the-world-ends-with-you-review

The World Ends With You centers around the exploits of a teenage boy named Neku who loathes his life and has a difficult time understanding and getting along with people.

TitleThe World Ends With You
Platform(s)Nintendo DS, iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch
PublisherSquare Enix
Developer(s)Square Enix, Jupiter
GenreAction RPG
ReleaseJuly 27, 2007
Mode(s)Single-player, Multiplayer
esrb-rating-teenTEEN - Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.

Plot

Setting

Neku is a mono logging giving the player an idea of the kind of person he is. He’s shot from out of nowhere and wakes up in modern day Shibuya, Japan as a ghost with no memory as to how he died. Neku only has a number on his palm that decreases over time. Then out of nowhere monsters attack and he is forced to team up with a partner to save his life. This is where the criticism comes in.

Characters

Each of the cover art characters has an interesting backstory which is interesting and gives you an incentive to keep you on your toes till you’ve finished the story. However, you just can’t help but feel that there should be more closure towards the end of the story. The whole focus on the game is asking the player how valuable their life is and if you were to die what reason could be good enough to warrant a return to humanity.

The-World-Ends-With-You-Neku-character

Story

„The World Ends With You“ stands among those R.P.G. games like remake of Secret of Mana or Tales of Symphonia, that are about saving the world. You do this by fighting things, eating foods to increase your stats, controlling peoples thoughts, reading people’s minds, buying clothes, and of course discovering the true meaning of friendship. But by forcing relationships in such a way makes it seem like the game is trying to hard to teach a moral. It doesn’t focus enough on the characters themselves. Over time you get to know more about these characters individually, but when they’re together the whole game just feels like a sitcom.

These questions are somewhat answered by the games end but you just can’t help but feel that there should have been a little bit more. After completing it you unlock a bonus chapter which will have you view the main characters in an alternate reality in a much more comedic form.

Despite the „The World Ends With You“ game’s story, the presentation and gameplay are what will keep you hooked for hours on end even after completing the main story.

Gameplay

The colorful hand-drawn enemies fit all the more so because of it. Many RPGs like Grim Dawn, Fable II and Kingdom Come: Deliverance focus too much on the environments. Here in this game, the characters and enemies feel like they were an afterthought that’s not the case with „The World Ends With You“. Every design feels like it was well thought out in the grand scheme of things never once did I feel like the environments were generic or just cut and paste.

The-World-Ends-With-You-gameplay-screen

If you’ve ever wanted to take a look at what Japanese society is like then you will get a boatload of cultural references and cameos that will almost make you feel as if you really are in an alternate reality. There is a lot of replayability. From leveling up your pins through extensive use to hopscotching back and forth between levels after you’ve completed the „The World Ends With You“ game with cool side activities to accomplish.

Even a minigame allows you to play with up to three other people locally. The fact your pin’s status evolve over a course of however much time your not playing the game, you can see The World Ends With You is becoming a fan favorite DS title to be played for years to come.

Analyzing „The World Ends With You“ further you will start to see it owes a lot of its existence to other franchises. The hand-drawn art style and J-Punk music are reminiscent and can easily be attributed to SEGA’s Jet Grind Radio. The story as interesting as it may be at one point could no should openly say that it was heavily “inspired” by GATZ an anime about two teenagers who die and wake up in there world as ghosts who have to perform certain tasks while a timer is counting down on their hands.

It often feels like your watching the story in action and don’t feel like your actually doing something. Let me give you an example. There is a part in the game where you will be asked to go a place with the symbol’s 100 + 4. Assuming your memory isn’t impaired, you will remember a building called the 104 building that stands tall in the middle of a crossing walk.

You’ll want to go to the building to try to meet up with the reapers, but the problem is you can’t because there’s an invisible barrier keeping you from going there. The barrier will only go down after you talk to someone whose role it is to help you out with the story. Then you wait for them to flat out tell you to go to the 104 building.

twewy

The „The World Ends With You“ game tries to force you to meet characters like in Persona 5 and Grandia II, but it does it in the wrong way. All games that have lot’s of character development take at least a little bit off of the gameplay. Another scenario of this would be at a point when an NPC was being attacked, the game gives you two options you can either save him or not save him.

Obviously, you can chose to save him. But if you make that choice you will be immediately ambushed by noise. After the battle with them, the NPC dies and your character says: “It’s too late we left him to die”. If you chose not to save him he still dies anyway. What’s the point of giving you options if the outcome is the same regardless.

Combat

In „The World Ends With You“ you control your bottom screen charter Neku with the stylus while the upper screen you control with either the D-pad or A, B, Y, and X buttons depending on whether your left or right handed. This is probably one of the coolest gameplay methods we’ve seen on the DS to date. Only one problem there are up to six different attacks that you can use at a time depending on what types of pins you’re using on the bottom screen alone and they each require you to use such precision that sometimes the game cannot tell one stroke from another and get’s your commands mixed up.

The-World-Ends-With-You-Combat-screen

Thankfully you can put some of your pins to sub-mode by pressing the shoulder buttons. Outside of combat, your characters will be taken around varies parts of a fictionalized version of Shibuya with some shops (Such as the 104 building based on the real Shibuya’s 109 building) being derived from actual Japanese stores though they obviously couldn’t name them after there official names due to copy write reasons. You’ll be able to buy brand named clothes for your characters and equip them to increase there status.

You can also increase the strength and dexterity of your equipped items and pins by fighting numerous battles in certain sections of the city which in turn depending on what brand you have equipped the most of that brand will become more popular. The hand-drawn art style for the cutscenes remains impressive to this day every section of the city has something that will make you just sit there marveling at the attention to detail.

Conclusion

You can get uneasy feeling that every time Square Enix tries to build a new game from the ground up there’s always some guy who bursts into there office and tells them that he won’t let them do it unless they rip off at least some other franchise. They throw darts at a spinning wheel with pictures of different anime and games and “Borrow” heavily from that particular sub-genre.

As cool as the game mechanics are flipping the coin over to the story side of the game it falls short of anything great. Though, we can’t stretch enough how we love the art style animation and the „The World Ends With You“ gameplay is one of the most innovative ideas on Nintendo DS.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
FUN FACTOR - One of the most unique RPG's ever and great Nintendo DS game to boot.
10
GRAPHICS - An incredibly unique art style top off with a gorgeous comic book like presentation make this game a beauty even 10 years later.
10
SOUND - From the audio ques, to the j-pop soundtrack, everything is solid and memorable.
9.5
SINGLE PLAYER - While it does drag towards the end the overall experience will stick with you long after you have beaten it.
8.5
CONTROLS - These are quite possibly the best controls for a real time combat system in any RPG ever.
9.5
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