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Digimon World: Next Order Review

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Digimon World: Next Order is the next Digimon game to have been given a port to the current generation Playstation after its initial release in Japan, on PS Vita only back in March of 2016. Digimon World: Next Order is an open world role-playing game where the gameplay is similar to that of Digimon World Re:Digitize and Decode, but with the addition of a second Digimon partner. The player navigates the world while raising two Digimon simultaneously. Battles take place using an AI battle system with the Digimon fighting automatically and the player issuing strategic commands to them. If you were like me and grew up watching the show on Cheese TV, while you trained up your very own Digimon or Tamagotchi, you were excited about the western release of this game. But how does it stack up to its predecessors such as one of my favourites, Digimon World on the PS One? Well let's dive into the digital world and get acquainted with the ins and outs from story to gameplay.

Next Order's story is confusing but simple at the same time, much like tying a knot in a rope, but that rope is actually a snake. The idea is there, but it is watered down by the amount of tutorials and dodgy one sided dialogue. The player's character never speaks, except through the same weird gestures I tend to make when trying to communicate at long distances with one of my deaf friends. This creates a gap in all conversations between my character and those of the world. I found myself concentrating more on not pressing the skip button, rather than listening. This being said, the child in me wanted to hurry up and get my own Digimon to save the Digital World!
As I mentioned briefly beforehand, there is most definitely not a lack in tutorials. The game tries to teach you everything it has to offer all at once and I mean everything from combat to helping your Digimon go boom boom. I found myself in what I call, "Tutorial hell". After seven hours of play, I found myself re-reading the tutorial windows having forgotten how to do what I just learnt because there was no slow methodical videos or game pausing prompts. As many of the other AGE members know, I am the kind of gamer that can pick up a game and almost instantly know how to play but this game confused the hell out of me. If I sat down and spent more time with this game I think I could learn everything it wants to teach me. But should I have to?

In my time playing Next Order, I found that the only buttons I needed was "Cross" and "Left Stick" (Mainly because I had no idea what I was doing exactly). Everything else was only needed in certain circumstances. "Cross" is the action button for practically everything and "Left Stick" was to move around. Other buttons you may use is "Square" to direct your partner Digimon to use curatives, discipline or praise them and check their stats. The other is "Triangle" which brings up the Digi-Vice which handles all communication between the Digimon in the world to track quests new and old. It is also where you can save your progress. L1 and R1 select and deselect your partner Digimon respectively, thus giving you the ability to use curatives, food or other items such as the porta-potty on specific partners. Combat is primarily autonomous and is slightly confusing. Press "Cross" when your Digimon attacks or gets attacked to support them with excited cheer. Which builds power points you can then use to command your Digimon to use specific abilities.

Acquiring and training your partner Digimon was something I really looked forward to having a go of. You can choose from a wide array of Digi-Eggs which house your new replaceable partners in the Digital world. The reason why I say replaceable is because they can die and they die easily. Causes of death can range from combat to over-training. That's right you can train your Digimon until they die of exhaustion. As soon as I realized this, I frantically tried to remember how to cure sickness from exhaustion, and found nothing and thus I was back to re-reading old tutorials which didn't help me either. So ultimately my partners I spent a solid hour training and feeding had died and the game made me choose two more eggs to become my new partners.
The game has a bright and happy feel to its graphical tone, and fancy graphics are not to be expected from a PS Vita port, but it still manages to look good where it needs to. I found it actually helped with the fact that the game takes place in a world made out of computer parts and graphical interfaces. Animations were small and repetitive, but again it's a PS Vita port. A catchy soundtrack and a few cartoon style cutscenes bring the game more life and a nostalgic feel which had me wishing I still had my yellow and blue Digi-Vice.
           
All in all this game had too many ideas at once and they collided with each other for screen time and usefulness. If the tutorial was simplified and more accessible to the player, it would be a much better experience.

SCORE: 5 out of 10

Positives:

  • Nostalgic effect
  • In-depth raising of your Digimon
Negatives:   
            
  • Washed out story
  • Incomprehensible tutorials
  • Lack of correct guidance
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Playstation Vita
Genre:  Open world JRPG
Initial Release: January 31st, 2017
Other Releases: JP: March 17th 2016 (PlayStation Vita)
                                  EU: January 27th, 2017 (PlayStation 4)
  •                                   JP: February 26th, 2017 (PlayStation 4)
Developer:  B.B. Studio
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment

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Aussie Gamers Express
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