Review by Bkstunt_31
A unique action game with a great soundtrack!
The World Ends With You is one of the most unique games to hit the Nintendo DS this year, and before I give away too much in my intro, let me tell you why:
The story features Neku, a teenage-loner who wakes up into some sort of sick game in the middle of Shibuya Japan. In this game you and your partner (you are called "players" in this game) must complete missions for the "reapers", or masters of this game. To get in your way, the reapers control noise that will attack you, and if you don't complete your mission, you will be... eliminated. How did Neku wind up here? Not only must Neku fight for survival, but he must now work with a partner (this is quite a chore for Neku). Eventually Neku learns that he can fight off the noise with special pins that bestow upon him a wide variety of powers, and sets out to learn what is going on.
The story starts out very mysterious, and even as you slowly discover what happened to you, you'll never truly learn everything. Neku is a fairly good character, as he is stubborn in his ways but is forced to take in a variety of viewpoints as he works with his partners and other characters in Shibuya. The other characters in the game each have their own back stories which are slowly discovered as well. It's a fairly good story, with plenty of twists, but proceeds a bit slow and does nothing to flat-out WOW you.
Game play: 9/10
The game play is what sets this game apart. The way Neku fights is very entertaining, as you'll take these special pins into battle and level them up, gaining stronger attacks. And since there are quite a few pins to choose from you'll never get tired of finding a good combo. Some pins will even evolve into new ones. The unique part of the game comes from controlling your partner, because while you are fighting on the bottom screen, your partner will be fighting the same enemies on the top screen. You can tell them what to do by using the control pad to navigate attacks. As you can see, controlling two people like this can be hard, so thankfully you can work your way into it by having your partner auto-attack if you don't give them directions after a set amount of time. After working in unison, the two of you can unleash an ultimate attack on the enemy. After the battle, you will also gain experience and items, leveling your character up.
You will also have to buy clothing to equip, and you can even eat food to increase your stats. Your clothing directly influences the fashion in the region you are in, which will directly influence the power of certain pins (I mostly ignored this part, unless I was forced into paying attention to it). The game is fun to play, as the pin-based combat requires a lot of DS functionality involvement. You can even change the difficulty of the game on the fly through the menu, or even for a single battle if you are having problems with it. Overall, this game is about having fun.
The graphics in the game are pretty impressive. Not only is it designed about Shibuya (several landmarks are noticeable), but there is an incredible amount of detail in the game. The game has a distinct anime feel to it as well, and I feel all of the character's are designed well. The enemies have several distinct marking on them as well which make them stand out. The battle animations are smooth and have plenty of variety. I would have enjoyed seeing the clothing of the game actually change Neku's looks as well as his partner's looks, though. Overall, you will enjoy the graphics in The World Ends With You, as it is bright, crisp, and great to look at.
Music/Sound Effects: 10/10
There is one pre-condition factor for loving the music in this game: You have to like Pop music. The music quality in the game is outstanding, and it has quite a few tracks in it as well. It seems to pick them at random for each battle, but none the less there are some great tracks here. These are mostly vocal tracks accompanied by background guitar and drums, with some very catch beats. There are even some cool songs in select cut scenes. The sound effects sound great as well, as do the voice actors limited roles in the game. I very rarely see music implemented in a game so well, but the music in the game does a great job in not only setting the mood but describing Neku (who constantly has his headphones on) as a whole.
With the number of side-quests in the game, as well as the enormous amount of pins to be tried out and leveled, The World Ends With You boasts a great amount of re-playability. There are even some game-required mini-games to get into as well. In fact, once you do finally finish the game, you can get into the New Game + content, which lets you replay any certain chapter to finish it's side quests and fight it's optional enemies if you didn't get around to it the first time around. There is even an extra part of the game that tells the story of an alternate Neku in an alternate Shibuya for you to explore. Also, this is perhaps the only game I've seen that rewards you experience for each day you HAVEN'T played it, and with all the pins you can level you'll need all the experience you can get. As you can see, this game won't leave you bored even after you beat it the first time around.
Overall, The World Ends With You is one of the best, original games you can pick up for your Nintendo DS. The game play is fun and engrossing, and there is enough content here to last you awhile. You should be able to pick it up used for a decent price by now as well. Have fun and keep playing!
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: The World Ends with You (US, 04/22/08)
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