The World Ends With You review

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The World Ends With You review Empty The World Ends With You review

Post by Rout Majin on Sat Oct 31, 2009 6:02 pm

TWEWY is art. Much of the game is like a manga comic, except you control its pace with the tap of the DS’ touchscreen – the narrative moves along in the pace you want; the pace you see fit, but even when set out like this, the game steps in with sighs and “ahhs” from the characters, every now and then, to make them seem like living personalities – they certainly look the part as well, beautifully drawn portraits that actively change throughout the conversation. I will describe it as “cool”, because I’m cool like that.

But if you’re not a fan of this manga style, then close your eyes and listen to games musical score. Along with the graphics, it’s delicious. Now I know that there’s also a reluctant group of people (probably oaps, or, pretty much every other teenager) who’d refuse to like a certain genre of music, but TWEWY has a variety (rock, pop, hip-hop and electronica) here, and it pulls off all of them very well. In fact, they probably just threw away the rule book and decided to create a soundtrack based on “style” – which is at home in the game’s setting, Shibuya – and it works.

This theme of style rubs off on the gameplay front as well, as your character’s power is determined by what threads and pins you wear, based on stats and brands; and if the game wasn’t picky enough, it’s also determined on what area you’re in. That said, you can wear what you want, altering the brand chart over time, and lead a fashion revolution. As exciting as that sounds though, that aspect of that game is pretty forgettable, and you’ll probably just pick your assets based on stats alone – stats for battle. “Pins” are the game’s weapon of choice, which, as you can guess, are a bit more exciting than they sound. Each pin sports a brand, a power/attribute (e.g. creating flames), and stats such as power, usage and restoration speed.

Pick your pins, replace them when you find better ones, and find a deck that suits your style of battle. Battles require your attention on both screens, with the touchscreen (as well as the mic) used to control the key character, and use the pins at the same time. It sounds cumbersome, and it does show at times, but nevertheless, it works, and battles are fast-paced and exciting. The top screen (controlled solely by buttons), on the other hand, is much more basic, as you’re limited in your range of attacks/manoeuvres, but it’s more than forgivable given the fact that you have to control both screens at once.

And while you can get by with brute force and brainless button mashing/swiping, more co-ordinated fighting will help you get by with “sync” attacks, which deals a lot of damage to foes on-screen, as well as restoring a bit of health. A few touchscreen niggles aside, you’ve got a very unique and intuitive battle system. It’s addictive as it is, but after the dust-up; after collecting more pins as prizes, you’ll want more. Thanks to TWEWY’s extensive library of pins, it’ll be a while till you collect them all. It’s not quite Pokémon, in this respect, but it’s still fairly satisfying scrolling down a big selection of colourful pins – a collection that you’ve built up over time – even though you aren’t going to use half of them.

It’s not just as simple as finishing battles either, no, there’s more labouring to be done. Piling on the RPG aspects, pins also evolve, and not just in one way, but several, and some branching out to different paths. As well as the normal exp you receive that increases base stats, there’s PP (that’s power points, I think?) that is the pin’s equivalent. They go up levels, increasing in power, and sometimes evolve depending on what type of PP it grows on – be it the standard Battle PP, Shutdown PP (which you get in the time your console is turned off) and Mingle PP – which is a bit more exclusive and relies on wirelessly connecting with other players.

That’s just half of the game though, and with the most of the talk so far on style and the game’s battle aspect, you’d be forgiven for mistaking TWEWY as a somewhat shallow JRPG. It really isn’t. A lot of what really made TWEWY memorable for me was its story; the plot; its characters and their development. It’s naturally shrouded in mystery, with things getting clearer as you progress.

The protagonist of the story; one miserable sod, Neku Sakuraba, can’t even remember how he entered this “game”, but the traumatic chain of events is revealed to him over time. In this time he is also forced to (poor guy) communicate with other people in order to complete missions. Putting it that way sounds a bit plain, but in this you have a clash of personalities and ideas, resulting in some interesting and quirky dialogue that is both well-written and engrossing. It helps that it’s a good read through completing puzzles, and as you work your way through the game’s plot.

These “puzzles”, half of the time, involve erasing Noise (the game’s beasties) or collecting certain pins, but the other half involves solving the dilemmas of the people. You’ve got your dilemma right there, and you’ve got a bit of information. Obviously now you’ll need to do a bit of investigating – going around to different parts of Shibuya; reading people’s minds (one of your pins can do that. Cool, no?); erasing some Noise, and even forcing ideas into people’s heads with a little mind trickery. Once all the like is done, the mission is completed, and everyone’s happy.

It’s through missions like these where Neku’s character develops. He learns another moral; discovers that you can’t do everything alone, and that life is generally better with friends. As a teenager myself, it’s probably a betrayal to say this, as you’re not supposed to admit that anyone or anything understands you, but I can sort of relate to Neku. That’s all I want to say about the game now, and I’d rather not go into depth about the plot – it’s special. If you’ve got some money and you want some quality RPG action, then you could do a lot worse than buy TWEWY.
Rout Majin
Rout Majin
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