The World Ends With You review.

Man, I’d been waiting to get my hands on this since it came out, and when it finally did, I jumped on the chance to play it. So, here’s my review.

Seriously, what average RPG player was dying to pick up The World Ends With You? Based on its aesthetic, it appeared to be a game about things that would probably alienate its usual target audience - that is, running around in the streets of a big city while being cool and trendy. Developed by Square-Enix and Jupiter, WEWY is not only one of the most refreshingly original RPGs from S-E in a long time, but perhaps one of the most original RPGs in a long time, period. Thankfully, it sounds like WEWY has caught on really well.

First, let me say that I personally love the aesthetic of this game. It’s not something easily conveyed in screenshots, because they make the 2D graphics look hideous; but when you see the game in action, it looks absolutely wonderful. I also dig the character designs, except one of the main female characters, Shiki’s - What’s up with the low-rise micro mini skirt on a fifteen year old? Takeharu Ishimoto (Crisis Core: FF7) wrote a whole bunch of neat rock, rap, and dance tracks for the game, accompanied by a whole crapload of vocalists. Very appropriate, and very catchy songs.

Mow, on to the important stuff. You are Neku Sakuraba. You hate everything, and you’re one of those jackasses who walks down the street with their iPod and headphones so that no one can talk to you. Anyways, you wake up in the middle of the streets in Shibuya (literally), and wonder what the hell is going on. You get a weird text message on your phone saying that you need to get to 104 in an hour or ‘face erasure’, whatever the hell that means. Eventually, you get attacked by some monsters, some crazy lady comes out of nowhere and makes a ‘pact’ with you, and informs you that you’re part of ‘The Reapers’ Game’. …Yeah, Whatever. So, a reluctant Neku, along with the crazy lady, Shiki, set out to play The Game. Since they made a ‘pact’, they’re ‘partners’, and can’t leave each others’ side, because you have to have a partner to fight ‘noise’ - some crazy monsters within the game.

I hated the way this game started out. I really hate being thrown into the fray like that, because having no explanation gives me no motivation to move on with the game - hey, that sounds a whole lot like Neku’s reaction! Neku doesn’t want to deal with people anyways! Can’t trust them, because of that one time…oh wait. Neku can’t remember that one time, because appearently he’s an amnesiac. Now, I don’t mind the cliche, cos if something is done well, it’s done well. However, having had the (mis)fortune of meeting an honest-to-goodness amnesiac, I can tell you that your personality while trying to remember everything is drastically different from your original one. Even when you get it back, your personality is still shaped in part by the time spent as an amnesiac. In other words, if Neku had no memories, it’d be impossible for him to wake up as a misanthrope. Now, I’ll grant that there’s an important reason why he lost his memory, but, without spoiling anything, there were better solutions than making him an unconvincing amnesiac.

Anyways, Neku and Shiki go off to play the game, and meet some friends, and Neku learns all about the nature of the game, and why he had signed up for it in the first place. I have to say, the story itself is pretty damn good; the themes of the game deal with individuality and trusting others, and it pulls this off well. To boot, there are some really good twists in the game, showing that you can totally come up with some interesting plot twists if you try. Did you hear that, every cliche JRPG?

The writing is also not half bad either. Sure, there are sometimes when Beat, the skater-looking main character, busts out with internet slang, which is just WEIRD. Besides that, the characters are pretty believable (for all their teen-angst, they really are teenagers, so it works). The only part that sucks is near the end of the game; in the final stretch of the game, not very much happens, and you just walk straight from point A to point B to watch something happen. This is in glaring contrast to the rest of the game, which had you do fetch quests and solve puzzles to progress, and even had you decipher the mission instructions before carrying them out. While fetch-questy usually bother me, it seemed appropriate in the Reapers’ game, where they would intentionally set obstacles in your way, rather than the usual set of unfortunate mishaps that create fetch quests in RPGs.

Lastly, if you replay the game, you can see ‘secret reports’, which detail the goings-on behind the scenes of the main game; however, they are mostly a bunch of extraneous information that doesn’t make the game’s story any more enjoyable. I reccomend reading an FAQ, unless you’re just gaga about the combat.

Speaking of which, that’s the last thing I haven’t talked about, right? First off, there are no random battles, per se; you have to ‘scan’ for enemies, in which case if you find an enemy, you touch it to engage it in battle. Consequentially, there’s hardly any mandatory combat in WEWY, but you’d be stupid not to fight. You have to level up if you have any hope of beating boss fights, and if you’re underleveled in this game, you will seriously get laid FLAT.

