Digimon World: Next Order, the latest in the long-running Digimon World franchise has just been released for the PlayStation 4. This is the first time that this game has hit western shores, a Vita version of the game was released in Japan and Asia last year. For those unfamiliar with the Digimon World games you work to explore the world and take on the latest imposing threat to the Digital World, to face this threat you need to train up your partner Digimon, unlike other monster battle games where you get to control every aspect of your partners the most you can do is cheer your partner on or ask them to do an attack if they decide they want to get close.
In Digimon World: Next Order you play as a human who upon finding one of his old Digivice Virtual Pets gets pulled into a strange otherworldly dimension. Once there you see two creatures off in the distance, as you walk towards them not only do they recognize you but a large Digimon called Machinedramon materializes. Your partners, a Wargreymon and a Metalgarurumon, stand by you as you work together to fight the Machinedramon as a tutorial to Digimon World: Next Orders battle system. After defeating the rampaging monster you appear in the house of Jijimon, a wise old Digimon who is also the Mayor of Floatia, the major city. He's surprised to see a human appearing from the world he had just sent Machinedramon to and upon hearing of its defeat asks you whether you and your two partners would be up to the task of aiding the Digital World and getting to the bottom of the weird virus that has been turning perfectly normal Digimon into Machinedramon. Along the way, it is also your job to find other Digimon who are still willing to join the City each Digimon bringing a new skill or trade allowing you to have access to more resources. To further tie in this game not only with the narrative of the other recent Digimon games and with the current events of the Digimon Tri movie series there are also cameo appearances in game of Rina Shinomiya and her Ulforceveedramon, Veevee, from Digimon World Re:Digitize: Decode and Meicoomon, the mysterious new Digimon that is the focal point of events from Digimon Tri.
Unlike all other Digimon World games in Next Order, you don't just get a single Digimon partner but you get two. At the beginning of the game, you get to select two eggs which will hatch into your first generation of partners. Throughout the game, you're able to train your Digimon in the city or when you feel you're strong enough to face the next hurdle you can venture out into the world. You can still gain extra stats out in the field but it's nowhere near as comparable to the experience you get from working out at the Gym. Once your Digimon is old enough and has the correct stats, they will digivolve into a more powerful Digimon, the levels of Digimon that you can reach in this game include the following; Baby, In-Training, Rookie, Champion, Ultimate, and Mega giving you over 200 Digimon that you can take command of over the course of your journey. Getting from Baby to Rookie takes almost no time in-game but getting to the higher levels like Mega can be quite a feat. If your Digimon reaches the age where it is meant to digivolve and it doesn't have the correct stats then it might end up dying. Now a Digimon dying isn't the worst thing, there are also some benefits that can come from this. Depending on the stats of the Digimon before it died when it is reborn as a Digi-egg it will have a higher base level, this means that for each progressive generation that you continue to work with your Digimon that you will end up attaining stats that wouldn't have been possible before given the time frame. Progressing through the game you will also be able to upgrade the equipment that you use at the gym allowing for larger stat increases.
It isn't just training and battling for your Digimon though, stemming from Digimon's roots as a Virtual Pet you need to take care of all aspects of your partner's lives. If they are tired from training then you need to give them rest, otherwise they'll fall ill, if they are sleepy then it's time to rest for the night, and most importantly if they need to go to the bathroom be sure to take them to one of the many toilets around the world or just be sure to carry around some portable toilets. Regardless of whether you train the strongest Digimon in the land or are playing blind to see what you get one thing is certain in Digimon World: Next Order, your Digimon will die. Once a Digimon is dead you get to select from a variety of eggs where you want your partner to start off from, you will then return to the world with a new baby Digimon. This isn't just starting from scratch, though, the baby Digimon will retain a certain percentage of stats from when it perished allowing you to ensure that each generation of Digimon is stronger than the last. This puts some emphasis on making sure that you work to improve your gym allowing you to raise stats higher and faster.
During a battle, a ring will appear that the attacking Digimon and your two partners will enter. If you want you can stand back and do nothing and your Digimon will automatically get close, move back, and attack your opponents. Each Digimon has Order Power that they spend on special moves, health, and MP that is also expended when using special moves. A special move might cost 100 Order Power but spend 500 MP, you need to make sure that you have enough of both to use a Digimon's attack. During the battle, your partners Order Power will slowly recharge but you can cheer them on to help it recover faster. If your partner isn't doing anything a cheer will only regain 5 Order Power but if they have just landed an attack or just blocked or dodged an attack then they will gain more. There is a short cool down to how much you can cheer, though if you want to get to specific attacks be sure to use them wisely. If you find yourself in a pinch and your Digimon are able to combine using Extra Cross Evolution or ExE. This is a temporary DNA Digivolution where your two partners will become one for a single battle, the ultimate trump card when faced by a dangerous foe. If you wish to have a permanently fused DNA Digivolution though you can unlock that ability later in the game. Depending on the remaining health of your Digimon after a fierce battle, there is a chance that they might walk away from it sick or injured, if your Digimon has either of these conditions then you should be able to use a Band-Aid on them or give them some medicine.
Developing your Digimon is one thing but developing your City is just as important. As you head out into the world as well as encountering Machinedramon and other foes as a part of the main story you will also meet a variety of Digimon that you will convince to join the City. Each Digimon has a condition that must be met before they are going to agree to join, these range from simple goals like defeating them in a fight to having to collect special items from the area. Once a Digimon has agreed to join the city the next time you visit you will find that if you talk to the Digimon they are now able to help you out. Some Digimon like Patamon might create a new business in the form of an item shop while others like Palmon might help expand the meat farm allowing you to not only get better meat but more meat every day. Some of the other businesses that will appear around town include a taxi service, building contractors, a colosseum, and even an extra-dimensional gateway… Some story events will also be locked until you've recruited a certain number of Digimon so be sure to always keep an eye out for a Digimon that you can help. Throughout the entire game there are only a couple of Digimon that you can miss and not be able to get back to later in the game so don't stress out if you want to continue with the story. There are over 100 Digimon to recruit during your travels, some of them appear in the post game only so don't think the end of the story is the end of your adventure.
As you continue to work on your Digimon, progress through the story, collect materials and just spend time in the world your trainer rank will slowly increase. With each level, you are able to spend collected points to gain perks with relation to your Digimon, their training, and yourself. Some of these perks include increasing the stat gain of Digimon from Digivolution or training, increase the amount of money gained from defeating enemy Digimon, or increasing the carrying capacity of the main character. The higher you level the more points you will be awarded. The ability to gain these tamer perks ensures that while there is some progress in the game that is being reset you're still consistently raising the bar that you're able to attain.
Digimon World: Next Order is broken up into three different activities; Raising your Digimon, Developing the city by recruiting Digimon and building, and progressing through the main storyline. The latter two of the list require your Digimon to become stronger even though there is constant Digimon progress reset. The way that they game slowly escalated what you're able to do depending on how you level up your tamer, the buildings and equipment that you develop in the city, and what new Digimon arrive to change the speed at which players are able to progress but it gives a solid value of improvement so that you can say "This is how much better I am today compared to yesterday." This method also ensures that players don't speed through the game too quickly and only get a chance to train up one type of Digimon, by forcing the players to improve the city, to improve their Digimon, to progress through the game players will get to experience more of the 200+ Digimon that are available to train in this game.
One of the fascinating parts of a Digimon World game is the world itself. Creating a world to cater for a wide variety of different Digimon types from those literally made out of fire to those literally made out of snow would be a challenge. However, as we have seen in all forms of the Digital World a location can change from one biome to another extremely quickly. There are plenty of different areas catering to different Digimon types including forest, desert, volcano, tundra, a valley of machinery, a pirate cove and a town constantly in darkness filled with dark Digimon. Each area has its own distinct look creating drastic changes from area to area but as soon as you return to an area or find a new location you immediately know what type of Digimon you're about to encounter. Each of the Digimon models is quite high quality and are the same ones used for last year's Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth for PlayStation 4 and PSVita, excluding the Digimon that have since been added of course. This reuse of assets is a great choice for the game because not only does it save on development time only requiring a few mode Digimon to be made, this also means that more obscure Digimon can start to be added going forward.
Using the premise introduced in previous Digimon World titles Digimon World: Next Order adds more Digimon, more evolutions, and even allows players a second partner. This combination of virtual pet, battle simulation, and story line work together to promote one another's strengths pushing the player to continue to develop their Digimon and their city to get the most out of this game. For Digimon fans, this is a game that you won't want to miss and a great starting point for anyone interested in the franchise.
Digimon World: Next Order was reviewed on PlayStation 4 with a code provided by Bandai Namco. It is also available on PlayStation Vita.
Digimon World: Next Order takes the classic V-pet formula and brings it into this century packing it with plenty of variety, a fun storyline, and plenty of interesting mechanics to discover and master.
- Over 200 Digimon to Train
- A Fun Story with Plenty of References
- Leomon Doesn't Die
- Grinding out Your Next Generation
- Steep Difficulty