For the previous 13 years, followers of the Nintendo DS cult basic, The World Ends With You have been virtually begging Sq. Enix to whip up a brand new entry on the planet of the unique. The vibes of that first enterprise are flavour-rich, boasting a bouncy and energetic soundtrack, a loveable forged of characters, and a fight system simply as distinctive as the remainder of the sport. So we had been thrilled to bits when the information of a sequel got here throughout our desk final yr, though on the similar time cautious, as we maintain the story of the primary recreation near our hearts.
Would the story of the unique have been higher off left untouched by NEO: The World Ends With You? Do the creators actually have the gusto to match or exceed the vitality from that first waltz by means of Shibuya? Will the brand new protagonist Rindo and the remainder of these runts ever be capable of dwell as much as the likes of Neku and firm? We’ve been asking ourselves these similar questions for weeks, months even, and fortunately it was all for naught. This new action-RPG romp by means of Shibuya’s streets is stuffed with recent beats and shocking treats to appease longtime followers and newcomers alike.
The story opens up within the coronary heart of Shibuya, following two fashionable kids named Rindo and Fret, who simply occur to be out in town grabbing some lunch. One factor results in one other and each of them find yourself discovering themselves wrapped up in a contest often known as the Reapers Recreation, a life-and-death battle hosted by a corporation often known as (you may in all probability guess) Reapers. So as to survive this week-long occasion, they’ll must type a staff and rack up sufficient factors by finishing missions that the Recreation Grasp, Shiba, dishes out every day. Whichever staff comes out on prime on the finish of the week can have one single want granted, whereas the staff that holds up the rear faces extreme penalties.
Over the course of the Reapers Recreation, Rindo and Fret make buddies with loads of new gamers and some outdated faces acquainted to followers of the sequence. Nagi Usui (a recent face and certainly one of our favorites at that!) is pretty reserved and easy (and fairly an Otaku) and can bounce on the likelihood to introduce somebody to her favourite cellular recreation, Elegant Technique. Then we now have Sho Minamimoto, an edgy outcast able to crunch any equation that will get in his approach. Minami was one of many antagonists within the first recreation, so it’ll make you query why he’d shift positions and be a part of your occasion early on. You then’ve obtained Fret, who offers everybody he meets a punny nickname (‘Rindude’ & ‘Nagirl’ amongst them) whether or not they prefer it or not. Each character is brimming with life and has their very own reality to find, and also you’d be hard-pressed to nail down a singular favourite by the top of the journey.
Talking of the journey, whereas there are a couple of fancy pre-rendered signature “Sq.-Enix” cutscenes sprinkled all through that arrive at nicely deserved moments, 99% % of the story is delivered by means of visible novel-esque segments. Characters are represented on-screen with satisfying hand-drawn artwork that’s harking back to the unique recreation’s model, and whereas they aren’t animated, their portraits will change on the drop of a Pin, displaying their present feelings brightly.
A good chunk of dialogue is voiced as nicely, normally in the beginning and or finish of a day throughout vital moments. Whereas there’s the choice to make use of the unique Japanese dub, the English voice forged has actually gone above and past to offer every character an additional dimension, and we caught with that by means of our journey.
Whereas NEO: The World Ends With You takes place after the occasions of the primary recreation, the unique isn’t essentially required studying. Among the many conversations littered all through the sport will go down smoother you probably have some prior understanding of the returning faces and their backstories, however the recreation does an important job of briefing the participant naturally with any essential intel. There are many twists and turns which might be positive to have you ever on the sting of your seat, though we’re unsure it actually gripped us in the identical approach the unique did. There are some pacing points right here and there through the 40+ hour journey, however each time we began to get slightly bored it felt like one thing new obtained thrown our approach to snap again our curiosity. The side of competing in opposition to different gamers’ groups provides a brand new dynamic not discovered within the first entry, as nicely. Suffice to say, the bar was set fairly excessive in any case these years and for the sake of spoiling issues, we’ll depart the surprises so that you can uncover.
The story is without doubt one of the most integral elements of the sport, and the conversations between your occasion, rival groups, and reapers alike will eat about half of your total playtime, so be sure to come outfitted along with your readers and be ready to press ‘A’ lots. There’s an auto dialogue choice for the voiced segments however we turned it off pretty rapidly per our desire. One minor criticism we might make in regards to the authentic TWEWY is that it doesn’t essentially offer you sufficient time with a lot of the characters to essentially get to understand them, however NEO provides you loads of moments to be taught extra about your staff, the Depraved Twisters. Watching Nagi swoon over Minamimoto however then rapidly ignore any kindness from Fret by no means will get outdated, and this type of banter helped maintain us always invested. There are many aspect quests that’ll ship extra of that forwards and backwards chatter, too.
