Let’s find out together, in this dedicated review, what are the strengths and weaknesses of Digimon World: Next Order, a 2018 title that recently landed on Nintendo Switch as well
The Digimon franchise, as far as the videogame field is concerned, has always settled on the JRPG genre. The formulas could be very different from each other, as we could see in the two excellent Digimon Story and even more in Digimon Survive, accompanying turn-based fights with very different ways of narrating the story, but the gist remained the same. There is a component of the old titles concerning the ever eternal commercial opponents of Pokémon, which has however been lost over time. Who remembers the Tamagotchi?
The old Digimon World, whose first chapter dates back to the first PlayStation in 1999, were essentially based on the growth, care and evolution of a Digimon. They took up what was the Digimon Virtual Pet, an old Bandai Namco video game similar to a Tamagotchi, permeated its mechanics and placed them in a JRPG context. Our goal was the psychophysical health of the little beings we took under our care. Digimon World: Next Order is a chapter in the series released on PlayStation Vita in 2017 in Japan and arrived in Europe in 2018 on PlayStation 4. It recently arrived on Nintendo Switch and it is precisely this version of Digimon World: Next Order that we are talking about in this review!
When You’re Lonely
After choosing whether to take on the role of Takuto or Shiki, Digimon World: Next Order introduces us to its more than basic narrative. Our chosen protagonist finds himself teleported into the digital world, where he witnesses, first of all, the clash between three very powerful creatures. Once the battle is over, which also serves as a tutorial, we will find ourselves in the semi-desert village of Flotia, whose headman is Jijimon, and which has long since fallen into disrepair due to depopulation. Our task? Obviously restore Flotia and her region to its former glory.
Jijimon will provide us with two eggs, which will hatch into two Digimon of initial grade of our choice, which we will have to start taking care of immediately. So our goal will be make them grow, feeding them and meeting their basic needs, as well as making them train in the appropriate training center in the village. A basic plot, therefore, which is not necessarily a defect in any case. If we look at Digimon World: Next Order specifically, however, the narrative structure really takes too much time to get going to be able to introduce a minimum semblance of interest in the player and, for many hours of play, we found ourselves thinking “but so don’t does anything happen?”. Sin
Colossus & Guardian | Review Digimon World: Next Order su Switch
On the other hand, the simulation part of the title seemed very well thought out and demanding. As we said a few lines ago, our aim in this case is to satisfy the needs of our Digimon in their entirety. This means that we will have to pay close attention to their requests, which will promptly be shown to us on the screen, to ensure that they are never hungry or too tired or even worse injured, all conditions that could lead them to lose HP.
The most important part in the management of Digimon is certainly the improvement of their statistics, which you can do both in the training center located in the village and in battles on the world map. If we are going to talk about the latter in the next paragraphs, for now we would like to focus on the first method. The Flotia Training Center allows you to improve the various available parameters of your creatures by subjecting them to automatic training sessions in which we will only have to decide which of the statistics to improve for each Digimon. From the way we’ve told it, it sounds boring enough, doesn’t it?
Blue Sky, Big Step | Review Digimon World: Next Order su Switch
This is because, although it is true that experimenting with creatures is particularly satisfying, especially for longtime fans, the method proposed by Bandai Namco in Digimon World: Next Order lacks bite and makes the gamer lose interest in a short time. And that’s a great shame, because unlike Game Freak’s counterpart, DigiEvolutions are not linear: from A you don’t go to B, but A can evolve following completely different ramifications every time. And in Next-Order these ramifications are decided by the numerical value of each creature’s characteristics at the sixth day of life. In practice: every six days your Digimon will be able to evolve towards a subsequent stage, based on the level of his characteristics. If these are too low and no Digi-Evolution is possible, your creature will die and reincarnate in an egg again.
Punitive? just enough, in the sense that at each reincarnation the creatures will keep a part of the statistics obtained in the previous life. If, therefore, the training center is extremely tedious and unglamorous, how does combat behave in the outside world? Similarly, we would dare to say, albeit with some dutiful specifications to make.
Binary Dilemma | Review Digimon World: Next Order su Switch
Even the fights in the game world, which will be 100% linear and without any ramifications such as dungeons or optional areas, will proceed completely automatically. Our creatures will attack the opponents by themselves, in clashes that will proceed too slowly to be at least fun and useful in the grinding phases. Obviously we will be able to interact in the clashes, taking advantage of the mechanics of the Authority points.
The latter will be necessary to give direct orders to our Digimon and make use of the skills learned with the Digi-Evolutions. We will be able to obtain Authority by providing support to our creatures by pressing the appropriate key at specific times, such as when they score a hit or receive an attack. Here, in this case, unlike training in the Village Gym, our interaction with the gameplay can provide a very important strategic advantage for the purpose of the battles, especially during the most demanding ones. And there will be many, too.
Paperless Invitation | Review Digimon World: Next Order su Switch
This is because Digimon World: Next Order suffers from a detail that was very popular in the past, namely the lack of balance in the level of difficulty. Often, playing normal, we came across in the same area where until a few seconds before we razed our opponents to the ground, in Digimon enemies that flattened our creatures in a matter of seconds. So, without even knocking.
Il Difficulty not balanced, which becomes less frustrating at the Easy level, can be remedied by subjecting our creatures to marked grinding sessions. And here we return to the starting point: the clashes are too slow and cumbersome to make grinding fun. And again the interest in the gamer slips away, showing even more how much Digimon World: Next Order is a title born, unfortunately, already old.
Its technical sector is also old, which fully permeates what was already seen in the PlayStation Vita version. Our advice is to play it in portable mode, which fades away the antiquity of the aesthetics and the paucity of the textures, details that are instead even more amplified if you try the title in the docked version and, mostly, on a particularly large screen. From the point of view of the sound sector, nothing to report: the BGMs are from times gone by, but not for this unpleasant. Indeed, we continue to hum some tracks while writing these lines.
Ultimately, closing this review, Digimon World: Next Order is an even older title than it seemed to us from the trailers. If we can forgive the narrative sector that extends well below the mediocrity line, its gameplay makes the title particularly boring. In fact, neither the simulation nor the JRPG part stand out, resulting in a tedious and at times even frustrating combination that has done nothing but distance us from the title. We are unable to recommend it even on Nintendo Switch, considering that of the franchise, on the Nintendo hybrid, you really find much better. Type Digimon Survive.
Digimon World: Next Order is currently available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. Let us know what you think in the comments below stay tuned with us at techgameworld.com for all the videogame and tech-themed news, guides and reviews!
- Old-fashioned Digimon World
- Still interesting sim component…
- … but too old-fashioned
- Combat system devoted to grinding
- No narrative
- Difficulty level not balanced