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Old 06-13-2010, 03:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The World Ends With You

Today, I will be reviewing one of the few games I regard as 'perfect', I'll try to keep this review away from becoming too fanboyish, but if it happens, it happens. It's like when Ivan Drago said "If he dies, he dies"
Now the completely unrelated stuff will end, and the review will begin:


The World Ends With You, is an oddity amongst games developed by Square-Enix, and amongst games that have jumped the Pacific Ocean. It relies heavily on modern Japanese culture in the famed shopping district of Tokyo known as Shibuya. As far as games made by Square-Enix go, this is an oddity for it's modern setting, and the fact that it doesn't have the name of a famed franchise in the title, and it doesn't contain Disney or Final Fantasy characters at all.
It is developed specifically by the Team Jupiter division of Square-Enix, known for their work on Kingdom Hearts, especially Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, so they are not new at all to developing handheld games.

Why do I see this game as perfect?
Well, let's get to the actual review, and I shall show you.

Story: 5
The story is odd, a bit fractured and you get it a piece at a time, and it is hard to put together until the very end of the main storyline. The game is broken up into three weeks, each week is broken up into seven days. Each day has a main mission, and a few side missions.
You play as Neku, a dead kid participating in the reaper's game, each week he has to pay an entry cost, and he is forced into each week, though he could have chosen to fade out of existence after loosing the first time through. The prize for this game, is a second shot at life, with all the lessons you've learned in the game.

The game takes place in Shibuya, but in an alternate version of it known as the UG (UnderGround), where people on the UG can see and hear the RG (RealGround)
The game has a different Game Manager (GM) each week because the Composer, the person who created the UG, the game, the reapers and other stuff.

The first week, his entry fee is his memories. GM is Yodai Higashizawa.
The second week, his entry fee is his first partner. GM is Sho Minamimoto.
The third week, his entry fee is the other players. GM is Mitsuki Konishi.
The third entry cost may seem trivial, but the players are entirely incapable of fighting alone.

The first week's story focuses mostly on figuring out what is up, why you can see everyone, but not interact with anyone, figuring out what this reaper's game is.
The second week focuses mostly on figuring out how Neku died, why Neku's partner is different than other players, and what is up with the weeks strange GM.
The third week is focused on getting back the younger sister of your partner, who is one of the reapers, who sides with you. The missions are still broken up, but there is really only one mission in this week, find the GM of the week. It turns out that the third week is also when the GMs of the last to weeks have gone rogue (like Sarah Palin).

The story can get hard to follow at times, but it all makes sense at the end of the game, and through "Secret Reports" you can obtain by meeting certain objectives and doing side missions in days you've already cleared.

I was very satisfied with the ending, and how it wrapped up everything, and truly ended the game, not leaving room for a sequel.

Gameplay: 5

Out of Battle and In Battle.





It takes a little getting used to, but it is manageable.
You have one health bar between you and your partner, and each enemy exists on both screens, and takes damage on both screens, though they also have one health total.
You control two characters at once, Neku on the bottom screen, controlled only by stylus, and his partner on the top screen, controlled by the D-Pad or the face buttons, making the game friendly for people that are Right-Hand Dominant, or Left-Hand Dominant. Each partner feels different, new and not like a quick addition thrown in at the end of the game programming.