When not discussing your subsequent plan of action for the Reapers Recreation, you’ll be given the prospect to roam the bustling streets of Shibuya and discover its many locales. The Hachiko Memorial Statue continues to be adjoining to the busy intersection Shibuya is thought for, Tower Information is there, too, and provides you CDs you could buy and hearken to in-game and the 104 purchasing heart (which can not share the identical identify as our real-world counterpart) looms overhead, stuffed with clothes and Pins to buy to your staff.
The digicam is all the time locked to an angle when within the overworld and can comply with the participant as you roam about, however it’s fastened completely to offer you a large and expansive view of town. There are tiny particulars snuck into each side of the world that makes us want there was some kind of first-person picture mode to discover a bit extra freely and bathe within the finer particulars much more. We’d have most well-liked if a minimum of certainly one of your occasion members adopted you round when you searched the streets, as nicely, as it might probably really feel slightly lonely working round as simply Rindo, however there’s sufficient banter between the staff that these emotions by no means lasted lengthy.
When you can’t immediately chat with a lot of the passersby on the road, you may scan the realm and browse their ideas. Why ask somebody a query when you may rip the reply straight out of their mind, proper? That is largely a novelty and in case you use it incessantly you’ll begin to acknowledge repeat ideas, however NEO makes use of this characteristic at the side of a few of your teammate’s talents. For instance, Fret has the ability to assist folks bear in mind one thing they’ve forgotten, and this may result in providing you with a clue for a mission or can merely get somebody to cheer up and transfer on with their day. Nagi alternatively has the power to faucet into somebody’s thoughts and rid them of destructive Noise that’s afflicting them in fight, which feels like an important alternative to clarify the battle system.
Whereas scanning your environments on the overworld you’ll discover purple tribal tattoos floating round in every single place, often known as Noise. Work together with them and you may problem them to a faceoff, which takes the type of a real-time battle. Again earlier than we had our arms on the sport, we had been nervous NEO was going to borrow fight components too closely from its cousin, Kingdom Hearts, and never sufficient from its DS sibling, however fortunately that is not the case.
Every of your teammates will go into battle outfitted with a singular Pin that provides that person a singular psych capacity. Some enable your characters to fireside a stream of vitality blasts, slice away with a kinetic beam sword that emanates from the person’s hand, and even create a lava whirlpool beneath their enemy’s toes. Controlling so many characters directly with totally different talents sounds prefer it’s going to get fairly messy, however there are lots of components at play that make this truly work. Pins are assigned to a particular button, and when pressed the assigned character will begin attacking no matter Noise you’re at the moment locked onto. As you assault, Pins will drain vitality however will recharge over time so that you gained’t have to attend too lengthy to make use of that assault once more.
When in battle you’re capable of freely management the digicam and transfer about as any of your teammates, however past attacking certainly one of your solely different abilities is a dodge roll, which actually does come in useful in case you can maintain your eyes targeted on the enemy when you combat. There isn’t a bounce button, however sure Pins nonetheless will let you uppercut enemies to take to the skies every so often to realize these epic battle moments that simply really feel naturally cool.
Stringing your events’ assaults collectively is essential to victory. After dealing sufficient harm with certainly one of your characters a blue circle will seem over the enemy telling you to “Drop the Beat.” In the event you’re capable of begin attacking then with a special character rapidly earlier than the Beat timer goes away, you’ll elevate your total Groove meter. As soon as this hits 100% you’ll be capable of pull off a particular AOE assault relying on the model of Pins you have got outfitted. These assaults can actually assist out while you’re in a pinch and vary from a large fireball falling down from the sky to a cluster of tornadoes taking on the streets.
Battles will happen pretty incessantly because the story goes, however you may battle Noise everytime you like on the overworld to realize some further EXP or new Pins. You may even string a number of Noise battles collectively to lift your possibilities of pulling in additional Pins. There’s a mission kind referred to as the Scramble Slam, a turf struggle for Shibuya, which pits rival groups in opposition to each other. This could make for some tedium as most of those battles in opposition to gamers lack selection for the reason that opposing groups’ fight patterns really feel systematically related. Nonetheless, this was the one time the place fight ever appeared to overstay its welcome.
