Digimon World: Dawn Hands-On

A virus is out to destroy the Digimon in this Nintendo DS monster-collecting game, and we've got a first look.

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In the two upcoming Digimon World games for the Nintendo DS--Digimon World: Dusk and Digimon World: Dawn--a computer virus of sorts has infected the Digimon universe, one that begins to corrupt the various Digimon living there. Both games provide a slightly different viewpoint on that intriguing setup, which is aimed at young game fans, as well as longtime Digimon devotees.

Some of the Digimon are unique to one version of the game.
Some of the Digimon are unique to one version of the game.

While Dusk seems to set up the viral infection theme more directly, in Dawn, you'll be playing in a Digimon tournament when the virus hits, and the teams involved immediately begin blaming one another. From there, it's up to you to discover and defeat the source of this infection. In the process, you'll also collect the 200-plus Digimon that will be found in both versions of the game. Of course, both versions feature some overlap, such as the digital monster lineup, but there will be unique monsters in both games. For example, Dusk features slightly more sinister-looking creatures--insects, beasts, and the like--while the Dawn version of the game will feature animal-inspired Digimon. Because the game is aimed at a younger audience, it will be easy to collect and share Digimon with friends via the Nintendo DS wireless or Wi-Fi connection. You can also combine digital monsters to create new Digimon breeds that will feature attributes from both the original monsters.

Making your way around the game will be easy because the game is almost entirely controlled with the touch screen and a stylus. Of course, as you progress through the game, you'll be able to evolve your collected Digimon. But you'll need to meet a number of prerequisites, such as experience level, relationship level, and, in some cases, special items, to complete the evolution. Most Digimon will be able to evolve into at least two other forms, while others will have a few upper-level forms they can take.

You can travel with up to six Digimon.
You can travel with up to six Digimon.

You can take up to six Digimon with you as you travel, but only three can go into battle with you during an encounter. As you go, you'll earn cash that you can use to purchase new weapons, armor, and items for your party. For those Digimon left back on your farm, you can continue to level them up by purchasing special items, such as punching bags, which will improve their strength. Or you can purchase a field, which will provide food for them.

With approximately 20 hours of gameplay to experience in both versions of the game, Digimon World: Dusk and Digimon World: Dawn look like they will be fun handheld action role-playing games for the younger set. The game is due for release this fall.

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