Just like any franchise that’s been going as long as it has, Digimon video games have had plenty of ups and downs. Digimon World: Next Order was first released in 2016 for the PlayStation Vita, with a PlayStation 4 release making its way to the West the following year. Since then, it has enjoyed enough of a cult following that it has now been ported to PC and Switch years later. Perhaps owing to its origins on Sony’s handheld console, it feels right at home on the Switch but Digimon World: Next Order is still a title that struggles to find its footing.
The opening of the game throws players into a tense battle between two highly evolved Digimon companions and a powerful opponent that serves as a tutorial for the combat system. Fights play out in real-time, with the player’s partners acting on their own initiative, based on which of the three pre-set AI behaviours you've chosen for them. Players can choose specific actions for them to take, but only if they have accrued enough Order Points through the course of the fight.
More elaborate attacks require more Mana and Order Points to use, but the combat system itself is fairly simple to get your head around. Particularly when you’re fighting against lower-level enemies, you can get away with barely paying attention in most fights. That makes grinding surprisingly easy as you wander around the open world that the game takes place in. However, fighting enemies is a dangerous business. Wander into the next area and you are likely to find that the Digimon make short work of your current companions.
Battling it out isn’t the only way to gain strength in Digimon World: Next Order. We would argue that it isn’t even the best way. That would be sending them to the Gym to train, which allows you to choose a specific stat to increase and throws a roulette minigame at you for the chance to get a boost. Chances are, you’ll spend most of your time here, grinding away to increase your stats and eventually unlock the next Digivolution for your companions.
This bit of the game, frankly, isn’t very fun. It is repetitive to the point of being a bore and is only broken up by having to attend to the Digimon’s need to sleep, eat, and poop. Like caring for a child, you need to get your partners to a restroom before they make a mess somewhere. This mechanic makes the game feel like a strange cross between a Virtual Pet simulator and an RPG, but the mechanics to take care of your partner’s physical needs are clumsily implemented.
Each time you send the Digimon to train at the Gym, they accrue a bit of fatigue. Eventually, they’ll need to take a rest. That can be done in the Gym itself, but resting only removes a small amount of fatigue, meaning you have to go through the same dialogue repeatedly if you want to get them back into fighting shape. It is a frustratingly slow process that could have been drastically improved by offering an option to rest until all fatigue is gone.
Unfortunately, you’ll likely spend hours engaging in the cycle of training and resting to boost your Digimon’s stats before they reach the next stage of their evolution because if you don’t, they’ll die once their Life Points run out. If that happens, they’ll revert back to an egg and you’ll have to start the whole process all over again. They’ll have slightly boosted stats compared to how they started, but it still feels like a massive step backward and adds to the game's repetitive feel.
This mechanic allows you to change how you raise your Digimon partner to influence what they eventually turn into. There are well over 200 possible evolutions in the game, making it unlikely that you’ll ever see them all. The age of the game works to its advantage in this case, as there are guides out there that can help you raise the right stats and feed them the right foods to ensure that they turn out exactly how you want them. Without them, it feels very much like random chance with a bit of luck mixed in.
The reason you’ll spend so much time at the Gym, grinding out stats through training is because of the sudden and devastating difficulty spikes that show up as you wander the world. For instance, when we first entered the open-world portion of the game, we encountered a level one creature and, as expected, promptly wiped the floor with it. Without even leaving that section of the map, we engaged a level two monster, and both our Digimon were knocked out within 30 seconds. It took us 15 hours to reach a point where we had a team that could take on the game’s first boss.
There are three difficulty options in Digimon World: Next Order – Beginner, Easy, and Normal. We found that Normal was too much of a grind to make our way through the game’s story, which is fairly thin as it is. Once we dropped it down to Easy, the enemies were more manageable and the game became a much better experience. It honestly feels like Easy Mode should be how everyone experiences this game. Exploring the world, recruiting new Digimon to your growing town, and seeing which evolutions you can unlock next do offer some fun, but getting to that point is such a slog that it hardly felt worth it.
It is disappointing because Digimon World: Next Order has some great polish to it. The graphics are a bit dated now but they still hold up thanks to the cartoony nature of the characters. The soundtrack, however, is fantastic. From the opening theme song to the music that plays as you walk around the world, there are some great tracks there.
However, the actual gameplay lets this title down massively and the decision not to include the original Japanese voice tracks in the Switch version is just baffling. Even on the lower difficulty and using a guide to help you get the best possible team, you’ll spend hours doing repetitive training just to get to a point where you can play the game.
