Review by ScrawlKnight
A unique, modern RPG that you simply should not miss.
The World Ends With You (DS) Review
"A unique, modern RPG that you simply should not miss."
(Originally Written 2008)
With all the talk it has been getting, it's likely you may have heard of The World Ends With You in passing. What you may not have heard is how awesome it is. The World Ends With You has you traversing around an area of Japan called Shibuya and doing your best to survive the brutal Reapers' Game. With a brilliant storyline, excellent graphics, an original sound track and perfect game play make sure you check this game out!
~~ Story ~~
The World Ends With You is centred around a real area of Japan called 'Shibuya' and the story focuses on a 15 year old boy named Neku. I don't want to give too much away of the story, but it turns out that Neku is in fact dead. He has no memory of how it happened though and before he can try and puzzle things out; he is attacked by strange creatures called 'Noise'. Luckily, a young girl by the name of Shiki comes to his rescue and helps him fight off the noise. It turns out these two are part of "The Reapers' Game": a game where a person who has died can fight for the right to be given a second chance at life. However all players must pay an entry fee to enter the game (their most precious possession) and will not have it returned even if they come back to life.
As you might have guessed, things don't go as planned and Neku finds himself in the game longer than expected and the plot takes a bit of a sinister turn. You'll meet up with a few different partners, all fantastic characters, and meet lots of great characters as you traverse around Shibuya completing the missions of the Reapers' game. Will you will be able to beat the Reapers' at their own game? Or will you be erased?
~~Gameplay : 10/10 ~~
The game is divided up into different weeks and each day you will have a mission issued to you by the Reapers' that you and your partner must complete. If you fail to, you will be erased. The game is controlled almost entirely by touch screen and it works perfectly. Everything is very easy to use and work and it's nice to see a DS game using the screen more than just as a tech demo.
When outside of battle, the bottom screen is primarily used to walk around and interact with characters by dragging the stylus to move. Apart from bosses, battles are entirely optional as the only way to engage an enemy is by 'scanning' an area first. By tapping the pin icon on your screen you can scan the area you are in for any Noise. You can then tap the Noise to start fighting it. Of course, battling is a lot of fun and you'll need to be fighting if you want to be able to level up and progress through the game.
In battle you, as Neku, fight on the bottom screen using 'pins' of which there are over 300 and they all have different powers activated by touch screen controls! Although at times it can feel like some pins are just recycled versions of others. Each pin falls under a different brand name, and depending on the current trends, may get a power boost in battle. You can have up to 4 equipped at a time (though this number can be increased up to 6) and they're displayed at the top of the bottom screen. The battles are all in real time, so you can also drag Neku around to use of the Stylus to dodge enemy attacks.
On the top screen during a battle your partner fights their own individual battle even though you are attacking the same enemies. You can set your partner to Automatic, which is good seen that fighting on two screens can be quite difficult to get used to to begin with. Each partner you fight with has their own unique style and it can make for some very interesting fights.
Outside of battle you'll most be moving around Shibuya to complete your mission for the day. However, along the way you'll want to buy better items in the many shops, collect new pins to use and find a number of secret items and side quests.
~~ Graphics: 10/10 ~~
These are some of the best graphics you're going to see on a DS system. Character models all look very nice, although they can be a little pixelated at larger sizes. The environment around you is brilliant and of a very high quality. Having driving cars go past you on the road of some areas is also a nice touch of realism.
All dialogue sequences of the game take place on the top screen and involve anime-styled drawings of the characters. Some cut-scenes also feature animations with the characters and these are of a very high quality. The style of art really gives the game its own unique charm.
The Noise looks very impressive as well and even though it might have been nice to see a wider variety of enemies rather than some in just different colours, there are still enough different enemies that this isn't much of a problem and won't be something that will bother you as you play.
~~ Sound: 10/10 ~~
Featuring an original sound track by Takeharu Ishimoto and features some music in English and some in Japanese. The background music is entirely these hip-hop and techno themed songs and even if you're not a fan of those music genre's (I know I'm not) you'll still find the music adds to the atmosphere and are enjoyable to listen to. It's very hard to play this game without the volume up!
There is very little voice acting, but when it does appear in a couple of major cut-scenes it's done very well. It's nice to see some English voice acting that doesn't sound fake or stupid. The emotions of the situation are conveyed well and the voices sound very natural.
Sound effects are fantastic as well and attacks in battles are particularly good. They also have characters make comments as battles progress and when you feed them food that they like. One of the best is from Beat when you feed him something he likes: "It's like a party in my mouth!"
~~ Value: 10/10 ~~
The game will take around 30 hours to complete if you do a bit of exploring, but on top of that there's a lot of side stuff to do. This includes getting your item, pin and noise collection up to 100% as well as an extra chapter that becomes available after the game is completed and a mini-game called Tin Pin Slammer.
The extra chapter has no bearing on the story, but it's very, very funny and great to play through. After the game is completed, you'll have access to the Secret Reports. There is one of these for each day of the game and can only be accessed after completing certain requirements on that day. This will require an almost complete second of the play through to get them all. However they reveal some very interesting information and are very worthwhile chasing after.
It will take at least another 10-15 hours to collect all of that (depending how much you got on your first play through), so you won't be running out of stuff to do any time soon!
~~ Finishing Points ~~
This is one of the most original and interesting games I have played in quite some time, and it was non-stop fun and addiction from beginning to end. If you own a DS, I don't care whether you normally like RPGs or not, go out and buy this game! I guarantee you'll love it! Just check out the other player reviews and you'll see I'm not alone!
Total - 10/10
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: The World Ends with You (AU, 04/17/08)
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