Neku's control is fun, based upon the pins that he is wearing, you use different touch screen commands to control him. Slash across an enemy to have Neku close in and slash with a dagger or something.
Hold Neku to activate a barrier that does damage on an enemy that touches him, and deflects projectile attacks.
Yell into the microphone to make speakers appear and send out a shockwave.
Scratch empty space to cause an earthquake.
Drag an obstacle, such as a car or a sign, to make it move around and hit enemies.
Touch the pin icon for a healing pin, and restore health.
That's just the tip of the iceberg, there are sixty-four different abilities that pins can have.
There are ten different ways they can be activated as well, meaning that a pin has one of sixty-four abilities, and one of
ten different activations. There is plenty of variety.
Of course, pins with these abilities must be equipped for them to take effect.
With a combo finisher on either screen, some magical light puck is passed around, which gives attack and defense bonuses to the character holding it.
Neku starts with very few slots for pins to be equipped, but he gains a total of six through story events and buying the rest.
Equipment that effect stats is broken down into several categories, and only one thing from each category can be equipped, and only four items can be equipped. All clothing items have a bravery value, and each character has a bravery value, the character's bravery value must be greater than or equal to the item's bravery value for it to be equipped, it becomes more natural to think about as you play the game a bit.
Now then, onto the partner.
The partner cannot use pins, and fights on the top screen. You can use the D-Pad or Face buttons to the same effect. Pressing a button attacks in that direction. Each of the three partners has a different condition for activating fusion, and that is based upon a combo finisher. The first partner requires you to guess what symbol is on the card on the top of the screen, the second partner has a complex number thing, where numbers 0-9 are displayed and a condition, less than, greater than, or equal to. The third partner's is annoying, you insert two cards of different suits, spade, diamond, heart and club, into a sequence of the suits, for them to count towards fusion, you must then get a skull, then adjacent cards of a matching suit are removed for one point, then the cards collapse inward on that gap and continue doing so until no more matches are made. Each time one of these conditions is met, you earn one point, and a certain amount makes a fusion pin appear on the bottom screen, each character has three levels of fusion, which have to stack. When you touch the fusion pin, you do some super attack that damages every enemy on screen and restores some health.
If you can't handle both screens, you can set the partner to one of three automatic settings, which lets the CPU take over, Slow gives you five seconds after you stop before takeover, Mid gives you three seconds before takeover and Fast takes over as soon as you stop.

Battles are not random, you must invoke a scan while you are in the field, then touch noise symbols to start battle, you can chain battles, four when you start, and you can trade for the ability to chain more battles.

As you spend money at shops, you become friends with the shop keepers, who will then unlock the abilities of items you are wearing, or items in the store.

The food system is unique, when you eat food it takes up to twenty-four battles to digest. If the real day rolls over, then you've just lost the food item. You can eat food up to a maximum of twenty-four bytes a day, one item at a time. You can eventually unlock the ability to eat as much as you want a day, but still one item at a time.

The brand system is cool also. Each item or pin has a brand, and the more you wear a brand, the more popular it becomes in an area. The top brand gets a bonus of 2X, and the bottom brand gets 0.5X, the top few also get bonuses, of 1.5X down until it gets to 1X, where most of the brands sit.

When you invoke a scan, you can also read the minds of the people surrounding you, this is equivalent to talking to unimportant NPCs in most RPGs. They say stuff that means nothing, and is mostly humorous, one person thinks "Get out of my mind, I can feel you in there."

One last point for gameplay, a minigame called Tin Pin Slammer exists, where you use your equipped pins to play a game involving knocking other pins off the edge of the ring, it's sort of like sumo. Pins also have special abilities called "Whammies" which are flying into the air and smashing the other pin, stunning it, swinging a hammer around, and encasing the pin in spikes and rock. Some also have a whammy that allows you to fling yourself back onto the playing field when you are knocked off, the minigame is not particularly bad, but it really isn't particularly good unless you have a friend who also has this game to play with you.

Graphics: 5
The art style and in game graphics are a case of love it or hate it. The in game graphics use sprites that look like something the SNES or at least PSX could handle with no problems, and this is a good thing, it fits the overall style of the game.

The art style is highly, well stylized. Definitely anime-ish, but what would you expect from a game made by Square-Enix?
Once again, it fits the feel of the game perfectly.






Sound: 5
Not much voice acting, save for a few small words or phrases in some story sequences, mostly reading, and that is for the better.

The music is actually good, some of the music sounds like older, good hip-hop. Some random Japanese music that fits the game quite well. I'm surprised that smoke doesn't come out of the DS's speakers from all that.

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Replay Value: 5
After you beat the game, there is much left to do, collect and master all the pins, get all the items, obtain all the secret reports. You can also go through Pork City, a tower that has thirteen floors before the boss. Each floor has a different brand that works, and only that one brand works, save for un-branded pins. At the boss fight with the "Ultimate Enemy" you can use whatever pins suit you, and you will need them, because he is one tough boss. There is also the Final Time Attack, a chain battle of Eleven bosses you've beaten before, you use whatever partner you had the first time around. Like a normal chain battle, each fight gets tougher. Oh, and you have to be on Hard or Ultimate difficulty for the fight to count for anything.
You can also try to level up to 100, represented as a little gold star in your level display.

