Digimon World: Next Order is a pet simulator. Sure, it is also a real-time strategic RPG, one where you need to meet certain objectives, bring scattered citizens home, and save a world. But, it’s also about properly caring for and training partners to make them the best fighters they can possibly be. Their care is in your hands. Only temporarily, though. Eventually, they’ll be gone. But, even though nothing “lasts,” it enhances the overall experience.
Each Digimon World: Next Order partner’s time in this world is limited. Depending on the form they’re able to reach, their life span changes. After between 10 and 20 days, your characters will begin wheezing and die. You get some warning, of course. The Megas will live longest, while Champions and Ultimates probably won’t make it past 15 days. Since you know going in some idea of how long you have, it’s easier to bear. (Of course, certain foods and reaching specific points in the story can extend life spans significantly or even indefinitely.)
One of the reasons Digimon World: Next Order’s life spans are so great has to do with the variety. There are over 200 characters here. Do you really want to stay locked into the same two the whole time? I wouldn’t and didn’t. By giving us an opportunity to naturally switch, we know we’ll have the chance to experiment. We can see what might or might now work. It forces us to think creatively, be a little more free with our selections, and maybe even train harder to overcome temporary challenges.
Even though these bonds are temporarily, Digimon World: Next Order still makes them feel important. Though you might only get 10 days with them, it still feels like each incarnation matters. Maybe it’s because that does still feel like a sufficient period to connect with a character. I think it’s more likely that the brief period helps make us appreciate the time we have. We have this brief shining moment with a character. We can make memories that stick with us. Perhaps the time that my rookie Biyomon stuck it out and defeated characters at a higher level than my party, even though Hagurumon couldn’t. Maybe when my Piddomon became Angewomon. We know it won’t last, so what happens sticks with us more.
It could also be due to the legacy these characters leave behind. We aren’t losing them, not really. The Digimon World: Next Order partners are constantly resurrecting. Each time, they’re better and stronger than ever before. I can even wall off specific evolutionary paths by upgrading the Dojo, guaranteeing the Digimon I love will be coming back. Needing to part for a while is much easier to bear when you know it’ll only be a few more virtual days before they’re back and stronger than ever before.
The idea of life spans would seem like something that would have the potential to annoy people. After all, knowing that you have your party exactly the way you like it, only to lose it within 10 to 20 days, could be frustrating. Digimon World: Next Order makes it work. The brevity means you get to savor each incarnation. You are able to enjoy the variety, which is important in a game with so many possible characters. It’s even possible to look forward to the coming of the new guard, what with the stat boosts that will mean your new buddies will be stronger than ever before. The system works well, making it easy to appreciate the changes.
Digimon World: Next Order is available for the PlayStation 4.