The World Ends With You
[DS] [Square Enix/Jupiter]
We all know Square-Enix. They're quite possibly the biggest name in gaming when it comes to RPGs, creating such popular franchises as Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. Let's face it, most people must have heard the name Final Fantasy before at some point in their lives. With Square raking in so much cash from their popular franchises, it's hard to imagine them exploring the unknown and developing a game that's obviously not going to sell too well, right? Wrong. Because back in 2008 they published a unique yet brilliant game by the name of The World Ends With You for the DS. Developed by Jupiter, the same team that worked on the Kingdom Hearts games, The World Ends With You (or TWEWY for short) is quite possibly the best RPG on the DS, as well as one of the best games to appear on the console in general. Get ready for a lot of reading, because this is gonna be my biggest and (hopefully) best review yet.
So, how to begin? Well, I guess I should start with the story. I'm obviously trying to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, just like my other ones, but with The World Ends with You it's quite difficult. Basically, I'll be talking about the first few days of the game's storyline only in this paragraph, so some very minor spoilers may ensue. Got it? Good, now read on. The story begins with Neku, a teenage boy who really doesn't like other people. One might consider him an 'emo', minus the black hair and self-harming buisness. Neku lives in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, Japan, living out his life until something unforunate happens. One minute, Neku is chilling in Shibuya, the next minute he wakes up in the middle of the 'Scramble Crossing', soon receiving a mysterious text message on his phone. The message reads: "Reach 104" as well as giving a time limit. Neku replies with a subtle remark and treats the message as spam, therefore deleting it. This doesn't seem to work though, and the message stays put. Soon after that, mysterious graffiti-like monsters appear out of nowhere and attack Neku. Confused and frightened, he legs it to the Statue of Hachiko where he runs into Shiki, a teenage girl who, much like the protagonist has been put in the same situation. Unlike Neku, Shiki seems to know what's going on and urges him to 'forge a pact' so they can team up and fight the 'Noise', which are the monsters that attacked Neku earlier. And so, the protagonist meets his partner.
|The dual-screen battle system is unique, and works very well for the most part.|
|Cutscenes are well animated and make good use of the game's brilliant art-style.|
|Meet Sho Minamimoto, also known as The Grim Heaper. He's a bit mental...|
So, I've talked about The World Ends with You's visuals, music, battle system... So how does the actual gameplay match up? Very well actually. Outside of battling and reading dialogue you'll spend most of your time running around the streets of the real-world Shibuya district in Tokyo, entering shops and buying Pins, items and armour. However, this isn't the sort of fantasy crapola you'll be able to equip in other Square RPGs. In fact, you'll be buying the sort of clothing you'll find in real life, such as shirts, jeans and jackets. One big difference with the clothing in The World Ends with You compared to other RPGs is that the majority of items are under a different brand name (as well as most of the Pins). Depending on Shibuya's trends, you get various bonuses depending on which brands you wear and which Pins are in your deck. However, if a brand name is unpopular the system may work the other way round and the stats of your Pins may decrease. Also great is the fact that you'll very rarely engage in random battles. Instead, you tap a special 'Player Pin' on the touch screen to scan the area around you, pick fights with enemies and strangely read peoples minds. However, random battles wouldn't be such a let-down in The World Ends with You because the battle system is actually pretty addictive, unlike so many other RPGs.
|The World Ends with You is set in the real-world Shibuya district, so you'll spot plenty of landmarks.|
In conclusion, The World Ends with You is by far one of the best RPGs on the DS, if not the best. It's got an extremely enjoyable story, an addictive battle system, an amazing amount of replay-value, brilliant character design, great visual flair, the list of positives just goes on and on... I haven't even mentioned everything the game has to offer in this list, such as the real-time features, quests, Secret Reports and evolving Pins. There's too much packed into TWEWY to be written about in a 1600 word review, so why not head on eBay and buy a copy yourself? It'll definitely be worth it...