Raising a pet is pretty hard work. Kids? Kids are cute, so they can be forgiven for their misdeeds. Pets are cute sometimes, but also evil. If you’ve never seen a cat hacking away at your new couch with its razor-sharp claws, you haven’t experienced true malice. Digimon World: Next Order ofers a little taste of the authentic pet ownership experience as you do your best to keep your giant world-ending megadragon from taking a doody all over itself in public. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.
In a classic tale of isekai nonsense, Digimon World has your character – male or female, per your preference – is sucked into the Digital World. There, they come across a city that’s been basically ruined by evil Digimon-related nonsense. It’s in quite a state; even the local meat farm’s having trouble producing enough delicious steak to keep up with demand. With the help of a pair of Digimon pals that you’re tasked with raising into butt-kicking monstrous dealers of death via the local gym, you’ll have to explore the Digital World, find the missing townsfolk and do your part to save the land.
Make no mistake: while this is a remake that brings Digimon World into the modern era, it’s still got all the classic brutality the original PS Vita game had back in 2016. Your Digimon are needy little guys and, early on, you don’t really have the kind of resources necessary to give them the life you might want them to have. Meat comes at a premium, veggies aren’t particularly satisfying, you can get beaten up by randos on the street without too much issue and there’s absolutely always another trip to the bathroom to think about. It’s a better indictment of modern life than most story-based games, really.
Oh, and if your Digimon poop themselves too often, they turn into a poop Digimon. I guess long-time series fans would be aware of this but it still bears mention. Please look forward to it.
Stick with Next Order, though, and you might have some luck. Properly-raised Digimon can become increasingly capable, allowing you to explore further into the Digital World and find more pals to populate the city. This, in turn, increases the amount of available resources, particularly food, and helps you train your guys to greater heights. It’s a positive feedback loop that eventually leads to Next Order feeling pretty satisfying, particularly when you start unlocking high-level Digimon forms and classics you know and love from the rest of the series. You’ve just got to get past that first part where you’re stumbling around and taking dumps all over yourself. Again, it’s basically modern life.
One way that Next Order really stands out from its PS Vita/PS4 predecessors is its presentation. It’s a pretty gorgeous game, particularly on the PC where it’s got a little space to roam, and even the Switch version isn’t bad. Sound-wise, well, I hope you enjoy screeching Digimon because that’s what you’re getting. So much screeching. You won’t be screeching about bugs, though, as the egregious issues that plagued the original have been cleared up here. Remember when you could accidentally get stuck inside NPCs and have to reset the game if you didn’t have a fast travel item on you? Pepperidge Farm remembers.
If you’re looking for a brutal pet-raising sim with that classic feel that’s so rare to come by these days, you could check out Digimon World: Next Order. You could, but you’d want to prepare first. Bring plenty of snacks, plenty of bandages and a spare portable toilet. You’re going to need all of them. Especially the toilet. Nobody wants to make a mess, right?