There’s more to just leveling up than your ‘level’, too; you have to level up your attacks pins. In WEWY, you select a certain amount of pins to take into battle, each with their own seperate way of use. Some of them make you drag the stylus in empty space, while some have you make quick ‘slashes’ across the screen, as well as a whole bunch of other methods. In any case, the pins level up, too, which extends how long you can use them before they have to recharge, as well as how much damage they inflict, how much they heal, etc. As you can see, leveling is important in this game.

WEWY’s combat is action-style RPG combat that takes place on two screens. On the bottom screen, you control Neku. You can move him around by touching him with the stylus and moving it to a different place. If you move it quickly, you cause Neku to dash, which also makes him invulnerable. Also, Neku uses pins to attack enemies, which I explained briefly above. So, Neku needs to move around while using the stylus to attack enemies. On the top screen is your partner, who doesn’t move at all. Your partner generally can block or dodge attacks, and also jump. They attack by pressing Left, Right, Up and Down on the D-Pad (Or ABXY if you’re a lefty like me) to make combos. If you execute combos properly on the top screen, Neku will be able to unleash a ‘fusion’ attack, an uber attack that takes up both screens. Neku and his partner have to work together to combat enemies, because they share hit points. Just as well, all enemies appear on the top AND bottom screen, so Neku and his partner can both attack the same enemy. If an enemy dies on one screen, they die on both.

Overall, I really enjoyed the combat, and a lot of its neat features (on-the-fly adjustable difficulty, pins level up while you’re NOT playing, equipment system that gives you attack bonuses for wearing trendy clothes). While it can feel like cruel and unusual punishment at first, getting the hang of attacking and dodging on both screens simultaneously feels like a really cool accomplishment.

That being said, the battle system is far from perfect.

Lastly, sometimes the touch screen controls are just not responsive. I died a fair share of times due to pressing the healing pin, only to realize that it didn’t work. Moving Neku can sometimes be a pain in the ass, because you have to do a lot of calm, clear movements - in other words, absolutely NOT what you’re likely to be doing during a hectic boss fight when you have to pay attention to the top screen at the same time (remember, you SHARE HP with them, and since they can’t move, a lot of attacks are way harder to evade on the top screen).

There are a lot of pins that are just damn hard to use, like the ones where you have to draw circles (sweet GOD, you have to draw a near flawless circle in the heat of battle? Yeah right!), or the ones where you have to drag the stylus slowly or scratch an enemy. The clear winners of the day are the ones that require quick slashing motions, or little more than just rapidly touching the screen, giving you little incentive to try out a bunch of pins.

Lastly, some of the bosses are absurdly, ‘this is not even fun anymore’ hard. Thankfully, you can retry a battle on easy mode if you lose, but it feels really insulting. Still, I ashamedly admit that I used it for one particular boss. If you play(ed) the game, see if you can guess who.

What else? There’s some mini-game in WEWY called ‘Tin Pin Slammer’, where you basically play bumper cars with your pins. It’s not really that exciting. Still, someone at S-E had the bright idea of making that the WiFi mini-game of WEWY. Why couldn’t they have, god forbid, put in a co-op mode? I think with a little work, this game would have been outstanding as a two-player game.

The World Ends With You is a game all about expanding your horizons to see something new about the world. Uncoincidentally, there are some parts of the game that truly expand upon the percieved limits of the genre (while admittedly falling into cliche on other parts). In my opinion (you came here for that, right?), this game could have been a whole HELL of a lot better. That being said, it’s a pretty damn good game. If anything, WEWY proves that people really are waiting for something new to hit the genre, rather than the same old repackaged crap we’ve been getting for years. Hopefully Square-Enix - or SOMEONE - will realize that, and have the balls to try something really groundbreaking. The world begins and ends with you, the consumers and developers.

Its funny to see how dramatically your experience of the game differs from mine. I thought it was an excellent game and I had a lot of fun doing the secret missions part. You mentioned that brands affects clothes. I was personally more affected by how brand popularity affected pin damage. I agree some pins plain out sucked. I enjoyed all 3 weeks for what they had to offer. I thought they delivered the story quite well and the secret reports really built up on that afterwards. I personally don’t care much about fetch quests and the game aspect where you gotta figure stuff out for your quest is really inexistant. Its either stupidly simple and/or they flat out tell you what to do. The bosses aren’t that bad. I never had problems with any boss unless I underleveled myself or bumped up the difficulty to the max.

