Review by VioletZer0
"The Best Thing Square has come up with since Final Fantasy VI"
Overview: Original and unique games that come from major companies and not Newgrounds seem to be of a rarity now a days. And even more rare is when they are good enough to pay money for. This happens to be part of those unique good games that focuses on the most important aspect of a game; fun.
Story: Honestly, even if the game didn't come with gameplay at all and it was just a digital novel, I'd still pay the same price for it. The story is so damn good. I will try not to spoil it, but here's how the story goes. Basically, Neku Sakuraba is this angsty teenager who has trouble fitting in the crowd and he despises society. As well as the fact that he has been stricken with amnesia. You might draw the conclusion that it is just another amnesia story and it isn't very original at all. But how the game handles the amnesia is what is different about it. He suddenly finds this pin with a skull imprinted on it in his hand. Which, when he just flips it for fun he finds out that it enables him to read minds. Then all of the sudden these demonic frogs come and attack him. I won't spoil anything else for you, because the fun of the story comes from the "BAM!" moments. But overall, the story is excellent and I set the difficulty to "easy" at the end of the game because I was so intrigued with how the story was going to end.
Graphics: Holy mack...you don't really get much better than this. This is, without a doubt in my mind, the best 2D graphics I've ever seen. The art direction is absolutely stunning. Not to mention on the map screen, as you move the "focus points" shift. Architects would probably know what I am talking about. But everything focuses on 3 end points in the map screen. And they move with you. So everything curves and stuff in the background as you move. And it isn't done the lazy way either, certain objects that stand out such as signs will shift in their own way so that if you move, you can see both sides of the sign. Provided that the sign is perpendicular to the screen that is. And the everything just looks crisp and the art is amazing.
Sounds: There's not a whole lot of voicework, but there is just enough voice work to give the characters a feel to it. And it isn't horribly done either. While some translations could have been done better("You'd get some amazing looks if you tried"), the voice work in some cutscenes are done really well. As well as the small voice bits during battle. The sounds are appropriate to the combat. Now for the music. This is some of the best J-pop I've ever heard. Bar none. This sound track ranks up there with Brawl's sound track. That's pretty bad ass. I didn't even know I liked this kind of music until I heard this. It is absolutely stunning.
Gameplay: The meat of the game. The combat system is best described as "Confusing but rewarding". If you need a stimulating game that isn't UT2k4, then this is the one. You play on two screens simultaneously. The touch screen controls Neku and the D-pad(Or ABXY for you lefties) controls your partner. Certain swipes of the stylus will make Neku do something in particular. What do you depends on the pins you have equipped. "Pins" are what you collect and they are basically your weapons and items. You can equip up to 6 pins at a time, ranging from from attacks, spells and items to help you out. You start out with 3 pins slots though, and you need to collect stickers to increase them. Stickers increase stats depending on the sticker. And stickers are character specific. So if you get a Neku attack sticker, it won't increase the attack power if your partner. As for your partner, you control him or her by doing "combos". They can't move around to dodge attacks but they can block. The activate combos through a "combo map". You can just mash left or right, or you can see if you can get the biggest combo possible by navigating. But this takes up a bit of time and leaves Neku vulnerable. If the battles get hectic, you can set your partner to "auto-play" where basically the computer takes over your other character for you. The catch is that the computer is dumb as dirt. And sometimes you'd be better off just mashing left or right. If you navigate the combo map in a certain way to meet the criteria of a certain character, you can activate fusion attacks. Which they are these really powerful attacks that attack every enemy on screen and restore some health. Which can save you a lot of time in certain battles and even save your life. I can't even begin to describe the battle system really. You have to play it to get the hang of it. But once you get the hang of things, it is EXTREMELY fun.
Final Words: Let me put it this way, I turned off Grand Theft Auto IV to play this game again.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/06/08
Game Release: The World Ends With You (US, 04/21/08)
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