A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Digimon World: Next Order is a role-playing game. It's based on the popular Digimon franchise and involves players befriending and raising various digital monsters ("Digimon") to battle against other creatures with the goal of saving the digital world. Players are responsible for raising their Digimon and building friendships with them through proper care. Combat is also a heavy focus in the game, with Digimon using a range of attacks and powers against each other. The violence is relatively tame, though, thanks to the game's more cartoonish style. There are some minor language issues with characters using words such as "damn" and "hell," and some of the female characters are occasionally shown in revealing outfits.
What's it about?
DIGIMON WORLD: NEXT ORDER starts with an ending. After finding your old Digivice in the real world, you're somehow pulled into the Digital World. There, you discover your partner Digimon facing down the Mega Digimon, Machinedramon. With your help, your Digimon partners are able to defeat the foe. Unfortunately, it costs them their lives as they fall in battle as well. But with each ending is a new beginning. Resurrected by the ancient Jijimon, your partners are given a new lease on life in freshly hatched new forms. Jijimon then asks for your help in investigating the source of recent strange happenings. Now it's up to you to rescue your new Digimon friends, care for them, bond with them, and, most importantly, train them for battle. With their help, you'll track down this mysterious new threat and, with a little luck and a lot of help, save the Digital World from utter annihilation.
Is it any good?
This role-playing game can be fun for fans of the franchise, so long as they're willing to deal with lots of micromanagement. It's sometimes hard to believe that the whole Digimon craze originally started 20 years ago as nothing more than tiny electronic virtual pets you had to feed, train, and, well, clean up after. Digimon World: Next Order manages to take fans on a trip down memory lane by incorporating those classic elements as a major part of the gameplay. As much time as players spend in combat fighting against enemies, they'll spend at least as much time monitoring the needs and activities of your various Digimon friends. Between training, feeding, praising, scolding, and sending them to the toilet, it almost feels like you're running an actual day care -- although a day care where the kids have fur, horns, and wings and can shoot out fire, ice, and other elements. It's a very hands-on approach with a lot of micromanagement. Unfortunately, the in-game tutorial is pretty lackluster, leaving players to learn the nuances of things through trial and error.
Digimon World: Next Order requires a fair bit of commitment from the player. It's definitely a blast to play, especially for fans of the franchise, but it has a fairly steep learning curve. The problem is that it takes a lot of time and patience plodding through the first third or so before it builds momentum and finally finds its stride. Right from the start, you have to spend a fair bit of time in a constant care cycle of training, eating, pottying, resting -- and then you wash, rinse, and repeat. Then you have to head out to the Digital World and fight, which is almost as convoluted a process as raising the Digimon. Combat is a weird mix of real-time and turn-based combat. Your team operates on its own, though, as a trainer, it's still your responsibility to direct their actions. This means opening each team member's menu and choosing a special move within a five-second window. It's not exactly a streamlined process, and the tutorial isn't a whole lot of help. But with practice, it eventually starts to feel like second nature, making the game feel like less of a chore. If you can push through these early frustrations, Digimon World: Next Order's gameplay and story build up at an exciting pace and leave you with a real sense of accomplishment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how consumerism affects gaming habits. How important is it for a game to be a part of a franchise? Would it still grab kids' attention without the toys and cartoons? Does playing a game create a desire to buy the related merchandise?
Talk about themes such as friendship and caring. Why is there more of a personal stake in a game where the player is responsible for raising and caring for the creatures in it?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Bandai Namco
- Release date: January 31, 2017
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes
- Last updated: November 2, 2020
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