Lindsay Reviews: The World Ends With You

Posted: May 13, 2013 by theelindsayclarke in Games
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The World Ends With You is one hell of a game.

We’ve come to know Square Enix for their big, powerful JRPG’s over the years, though most fans would probably tell you the quality of the games has gone downhill. So how does TWEWY on the DS hold up? Well it certainly put my faith back in the company. Every game has flaws. But not every game is like The World Ends With You. So here we go again, with my Triforce of Power: plot, style and gamer-friendliness.

When it comes to this game, I have a lot to say about plot, style and gamer-friendliness, so I’ll just start with plot. This is one of many areas where TWEWY really shines. An elaborate world filled with souls has been presented to us, and they have some ‘splainin’ to do! There is a lot to know and a lot to learn in The World Ends With You. We’re presented with the kind of plot that keeps teaching you along the way, revealing truths and characters slowly, and until the very end. Actually, even after the game’s over, you can do little quests to learn even more about the events that unfolded in your initial playthrough. Because what’s a JRPG without at least 80 hours of playtime, am I right? When it comes down to it, our protagonist is a cliché anime guy: the pissy quiet guy with a bunch of secrets. Except with Neku, half the time he doesn’t know his own secrets. And he doesn’t know why he doesn’t know his own secrets. Along the way you meet a large cast of characters that you will both love and hate, including a brainy little girl, some gangster wannabe, and a charming evil duo that remind me somewhat of Jesse and James form Pokemon. The character relationships, which are a huge part of the plot since they’re vital for your survival, are very well-done, and Neku’s personal growth throughout is quite moving. Sometimes the plot drags on, but it never drags its feet. That is, the game is a little long, when you’re doing really similar missions and battles all the time to get from point A to point B. but it never gets terribly boring, I found, maybe sometimes you’ll put it down for a week and come back, but you will come back, because it keeps you interested.Image

Now let’s look at The World Ends With You’s style. This is definitely a notable part of the game. There are very deliberate stylistic choices made to make TWEWY come across the way it does. It’s rather original: other games have gone for the comic book/manga feel, but TWEWY really sticks to its style. It has this whole rap music/people with baggy clothes thing going on, too, with its own original soundtrack of pop/J-pop/rap-type music. And your armour comes in the form of cool clothes, sometimes from real clothing brands, which is pretty awesome. Everything in this game revolves around its style 100% – from the soundtrack to the dialogue to the way the characters dress and the comic book animation style. There are two ways the game is lacking stylistically to me. One’s rather small and nitpicky: I wish that when you changed the clothes you were wearing your sprite would change. But that’s probably asking for a lit, there’s a shitload of clothing choices in that game. The only major way it’s lacking to me stylistically is that the fight sequences don’t incorporate the comic book style. They’re just… fights. The characters still have the same thick line art look and everything, but I figured they’d use the manga style in the fighting animation. It’d be very original and probably very cool. The fights definitely do feel good; you get that “I’m so strong, I’m so badass” feeling when you hit enemies with certain attacks, and I feel that if the fighting sequences had been more stylised, it would have been even more awesome.

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Finally, onto gamer-friendliness. TWEWY makes good use of the type of control the DS has to offer, using both the stylus and the D-pad in battle. And it compensates for its very unique battle system with a difficulty that rises fairly slowly, and by giving you a wide variety of weapons – pins – for the battles. Nonetheless, in order to succeed at all in this game, you must be able to multitask during battle, constantly controlling two characters at once. Some people are fine with that: I never had a problem (what can I say? Women are great multi-taskers). But I know others who had to give up on finishing the game, since they were unable to ever get used to the controls. I think it’s very cool that The World Ends With You has original gameplay, but you kind of wonder if there’s a point in making it original. People have to relearn it and it won’t work for everyone, whereas most people are used to your typical game controls, and they’re universal. There’s also the whole levelling up your pins by not playing the game thing. Basically, you can level up your weapons by turning off your DS. But I always wondered why. What was the point of that? Shouldn’t I want to play your game? Either way I’d always just go to the DS menu and change the date so the game thought I’d waited 24 hours and levelled up my pins. So for me it was truly pointless. Original gameplay is very cool, and it’s not like it failed completely, but it wasn’t The World Ends With You’s biggest success.

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So this game’s an epic. There’s a whole world of rules to learn about, the plot’s long and engrossing, and it deals with some deep philosophical things (where the game gets its name is very interesting). It’s one of few JRPG’s I’ve ever been able to complete, and I enjoyed it. This isn’t a game to be taken lightly: once you start, you’re going to be in it for the long haul, to know what’ll happen to these characters and what’s up with this world. Of course there’ll be some personal choices that may keep you away from this game, like if you don’t like manga, or you prefer shooters. But generally I’d say it’s worth someone’s money.

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