Challenge: 5
This game gets hard, but you can balance it out to your tastes by setting the difficulty to Easy, Normal, Hard and Ultimate, which you must obtain within the game. If you loose a fight, then you have the option of retrying on easy difficulty. You can also adjust your level from one to your max level, to increase both difficulty and drop-rate.

Over-all: 5
The absolute best RPG on the DS as far as I am concerned. There is much to do and the story gets good. No matter how much you play, it feels like you have just scratched the surface, and there is much to do. Forty-some odd hours into the game, and I still don't feel like I am done. This game is fun, and one of the few to use the touchscreen in a non-infuriating manner. I suggest that everyone at least give this one a chance.
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

Nice review Demon-Mask, I'm officially considering getting this game.
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

That would be good. I think you'd enjoy it a bit. If you are going to get it, I hope it isn't hard for you to find, I had serious troubles finding it.
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

That popular? Alright, I'll take your word for it.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

In my opinion this is the BEST DS game ever made (so far), the only game to fully utilize all of the system's features effectively.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

I agree, that and the story is kind of cool.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

Nice job.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seahawk View Post
In my opinion this is the BEST DS game ever made (so far), the only game to fully utilize all of the system's features effectively.
Really? Because Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars uses all the DS' Capabilities
with perfection, a good plot, and awesome gameplay to boot.

But is it better than Chinatown Wars?
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

ANything is better than GTA.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

Far better than Chinatown Wars.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:44 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yes: The World Ends With Sparta

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tails View Post
Anything is better than GTA.
How so?

Grand Theft Auto IV is gaming perfection, on Game Rankings, it's the second
highest rated game of all time, only second to Ocarina of Time.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:48 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

I like GTA, but there are games better than it, and Chinatown Wars wasn't the best in the series at all.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:51 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

I think over-hyped crap like OoT and GTA sucks. Why in the hell would I want to pretened to be a pimp? That's stupid.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:52 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Yes: The World Ends With Sparta

It's definitely better than Chinatown.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samejamesbond View Post
How so?

Grand Theft Auto IV is gaming perfection, on Game Rankings, it's the second
highest rated game of all time, only second to Ocarina of Time.
Both games are overhyped. I liked Majora's Mask and San Andreas better than those two games.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:59 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

I'll admit, I prefered Majora's Mask, but GTA4 was superior because it greatly improved the
combat system the series was infamous for. The minigames were good too.
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Old 06-13-2010, 06:01 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

I prefer LTTP, I know Tenser will agree.
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Old 06-13-2010, 06:30 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seahawk View Post

Both games are overhyped. I liked Majora's Mask and San Andreas better than those two games.
Same here.
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Originally Posted by Tails View Post
I prefer LTTP, I know Tenser will agree.
Link to the Past is the best Zelda game, in my opinion.
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:13 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

Sweet review D-M, I wanna get this game now that I seen the review lol
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:25 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

I played this for about 5 minutes before I had enough, I know that it's a good game and all, it just wasn't for me. Chinatown Wars was freaking amazing, and it is the best in the series as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:05 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

LTTP for the win.

I gave this thought but it seemed a little too "strategy" for my tastes.
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:16 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

The soundtrack reminds me of the Jet Set/Grind Radio soundtracks, which is a good thing.

I don't have a DS (*hugs GBA*), but when/if I do, this one is one of the top few games I'd get. I like it when Square does more experimental RPGs (Front Mission, Live a Live, Treasure of the Rudras), and this one sounds like it's in that same vein.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:33 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

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I played this for about 5 minutes before I had enough, I know that it's a good game and all, it just wasn't for me.
Makes sense, it really isn't a game for everyone, though it does get much better after the first five minutes.
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I gave this thought but it seemed a little too "strategy" for my tastes.
Yeah, I can see that being a turn-off for most people.
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:30 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

What a review, DM.
Great job, but if I may offer some constructive criticism:
Speaking as someone whose eyesight is failing, I find it hard to read from such large blocks of uninterrupted text.

Other than that I think you went above and beyond, and this review is approaching the status of walkthrough.
It seems that I'm missing a lot by not having a DS.
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:35 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: The World Ends With You

You are missing quite a bit by not having a DS.
I'm sorry about the large blocks of text, but it is more broken down than when I wrote it. I should have pressed enter twice, where I pressed it once, that way I'd have a line of white space, as opposed to just starting a new line early, thanks for the advice.
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