Digimon World is a series that originally started back in 1999 on the PS1. Unlike its predecessor, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, Next Order is a more classic oriented Digimon game with a focus on the evolution, breeding and care of the Digimon that the players acquire in the game. This leads to a considerable amount of time being spent in making sure that our pet Digimon are well trained to combat some of the story related missions.
While Digimon World: Next Order is a Digimon game, it should’t be confused with Digimon Story, which is a different sub-series on its own. While Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth focused on building a narrative and collecting monsters also having some influences from Persona series, Next Order focus on maintaining a relationship with our partner Digimon, which was the focus of the original anime and games related to the series.
Players are offered a choice between picking either a male or a female lead character at the start of the game. This choice won’t really have an effect on the story and mostly deals with cosmetic changes. The story begins with the character having picked their Digivice getting transported to the digital world. This serves as a prologue to the story where the players are immediately tucked into a battle with a Machinedramon while they gain access to two partner Digimon. We are then introduced to the concept of ‘Reincarnation’ which essentially means that if our Digimon die, then they can be reincarnated into an egg and also keep some of the stats possessed by their previous form.
The concept of dying and then being reborn as an egg plays an important role in Digimon World: Next Order and also adds a layer of strategy and some depth to the Digivolution of the partners. Since the player can now control two Digimon instead of just one, we have more options available in the way we can take care of the partners. The aspect of digivolution remains confusing at first because it doesn’t tell the next level of Digivolution, which might be complicated for some players. However for each of the step, there are some stats requirements that are necessary to acquire before we can digivolve to the next form. As the game progresses, it gets easier to digivolve in our required form. However this comes a little too late and should have been a part of the game from the beginning.
Digimon World was originally released for the PS Vita in Japan and with the release of the international version some gameplay related changes have also been implemented. The game’s difficutly has been increased after the complaints from Japanese fans about it being too easy, however it also has an effect on the experience and the learning curve, because it takes far too long to level up our Digimon now, even on the easy difficulty. This mostly boils down to the rate at which the Digimon gain experience points and how it integrates with our character, the Tamer, who has its own set of skills and abilities. Tamer only starts with a few skills and can learn more with skill points, however since it becomes difficult to level up as we progress through the game, it is harder to learn new skills. Players also have to decide between improving their Digimon partners or focusing on the skills for the Tamer.
There is a lot of things to manage in Digimon World: Next Order and there are times when they start to feel like a chore. Players can either progress through the story or try their hands at training the Digimon partners so they aren’t weak in fights. Training Hall serves the purpose of raising the stats of Digimon so that we can Digivolve them to even stronger forms. Since there are multiple forms that can be taken by a single Digimon, a good guide is essential when evolving them. This is made frustrating by the fact that each Digimon has its own life cycle in the game and by the end, they are going to die and then reborn. The game uses a full day and night cycle for this purpose. This requires the player to prioritize their training and story progression to make their Digimon partners don’t fall behind in progress.
Digmon World: Next Order also features Flotia, which is an town that also serves as the main hub in the game. It starts out as a small city and as we progress through the story, we can unlock new facilities and Digimon to recruit through the city. There are other management aspects to consider here like upgrading the buildings through the materials that the player collects. This management aspect also applies to the Digimon who have to be feed when they get hungry while making sure they maintain a good relationship with the partners. Since there is no proper manual control in a battle, we can try to pass instructions but it often feels like a semi-automated battle system with limited control on how the Digimon behave, hence making the aspect of building a strong relationship with them all the more important.
Digimon World: Next Order can be a difficult game for a newcomer to the series but for the fans, and especially those who grew with the series, it is a memorable trip down the memory lane with our favorite Digimon by our side.
Digimon World: Next Order Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Digimon World: Next Order is a Digimon role-playing video game published by Bandai Namco Entertainment for the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4. The PlayStation Vita version was released in Japan on March 17, 2016, while the PlayStation 4 version was released internationally in January 2017.
Digimon World: Next World offers a steep initial difficulty and learning curve but for those who stick around, they end up with a satisfying experience.