keyword account hunting on this gaudy man, we find out that Team ZAXON is responsible. We'll find them at their usual hangouts in the Cron Junk Park, and now we have the keyword ZAXON at our disposal.

This first hacker at the Park plaza doesn't know the forum URL for ZAXON, but the guy in the back does.

The ZAXON forum is separate from Cron itself. The hackers are spread out between both areas.

The forum takes after a ruined theater set, integrated into the outskirts of the Cron Junk Park. Interesting fact: the hackers use URL as a forced reading for basho 場所 "place," so when they talk about "our place" or "our spot" they say "our URL."

The ZAXON hacker we need to use the account hunting keyword on initially wants us to figure it out on our own, but eventually gives in tells us to go to Cron Lv. 2. We're also handed a ZAXON mask to get us through the area.

Before we leave, I pick up this Mojyamon medal. It's hidden behind a column and only becomes visible when you zoom the camera in to make the column turn transparent.

To access Lv. 2 of Cron, we first have to hack the firewall that a ZAXON hacker was blocking previously.

There's a Yukimi Botamon medal behind the firewall, as well as an elevator to the second level.

Junk Park Lv. 2 is strewn with ZAXON hackers bumming around with their Digimon. While they all talk tough, none of them are interested in a real fight.

Periodically we find groups of hackers blocking our way, but all we have to do is show them ZAXON's mask to get by.

New encounters here include Piyomon and her Baby II stage, Pyokomon. These are basically pity monsters given in case you don't have a stellar Vaccine to use in the upcoming fight. (Hint: the first boss is a Virus-type, what a surprise!)

Then there's Otamamon and the (very rare) Goblimon and Lalamon. Farming Goblimon scan data takes long enough that I max out all of the other encounters before I get 100% of him. The most dangerous thing about these encounters is that Otamamon has a low chance to inflict Sleep on-attack.

I only saw Goblimon in this patch of Cron Lv. 2, but it's more likely that I've been biased by the first place I encountered him in.

Hawkmon evolves to Aquilamon, and Black Gabumon into Black Garurumon.

Black Agumon evolves to Growmon, as he doesn't have a high enough maximum level to reach his Greymon evolution. He can't actually fit inside of our current party memory though.

I put Otamamon in the party for this boss fight rather than try to degenerate Aquilamon to Poyomon and evolve him into Otamamon from there. We degenerate Veggiemon all the way down to the Bubbmon stage, then evolve her up through Pyokomon into Biyomon.

One major change made for Cyber Sleuth is that evolutions are no longer required to have greater base stats than the Digimon they originally evolved from. What this means is that no surplus stats are gained from evolving and degeneration, so unlike in past Story games there's no incentive to level a Digimon past the point where it needs to to evolve. (Doing this does increase the aptitude you gain, but you get more for degenerating than evolving regardless.) Digimon are evolving to abstract stages with no connection to their previous forms except for inherited skills. So for example, Bubbmon at level 3 has 340 HP and 25 Atk. She evolves into a level 1 Pyokomon, who then has 410 HP and 29 Atk. But if Bubbmon is raised to level 8 with 410 HP and 30 Atk, Pyokomon will still have 410 HP and 29 Atk. The stats aren't influenced at all by those of the previous form.

This group of masked hackers are waiting for us at the end of the area. Thanks to the mask, they're convinced that we're One Up, a member of their group.

We've come at a good time. It seems their leader is this Mr. Mephisto, who's ready to receive all of the accounts they've hijacked.

Something goes wrong. Mr. Mephisto's usual monotone begging dissolves into angry roars; "Nnn, NOTENOOOUUUGHH!" The hackers panic, promising to bring him more accounts, and then...

Mr. Mephisto & Digimon: "Rare...sparkling, glowing, pretty accounts...GIVE MMEEE!!"

