Review by DEEM0
"Who knew a game about 7 days could be so interesting?"
*ahem* This, of course, is a review for a DS game titled The World Ends With You, more commonly known as TWEWY.
TWEWY is....different. Different, weird, eccentric, all kinds of formula. However, this just seems to make the game better.
RPG giant Square Enix produced this game, and with it, many of the old traditions are thrown out the window. No armor, no fantasy land, even no magic. Instead, you have "threads" (clothes), Shibuya, and pins. The spiky hair kid ingredient still remains, though.
The game takes place in Shibuya, a Japanese district that is a huge cultural hub, that actually does exist, along with real landmarks and references in the game. Now, you're all probably thinking "OH NOES A JRPG". Not so true. Yes, this game does take place in Japan, along with some culture references, but not to the overflowing point.
Basically, you wind up as a uber anti-social kid named Neku, who apparently wakes up in the middle of Shibuya during the first cutscene. He has 7 days, with a task to fulfill each day, or he ends up being erased by a mysterious group named the Reapers. Really, its hard to say anything about the story without spoiling it. It is epic indeed, with many unexpected plot turns, only they're not exactly plot twists, you just find out more and more about the underlying story.
This is an RPG of course, so where's the battles, you might ask? Well, Neku and his partner (More on that later) fight groups of monsters called Noise. The Noise look similar to animals fused with tattoos. You don't HAVE to fight the Noise except in certain story checkpoints, although it does help. The battle system takes place on both screens, no menus, both screens at the same time. This does sound a little awkward at first, but you get used to it. The Noise appear on both the top and bottom screens, Neku always has a partner in battle, which will be on the top screen, while Neku is on the bottom. Neku's partner cannot move, but they can jump, block, and attack using the D-pad, or the ABXY buttons if you are left-handed. Neku uses equipped items to fight, called pins, which really are pins. You equip them, and gain a psychic power that you may use in battle, each with its own movement. For example, you might slash upwards on an enemy to raise a pillar of ice beneath them, touch a pin to heal yourself, or drag and throw objects such as construction cones and SUVs around. Neku and his partner share the same HP, and so do the Noise. The noise has one on each screen, and each hit you do on either screen does damage to the total enemies' health, and it disappears from both screens when defeated. There are some exceptions in the game, most notably bosses, which require a higher cooperation between screens.
The game has a function where you can set your partner to be used by the computer, either right away, or after a set amount of seconds of you not pressing the buttons, although the full game experience is not obtained that way, its much better later when you can handle both screens.
The game doesn't just want you to randomly press buttons, because you will be rewarded for consecutively damaging opponents on both screens. If Neku or his partner scores a combo on an enemy, a green orb of light flows to the other character, and their attack will be increased. Its passed back as soon as another combo is scored, and so forth. The faster the "puck" is passed, the more power it gives.
The music, ah. This game could go down into history as having one of the most.....strange yet satisfying soundtracks. By strange, I mean that 80% of all the games music has lyrics. The music is rap/rock/J-pop, but don't let that discourage you. The music is great, and hard to fit into an exact category. The only thing I have against it is that the music and the variety really isn't good in the beginning of the game. You won't hear a certain tune anywhere except for very few parts of the game, the music is mostly random. However, the number of songs that will play depends on how far you are into the game. AKA, the farther you get, the more varied the music will be, as well as hearing more of the better songs. A couple of the songs just suck, literally 10 second loops. The rest of it makes up for it though.
TWEWY has a unique art style. It does have the typical anime look, which may be a little offsetting for some people. However, despite that, you find a lot of variety here. You'll find countless people walking around the streets and standing around, which although isn't much, adds quite a bit. The art also has quite an urban feel to it, you can find lots of grafitti in the game, from walls on the backroads, to the text that states the name of each area when you enter it.
Story isn't cliched either, HA. Well, not quite really, in some aspects it is, but in most its pretty original. Again, can't say much on this due to spoilers. And, the characters have.....well.....character. You have normal people, then you have the weirdos which make every quote from this game epic, from a cooking-obsessed dude (Which you'll remember due to his culinary metaphors) , to the math freak, who's pretty much quoteable at anything he says.
The games whole difficulty is customizable. Besides the partner thing I mentioned earlier, you can change the games difficulty at any time, and higher difficulties reward better drops and more exp. You can also play at a level below your max. For example, you can play at level 5 if you are at level 10 max. This decreases your HP, but gives you better drop rates.
Not only that, but it has high replay value as well. After you've beaten the game, you can go back to any chapter at any time to play it over with post-game stats and levels. The ending, or whole story in fact, is quite a cliffhanger, leaving most of the stuff unknown, even beyond guesses. However, each of the chapters in the game have certain requirements you can do, if you fulfill them, you get a report giving more of the story, and if you collect them all, a secret cutscene can be viewed. Thankfully though, the story doesn't pull a Golden Sun, where it literally leaves you hanging in the middle of the story waiting for a sequel
This game does have multiplayer, but its not that great. Its a game where you play with your pins in an area trying to knock each other off. Kinda like the BeyBlade game that was popular a couple years ago. Its decent, but a novelty at best.
All in all, a solid RPG for the DS, a must-own title.
Unique battling system which is very fun and engrossing once you get used to it
Solid characters and story
Lots of customizable stuff for difficulty
Battle system can take some getting used to
Multiplayer is more a of a novelty.
Hard to find.
Overall, the game well deserves a 10. It took what I expected of an RPG and shattered it, in a good way. There needed to be a hit RPG on the DS with good but useable changes, and TWEWY fits the bill perfectly.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/08/08
Game Release: The World Ends with You (US, 04/22/08)
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