The World Ends With You

Written by Joe Martin

April 20, 2008 | 08:38

Tags: #ds-lite #final-fantasy #handheld #lite #reapers #review #rpg #the-world-ends-with-you

Companies: #nintendo #square-enix

All The World Needs Is Me

Be wary though – while the story and setting may be understandable and simple, the gameplay itself is definitely a bit more complex. Or, at least, bits of it are.

The game itself is fundamentally very simple. You’re given a mission at the start of each in-game day, such as “Lift the curse on Hachiko”. The game will lead you through the process of reaching the goal, overcoming obstacles and puzzles along the way. You complete the mission of the day, you pat yourself on the back, you go onto the next day and the story carries on. Simple.

Where thing’s get complicated is with the combat.

Combat is initiated either by story events, or by scanning using Neku’s badges and then selecting the Noise that floats around peoples’ heads without their knowledge. Select the Noise and enter a battle, with Neku remaining on the lower screen while his team-mate jumps up onto the top screen.

Players fight using the touch screen to control Neku’s various badge-based ‘psych’ powers. Badges are basically your weapons and each one behaves differently – one badge might let you fire bullets by tapping enemies, others may let you stab Noise with icicles by slashing across them. Neku’s badges will upgrade too and become stronger in real-time.

The World Ends With You All The World Needs Is Me The World Ends With You All The World Needs Is Me
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The other character though, a clueless girl called Shiki for the first part of the game, will fight on the top screen using the D-pad to progress through a set of pre-plotted attack paths that display on the screen. Tap the right directions and you’ll land a damaging melee combo, passing multipliers back and forth between characters.

What makes it really complex though is that you fight on both screens at the same time, against the same enemies. Kill a bad guy on the top screen and see him disappear from the bottom screen too, but be aware that the Noise will move differently on each screen.

Keeping track of the characters on each screen is enormously difficult, but also essential since Neku and Co. always share health points. It is possible to get the AI to take over the battle and to set a time limit before the AI takes over, but this leaves you always with a feeling that you’re missing out on the real game experience.

To be fair though, this is pretty much the only real criticism we have for The World Ends With You. Well, that and the fact that if you die then you can’t immediately skip through any dialogue you’ve already read – but that’s a fairly common thing to be fair.

The World Ends With You All The World Needs Is Me The World Ends With You All The World Needs Is Me
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The World Ends With You is both a fantastically imaginative and hugely derivative game as far as DS RPGs go and the whole thing feels like a teenage version of Contact what with the intriguing art style and obsession with stickers and badges as weapons.

There’s two ways to look at The World Ends With You, if you ask us. You can look at it in terms of Square Enix and say that, as far as their history goes, The World Ends With You is a good game, but hardly as remarkable as past titles. Final Fantasy VII this is not.The World Ends With You All The World Needs Is Me

On the other hand though, if you look at this as far as the DS goes, then this is definitely one of the best RPGs the platform has seen. Yeah, it may not be the next Final Fantasy, but it’s still a great game and the art style that runs through the game is both striking and adorable. The characters are visually arresting and some of the more powerful combos and fusion powers are really quite cool.

The best thing about The World Ends With You though is that the game manages to be both involving and accessible. There’s an awful lot of information to absorb in the first few hours of play, not least of which is the combat system, which is hugely fun and frantic but also tough to get to grips with. The game never once feels overpowering or dull though and instead pulls players in deeper, thanks to characters that players can relate to and excellent dialogue.

The World Ends With You may not quite live up the expectations of those wanting the next Final Fantasy or Kingdom Hearts – but those people would probably never be satisfied anyway and, as it is, The World Ends With You is still a fantastic game that all DS gamers can easily enjoy.
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