Review by The_Bear753
"Easily one of the very best DS games."
There's no exact way to intro a review for a game like this, so let's just jump right into it.
There's not much to say, because the graphics, honestly, couldn't be better. Every character, action, item, hell, [b]everything[/b] has its own unique look and design. There's so much detail to be found in every part of the visuals, it's astounding. The backgrounds are also fully decorated and littered with small touches of an actual city; it impeccably creates an ambiance. Everything about the game's visuals is wonderfully designed and left beyond satisfied. The only qualm I could imagine being reasonable is the menu design.At first, it will seem completely odd, but it's more or less something that will grow on you.
The soundtrack to the game is very diverse, with 30+ different tracks. While at first, this may not sound like a terribly impressive amount, this is a perfect example of quality > quantity. The selections vary from Japanese songs to hip-hop to rock music. There's a wide enough spectrum for someone to find at least three tracks that he/she enjoys. The songs play whenever you're walking around in the game, battling, etc. As an added bonus, you can even buy all of the songs from stores and make them the default theme for whenever you access the cell-phone (start menu). But, as I said, 30-ish tracks isn't a grand amount, and as a result, sometimes the music can get repetitive. But, for the most part, the music is very fitting and well made.
A rough summary: the story is about a fifteen year-old boy, Neku. The very beginning starts with him waking up in the middle of Shibuya. Completely unaware of the situation around him, he suddenly gets attacked by "frogs", which are actually noise, the enemies in this game that cause various havoc to the people in the real world. Little does he know that he is actually apart of the reapers' game, a competition to earn a second chance at life. He is in an alternate Shibuya, the underground (UG), and in order to get another chance at life, he and his partner, Shiki, must complete various tasks before both of their timers run out for an entire week. If they fail any of the requirements or lose to the noise, they will get erased. Simplified: if they can't beat the noise and win the game, both of them will die. Having been partnered with a mysterious girl he does not know and having no memories of his life prior to the game, can Neku survive the noise, or even the reapers' game? And what will happen if Neku manages to win the reapers' game?
I tried not to reveal too much of the story, for there are many plot twists and such. As strange as the story may sound, it will make some amount of sense when you play the game. It is very captivating and will constantly want to play on, if only to find out what will happen next. It is akin to reading a book that you can't put down. Unfortunately, the aforementioned tasks do not feel as though your interaction matters. No matter unsure or sure you are of the riddle-laced answers, your partner or the game will blatantly tell you the answer. For example, one day you receive an email saying "Go to the corner of 70 + 34". Now, if you have learned basic addition, you should know that 70 + 34 = 104, which is the name of a local store area. However, after you receive the mail, your partner immediately tells you where to go, taking away any challenge from the tasks. Plus, because you ask your partner for advice in the game, it would only make sense to revise the system to where you are challenged to solve the riddle-task on your own, and if you can't find the answer, you can get a hint or the answer from your partner. There would be a greater sense of "I was able to solve it on my own without hints" and a feeling of accomplishment. To put it in Yahtzee's words: "The story just doesn't go hand-in-hand with the gameplay."
Not that it matters much to you, the reader, but a game in my opinion is either made or broken based on its gameplay, and TWEWY has quite possibly some of the most addictive gameplay, so much to point where it almost makes you unaware to the flaws the game has. As a reviewer, I'm almost inclined to say "the best part about the gameplay is everything, it's perfect", but I realized that this isn't a good description of the actual gameplay. >_> Simply, your form of attacks as Neku are Pins, more or less your weapons. That are a VERY wide variety of different attacks and effects to be used, and there are roughly 300 different pins, and early on, you should be able to find a handful of pins that work for you and be able to go through most of the game with these pins. To use a pin, you must do a certain action on the touch screen, such as slash an enemy, drag a line across the screen, touch the pin itself, etc. You also control your partner on the top screen through the directional pad (or the A B X Y for the left-handed), which proves to be a great challenge at first. However, you can set the controls to where the AI will take over the place of your partner after a few seconds, immediately, or you can control them yourself. The noise, the main enemies, exist on both screens, but if you or your partner destroys any noise, they are erased on both screens. Speaking of noise, encounters with enemies aren't random. Instead, you choose whenever you want to fight them, save when you're at certain story parts. The entire concept may seem strange at first, but the game walks you through the gameplay, so it will become almost second nature. Now, outside of the game, you can go to stores and buy things, but with a twist: the more you buy from a store, the items will be revealed along with the abilities they give the wearer; conversely, if you buy nothing, then the clerk won't tell you anything about the items. Speaking of the clothes system, it's basically like an armor system from other RPGs. You need have a required amount of bravery (BRV) to wear certain things, wearing clothing gives you extra (sometimes less) attack, defense, and HP, and some clothes can power you up with their abilities like regenerate HP or increase attack by 5. It's essentially buy more, get more. Also, when traversing in the over-world, reapers will set up walls that prevent you from accessing areas. In order to bypass these walls, you must what the reaper tells you to, whether it be defeat four noise groups or dress all in a particular brand. It sounds like a chore at first, but with the useful rewards and interesting challenges, it becomes fun to see what demands the reapers want of you. Lastly, there are various mini-games to play to keep you entertained if the linear structure starts to bore you.
Oh, and this game has some of the most EPIC BOSSES EVAR, you zetta sons of digits.
Anyway, I highly recommend this game. It's one of the best games to come to the DS, and is one of the best RPGS of the past three years. It also has a gigantic amount of replay value, so if you get this game, chances are you'll be playing it for a good deal of time. Not much else to say, great gameplay, amazing storyline, wonderful sound, and top-notch graphics. Buy this game if you don't already have it, it's a GOTY contender undeniably.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/06/08
Game Release: The World Ends With You (US, 04/21/08)
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