Mark’s Best Of Gaming is a series of articles detailing the absolute best games of all time, but not necessarily in any particular order or with any intention other than letting you know, if you haven’t played these, what even is your life. What even is. With that blurb out of the way, today, we’re talking about;
The World Ends With You
Tetsuya Nomura has been at the head of quite a few of some pretty awesome games in his time. Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy X and X-2, as well as XIII, and XV, Kingdom Hearts, as well as Chrono Trigger, and Parasite Eve are just a few of his works. TWEWY, despite seemingly sitting at the back of the proverbial bus compared to those games, is actually my favourite.
It may be my favourite game of all time. I wouldn’t be going out on a limb to say that it’s up there.
Neku Sakuraba, whose character design is extremely visibly Nomura’s, is a self-reliant teen who lives in Shibuya. He soon realizes he’s caught up in a deadly game with the “Reapers”, in which he must team up with various other players of the game to complete tasks assigned to them, or be “Erased”.
Without spoiling it too much, because I think you should really play it, the story is very character driven, and runs heavily on the theme of being able to open yourself up and be flexible with others. Through this, we get to meet countless deep characters in the game. Everyone from a ramen connoisseur, to superstitious businessmen, and a math-obsessed part time artist-part time killer.
Great story aside, the gameplay is fairly ground breaking. There’s a huge amount of content in this game, impressive given it runs on a console with only 4 MB of ram. The game revolves around exploring a city based on real-life Shibuya, one of Tokyo’s more fashion-based shopping districts in Japan, fighting monsters known as “Noise”, and shopping through a massive 280 equippable “Threads” or clothing items, over 300 pins (which are used as Neku’s weapons) and other collectables including soundtrack pieces, food, and other upgrades. The battle system is quite complex and is a bit of a hurdle for some, but I found after about half an hour or so of practice I had it down pat.
Basically, you enter a battle and fight a group of “Noise”. When they’re all defeated, you’re rewarded with pins and money! Battles must, for the most part, be triggered manually, but I always find myself grinding for hours just for fun because of how good it feels. To fight you must use touchscreen gestures to control Neku and his various “Psychs”, which are attacks that you can choose by equipping the pins you get. Making good use of the Dual Screened nature of the DS (Something that is oddly rare in DS games), the upper screen must be utilized at the same time, controlling Neku’s various partners by inputting commands into the D-pad or XYBA buttons.
It really is an awesome feeling handling so much at once. It’s not as complex as it really seems to be able to pull off awesome stuff.
The equippables are really fun! Every character can equip anything from casual shirts and pants, to bikinis and miniskirts, to samurai armor and more. When your friends ask you why you have Neku equipped in all Gothic Lolita attire, you can explain to them that each equipment gives specific stat bonuses, and when the brand of your clothes all match in game, they get buffs or debuffs depending on if that brand’s clothes are popular in the area of the game you’re currently in!
After you’ve beat the game, it allows you to play through a bonus filler chapter. You can also play through any chapter of the game you’ve currently played through on harder difficulties with extra missions, so there are hours and hours of game play in this. Thankfully, the game’s huge soundtrack keeps things fresh and interesting. It’s a really beat driven selection of music that keeps my heart pumping so hard that I may as well just become one with the game.
It came out a long time ago on the DS, but recently it’s popped up on IOS 7 and Android 4.X devices (not yet compatable with IOS 8 or Android 5.0). You can purchase the Android version here!
If I had to sum it up, the reason I feel so strongly about the game is not just for any one of it’s qualities, but all of them combined. The World Ends With You takes a story with rich and deep character development, combines it with compelling and addictive gameplay, art stylized by one of gaming’s most legendary artists, a crazy soundtrack and makes it all into one consistently flavoured experience. It’s something more than just a game.