Digimon World: Next Order is an open-world RPG that's too much of a grind to recommend. While the music and graphics have their charm, they’re totally overshadowed by the unbalanced difficulty, highly-repetitive training mechanics, and some very strange design choices. Unless you’re a die-hard Digimon fan with untold patience, this one is best left alone.
Yep..that score sounds just about right for Digimon. I was honestly expecting no higher than 6.
I'll just play the Cyber Sleuth double pack again if I need a Digimon fix.
I enjoyed the game a LOT on PS4, got the city up to lv 70 but I acknowledge this game isn't for everyone.
Damn, between this review (and the one for Clive 'N' Wrench), you guys are killing whatever interest I have in these games.
I liked Digimon Survive but this game sounds disappointing.
Anyone interested just play Monster Rancher instead, it's so much more enjoyable. Have been playing it non stop since I sold this game because it was so bad.
I wasn't expecting a 4, maybe a 6 or 7. As a big fan of the original Digimon World this scratches that itch for an updated one. I'd probably give it around an 8 or something. I can acknowledge that it has an... acquired taste. Once you get a hang of the gameplay loop it gets much easier and rewarding
This is a terrible review. It doesn’t even try to review it based on its own merits and genre.
It is a V-Pet simulator with RPG mechanics. Of course it’s grindy. I could understand a 6/10 or perhaps a 7/10.
For anyone on the fence, I say give it a try (even if after a sale.) It’s a fun little game with enjoyable monster raising mechanics that you can hop into after a hard day of work. It’s no masterpiece like BotW or Elden Ring, but it is a wonderful pet simulator with JRPG focused content.
Was surprised so many people on this website where hyped for it when the ps4 version was critically panned years ago.
@LeJuiceCup I gotta level with ya. I think the review is fair. The original before the port received the same mixed reception.
Digimon games cater to a niche audience and that's fine, but every game released in the franchise has always been barely average at best.
I'd rather stay at work then come home and play this XD
But this game does have its fans, I just don't think it gels with most people.
Well, that's why Reviews are subjective. No reason to get upset about someone not liking some game xD I enjoyed it very much on PS4 and will probably play through it again some time this year (:
i checked around and already seen a few positive reviews for this game something does not add up with this 4 score..
Yeah this is ain't a good game but then the World games never were. Cyber Sleuth 1/2 are the best DM games by far.
Meh Digimon games were never that good compare to Pokemon. At least Digimon Survive is decent.
I'm happy to see that Nintendo Life does not shy away from giving bad games bad review scores. This is why Nintendo Life remains as my #1 trusted gaming site.
Only Digimon game I and many others will care about is if we get more Cyber Sleuth style games
After watching some "Digimon ghost stories" and having a vivid flashback of watching some of the very first series as a little kid, I so want to get into this franchise, but they aren't making it easy for me.
The reviews of this site seem to be more and more clickbait. Nintendo Life often seems to have the lowest scores if it is a bit niche and not published by Nintendo and often the highest if it is.
@ComfyAko Get Digimon Surive. It's the best Digimon game out there.
@MajorTom No lol, they are just honest about calling a bad game bad. Other review sites have 0-10 scores but in practice it's only 6-10 to not make people salty.
@Zeroo Pokémon Scarlet and Violet getting a 7 while both Sonic Frontiers and this getting 4s says enough to me.
I might check this out at some point when it goes on deep discount. I've admittedly heard mixed things about the PS4 and Vita versions. There are objectively better Digimon games on Switch anyway.
@MajorTom Pokémon Scarlet and Violet was the most fun Pokemon game of the past decade with the best story so far. If not for some technical issues, it would've been a 10. Hence, a 7 is a very fair score.
@Zeroo If that is your response, then it will not be worth giving any more comments to be honest. Nintendo Life certainly is the best review site for you if you got Nintendo bias.
@MajorTom "The reviews of this site seem to be more and more clickbait. Nintendo Life often seems to have the lowest scores if it is a bit niche and not published by Nintendo and often the highest if it is."
Hell I felt this like about a couple years ago when they bad mouth'd this specific indie 3DS game that I won't mention and it seemed they bad mouth'd every game by the developer for some reason. Half the review was just tasteless jokes at the developer's expense. Which is why I stopped coming as often as I did.
I understand that V-Pet simulators aren't everyone's thing but this review lacks some things that I feel like they didn't really get that far into the game or look far into it beyond the surface level since I see no mention of (redacted to see if the reviewer actually played the game) because it really is a big part of the game and is not once mentioned in the review.
'Combat is simple' should never be a good thing. That amounts to mindless button mashing or repetitive menu selections. I'll never understand their pro/con system.
