Review by NinjaZidt

Reviewed: 07/07/08

Step Aside and See the World!

Step Aside and See the World!

Once again has Square Enix released another beautifully constructed game, hoping to strike rich once again with their "brand-name" games. However, this time their timing is out of the norm. Instead of the usual monotony of Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and other such games well-known to be made by Square, they decided to create a completely unique game. And the name of that game is the World Ends With You.

This game, specially made, is different in every level: With its more modern soundtrack, its innovative gameplay, its crisp artwork, and grand setting, this game has much to offer.

Story: 9/10

Without revealing much, I'll try to summarize the basic gist of the situation.

Upon starting the game, you're introduced to the silent, anti-social, introverted protagonist by the name of Neku, and immediately you'll know he's not quiet the friendly and sociable type. Soon he wakes up in the middle of the street of Shibuya, realizing that nobody could see him or help him, alone in this world. Afterwards, he is attacked by monsters called Noise, and he rushes off, eventually finding help.

As the game goes on, you'll meet different characters who'll converse and team up with Neku as he tries to learn more about the situation he's in and why he's here. The outer story is that Neku and others are thrown into what is called the Reaper's Game, a game where Players must complete missions and plow their way through the Noise in order to complete them. If they fail - well, they face erasure. Done. Nada. End. Nothing. Fin. You name it, they're gone.

So Neku has no idea why the Hell he's in a game where he'll be "erased" if he loses, but he goes through the weeks in order to discover more about it. Along the way, he'll discover something at the works, like, well, a conspiracy, basically. Looks like I can't reveal anymore, so find out for yourself what'll happen.

So, this kid Neku is a Player who must partner up with some other Players in order to survive the weeks. Thus, Neku has to adapt and change, or else he'll be done for. By doing this, you'll learn more about the pasts of the Partners and even grow close to them as they tell their story. You'll also watch Neku slowly but surely change into a ore acceptable person, even though the change is rather drastic. Nevertheless, the characters have a story to tell, as well, along with the current story at hand.

However, the story has a few flaws. First of all, we all know about the rather...somewhat...childish dialogue and actions during the game, such as a certain Reaper losing her temper one too many times and a few strange words thrown in for the lulz. But there's a limit to everything. Secondly, though the story is deeper than you'd expect, you wouldn't know until right after you've beaten the game and read the secret report. Otherwise, you'll be going through day after day while waiting for something unique to happen.

Gameplay: 10/10

Ten. Period. Honestly, this is the most innovative gameplay ever since the DS had came out. I've have yet to play any other game that fully used the stylus at an exhilarating rate and execute it perfectly. Not only that, there are other parts of the gameplay, as well, that makes it all the more impressive.

Before I describe the main gameplay, I'll describe stats, pins, and items. Stats are all influenced by the clothing you wear and the food you eat. Each piece of clothing has an ability and requires a certain number of BRAVE for the characters in order for it to be worn. A certain about to food could be eaten in a day. Each food serving has a number of "bytes" that much be digested before the characters could continue eating and before the characters could gain the stat boost.

Moving on now to one of the main concepts of the game: Pins. Pins are not only your "quest" items and money at times, they are also your weapons in battle. In battle, you can have up to six pins at once (You'll have to work for them, though.), and every pins has a certain stylus effect that requires to be done in order to be used. For example, the "Shockwave" pin requires you to slash the screen in order to attack the enemy. Thus, these Pins are important as they're your only way of attacking your enemy in this game.

As for the battle system, it's a bit complicated and takes a bit of time to get used to. When the battle starts, you and your partner are on two different screens and share the same HP bar. Thus, if the HP bar is gone, then it's game over for the both of you. You control Neku on the bottom screen using your stylus and your partner on the top screen using the D-pad or the ABXY buttons. You already know how to fight while using Neku, but the partner is another thing. On the top screen, if you press in a direction (Left or right), you'll start a chain of attacks to hurt the enemy. A "combo map" will appear, and you'll have to press the directions in order to attack. Along the way, there's also a simple card game where if you complete a certain objective with the cards, you'll gain stars contributing to the fusion attack. Fusion attacks are gained after obtaining a certain amount of stars and will inflict massive damage.

In a nutshell, that's how it works. I know it doesn't really make sense, but that's how it works: the top screen attacks by using the directional buttons of the ABXY buttons while your control the bottom screen by using Pins and different stylus maneuvers. Oh, and you control both screens at the same time, so good luck. ^_^

Have I mentioned? Yeah, I have mentioned, right. Truly innovative, amazing, and fun. I've never found a game like this before.

Sound: 9/10

The soundtrack is quite expansive and impressive, if I do say so myself. There's a variety of songs, all of while are unique and interesting. There's a nice playlist for battle themes, and even the "overworld" themes are quite fitting. The soundtrack ranges from hip-hop, rap, rock, J-Pop, and God-knows-what-else. But you know what? It's awesome. The music sound fairly modern, breaking the monotony of orchestra or metal themes. Yeah, sure, some songs some rather iffy with the beats, singing, and otherwise, but the rest of hte songs make up for it.

Voice acting is...err...decent, I guess. It's a given, the voices fit the personality and the look of the characters, no matter how you put it, but that doesn't stop it from sounding strange or annoying at times. And I stress at times. In such a serious game, you'd expect their voices to sound a tad more mature, but they're really not. Then again, there's hardly voice acting, period, so what am I complaining about?

Graphics: 9/10

DAMN, I was blown away! I love all of the anime-looking, colorful sprites of not only the Noises, Reapers, Players, and civilians but also of the entire blasted city! When I first turned on this game, I relished the bloody title screen. No, really. And when I started the game, I just sucked and took in all of the wonderful artwork. I mean, everything just looks smooth, crisp, and wondrous. The sprites are nicely crafted, and all of the artwork is beautifully drawn. The whole of Shibuya is awe-inspiring and captivating, making you wonder if Shibuya is really this grand and full of people. Every sprite of civilians are different in their own way and colorful, none of them half-assed. And the Noise? Badass. They're all awesome and amazing. Yeah, some of them are simply recolors, but knowing Square Enix, I won't mark it down for that.

Well, there are only two problems. First is the fact that the sprites seem to become distorted when they move farther and farther towards the bottom edge of the screen. Instead of simply looking bigger, as in zoomed-in, they look pixilated and grainy, which is strange. Secondly, the animation frames could've been smoother. Beat's fortified battle stance seems smooth, so why couldn't everything else?

Replay Value

Plenty of things to do after you finish the game, such as grabbing all the secret reports, completing your item collection, mastering all the pins, and so on. Hell, if you want to, give the game another run; it's better that way. Oh, right, and you gotta try Another Day. It's a very nice, sweet and soothing dessert after the roast beef of hardships.

Overall: 9/10

This is easily my favorite DS game ever and one of my top games overall. I simply enjoyed playing this game, and I hope that others could realize how great and innovative a game like this is. Besides, if sales don't go up, how will we get a sequel? So zetta bad!

And remember: The World Ends With You. Now get out there and get this game!

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: The World Ends with You (US, 04/22/08)

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