Digimon World: Next Order Review – A Digital Paradise
Overall 8

Fulfilling a legacy put in place nearly 20 years ago is no easy feat. Nostalgia often heightens expectations to unrealistic levels and while the original Digimon World was well received by its niche fan-base – 18 years is a long wait. However, that wait is now over with the release of Bandai Namco’s Digimon World: Next Order but is this new digital world worth exploring or as rewarding as Digivolving that Sukamon?

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Digimon World: Next Order Review – A Digital Paradise

Fulfilling a legacy put in place nearly 20 years ago is no easy feat. Nostalgia often heightens expectations to unrealistic levels, and while the original Digimon World was well received by its niche fan-base, 18 years is a long wait. However, that wait is now over with the release of Bandai Namco’s Digimon World: Next Order. Is this new Digital World worth exploring, or is it as rewarding as Digivolving that Sukamon?

Digimon World: Next Order gives fans of the Digimon franchise the opportunity to dive into an entirely new Digital World, as male and female protagonists Takuto and Shiki get transported to a world wrapped in turmoil and digital darkness. The story follows an unlikely group of adolescent heroes as they battle with inner issues, all while attempting to save a world of digital monsters. Sadly, that’s about as exciting as the story gets. Digimon games have always struggled to maintain that balance of immersive narrative and rewarding mechanics, shown by the original Digimon World’s fantastic gameplay and shallow story, and the more recent Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth‘s great story-telling but poor pacing and combat. Digimon World: Next Order does manage to maintain a healthier balance between the two, with a story worth enduring, but it’s not one you’re likely to put down as one of the greats.

Digimon World Next Order Review - A Digital Paradise

The real meat of Digimon World: Next Order lies in the caring and development of Digimon. It is arguably the greatest the franchise has ever seen, with rewarding and complex mechanics that make it challenging to play but incredibly satisfying to succeed. The life of any Digimon begins with a simple egg, but within that egg lies the potential to develop a companion that you will learn to love, cherish, and mourn. Yes, as with all things in life, every Digimon eventually dies and you’re forced to start anew.

However, there’s plenty to achieve between the two most defining moments of your Digimon’s life. Heavily investing time into combat and training facilities will see your Digimon develop stronger stats and eventually Digivolve into much stronger Digimon. If you’re careful enough during that process to ensure they are cared for, fed, disciplined, and taught to crap in appropriate places. Apparently taking a dump outside is considered a negative in your Digimon’s moral development – even if nobody sees you. Imagine that? Of course, you can always fail to pay attention to the minor annoyances of caring for a “living” creature and let them evolve into the infamous Nunemon or Sukamon, but I’m sure anyone that played the original has had more than enough of that – even after an 18 year wait.

The developing of the Digimon in Digimon World: Next Order is done to near perfection. Detailed progression paths are available, allowing you to manipulate the potential future of your Digimon by limiting the Digivolution options or focusing on specific stats, allowing fans of the franchise to couple together two of their favorite Digimon from past games or other media.
The developing of the Digimon in Digimon World: Next Order is done to near perfection

Although initially I found the death mechanic to be frustrating, it eventually becomes one of the games’ most interesting elements. Spending hours raising two new Digimon before taking to the world to accomplish side quests, story missions and discovering new moves is a rewarding mechanic, leaving a large amount of playtime to enjoy the new companions before their passing. Several hours into the lives of my latest partners I often found I was more excited for how much stronger they’d become when it was time to be born again, leaving a consistent reward mechanic in place that ensures each generation is stronger and more impressive than the last.

Furthermore, deeper and more complex mechanics are available in the form of DNA Digivolution and Digivolution items. In short, it’s everything the original offered with 18 years worth of innovation and creative talent backing its reincarnation.

Digimon World Next Order Review Combat

Having mastered the art of developing systems that support such versatile and creative ways to create new partners there’s but one element left to create the perfect Digimon game: the combat. Sadly, Bandai Namco opted to stick with one of the few features of the original I did not enjoy: the passive control combat. Unlike more recent additions to the Digimon franchise, players do not take direct control of Digimon during combat. Instead you’re left on the sidelines barking orders and hoping they listen, all the while praying they move out the way of that massive AoE blast that is sure to kill them in one hit.

More often than not, the AI isn’t intelligent enough to avoid that deadly attack, which could have been achieved via a simple sidestep. There are some alternatives, such as ordering a Digimon to defend, that provide defensive options, but it’s a lackluster element in a rather uninspired combat experience. Attacking is a little more rewarding and intricate, as timing a cheer at the appropriate time musters more Order Points for your Digimon which you can use to launch their signature attacks – even combining the signature attacks of both into a single powerful blast or performing an ExE evolution – arguably the saving grace of the combat.

The combat isn’t as easy to master, utilizing a typical turn-based combat system often seen in similar titles. Although it can be frustrating at times, it’s more of a disappointing option than a poorly executed one.

Nunemon

While the Digital World of Digimon World: Next Order is a little lacking in the graphical department, it more than makes up for it’s PlayStation VITA developed restrictions with a wealth of side content and rewarding exploration mechanics.

a huge city that you can upgrade and improve in more ways than I can count
While exploring the world you’ll often encounter Digimon that you can recruit as they join your city of Floatia and often bring with them huge upgrades to your facilities. What starts as a small settlement in the corner of a field soon becomes a bustling city of life with an impressive number of amenities that include everything from improved training facilities, restaurants to raise your Digimon’s stats, combat arenas to test your prowess and much more.

Digimon World: Next Order offers a very enjoyable 60+ hours of gameplay (more with Hard Mode) with challenging mechanics and rewarding systems for caring and raising Digimon, a huge city that you can upgrade and improve in more ways than I can count and a host of features designed to reward exploration and skill in combat.

I just wish these two idiots didn’t take up 80% of the screen when I’m trying to explore the map.

Get Out The Way

This review was based on the PlayStation 4 version of Digimon World: Next Order. A digital code was provided.
  • Saucey

    Thanks to certain circumstances, I too have been able to play this game as well. As a long time Digimon lover from back in the original days carrying around the “Tomagachi” version Digivice as a kid and a hardcore fan of the show, I can say that I was truly happy in the short time I have played so far. Granted, I have not gotten very far at all, but intend to play much more and am fired up by reading this well put together review. Thanks so much Gamers Heroes!

  • Renaldi Saputra

    That’s a good review but I have to say that the battle system may hinders you, but I think it’s not the fault of why it’s semi-automatic combat. I mean, it’s deliberately made so your progress on raising digimon and your relationships with them, as well as the relationships between both all matters in combat, to show more different combat behavior. I don’t even understand why the defensive command is so lackluster if it can be used as a tank to protect another digimon. There’s certainly hidden strategy between the said “lackluster” combat. But then I kinda agree that I think they should do input more useful command like direct dodging or distant position. I kinda wish that the WIS stat can raise the AI’s responsiveness so it can perform more well in battle but I guess not in this game.

    Anw the combat system doesn’t do anything wrong

  • Masa

    Thanks for the review Gamersheroes! I may have to pick this game up in the future when I get my PS4! While I could just as easily enjoy this game on the Vita, I rather enjoy this on the big screen. Only thing I’m wary of how cumbersome the battle system may be for me, but I’m willing to deal with it as a Digimon fan 🙂

  • Briana Reeves

    The combat seems more like an issue you’re having with your WIS and SPD levels. Higher WIS means more chances of blocking, and higher SPD gives you more chances of side-stepping an attack. Or really, you could up their STA to a high amount and watch attacks do very little. It’s up to you as the tamer to decide how you want to fight! However, if you’re talking about their special attack, you cannot dodge or guard it. Even in the original game, you couldn’t avoid it completely, though you could reduce the damage by using the DEFEND command (still counting on your WIS level to use this ability). I don’t really see an issue with this since it is supposed to be a finishing blow, it adds tension to the battles when the enemy has access to a guaranteed heavy hitting attack.

    The pooping thing isn’t that bad of a chore when you can teleport within the city, and megas don’t poop at all. I stay in the city until I have megas and then I don’t have to worry about lugging around portable toilets (even though that’s easy enough to do).

    The story bit is kind of a problem with basically any game/anime/manga/etc that has to do with adolescents fighting against a huge evil, tbh. Not that that’s an excuse, just a bit of a trope that gets followed frequently that gives people a fuzzy feeling.

    My biggest gripe with the game is the confusing difficulty curves. You can go to one area doing well and then one screen later (not even in a different area) you get curb-stomped by a single enemy, which is a bit more than annoying.

    My second gripe is that Numemon has stayed a trash-tier digimon because honestly it’s adorable and all I want is a Shellnumemon (I know it is not in the game) that can destroy its enemies.

    Anyway, this is all just my opinion and it just differs from yours in some areas, but nice review on your part!