Also, Vita3k for Android is out...so ya know, there's that route.
@KaiserGX I think what upsets me most is that some people who might’ve actually enjoyed the game for what it was will be deterred by this review and the prior reviews back from its initial release, all because the reviewers had a totally skewed expectation from what it was trying to be. Fan reception is generally really positive, especially on Steam.
This reminds me of how developers got all up-in-arms at Elden Ring, all because they didn’t understand it on its own merits and had some weird predisposition towards particular games and genres.
Niche things are not bad because they are niche, you just need to understand the niche and review it according to that. In many ways it seems like some just don’t understand Digimon World’s gameplay loop well. Don’t get me wrong, Digimon World: Next Order isn’t the best thing ever, but it is about as enjoyable as your average pet-sim game.
Edit: Even the general critical consensus on the game from aggregate sites has it at “average.”
@KaiserGX Yep same, I also come a lot less often to this site nowadays. I like having the news about upcoming games and stuff on one place, but there so many of those random articles in between for some time now.
You certainly are also right about the reviewer not seeming to know what kind of game they are actually reviewing. Some reviews seem more like personal preferences than actual reviews. I still remember that Silver Case review getting a 3, because the reviewer did not like the art-style and considered the characters unlikeable.
@LeJuiceCup It just feels a bit unfair sometimes... I know a review is just someone's opinion, no game is for everyone but I feel like some games just have a certain audience that doesn't really appeal to a majority of the people but to the people it does appeal to it might do what it does very well.
An example with the actual Digimon LCD V-Pets. They still make/sell them. The niche that enjoys that really enjoys it, myself included. I know it's not something that appeals to a lot of people anymore but... is that enough reason to say it's bad? I guess that's why there's multiple reviews/reviewers but I feel like there's a small hive mentality that certain people have we're they'll just make up their mind from one review/article and that's that. A lot of people may have missed something they would have really enjoyed.
@RubyCarbuncle I don't trust reviewers when it comes to measuring difficulty. Is this game actually that bad on normal mode? I've played both the original World and Re:Digitize, if that helps you assess.
cant wait to play this tbh, i just hope it isnt as cutscene heavy as cybersleuth. after the farce of a game that survive was...im happy to have a non visual novel game. tho i do wish that they would just make a damn good digimon game for once
@pennylessz The easier difficulties just makes the game less grindy. You gain less exp on training in normal.
@King-Demon Not that story heavy. There is story from what I've seen but it's mostly like events. Most of your time will be spent exploring/training.
@MajorTom I think this was the website where a reviewer complained that a visual novel had “too much reading” like huh…
This review feels like it was written by someone who both never played RPGs and knows 'n cares nothing about the IP it's based on... if/when CoD comes to Switch they'll have someone who only likes puzzle games and hates anything fast paced review the series from that point on.
@MajorTom Let's not forget that barebones Mario Strikers Battle League getting a 9. User score here is below 7, which is where it should be for costing $60 and giving buyers one of the shallowest experiences among all AAA Switch games
"This mechanic makes the game feel like a strange cross between a Virtual Pet simulator and an RPG, but the mechanics to take care of your partner’s physical needs are clumsily implemented."
That's literally the hole point of the game. Its a virtual pet with RPG elements. That's the main draw of Digimon World games. Is that you can raise your Digimon like a pet.
"Each time you send the Digimon to train at the Gym, they accrue a bit of fatigue.....It is a frustratingly slow process that could have been drastically improved by offering an option to rest until all fatigue is gone.
I don't know how far you played this game. But the game has a skill that allows you to increase how much resting lowers fatigue.
"Without them, it feels very much like random chance with a bit of luck mixed in."
The game actually tells you what stats you need to obtain witch Digimon. Its not random at all.
"The reason you’ll spend so much time at the Gym, grinding out stats through training is because of the sudden and devastating difficulty spikes that show up as you wander the world."
The difficulty spikes are their to tell the player which area's are meant to be accessed by the player at that point of the game. And the gym isn't the only way to increase your digimon's stats. You can gain stats by fighting strong enemies. And the game gives you items and skills that increase stat gains as well.
This review makes the game seem far worse than it actually is. The game has far more quality of life features and. As well as features to mitigate how much time the player needs to grind. It completely ignores that this version even adds a beginner mode that takes away any need to grind.
@LeJuiceCup Yeah, gotta be honest, wile I think I would dislike the game, no doubt the game is supposed to be a pet simulator of some kind, with rpg elements sprinkle in right? The reviewer just sounds like they hated the whole point of the game in general, if someone who doesn’t likes turn based rpgs review a turn based rpg, the. Complains about how boring taking turns in combat is, it’s not a fair review, I agree with you.