Growmon is our first real boss, and a relatively simple one. Virus-Fire attribute, and while we don't have access to a Water-attribute Digimon we do have Biyomon for a Vaccine that will deal at least 2x damage. Black Garurumon and Otamamon are both Virus, so they don't take any extra damage from Growmon's attacks, which is important seeing as he has a means of increasing his critical hit ratio. Otamamon is also Water attribute, with a 1.5x advantage over Growmon.

This is really a numbers game. We use the lower SP attacks so that we can out-attrition Growmon dealing more damage over many turns than we could maximize within single turns. Otamamon's Hydro Water I deals ~250 damage per hit, Freeze Fang does ~170 and Biyomon's Sonic Void I ~223. The Vaccine attribute is really important here.

Volcanopalm I is Growmon's primary damage-dealing attack. We would really be in danger with Veggiemon or Palmon on the team right now, since Data-Grass would have a 3.5x cumulative weakness to Growmon's Virus-Fire attacks.

Freeze Fang is a really important attack in spite of its exorbitant cost. It shaves off 10 SP from Black Garurumon every time.

 "Aaa, Mr. Mephisto-san...? Mr. Mephisto-san...Mr. Mephisto-saaan?"
 Mr. Mephisto collapses after Growmon is defeated.

(yes, they really do call him Mefisuto-san-san in the original text)

Kyouko understands now. A Digimon was collecting the human accounts all along. Mr. Mephisto was the result of alterations made to a person's mind data. With Growmon beaten all of the stolen accounts have been returned, Yamashina Makoto's included. Good work.

We get 1000 Cyber Sleuth Points before logging out.

Makoto's account has been salvaged from those that were restored. Now we can start looking for our missing person, but there's something Kyouko wants to investigate first.

 We pay a visit to the Yamashina family's apartment.

 ...And find Yamashina Makoto, completely fine! This Yamashina Makoto isn't familiar with any recent disappearances. And his daughter is out right now, so we can't speak to her--

Except speak of the devil, here she comes home. Yamashina Chika. Makoto's only child. When we ask if his EDEN account has been stolen though, Makoto suddenly gets very quiet about EDEN, and his daughter insists we leave before slamming the door on us.

Yamashina Makoto's account was stolen by a group of ZAXON hackers--which gives Yuuko pause. Moreover, Makoto never went missing and was fine during this whole incident, and Yuuko isn't his daughter. Yuuko seems fine with what we've uncovered. "No problems remaining."

But I do think there is a problem...?
So just who are you?
>>That's good to hear, case closed.

Yuuko doesn't answer us no matter what we say, but promises to come again.

"You're always welcome here. Next time, I look forward to you using your real name...Kamishiro Yuuko-san."

"Would you like to save?"

This is one of those secrets that could have been better kept. Yuuko's face was all over V-Jump and the Cyber Sleuth web portal as Kamishiro Yuuko six and half months ahead of the game's release; for those of us that followed it from start to finish, the alias itself was more of a surprise than her true identity. Nonetheless, the game does put some hints out for those that weren't aware of the game's magazine promotionals (and the web coverage, and the livestream, and the TV commercial...) Yuuko stumbles over the name Yamashina when she introduces herself, because she's not accustomed to introducing herself this way. The request 依頼 irai that she makes also incorporates an element of implicit trust (irai contains the character 頼 "trust") which we are clearly not receiving considering her lack of forthrightness.


  1. The hacker in Zaxon-land does not tell the protagonist to investigate on their own before suddenly changing his mind and helping out. Rather, he's impressed the protagonist marched into Zaxon territory, you know, Zaxon, the strongest group of hackers, all on their own to investigate the account hunting. You got guts. He's impressed with your guts. So he tells you to head to Cron/Coulomb/Kowloon Lv. 2 to find the info you're looking for.

  2. The ability Mirei installs in the protagonist this chapter isn't the one that opens level 2 firewalls. You get that in the pack of hacking skills she gives you in the Digi-lab.

    It's the ability to half-digitize real items by scanning them with the protagonist's glove. This allows them to take items they find in the real world into cyberspace. These items are stored in their bag (storage).