Digimon World: Next Order Review – Mega Ambitious Game Falls a Bit Short

Digimon World: Next Order Review

Digimon World: Next Order is the latest game based on the classic franchise, Digimon. Those familiar with the series or like to follow JRPG’s will remember 2016’s Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, also released on the PlayStation ecosystem. Unlike the Digimon Story line of games, Digimon World is a completely different game aside from the franchise it belongs to. Fans of the Digimon TV series would be wise to give this game a look, but do not go looking for a traditional JRPG like Cyber Sleuth was.

The story begins with the player character being sucked into the Digital World and immediately thrown into a (tutorial) battle between two companions and Machinedramon. After the battle, you find that the Digital World has been attacked by several Machinedramon and that the village of Floatia has also lost many Digimon. After being reunited with your two partner Digimon, you are tasked with finding and returning Digimon to Floatia village, and taking down Machinedramon and other evil Digimon. Normally, a Digidestined only has one partner Digimon, so having two should theoretically make this game twice as good.

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“Fans of the Digimon TV series would be wise to give this game a look, but do not go looking for a traditional JRPG like Cyber Sleuth was.”

The gameplay in Digimon World: Next Order is based on exploring the world to find these lost Digimon and training your partner Digimon. Training your Digimon can be a bit tedious, as you will be spending a lot of time at the gym to increase your Digimon’s statistics to Digivolve. Because you train up your Digimon’s stats rather than gain experience in battle, it can be hard to determine how strong your Digimon are compared to enemies. This results in some very easy battles as well as points in the game where it is extremely difficult to advance. Perhaps more important is the trainer’s level, where leveling up presents the trainer with points used to improve Digimon statistics, Digivolutions, and more.

The battle system is unique, but it may turn some people away. Rather than controlling your Digimon’s actions directly, the player character can cheer on his Digimon to choose their attacks. The Digimon do not rely on the player though, the battles can be completely automated as well. While this hands-off approach may not be for everyone, it was a nice change of pace. The death of a Digimon during combat is not the end, in fact, you could consider it a new beginning as your Digimon will be reborn as a baby, with the potential for a different Digivolution path.

Digimon World: Next Order Screen

Lastly, Digimon was originally designed to rival Tamagotchis, and it certain shows in Digimon World. Your Digimon will have needs, whether it be food, sleep, or a good few minutes in a nearby bathroom. Treating your Digimon well will improve your bond with them, and the opposite will damage that bond. While at first an intriguing feature, this begins to get a bit annoying when your Digimon tell you they are hungry every few seconds.

Overall, the gameplay of Digimon World is very similar to what one would expect based on the television series, for better or worse. The environments of the game also appear similar to the television series, with natural terrains, unlike Cyber Sleuth which was quite “digitalized” and also took place in the real world. Though the graphics instill a bit of nostalgia, the graphics clearly feel dated and the fact that the game was originally a Vita game really shows.

Digimon World: Next Order

The game also had much more voiced dialogue than I expected, though some mispronunciations of Digimon names may annoy those familiar with the series. Voice acting aside, the music was enjoyable and appropriate most of the time. Where the game audio falters are the notification noises your Digimon partners make to get your attention. They happen far to often and the noise is not particularly pleasant.

Overall, Digimon World: Next Order caters to fans of the franchise and does a good job in replicating what being a Digimon trainer does. The gameplay is unique and a bit more hands-off than most people expect, and while intriguing, it at times can feel more like a chore than playing a game. While nailing the look of the Digital World, Next Order does not do a great job in telling a strong narrative. Despite the repetitive nature of the game, it is very rewarding when your Digimon finally Digivolve into 1 of the 230+ (after DLC) playable Digimon. Those more interested in training Digimon rather than playing through a story would be sure to enjoy Digimon World: Next Order.

***A PS4 code was provided by the publisher***


The Good

  • Feels like the TV series
  • Digivolutions are fun
  • Rewarding death system
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The Bad

  • Dated graphics
  • Too many Digimon notifications
  • Extreme difficulty parameters
  • Renaldi Saputra

    I think it’s a quite nice review, but I find some statement are rather baseless, misinformed, and missing.

