Released in 2008, The World Ends With You is one of those overlooked games that was revolutionary for the DS at the time.
Plot Overview: A boy named Neku wakes up in the middle of Shibuya downtown without and recollection of how he got there, the only clue he has is a weird skull pin he find on him and a text that reads “Get to 104, you have 60 minutes, fail and face erasure-The Reapers” After this he is attacked by strange creatures who you later figure out are called Noise. After finding a mandatory partner to help find the noise, named Shiki (Bimbo is the best way to describe her) the story of how Neku got to where he is to starts to unravel. It turns out, Neku is dead (I was very confused at this point) and he is in the middle of a game to reclaim his life, all he has to do is survive seven days and complete the mission that the reapers (the ones who made and control the game) command. At the end of the week, they beat the so called Game Master (Big, a lot of muscles, though very few in his head) and Shiki is allowed to be revived but Neku isn’t, though we do figure out that the reason Neku couldn’t remember anything was because the enter the reapers game, you had to sacrifice something of value, which would be returned upon completing the game. So Neku is allowed to play the game again, this time his entry fee is Shiki though,
So Neku unintentionally teams up with a guy named Joshua (really, when you first meet this kid, you hate him). Another week goes by and you figure out that Joshua isn’t really dead, just trying to kill the leader of the reapers so he can take over. Anyway you beat down the Game master of this week (who overly obsessed with Math, like even his catchphrases are math related). And he tries to self-destruct himself, before he can get Neku and Joshua, Joshua saves Neku while sacrificing himself (not so much of an a** now eh?). So since Neku beat the game (again) he expects to be allowed to come back to life. But instead the head Reaper named Megumi tells Neku that he broke the rules by partnering with someone who was alive.
Instead of erasing Neku, he offers him the chance to play the game one more time. When the game starts, Neku finds out all the other players were his entry fee. Therefore he can’t partner up and will lose (sort of a what-an-a**hole move by Megumi) but a kid named Beat, who was a player the first week, lost his partner so he became a Reaper for the second week sees Neku in trouble and becomes his partner. Instead of following the rules of the game though, they find it easier to take out the “composer” who runs the game and the Reapers so they can stop the game once and for all. After looking for a week, they find it (guess what, it was right under their noses!). Once there they take down all the big Reapers and go to fight Megumi, once they beat him, the Composer reveals himself…it was Joshua. His powers along with Beat and Shiki, who recently was returned to you, combine with Megumi’s to make some super Reaper mode. Once Neku beats it, Joshua reveals the truth behind his death, the game and everything. In the end they all come back to life, see each other again and live happily ever after so to speak.
Characters; Playable Characters: Neku, Shiki, Joshua, Beat.
Every Single character in this game was fantastic, even minor ones. The game really did an excellent job portraying the development and characterization of each and every one of them, their motive were clear, everything they did, even when it was supposedly bad was justifiable to themselves and the player. Neku was at first a very cut off person, he hated everyone, and just wanted them to go away, his famous quote at the beginning of the game was “All the world needs is me, I got my values, so you can keep yours alright” But throughout the game he slowly learns to be social and allow other people in. His development within the game is completely believable.
In fact the characters were so well done and had such deep stories that became side stories, that if I wrote them all out in the plot summary, then the entire synopsis would have been close to 5 pages minimum. And I’ll leave it to the people playing the game to find the amazing sub-stories that the game has to offer. And the characters dialogs were all believable as well, let me tell you, the story writers didn’t censor anything.
The one let down in the area of characters is the fact that every players history was revealed so that their personality made sense…except Neku. That’s right; Neku was introduced as a loner and while it is true that he changed, his personal reasons for becoming one were not revealed. This is not a big problem, because the game is fantastic and long enough without having to hear it, it was just a little disappointing.
Other Good points: The game’s story is very deep and entertaining, which is defiantly hard to find now a days. I have replayed it several times and it never gets old. It includes so many right angles that you never know what coming next or how each character is going to react to it. The games is also quite hilarious at point , despite the seriousness of the game, which once again, is hard to find. The battle system was new, creative and all around fun. You control two characters at once on the different screens of the Nintendo DS and fight with pins. These pins give you certain powers once equipped, for example the first pin gives you the power to control fire for a short period of time before the pin has to recharge.
All in all, I find it so difficult to critique this game, everything about it was just incredible. Could have it been better at points? Maybe, and that’s a big maybe.
Writer Rating: 9.8/10