|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Jupiter Corp||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Square Enix||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr. 21, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4 (Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Joseph Catalanotto
January 30, 2008 - Such titles as Killer 7 and the recently released No More Heroes (incidentally, both developed by Suda 51) have proved that Americans love crazy games.
Blood, gore, and guns are apparently a turn-on as well, but it's certainly arguable that one of the biggest reasons that the two above mentioned games are so popular is because they are a radical departure from what gamers are used to. Well, one of the most famous developers of all time, Square Enix, is now trying their hand at creating an out-there game experience, in the form of its upcoming DS game The World Ends With You.
For those of you who are confused or may have not heard of The World Ends with You, it's certainly worth mentioning that this is now the official title of a DS game that had garnered some attention months before, previously titled It's a Wonderful World. The premise of the game is rather straightforward but at the same time pretty crazy and morbid: you take control of a boy named Neck who finds out that he has only seven days to live. And with that basis, Neck sets out on a crazy, existential journey to save himself from the God of Death, along with the help of a companion named Tsuki.
The World Ends with You employs an interesting role-playing/action hybrid gameplay mechanic that has a heavy emphasis on real time action, but which also (obviously) features some prominent role-playing elements. Control of Neck is done via the bottom screen; you tap the screen and on the top screen, where all the action takes place, Neck moves to the place corresponding with the one you tapped. When you fight a battle, the action aspect of this game rears its head: actions such as tapping, swiping, and holding the stylus on the enemies activates attacks, which in turn depletes some of the power from the attack that you used. You are encouraged to keep combos going by employing various different attacks until your enemy is felled. Additionally, the L and R buttons are used to slightly change the effect of the different actions that you perform.
The battles may have a stronger emphasis on action, but as I mentioned, there's a clear RPG presence in The World Ends with You. Your stats in the game -- yes, there are stats -- are dependent entirely upon the clothes that you are wearing. So, you can occasionally go to shops and purchase equipment (albeit that of a rather untraditional type) to upgrade your characters abilities. In addition to that, however, there are tons of metals scattered throughout the game for the player to collect -- each medal have different uses and values. Some are simply sold, while others give you new moves during battles. However, you can't just use every badge that you run across -- the game employs a badge point system. With each level up, Neck gains more badge points, which are necessary to equip badges, and naturally more powerful and useful badges will require more of these points.
Once Tsuki joins up with you, there's also the ability to unleash some pretty devastation dual attacks, which have both Neck and Tsuki attacking a foe for far more damage than would be dealt if they attacked individually. You can choose to control Tsuki directly or have her controlled automatically; regardless, though, you'll see an icon appear prompting a dual attack once Tsuki manages to pull off specific combos in battle. Needless to say, these attacks are pretty useful and can help you out with even the game's toughest bosses. As your progress further and further into the game, combinations and dual attacks become very important.
One of the most well-known and most interesting aspects of The World Ends with You is the fantastic art style. The game is full of animated cutscenes which are really promising to push the DS to its graphical limit. But in addition to that, the in-game visuals themselves are really neat. The World Ends With You really does prove that it's style, not polygon count, that ultimately decides how good a game looks. Because while it may not break records for best technical graphics or even pass by such graphical powerhouses as Final Fantasy III and Metroid Prime Hunters, The World Ends with You promises plenty of immersion thanks to the game's terrific artwork.
I know there are a lot of upcoming games right now on every major video game system, but try not to forget about The World Ends with You in the coming months. It won't be out for a bit, and it's during a time when many games are typically released, but at the same time it's shaping up to be one of the coolest DS games to date. I re-emphasize: keep an eye out for The World Ends with You, because this is one DS title that you're not going to want to miss.
CCC Freelance Writer
* Note: This game is also known as "It's a Wonderful World" and "Subarashiki Kono Sekai."