Review: Digimon World: Next Order (PS4)
The digital world returns and seeks your help. Machinedramon are mysteriously appearing and wrecking havoc in the land of the digital, destroying villages and infected by the brain hack program and only you have the power to stop them. Prepare yourself to be digitized and prepare for a journey filled with digi-friends, digi-enemies and a world filled with mystery and wonder.
Digimon World: Next Order immediately throws you into disorder as the opening scenes give you a taste of chaos, might, power and justice. Of course this doesn’t last long and the real journey begins thereafter. Immediately you’ll notice the blast from the past that is Digimon World that originally released on the PlayStation One. The music, the digimon designs, the digimon village you awake in (also your HQ throughout the game) and all of its surroundings look familiar, however, there is one massive change – instead of just one digimon partner Digimon World: Next Order gifts you two. I remember playing Digimon World on the PlayStation One and being a fan of the anime. I believed I was about to raise a Metal Greymon to stride beside me in the digital world and fight for justice, how wrong I was! With Digimon World: Next Order giving you two partners you best believe that your challenge has just become double the trouble.
If you’ve ever played Digimon World you’ll know immediately that there is a game within the game, Tamagotchi Life of course. Let me elaborate a little more. One of the most important and key aspects to the game is raising your Digimon. Do you remember a toy called the Tamagotchi? A digital device that provides you with a digital pet which you were tasked to feed, poop, praise and just generally take care off. Well consider your Digimon partners in this game as your Tamagotchi. You will be tasked to not only feed it, take it to the toilet to poop and put it to sleep but also train it in a number of various stats such as HP, MP, Attack and Wisdom to name a few.
Unlike Pokémon, Digimon actually evolve into many different forms and levels and can be reduced back into their egg form upon death. The way you care for your Digimon determines what they digivolve into. The factors vary from their weight, battles won, discipline from the player when praising or scolding them and so much more all induced from training and exploring the digital world. This factor I found is the make or break point for many gamers out there and it is only fair I raise this point. Digimon, just as with everything in the world, has a lifespan.
With each day that passes in the digital world your Digimons age will also increase. I found myself raising my Digimon from an egg – baby – training – rookie – champion – ultimate and finally to their mega forms. Consider that the line of evolution. Depending on how you raise your monsters will determine how long they live for. They technically have a lifespan of 20 days but this all depends on whether you can digivolve them to their highest levels, the mega forms. Thankfully the game can be played without reaching this form however the challenge is REAL!
The point I wanted to raise though is the fact that when you believe that you’re progressing through the storyline and the digital world with your power house digital monsters at your side they die from old age, hence forcing you to spend hours over again raising a new set of powerful monsters before venturing forth once again. The developers obviously tried to sway passed this mechanic by creating several different digimon eggs so that you can follow different digivolution (evolution) paths, however, just as the original on the PlayStation – if you do not have the time you’ll soon find yourself in a mountain of frustration especially when you’re about to face a boss battle.
The battle system in Digimon World: Next Order is also the same battle system used in the original, which is the AI battle system. The digimon automatically attack while you shout commands from the sideline. Next Order however has something that is stars apart from the original in the form of cross evolution. It’s a mechanic that seems to be built around the player possessing a pair of digimon partners and not just a single partner. Coming back to the battles, they truly aren’t revolutionary and I believe the developers were trying to capture the nostalgia from the original Digimon World although the battle menus are a lot prettier.
Some pretty graphics is the order of the day
The world itself however is quite stunning and captured perfectly in a digital kind of sense. Each area was filled with not only wild digimon ready to battle, resources to be mined, food items to be farmed but also corresponded with the different weather effects such as the luscious green fields of the plains, steaming hot lava-filled volcanic area or windy sandstorm-filled deserts. The only problem is that in the beginning you’ll often find yourself having to pass the same areas over and over again to progress deeper into the world. Thankfully with each digimon you recruit back to the village to grant them salvation, a new upgrade becomes available eventually making travelling, grooming/training your champions and storing items a whole lot easier.
Digimon World: Next Order is definitely the HD remake of the original Digimon World. I absolutely enjoyed being taken down the nostalgic lane with all the best parts of Digimon World. The upgrades in Next Order also make for intriguing mechanics and yet with all the upgrades and attractive lights the game still manages to retain the core mechanic presented to fans in the original. That, unfortunately, is also were I feel it suffers a bit. In the real world that’s filled with limited time, do you really want to be spending 50 hours just raising digimon teams only to spend another 50+ hours trying to complete the story? Answer that question and you’ll know if you should own this or not.