Review by digiexpert
Another sleep-depriving RPG from Square-Enix. There's a catch though. This one is good.
I got this game after reading about it in Game Informer, and, what can I say, it beats even my expectations.
Neku, our main character, and traditional gravity-defying hair RPG protagonist, wakes up in the Shibuya Crossing with amnesia. He gets up to find a strange black pin in his hand, and that he has a message in his phone. "Reach the 104 building, or face erasure. You have 60 minutes. From, The Reapers." This is followed by many similar challenges, all of which they have a time limit for, or they're erased from existence. I can't say much more without spoiling it, but it's great in its execution. However, it's been done to death. Also, as KH:COM had a theme of memories, and KH2 had themes of darkness and light, TWEWY has a theme of the value of other people.
Yes, I know, perfect score on graphics? Well, I am a spriter, and as a result, instinctively think about game graphics. I thought this game had beautiful graphics, especially in the cut scenes. The graphics in battle are fluid, and it looks like every single sprite was meant to be there, nothing looked like an unnatural pose for Neku, his partner Shiki, or any of the enemies, bosses, or other characters. This is definitely the high point of the game.
In battle, Neku and his partner share one HP bar, meaning you have to keep an eye on both of them to make sure both of them don't die. It's easier than it sounds though, especially given the enemies, "Noise", also share one health bar per noise, which are also on each screen (incase that was confusing, there's an enemy called "bigbanfrog". There will be one on the bottom screen and one on the top screen). Neku is on the bottom screen, and using the pins you've equipped on him, he attacks by performing various motions on the touch screen. For instance, one may have you dragging your stylus across ground with nothing on it to send pillars of fire, and another may have you drawing circles on the same kind of ground to send a meteor, while another may require you to tap a Noise repeatedly to shock them with lightning. The top screen, with your partner, attacks with the D-pad, left and right to attack, down to block or dodge, and up to jump. The A, B, X, and Y buttons are interchangeable for the D-pad, depending on what's comfortable. You follow arrows to a symbol, for instance, for Shiki; they're cards with a plus, circle or squiggly lines. Getting these symbols in the right way, depending on the partner that could mean getting a pair of the same suit, getting a number higher, lower or equal to a number, or guessing the symbol that comes up next, gets you Fusion stars. When they reach a certain amount, you can use a fusion attack, doing large amounts of damage to all Noise, and healing you. Some people will tell you that's too complicated. I think it's just complicated enough to require a bit of thought.
I'm not saying I don't like the music, I'm just saying there are only a few types. J-pop or Hip-hop. Usually, I hate hip hop. But this is pretty good. It's got all kinds in those ranges though. Like the catchy "Hybrid", to the haunting "It's so wonderful". If you're a fan, you'll want to turn up your DSes volume. If not, you can always turn the volume off. Also, there are lots of moments of Voice acting. I always laugh when the skater-punk Beat makes a noise best described as "awahhh!" and a Reaper that Neku nicknames Pi-face, a guy who uses math terms often, sounds surprisingly fearsome saying "So zetta slow!" before he attacks your top screen guy.
The rank of that comes from the amount of stuff there is to collect. First of all, each of the games 99 Noise drops five items, one per difficulty level, which you can change from the game's menu. Secondly, the shops in the game carry 5+ unique items per shop. Some are food, which you can eat over time for Stat Boosts, some are clothes, which give the obvious stat boost while worn, some are Pins, which grant new attacks if equipped, some are CDs, allowing you to listen to the game's music, some are stickers, granting your partner better skills, and some are just miscellaneous crud used to get more items. There are over 400 items in total, so a completionist will have their hands full with this game.
A great game, with a few flaws in combat and Sound, but they're easily forgivable, and the whole game is definitely one worth a try for anyone who likes action RPGs. I wasn't kidding about the sleep depriving thing. I'll be playing it, and look at the clock, then think to myself "Oh, it's one A.M." Then keep playing.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: The World Ends with You (US, 04/22/08)
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