The nostalgic Digimon returns in the new story, adventure game, Digimon World: Next Order. If you are like me, you probably had owned a Digimon virtual pet in your youth and spent many hours feeding, battling and cherishing your pixelated friend. Next Order integrates the raising feature for your digital companions so you can form powerful bonds with your Digimon.
Next Order includes over 200 Digimon from the animated series which you can work your way through collecting. For the first time, Next Order allows you to have two companions instead of one, which lets you strategically synchronize battle in the field.
You play as a Male or Female protagonist who has been sucked into the Digimon World. You encounter a Machinedramon and then swiftly meet 2 of your digimon partners who help you defeat the Machinedramon. You are then teleported into a small town called the City of Floatia, where you are greeted by a strange character who explains that Machinedramon’s are taking over and needs your help to recruit more Digimon. With your Digimon companions by your side, you then set out to restore the City of Floatia.
Each Digimon has a lifespan so you are tasked with leveling them up and caring for them until it’s time for them to move on and then you start the cycle again on a new Digimon Companion. You must feed, toilet and train your digimon which involves heading to the town gym to level them up. You can spend time investing in particular stats using a little mini game but be wary of tiring them out. Once you’ve sufficiently leveled up your Digimon, you can then head out into the field looking for new Digimon to recruit to the town to help expand the City of Floatia. There are items and resources to collect but also dangerous monsters who want to battle. All in all this is the fundamental gameplay of the game; looking after your Digimon’s food and toilet needs, levelling them up and battling monsters out in the field while searching for more Digimon.
The battle system and training process can be quite complex if you’re invested in learning how to use it. Learning through this game is done via walls of text or very disjointed cut scenes which make the processes very frustrating. There’s very little guided learning or obvious mission quests. I found myself aimlessly walking through the fields waiting for something else to happen apart from battling and training but alas it was not there. The character designs are graphically impressive but the fields are bland and uninteresting which made exploring a bore.
In conclusion, I found Digimon Next Order frustrating to play due to the disjointed learning guidance and lack of depth. The nostalgic journey was enjoyable and I feel there would be a really great game here for hardcore fans. Those who are willing to read through the walls of text to understand the levelling and advanced aspects of the game will find a lot of content but for those new to Digimon, or who aren’t hardcore fans of these genres, will feel somewhat alienated.