“Digimon World II” is the PSX Dungeon Crawling Classic You Missed!
The Pokemon and Digimon craze of the late 1990s, early aughts drove kids (and their families) mad with the need to collect, train, and fight them all. Combine this addictive and simple concept with the accessibility and graphical power of the Playstation One and you have a recipe for a gaming classic. Digimon World II is just that classic, a bright, cheerful dungeon crawler based in the world of Digimon that you may have missed when it was originally released back in 2001 in North America. The critics certainly did it no favors, absolutely lambasting the game and decrying its vastly different mechanics from the first game to the sequel.
The game, developed by BEC and published by Japanese conglomerate Bandai, is the dungeon crawler sequel to the original game, Digimon World – a game widely praised and well-received by critics and gamer audiences alike.
Because of its dungeon crawling mechanics, however, Digimon World II is a vastly different game than its predecessor and it is this aspect of the gameplay that may have scared away fans of the first entry in the series.
While the first Digimon World game focused on raising Digimon like pets (a la Pokemon or Tamagotchi), the second game tasked players with exploring massive dungeons called “Domains” inside of a tank called the “DigiBeetle.” The dungeons are filled with both traps and treasure, as well as enemy Digimon laying in wait to challenge the player. Most of these traps can be overcome with items that are sold throughout vendor stores in the game and enemy Digimon can sometimes be coerced into joining your side with the presentation of a gift.
Like most games, each “Domain” has an end boss that will consist of a single Digimon or a tamer with a team of Digimon.
The game features a system called “Digivolving,” or the ability to augment and improve your Digimon as the game progresses.
Digivolving is also one of the most arcane and misunderstood systems in the game, and this adds greatly to its difficulty and learning curve. As with most dungeon crawlers, the slope up towards the top can become quick peaked out of nowhere, making the game’s difficulty almost shockingly hard seemingly out of nowhere.
The levels of Digivolving are as follows rookie, champion, ultimate, and mega level Digimon. Each stage of evolution requires a set number of points to go up the ladder and not all Digimon can evolve – a process that is confusing to many players.
One aspect of the game’s development that may explain its divergence from Digimon World is that both games were announced simultaneously, implying that different development teams took the reins of each game, hence the wildly different takes on the Digimon universe.
When initially released, Digimon World II was not a well-received game but time has shown some kindness to this entry in the dungeon crawling pantheon. As anyone who knows dungeon crawlers can attest, difficulty and esoteric mechanics can be par for the course, and Digimon World II features both of these in spades. If you’re a fan of exploring labyrinthine dungeons and collecting digital pets, Digimon World II for the Playstation One is a retro game you need to check out.