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.
“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.
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.
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***
- Feels like the TV series
- Digivolutions are fun
- Rewarding death system
- Dated graphics
- Too many Digimon notifications
- Extreme difficulty parameters