And for the record, Neku didn’t choose.

Heh yeah, I really just didn’t like the third week, I felt like it was the most boring part. I liked the first week after the game picked up, and I loved the second week - Joshua was the best part of the whole game, I thought. The story throughout was fine, other than the whole ‘start the game with no information’ nonsense, which I hate as a kneejerk reaction.

And yeah, the brands affecting the pins is the most important, but what I generally did was deck myself out in the clothing styles of my favorite pins, and then fight a battle or two.

Lastly, there was no boss that gave me too much trouble after I calmed down and paid attention, except for the last boss of week 2. Man, FUCK that guy! I don’t really do the combat based on where the light puck is, so that fight handed my own ass to me all day. What I generally do is unload all the damage I can with Neku, and dash around and work on the top screen while my pins recharge. But Mr. Zetta Slow evaded so much, it was absurdly hard to actually hit him when you had the light puck, making it almost impossible to keep it going. Fuck that fight.

I admit that fight is fucking hard. I wanted to punch Joshua in the face. I didn’t like week 2 as much as week 1 until the end of it. Oh and I loved Shiki’s outfit.

Yeah, that last fight of week 2 is annoying. The thing about beating him is that he evades when you try and put the stylus on him. It helps to use pins that indirectly hit without you point the stylus on him. (Lightning Pawn homes in and juggles his ass!).

Another fight that had me going for a little bit was Konishi (Tigris Cantus). That fight was a bit WTF for me until I figured out the trick for it and found it to be very easy.

Obviously, the hardest for me was Panthera Cantus. He’s hard enough on easy…Ultimate requires you either stat max or do it the cheap way with the Eden set. Otherwise, you’ll get wtfpwned fast.

The best partners for me were Joshua and Beat. But I liked Joshua better once he got Levitation and his “Super Jesus Beam”. That and his Lv.3 Fusion kills nearly everything.. Beat was good for just all-out attack.

In other words, if Neku had no memories, it’d be impossible for him to wake up as a misanthrope.

Or perhaps the games’ writer believes that man’s natural state is misanthropic :stuck_out_tongue:

As an aside, the healing pins take some time to work (while Neku does his drinking animation); it’s not unresponsiveness. [SPOILER]I was glad Week 3 dispensed with fetch quests after Day 1 because going through the same format for the third time felt a bit tiring, even this stripped the -final week’s- days of meaning.

Oh, and dark noises suck.[/SPOILER]

I know healing pins take time to activate, but I’m talking about like, I’ll press the healing pin and it won’t activate at all, so I’m just sitting there, doing nothing while at critical condition. Not a good state to be in. :stuck_out_tongue:

Personally, I think that the fetch quests gave the game character, and allow for the more fun asides to happen. For example, the part where Neku and Joshua learn about how to play Tin Pin Slammer. I rofl’ed my fuckin’ ao at that part.

If you’re hit while he’s doing the animation, he quits the action and the pin doesn’t activate. Are you talking about that or extra lagging?

I mean that it doesn’t appear to activate every time I touch the pin. Sometimes, this even caused me to have to frantically press the damn pin until it worked - sometimes, I even used it twice in a row, which kind of sucked :confused:

Yeah, healing’s messed up like that. It also depends on the pin since some have like a ~1-2 sec lag time and others are instant. (And in some cases, it’s an auto-heal if you have the right pin.) Generally, the lower a pin heals, the faster it goes off. Personally, I used one of those barrier pins that absorb damage into HP.

As for it not going off…that’s either got something to do with Neku already being hit by something or in the process of using another pin. I’m not overly sure since it’s been months since I’ve played.

Gah, that’s always annoying!

The only problem I ever had with healing pins was if I was being hit while Neku was using it.


Just finished this game (still have to do the secret reports). It was a whole crapload of fun. The one thing I really didn’t like was the music… sure, it fit OK, but practically every single track was electronica, hard rock, or rap, and they played even when many emotional scenes were taking place, which took the wind out of them.

I absolutely LOVED Another Day. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long, long time. More video games should have omake chapters! Plus: Play Shinji Hashimoto in Tin Pin Slammer! Awesome!

I got through the whole game on Normal, but had to resort to an FAQ for the bosses in the very last day. I just wasn’t getting those gimmicks.

The final boss was a bitch to beat. I wasnt paying attention to the top screen so i ddint realize you had to press the arrows to get your light puck up, when i realized it he still wasnt that easy.