Digimon games Difficult poll but so glad it's here. Needed some time to gather my thoughts but here it is. Incoming nerd out!
I had the most memories with World 1 because it was unique for its time and still is. I had the v-pets before Adventure came out so I consider it the genuine Digimon experience. I never beat the game as a kid because I lost patience halfway through but I can now do 1-mon runs after watching multiple speedruns and researching the game mechanics. That said, it had some frustrating elements like Seadramon fishing, Monochromon's shop, weird walking pattern and some others eased in its sequel Re:Digitize which I'll talk about much later. Speaking of v-pets, every kids in primary school had tab-cheated Monzaemon/Vademon (top-tiers of their time) but beating them with a self-raised Airdramon or Mamemon felt so gooood!
I enjoyed World 3 a lot too. It was a Pokemon-ish JRPG with a cool Digital World. It does have a serious problem with pacing though by forcing you to backtrack a lot for mundane fetch quests and not giving the player the equivalent of a town warp spell or airship when traversing two servers/regions the size of Pokemon's Sinnoh. I often finish the game the same way, a Kotemon solo with a focus on agility and strength, because he has the easiest time of the starters evolving to Imperialdramon PM, one of the game's three Tier 3 Ultimates.
I never finished World 2 tbh. A third-party memory card corrupted itself when I was deep into it and I could never regain the progress I lost because the game takes too much time to progress. Ditto for World 4 but that's because the clunky battle system turned me off immediately...
Onto the Story games, I definitely liked Cyber Sleuth the best. It reduce all of the tedium from previous Story games by making it easier to slide between lines, control encounter rate and speed up battles in general. Great characters, hilarious sidequests and a mature storyline made it all the better. I'll definitely replay it in the future. I do wish there is a difficulty setting between Normal & Hard, Digimons with non-piercing attacks are stronger and more environment that isn't urban or cyberspace but overall it's a good sign for the future of Digimon games.
My second favourite story game is Dusk. I played it alongside Dawn but it had cooler races overall. However Gatomon/Tailmon is really fun in Dawn because she is the only one who can Armor devolve without suffering a two stage devolution penalty (Armor are treated as Perfect in this game). I played DS after but it hasn't aged well. Too many incomplete lines ending in Adult and Perfect and the whole Veemon family is multiplayer-locked but it does have better pacing as the story quests unlock naturally. Definitely looking forward to the Lost Evolution fan translation that is (hopefully) finished this year!
Finally, Re:Digitize the very last game I've played. As the natural successor of World 1, it's made many improvements. Save anywhere, significantly higher move learn rate, moves being more MP efficient, faster battles and coliseum battles not wasting in-game time (and your partner's life). Cosmetic accessories are cool too (classy top-hat Darkdramon ftw!). There are some questionable changes though that may or may not be appealing. Lifespan is much shorter overall (my mid-game MarinAngemon died at age 12, World 1 Perfects can reach 15 with the same condition iirc), maps are larger draining more of your partner's life, evolutions locked until mid/end-game (Seraphimon, WarGreymon and Garudamon for example), storyline addition makes the game more linear and the Digimon roster is rather disappointing (resolved in Decode though). It's also easier than World 1 and there's a password system to make the game even easier if that's your thing. Admittedly, Vitium Adult early-on did caught me off guard dispatching my Greymon with ease but the final boss battle was fun with Darkdramon nuking all incoming reinforcements with Fighting Aura spam. I fed him a Chain Melon just so I could backtrack to the desert and learn the move because he was getting kind of old.
If Decode is localised, I'd buy it just for the extended roster. Import reviews of Next Order hasn't being too positive but I'd buy it anyway if its localised for PS4 or PC which are the only systems I owned this gen aside from 3DS and mobile. I'd like to play Digital Card Battle next but my RPG backlog is too big now that my work hours' increased
Anyway I picked Cyber Sleuth. It impressed me a lot for a modern game and had the least amount of flaws but Decode might actually beat it if it came out West. Second is World because nostalgia too stronk followed by Dusk.