Oct 032008

The World Ends With You is an action RPG from Square Enix and Jupiter for the Nintendo DS. The game begins with the main character, Neku, awakening in the middle of a busy intersection with no memory. Through the events that later unfold, you find out that Neku and a few others are in a sort of survival game (kind of like The Running Man) with a prize for the winner that will wow you.

Like most Square games, you begin the game knowing nothing and learn more details of the story and game mechanics as you progress. There are a couple innovative things in the mechanics of the game, my favorite being that your attacks level up even when you’re not playing them game. Unfortunately, some of the more crucial game mechanics weren’t revealed to me until I had already figured them out on my own, which was disappointing. The combat system is pretty straight-forward and makes good use of the touch screen. I was a little disappointed in the variety of different touch commands used. Some of my more favorite attacks had identical commands, so I couldn’t use one until the other’s energy was exhausted.

The story line contains a number of surprises that kept me guessing. That being said, the dialogue was pretty shoddy. With such mature subject matter, I can’t help but wonder if something was lost in the translation when this title was localized. Most of the characters I’ve encountered are teenagers so that may account for some of these issues.

The Breakdown:

Game play – 4/5
Moving with the stylus is pretty annoying, as usual with games that try this. My hand is just too big to see anything if I’m controlling movement on the touch screen. Thankfully you get the option to use the D-Pad.

Visuals+Soundtrack – 3/5
Cutscene visuals are nice, crisp, and utilize cell shading which is a favorite style of mine. Battle scene visuals are passable, but look a bit like high-end Game Boy Advance graphics. When you’re moving in the overword, sprites pixel out badly when they approach the camera (Neku becomes a purply-orange blob). The soundtrack is chocked full of J-Pop and DDR-esque tunes that kept my energy level up as I played and went well with the anime style of the game.

Story/Voice Acting/Dialogue – 4/5
The fundamentals of the story are nice and keep me interested. Crummy dialogue between characters is the only thing that kept me from giving a 5.

Overall: 3.8 out of 5. TWEWY is a decent title that you can spend a lot of time on, which is nice considering the hefty $39.99 price tag.

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