@LeJuiceCup No offense but I trust fan reviews less than I do reviewers. They are more likely to be bias to a product. Positive review bombing is annoying.
The idea that fans are more likely to be honest vs critics simply because they know a franchise is funny. I have seen more often than not fans are more than happy to play the role of salesman if it means helping a company sell more units.
I'll probably stick to Cybersleuth and Survive for my Digimon fix.
I was excited to see this game getting a port after watching a streamer play on hard mode. It looked a bit grindy, but in a fun vpet raising way. There's a lot of interesting evolutions you can unlock as you repeat the raising cycle.
@Blitzgreymon Thanks for the beginner mode info. I already beat the game when it came it on PS4 so I wasn't that interested in a 2nd go through but knowing there's a way to speed it up might make me pick this up again
@pennylessz I played on Normal and admittedly it was extremely grindy. It took a lot of effort to get my Tamer lv up to a point where the game became less grindy and Digimon dying didn't really matter anymore. Easy mode just reduces all of that so if lengthy grinding isn't your thing play on that difficulty. This version has an even easier difficulty called Beginner so you might be interested in that over Easy.
Some people just don't like Virtual Pet Simulators and I can understand that here with the Reviewer.
PSA: The Japanese release also includes English support (though I have no idea if Japanese audio is supported while playing in English). The Western release, however, only contains English (and the usual European suspects).
I’m a little tempted to double-dip, but I want to confirm if I can play with Japanese audio.
I’m also really happy that both this and Kirby are Version 1.0 on the cart with no day-one downloads.
I must've been doing something wrong or I didn't understand then, because it seemed like you had to train random stats, go outside the gym and then interact with your digimon (which was cumbersome) only for them to reveal one stat of what you need to digivolve. It should have been clearer, Cyber Sleuth made it very clear how to get the Digimon you want, this game is impossible for new fans to get into.
@LeJuiceCup I bought this game day one, when there were no reviews yet, because I played Survive and really wanted to get more into Digimon, but I literally had to google what the gameplay loop was because they just didn't make it clear at all, despite walls of text tutorials. The map designs were just bad, the combat was a snoozefest, and it was like the game discouraged you from exploring, because you would just get K'Od or have to keep returning for potty breaks. That and the above point i mentioned where you had to train random stats until it slowly drip-fed the info you needed. Just a terrible new player experience overall, I have to agree wholeheartedly with this review, in that only die-hard fans will appreciate what it offers.
Writes: Combat is simple
Also writes: only managable on easy
The game is deeper than you think the training only takes up most of the tome if you are inefficient. This game is not made for people that want a game that tells them what to do on every move. Experimenting, tryong out new methods looking at type advantage movesets etc is part of the gameplay.
I tried writing an in-depth comment about the review but it was too long lol
Oh well, I'll just keep a couple of things here because I'm not willing to edit my whole "review of this review" to fit here as I don't know how many characters I can use. This was the last paragraph of what I wrote.
This felt like a very unfair review of a niche game that many more people would enjoy if approached in good faith, and by the comment section here I can see a lot of people who were interested in the game turned away by the review. The game does have its problems, for sure, it's definitely no masterpiece. However, the reviews paints it on a very negative light that it really doesn't deserve, on complaints about things that are just unfounded or just attached to the genre itself. As an ex-reviewer myself, I know very well that this game doesn't lend itself well for the way reviewers play games, especially when the publisher doesn't provide an early code, but this one felt like it was hurt by trying to rush the review out of the door quickly. For anyone that was interested in the game before this review, I highly recommend looking up some content about the game on YouTube, there's a lot of good stuff there from creators that are more in the know about Digimon as a franchise or just monster taming games in general.
Oh, and one valid criticism I saw on multiple places is about the difficulty settings. This is a valid criticism and from what I've seen, apparently the difficulty settings had their name changed from the Japanese to the English release - in Japanese, the English Easy is Normal and the English Normal is Hard, so that makes sense why people are not enjoying Normal.
I'm playing on English Easy and found it a good time, the only difference between the difficulty settings is the amount of stats you gain, so it makes progress a bit too slow on higher difficulties. The way they worded the whole system is very bad, please don't feel bad about playing on Easy or even Beginner, it just speeds up the process.
On the one had, this review doesn't seem very good, kind of biased and doesn't seem to recognize the value of games in niche circles or genres that aren't to the reviewer's personal taste, which isn't super professional.
