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 solid of characters, and a fight system simply as distinctive as the remainder of the sport. So we have 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 sport 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 via Shibuya? Will the brand new protagonist Rindo and the remainder of these runts ever be capable to 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 via 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 company often known as (you’ll be able to most likely guess) Reapers. With a view to survive this week-long occasion, they’ll should type a group and rack up sufficient factors by finishing missions that the Recreation Grasp, Shiba, dishes out every day. Whichever group comes out on prime on the finish of the week can have one single want granted, whereas the group that holds up the rear faces extreme penalties.
Over the course of the Reapers Recreation, