Welcome to EXPlay, (Explain & Play) the review series where we care not for scores but tell it how it is when it comes to every game we get our hands on, whilst also taking the time to include some lengthy gameplay, to give you the reader, the chance to shape your own impressions and views whilst watching and reading. In this instalment, we’re covering DIGIMON WORLD: Next Order by developer B.B. Studio.
DIGIMON WORLD: (The Explanation)
For as long as I live, I will never forget the first Digimon game I ever played. Having become heavily engrossed in the anime, the first Digimon World game was a must-have for my original PlayStation and was easily my game of the year for 2001. Everything about it simply resonated with me and yet, in the decades that followed, my relationship with Digimon has gone stale, but all of that has now changed thanks to Digimon on Switch.
Developed by B.B. Studio, Digimon World: Next Order, stylized as DIGIMON WORLD -next 0rder-, is the sixth instalment in the Digimon World series of games. It first released in Japan back in 2016 for the PS Vita, before releasing worldwide in 2017 for the PlayStation 4 and yet, it’s back once more. An updated version of the game has been released for PC and the Nintendo Switch and with it comes a long-awaited return to the digital world.
Much like the games that came before it, DIGIMON WORLD -next 0rder- is an open-world based RPG. The players can take control of one of two Digidestined characters. There’s Takuto, a male protagonist, or Shiki, the female protagonist. Both are third-year high school students and regardless of who you choose, you will find themselves being pulled into the digital world, forced into a battle against Machinedramon.
That’s right, that old chestnut is back and just as ruthless as ever. There’s a good reason for it as DIGIMON WORLD -next 0rder- is in fact a sequel to the original Digimon World game. The setting has changed and so has the main protagonist, but this is the original Digimon World story continued and I am all here for it. Back to the impeding battle, thankfully, your protagonist of choice does not need to face Machinedramon alone as your two partner Digimon come running to your aid in the form of fan-favourites, WarGraymon and MetalGarurumon.
The intense battle plays out fairly quickly, serving as a tutorial to introduce players to the battle mechanics of DIGIMON WORLD -next 0rder-, which in all honesty, is a rather straightforward affair and easy to learn. Your Digimon partners will automatically attack opposing Digital monsters in real-time, confined to a circular arena.
Having said that, the protagonist or Tamer, shall we say, still holds some sway over each battle. With button inputs for L and R, players get a five second window to issue commands to their desired Digimon, to unleash stronger, devastating attacks. The only downside is these attacks require Order Points. Thankfully, these points can be obtained by cheering for your partners and, should they need it, you can give them items during battles too.
If you really wish to lay on the hurt, however, by meeting the right requirements, players can unlock a special evolution where their two Digimon Partners can merge together to become even stronger. Now, despite the beginning of the game giving players two Mega Digimon, sadly your partners will pass away and be reborn anew upon Machinedramon’s defeat. It’s a tearful thought but a necessary step for players to properly begin their digital adventure.
Finding themselves in Floatia, confronted by Jijimon, players are soon clued in on what’s going on and before you know it, two new partners are at your side, which is a first for the Digimon World series, a city needs to be saved, Digimon need to be recruited back and the world needs saving, again. But hey, it’s all going to be a-okay because on top of everything else players will need to contend with, in OG Digimon World fashion, players will need to balance exploration with taking care of their Digimon partners. They will get hungry, start to feel sleepy, and overtraining them for stat boosting benefits will leave them fatigued, but on top of it all, toilet means toilet. If you don’t whip out a portable potty there and then, or scurry off to the nearest toilet, you’re going to have a DigiMess on your hands.
Still, as attached to your Digimon you will become, unfortunately they will not stick around forever as meeting certain requirements will see them evolve and each Digimon has a set amount of time they can live for. When they die (and they will die) it will be high time to pick out a new partner and start again. On the plus side, at least some of the boosted stats will carry over to your partner’s next lease of DigiLife. What’s more, with more than 230 Digimon implemented, there are plenty of partner combos worth discovering and enough repeat content to keep players playing, long after you view the credits. It’s just a shame they cut out the Japanese voice acting for the English Switch release.
When it comes to DIGIMON WORLD -next 0rder-, having waited for as long as I have for a proper sequel to one of my favourite games, it doesn’t disappoint. It is more of the same and it can be a proper grind fest at times, but this is the Digimon World that I fell in love with in the first place and nostalgia aside, there is still plenty about this new rendition to enjoy. It’s crazy to think we’ve had to wait until 2023 to get a port of a 2016 Vita game, but it’s finally here and in our hands. With a little bit of luck, the game might finally find the recognition it has always deserved and who knows, perhaps we’ll get another sequel.
DIGIMON WORLD: Next Order: (The Gameplay)
Developer: B.B. Studio
Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Role-Playing, Simulation
No. of Players: 1 player
Release Date: February 22, 2023 (Worldwide)
File Size: 6.7 GB