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Quick Impressions – The World Ends with You

posted on May 15th, 2008 by jay

I’ve put around five hours into The World Ends with You and besides the “I cut myself to see if I can still feel pain” emo moniker I am very pleased. The battle system makes use of both DS screens simultaneously and though movement of your character via stylus is sort of spotty, everything ultimately works together nicely. The music is absurd Japanese pop that’s both infectious and terrible and the graphics are very stylized – this is one of the few DS games that has a AAA presentation and Squeenix deserves praise for actually trying. Of course the game flopped in Japan and will likely follow suit worldwide, so their effort will be entirely unrewarded and they will realize what a huge mistake taking a chance was. Life is back to normal.

The translation is very well done and includes a number of inside jokes. “Spoony Bard” pops up as well as a reference to Fawful’s glorious dialog in Super Star Saga (food of choice + “of your doom!” = hilarity). There is even a zipper joke – zippers being artist Nomura’s most obvious fetish. I am surprised that the themes of fashion and trends have not sent me running to the toilet as often as I anticipated. Despite looking like a ridiculously hip anime teen, the main character agrees with my stance that trends are stupid as well as my core beliefs that friends only hold you back and emotions are for the weak. Unless they are emotions of angst, then they are awesome and should be not only embraced, but magnified by constantly telling all of your friends about them and possibly writing your thoughts out in a little poetry notebook.

Square has never been a company to tell a coherent story. Time and again The World Ends with You jumps ahead temporally, purposefully throwing the player into the dark, only to then show us a cut scene that actually happened a day ago in the game’s world. This is a cheap, stupid and artificial tactic designed to make the game more mysterious. Actual mystery is a better way of making something mysterious; misdirection is annoying and an unnecessary tool reserved for untalented writers. Despite this major complaint, the plot of the game is pretty interesting, though I can only assume it ends in a suicide pact (because the game is emo, get it?).

Finally, despite what Japanese people think and what this game tells you, Shibuya is not diverse. The overwhelming majority of people in most or all areas of Japan are Japanese. If by diverse, Square means “people dressing differently despite all looking nearly identical and sharing exactly the same culture and language,” then yes, Shibuya is diverse.

3 Comments

  1. Christian said on May 15, 2008:

    “The overwhelming majority of people in most or all areas of Japan are Japanese. If by diverse, Square means “people dressing differently despite all looking nearly identical and sharing exactly the same culture and language,” then yes, Shibuya is diverse.”

    Sadly these baby steps are almost a strong sign for the Japanese.

    Maybe one day otaku will stop making excuses for them!

  2. Horatio said on May 16, 2008:

    I’ve beaten the game now and have to say that I loved every bit of it; the dual screen combat is frustrating and hard to manage well at times but was creative and a good evolution of normal rpg combat. Also have to say I love the shopping system where you level up affection with merchants; it’s reminiscent of the moogle shop system in KH II but much more complex and useful.

  3. randyrandall89 said on May 16, 2008:

    Niku also says that someone is ‘..full of fail..’ which I found amusing.

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