    >Rather than controlling your Digimon’s actions directly, the player character can cheer on his Digimon to choose their attacks. The Digimon do not rely on the player though, the battles can be completely automated as well.

    No, the player can do direct command when there’s sufficient 0rder point. Though there might be a case that the Digimon shows “NG” box that means it can’t do what you commanded.

    >This begins to get a bit annoying when your Digimon tell you they are hungry every few seconds.

    Every few seconds? It seems you don’t really understand, if the digimon still feel hungry, it means the food you give didn’t satisfy their hunger bar enough, if you give them with full stomach, they won’t complain about being hungry anymore for quite several minutes.

    >Lastly, Digimon was originally designed to rival Tamagotchis, and it certain shows in Digimon World.

    Wrong, Digimon was made not to rival Tamagotchi, but to create a branch virtual pet market for young boys rather than young girls. It’s made by the same company, same representative staffs, and so on. How can a sister product rivalry each other while they cater different market? So you’re very misinformed here.

    >It is very rewarding when your Digimon finally Digivolve into 1 of the 217 playable Digimon.

    Except it’s not 217 but 229 + 1 when the DLC comes. It felt like you’re reviewing the PS Vita version rather then the PS4 one with some new digimon addition to the base initial game. It somehow makes your whole statement irrelevant bcos the PS4 work differently both mechanically and graphically.

    I still really not understand your whole complaint about “Too many Digimon notifications” while those notifications might be occurred bcos of your lazy maintenance through your digimon.

    • Michael Chow

      Hello Renaldi,

      Thank you for reading my review and commenting on it. I thought it best to respond to some of your concerns.

      > “No, the player can do direct command when there’s sufficient Order point…”

      Yes, the play CAN do direct command: “the player character can cheer on his Digimon to choose their attacks”. To get the Order Points necessary to choose their attacks, you essentially cheer on your Digimon (aside from the first couple attacks).

      > “Every few seconds? It seems you don’t really understand, if the digimon [sic] still feel hungry, it means…”

      Correct, the Digimon will notify you very frequently unless you do something about it. If I am already heading to an outhouse so my Digimon can relieve themselves, they will continue to let me know until done so. This criticism is not about the mechanics of taking care of the Digimon, but rather that it can get a bit much when I am already notified once.

      > “Wrong, Digimon was made not to rival Tamagotchi, but to create a branch virtual pet market for young boys rather than young girls…”

      Maybe rival is an aggressive term, but they are certainly two similar products in the same market, even if made by the same company. The marketing of these products can be targeted to different demographics but still compete with and rival one another. I myself had Tamagotchi and never owned a Digimon virtual pet.

      > “Except it’s not 217 but 229 + 1 when the DLC comes…”

      Fact checking error by me, thank you for pointing that out. Either way, it is still a good amount of Digimon!

      > “I still really not understand your whole complaint about “Too many Digimon notifications” while those notifications might be occurred bcos [sic] of your lazy maintenance through your digimon [sic].”

      My review is not to explain all the mechanics of the game, but to share my thoughts and opinions on what I experienced. While some notifications can be taken care of right away, some can not, and players shouldn’t have to be met with repeated notifications regarding the same thing. Again, thank you for reading the review, and I hope I have addressed your concerns satisfactorily.

    • Michael Chow

      Hello Renaldi,

      Thank you for reading my review and commenting on it. I thought it best to respond to some of your concerns.

      > “No, the player can do direct command when there’s sufficient Order point…”

      Correct, the play CAN do direct command: “the player character can cheer on his Digimon to choose their attacks”. To get the Order Points necessary to choose their attacks, you essentially cheer on your Digimon (aside from the first couple attacks).

      > “Every few seconds? It seems you don’t really understand, if the digimon [sic] still feel hungry, it means…”

      Correct, the Digimon will notify you very frequently unless you do something about it. If I am already heading to an outhouse so my Digimon can relieve themselves, they will continue to let me know until done so. This criticism is not about the mechanics of taking care of the Digimon, but rather that it can get a bit much when I am already notified once.