On the other hand, I don't think Next Order is very good. Not even just narrowing it down to 'Digimon games' (which are often a bit of...let's say an acquired taste) but to 'vpet Digimon games' specifcally. It has a few nice features from being a newer game but there are so many missteps that I consider it inferior to Re:Digitize in many, many ways. I do wish they would take the Decode port, upgrade it, and release that instead. Or make something new, but that's not super likely with the World (vpet) style being so much more niche than the Story style of games.
From what I've seen it looks like too much time, effort, and money was put towards pandering when the game was originally made, promising big interesting things and then stopping at the bare minimum in the delivery, ESPECIALLY in pretty much every single part of the story. And the two-digimon system might sound cool at first, but it quickly makes things more bothersome because they'll inevitable desync their eat-sleep patterns.
Absolutely I agree with that. This game was good 7 years ago. I played ps vita version and switch port is %100 same. Nothing any improvement. It completely big disappointment, in my opinion.
Easy mode is normal mode in japanese.
@ChibiNinja I've played re digitize and new order. And by far new order is the better game. In redigitize you can train for hours to get a ultimate. And it will still be trash and die from weak mobs. In the original digimon world if you had a ultimate you were actually strong. In redigitize you are perpetually weak and are powerless to change that.
In next order the power scaling actually makes sense. If you fight enemies that are of similar evolution and experience level to you will actually have a fair fight. If you use you are careful and pay attention to your digimon stats and enhance your player skills the game is reasonably challenging but not overly hard. Unfortunately most people are used to brainless games that don't require tactics, strategy or planning to win. They see grinding in a game and decide that means they have no choice but to grind. Its why you have people claiming that dragon quest is too grindy. Even though its possible to beat any Dragon Quest game without grinding.
Its the same with Next Order sure there is grinding. But the game gives the player so many ways to limit the amount of grinding you have to do. It gives you items that build stats quicker. You can build up the gym so training is more effective. You can fast travel to parts on the map in order to defeat stronger enemies in order to build up stats faster. None of the reviews criticizing the game ever mention this. Instead they decide because the game isn't a total Pokemon rip off it sucks.
@Nanami_Ataraxi You don't need to train stats for evolution info you can get the info just from fighting enemies. There is also a feature that you obtain in chapter 2 that lets you lock evolution routes. So you can get the Digimon you want just by training your stats to a certain level. And a percentage of stat gains will hold over after you die. So each new generation will evolve faster than the last. By the second generation in my playthrough. My Digimon took less than a day of in game time to reach the Champion level.
@LordCha stop lying. The switch port is nowhere near the vita version before the international edition. Gameplay and balancing is completely different from the inferior vita version, moreover it wasn't localized at all
Removed - unconstructive feedback
@Vexx234 nah the author didn't have valid argument. His whole writing is purely nitpick without understanding the mechanic first. He played the game wrong and decided to ***** talk about it.
I understand the game's far from perfect, but the author's take were just nonsense and easily debunked
@Zeroo it's not honest review, it's nitpicking at best.
@MajorTom Honestly, scarlet and violet would be the best pokemon game in like since like black and white easily except the performance issues and generally bad programming. I mean, the camera clips through the world regularly. That alone is unacceptable for any other series. If it wasn't a good game underneath the many, many problems and pokemon it would be like a 4.
@Xansies Without the glaring problems it likely will be the best Pokémon since black and white, true. Still that also is not exactly that high of an achievement in my opinion. Most other RPGs evolved far more than Pokémon has done in that time-span. Even without all those giant performance issues are most of the shops just basic menus and mainly consist of a sandwich shop or clothes shop. I am not sure what I would rate the game myself, since I did not play it but I also saw enough footage of it to know that it won't be worth my time.
Still my point mainly was that it should not be rated a 7 with all its issues when they judge Sonic Frontiers and this far more harshly (and far more other games if they are niche or are originally a franchise from a competitor). Sonic Frontiers surely does not deserve the 4, if Scarlet and Violet are a 7.
Removed - unconstructive feedback
How disappointing. I actually liked the other two Digimon games as did my youngest so I pulled the tigger too early. Ah well.
Cheers for the review.
Just beat it... love this game. If you liked World or the V-Pets this is fun. Idk if it's because I played on the easiest difficulty but I didn't need to grind much and I did about maybe 5-6 generations of Digimon (death and rebirth). Didn't really feel like a chore since there a lot of things that certain low level Digimon can do. If I wasn't strong enough I'd go recruit, when I was in a high strong level I would do missions to push the story forward. There's never really a point where you aren't making any progress.
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