Monday, June 9, 2008

This World Begins with You

The World Ends With You Review

Graphics 8/10

Sound/Music : 9/10


Control 7/10

Difficulty: Varies (though challenging towards the end)

Overall: 9/10

Square-Enix finally released a fresh gaming experience on the DS the doesn’t include Mana or Final Fantasy. Braving the new uncharted waters of a brand new IP, Square Enix has created a game that surpasses my every expectation in fun, style, music and story. It’s a breath of fresh air to see a game from them that doesn’t have a number next to the title.

The World End With You tells the story of Neku Sakuraba, a boy with the unfortunate videogame cliché of amnesia, who wakes up in the busy city streets of Shibuya with no recollection of how he got there or why he is there. He quickly finds out that he is in a deadly game of survival with a group that calls themselves reapers. He also discovers that he has to survive for 7 days or face being erased from existence. He doesn’t have to do this alone as Neku will have partners to help through his ordeal.

The story in this game is very well developed with interesting characters; though Neku growth as a character is rather predictable it still told well enough that you care what happens to him. A few of the big plot twist are easy to see coming but a lot of the story is done well enough to keep the player guessing what’s going to happen next while keeping them interested. Also the production values are quite high on the DS. This game has voice acting at crucial story segments and also play other voice clips through out and cut scenes are done with character portraits drawn in a style that represent Tetsuya Nomura well.
Even though he's emo at first, you will
come around to liking Neku

Game play basically ranges from simple to very complex. Basically a task is usually given to the player to complete each day, whether its getting to a certain location, or wiping out some enemies. It’s rather simple and the “game” within the game blocks you off from certain path which leads to some fairly linear game play. Get a mission, and then complete it. It may sound a little simple but it works for the better and there is still a lot to do.
Missions are given with a "timer" but
but you have all the time you'll need.

Battles are an important part of any RPG and TWEWY offers one of the most fun, though a bit complex battle systems to date. Battles are fought in real time with a twist. Your main character uses “pins” to execute attacks. Pins are activated differently such as scratching and empty space or slash at an enemy. There are a huge variety of pins to suit your playing style but certain pins may overlap another which can sometimes leave you using a pin you may not have wanted to use. The game does allow you to set some pins to a sub list to help this problem. Using both DS screens, you must control Neku on the bottom screen using touch control AND his partner on the top screen using the D pad (or buttons for lefties) . This takes a little getting used to and the developers probably realized that this might be a little too much to take care, so they offer an variety of Auto settings to help a bit. I suggest for beginners to leave it on auto for the first few chapters until you get the hang of it, if at all. The auto AI handles itself alright, although for some battles you might be better controlling both characters.
TWEWY also offers you the ability to customize your play style quite a bit. You can change the difficulty at after a certain point to easy, normal, hard, or ultimate and you can switch it at any time. Each one makes enemies stronger but the harder the difficulty ,the better items and experience points earned. You can also lower your level (and raise it back) at any time to lower your HP but increase the chance of enemies dropping items.
Lastly keeping up with its very modern theme the world with you has characters wearing brand name clothing and eating food which directly affects game play. Wearing clothes in akin to wearing armor in any typical RPG game with stats boost and other bonuses. What is unique though is that the “threads” each have a brand name that may or may not be popular in the part of town you are wearing them in. Basically in the main menu, you can see the top 3 brands and the least popular brands. The most popular brands usually affect how strong your pin attacks are. They will raise the damage depending on how popular it is, although the least popular brand pin will have its power cut in half, this adds some strategy to equipment and pin usage.

Its as complicated as it looks...

The games theme is very modern and the games producer chose a soundtrack that would suit a modern Shibuya world. I thought the music in this game was awesome all the way through. Though some of the songs may loop a bit often in the beginning, as you progress the songs get better and less repetitive. The soundtrack consist of mostly hip-hop, J-pop and J-Rock? Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of this type of music, it fit’s the overall theme well and does its job of immersing you into the games world.

TWEWY is a great game that combines some familiar RPG themes (amnesia, leveling, anti - hero) with a presentation that is through the roof. Game play is also there in spades, even including a huge mini game called Tin Pin Slammer, fun battles, and a cool world to explore. A few issues with the game is that Shibuya isn’t really that large to explore, and you do go through the same 15 screens through out the whole game. Also it may a bit complex and tough for casual players but all gripes aside this is one of the most original and enjoyable experience that can only be done on the DS. And for the hardcore, there is a bit more to do after completing the main quest. I recommend this game to any DS owner ASAP.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008 my world

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Sterling J. Ivey and I am a game addict. Now I got that out of the way lets get this all straightened out. I am 21 and have been playing games since I was 4 years old. I love to voice my opinion on games and how gaming has changed over the years. I created this blog page to focus specifically on my thoughts about games, the gaming industry, and maybe once in a while movies. My dream job right now is to be an editor of a gaming publication, or to have my own gaming publication ( like a website or magazine). In college right now for computer informations system but that will soon change to journalism.

My favorite game genres are RPGs, action, adventure, fighting, but I like a lot of different kind of games so I will be reviewing all types of games and also classics. Of course I will review games of the past also. Eventually I will try to also get into video blogging. So let this be the beginning of a beautiful bloggership?..whatever...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008