For probably the most half, the backdrops of every battle will line up with the realm you began the combat, providing up a wide-open house, freed from civilians to assist maintain you targeted on the Noise. At first, we obtained slightly bored of the identical outdated cement roads and concrete buildings, however then we realized they permit for the colours of your Pins talents and the Noise you are combating to pop like paint on a clean canvas. The motion can get chaotic and messy, however it might probably additionally really feel such as you’re watching a well-orchestrated play while you pull collectively a string of assaults completely.
One of many main facets that make us need to bounce again into the battle system many times, although, is the Pins. Experimenting with differing types and formulating methods is extraordinarily rewarding by itself. Pins additionally achieve expertise as you employ them, turning into stronger in flip and a few may even evolve right into a extra superior model. You’re always gaining new ones alongside your journey and most gained’t take too lengthy to max out, in order that they by no means overstay their welcome in the event that they’re not vibin’. Good factor, too, contemplating there are over 300 Pins to gather. By the top of the primary marketing campaign we had collected slightly over half, so there’ll be loads extra to return and dig up for anybody on the lookout for extra motive return. Plus, you may modify the issue on the fly earlier than any battle, with greater difficulties providing up the prospect to earn uncommon and unique Pins.
Your occasion members will achieve expertise from battles, too, however solely their HP will rise with every degree up — you elevate their different stats by consuming out at eating places in between battles. Each meal will ship a everlasting enhance in HP, Protection, and or Fashion. Nonetheless you may solely abdomen a lot meals at a time, so that you’ll have to burn off some energy in battle earlier than you may swallow extra stats. There are over a dozen totally different eating places, every with their very own distinctive menus littered all through Shibuya and your occasion will name out a restaurant everytime you go one in the event that they’re feeling famished. Every character has their very own distinct style and desire as nicely, and you’ve got the prospect of incomes extra boosts in case you feed them their most well-liked dish. It’s a pleasant little diversion that brings a smile to their faces and yours in flip, particularly while you uncover a meals that Minamimoto truly enjoys (surprisingly, he loves avocado toast).
Clothes was an enormous a part of the unique DS journey, and it is again with a couple of adjustments in NEO. You are capable of equip as much as 4 totally different items to every of your occasion members. From what we skilled, the entire gear is only stat-driven and gained’t change the beauty look of your characters. These Fashion factors we talked about earlier go in the direction of permitting your characters to reap the benefits of further talents dished out by your gear. Some items of clothes might merely give a stat bonus if a sure character has it outfitted whereas others might elevate your likelihood of amassing extra Pins after a battle if mentioned character has a excessive sufficient Fashion level degree. The clothes you wore within the authentic additionally had an total impact on town and the way in which the residents considered every of the totally different clothes manufacturers, however with a bigger occasion of characters who all have their very own gear this time round, we are able to see doubtlessly why that characteristic was axed.
The soundtrack provides a large mixture of tracks protecting all the pieces from pop tunes with catchy choruses to heavy steel breakdowns. New songs are launched at a wholesome charge all through the journey, making it a pleasant shock while you uncover one. Shibuya Survivor and Your Ocean would positively bounce straight to the highest of our weekly music playlist if we ran one. Followers of the primary outing will probably be pleased to listen to loads of cherished songs made the bounce as both new remixes, fully new renditions, or unaltered originals. Give it a while and we’re positive a few of these songs will begin slipping into your day-to-day life.
Total, NEO: The World Ends With You runs comparatively clean on Swap in docked mode. We skilled a couple of mild body dips when scanning town for Noise and when fights obtained extraordinarily hectic, and whereas this occurs extra incessantly in handheld it doesn’t detract from the general gameplay. Additionally in handheld mode, it may be slightly robust to make out the characters within the warmth of a battle with lights bouncing and colours splashing in every single place, however it gained’t hinder your fight both.
We additionally skilled a couple of crashes the place we had been booted again to the Swap House menu, twice whereas we had been scanning totally different NPCs and as soon as proper earlier than a cutscene kicked in. Fortunately, the sport autosaves pretty usually, so we solely misplaced a couple of minutes of progress every time it occurred. Sq.-Enix has acknowledged they’re releasing a Day One patch to crush some bugs, so hopefully, this is without doubt one of the issues getting squashed.
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