      > “Wrong, Digimon was made not to rival Tamagotchi, but to create a branch virtual pet market for young boys rather than young girls…”

      Maybe rival is an aggressive term, but they are certainly two similar products in the same market, even if made by the same company. The marketing of these products can be targeted to different demographics but still compete with and rival one another. I myself had Tamagotchi and never owned a Digimon virtual pet.

      > “Except it’s not 217 but 229 + 1 when the DLC comes…”

      Fact checking error by me, thank you for pointing that out. Either way, it is still a good amount of Digimon!

      > “I still really not understand your whole complaint about “Too many Digimon notifications” while those notifications might be occurred bcos [sic] of your lazy maintenance through your digimon [sic].”

      My review is not to explain all the mechanics of the game, but to share my thoughts and opinions on what I experienced. While some notifications can be taken care of right away, some can not, and players shouldn’t have to be met with repeated notifications regarding the same thing. Again, thank you for reading the review, and I hope I have addressed your concerns satisfactorily.

      • Renaldi Saputra

        Still, I don’t think Digimon is made to rival one another like Tamagotchi which is girls oriented, rather just filling a gap about the whole virtual pet market. Digimon Vpet is made based on both raising and competitive aspect, while Tamagotchi isn’t.

        You can’t say a girls-oriented product is a rival to a boys-oriented product, even though the basis is same. It’s like saying Sailor Moon is a rival of Super Sentai series whereas it isn’t, even though they’re both share similar genre: grouped super hero series.

  • Get ready to cringe every time you hear the name Machinedramon. Who the lucky guy says DRAY?

  • Justin S. Toland

    I do think that your review may be something people who do not understand the series would be more prone to agree with. Having played the series from the first version, I can honestly say that this is my favorite of the Digimon World series. I am pleased to see that you noted that there is a difference between the Digimon World and the Digimon Story series. They do play very differently, and most versions of Digimon World play differently from one another as well.

    What I love about this game was how it took things back to the style of the first Digimon World game and made things even better. I can agree at times that the feedings and such can be a hassle. But when you take into account how the feeding is actually intertwined with Digivolution, in more ways than one (increasing or decreasing bond, discipline, weight), it helps to make it more bearable.

    Having never played a PS Vita game, I don’t know that I would be able to tell when a game is made in mind for that console. But I personally think that the PS4 version utilizes the system’s functionality pretty well. It is by no means perfect (why must my partners be so obstructive in my view) but is certainly not hindering itself drastically.

    Maybe it’s because I am a fan of the franchise that I disagree with you in terms of enjoyment of the story. If it didn’t have a good story, I would actually lose interest fairly quickly. Perhaps for you, and many others I’m sure, it just doesn’t move at a steady enough pace, because of the need to retrain your Digimon upon rebirth. But I personally find that as more challenge thrown in. Not to mention that if you never had to do that, then you would get through the story very quickly. I suppose one could argue that that is why the story is not a selling point, but for me, this game had one of the better stories of any of the Digimon games, especially when you compare it to the rest of the titles in the Digimon World series.

    I’m hoping that they add in more DLC to give us more story, though that’s probably not going to happen. One thing that I was disappointed in was how they added in some very unnecessary Digimon “recolors.” At least in my opinion they were unnecessary (I’m looking at you OrangeGrowlmon). They could have given us different Digimon lines all together.

    • Renaldi Saputra

      I think that the story that fits this Digimon World series is a subtle-contented story like the original was. This one was rather made more dramatic kinda forcibly to share what Cyber Sleuth did and in the end it makes more plothole and some other unexplained things. The story lacks its blending with the world itself, it feels like the recruited digimon mostly don’t have things to do with the main story, the original, however many of them are indirectly involved.

      Anw I agree with your very statement that Digimon World doesn’t sell for its story (not DW 2, 3, or 4), but the story is rather a complement that connects all the gameplay aspect better so it can be more fun to play.