Reviews: The World Ends With You
Welcome to Shibuya...
This game is unlike no other I've played, in terms of both story and the uniquely innovative gameplay. The World Ends With You has a surprisingly well-thought-out story of hope, motivation and trust. Good:
- The main characters are extremely well thought out and the lead shows a surprising amount of Character Development.
- The background characters all have their unique personalities, and each has their own sense of style.
- The story, whilst a little short for what we're used to from Square Enix, is still a compelling play, and requires several playthroughs or use of a Wiki to understand fully.
- The soundtrack. It is quite a marvel of itself, and reflects a range of genres, so there's always one song you'll find yourself hooked on.
- The fact you can buy clothes from regular shops is a marvel, but what else for an RPG set in contemporary Shibuya?
- The story. If you are looking for a meandering, breathtaking saga of a story, you've come to the wrong Square Enix game.
- This may be nitpicking, but the partner system. While forcing gameplay change and forcing you to change strategies, it's a bit fustrating to have someone you're comfortable with swapped for a completely different-handling character.
- The dual-screen battle system. I have no particular opinion on this, as it varies depending how badly I'm losing. It may be confusing to new gamers, and while the game eases you into it, ultimately you can only focus on one screen at once, and this can become a stumbling block in boss battles.
- The collectables system. If you are not a 100% completionist, it likely won't interest you.
- Leveling up your attacks. This is implemented with three kinds of weapon exp, all with different ways to earn it. The inclusion of a DS wireless communications only weapon exp is another stumbling block for those without friends with DS' and have to rely on random encounters.
This Ain't Your Grandpa's JRPG...
Excuse the corny metaphor, but The World Ends With You is really an experience unlike any other. It might be slightly short, but the story and gameplay are both innovative and incredible. It's difficult to know where to begin with the pros and cons, but here we go. Pros
- The characters seem like real people. Rather than getting grim, angsty warriors/chosen ones, we get regular modern-day teenagers who struggle with identity issues, responsibility, etc, just like the rest of us. They seem very authentic... and they can still be pretty badass.
- The story, while on the short side, is unique and compelling, with a whole bunch of clever twists. It may take three playthroughs to completely understand it, plus there are bonus pieces of the story to unlock after you've beaten the game.
- The battle system never gets dull or boring. There are literally hundreds of ways to attack enemies, and every single stylus technique known to game-dom will be utilized by the different pins you can equip. Customization for battles is practically endless. 300 different pins is a lot to choose from.
- The soundtrack kicks ass. I'm not kidding. If it isn't the out-and-out best soundtrack for a videogame, it's at least the coolest. You'll have plenty of crazy catchy rock, hip hop and J Pop tunes to accompany you through the streets of Shibuya.
- Buying designer clothes is this game's answer to the RPG tradition of buying armor and robes. It's original, works very well, and fits the mood of the game perfectly. Have fun collecting all the threads from thirteen different clothing brands.
- If you want a grand, sweeping, multi-world, hundred-hour epic a la Tales Of Symphonia or Final Fantasy X, you may be a little disappointed. Like I said, the story is kind of short for an RPG, and you'll never leave the Shibuya district of Tokyo.
- No voice acting beyond the occasional gasp or grunt and a handful of battle quotes. The characters will also say something when you give them something to eat, but it's not much. Fortunately, you'll never get tired of hearing, "It's a party in my mouth!"
- The sheer amount of extra stuff to collect (pins, threads, swag, etc) can be overwhelming. This is a good thing for some and a bad thing for others.