|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|
Visually, this game is pretty cool. It doesn't have much in the way of amazing technical visuals, but the unique style of the game more than makes up for this minor shortcoming. Characters all have their signature looks, and the Shibuya district has its own funky-fresh feel to it.
In addition to fighting baddies and playing the reapers game, another big portion of the gameplay in The World Ends With You has to do with fashion. Shibuya is known for being a very youthful and trendy place in Japan, and if you're not wearing the right outfit, you can be sure that there will be some major criticism coming your way. This title uses the fashion component of Shibuya life quite well. There are many clothing stores, and it will be up to you to keep an eye on brand lists so you can make sure your clothes are the hottest in town. And don't think this is purely for vain reasons. Having ultra-trendy clothes can give you certain status upgrades.
From the energetic main menu music to the J-pop inspired level music, this title sounds great. I was really impressed with the fact that it includes "real songs" with vocals as opposed to simplistic tunes with no real instrumentations or vocals. Voice acting is also fairly good, and while the characters don't speak in their own voices too much, when they do it is performed expertly.
Another fairly large boon for The World Ends With You is the sheer depth of gameplay. Not only do you have your main task at hand of winning the game against the reapers, but you also have to perform side quests to get pins, shop till you drop getting the hottest fashions, and even get into battles to level up (remember doing that?). There is a whole lot to do in this game and even more to unlock post-game, so even if you finish it fairly fast, there is plenty to do afterward, including a secret level that is only unlocked after 100% completion.
The World Ends With You is an excellent title that has enough Square Enix clichés to last a lifetime. However its innovative double character battle system along with its intriguing story are enough to make this game stand out, not only for Final Fantasy fans, but also for the uninitiated as well. It is a great example of innovative gameplay, and though it might take a while to get a hold on the actual battle mechanics, once you get going, you won't be able to stop!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer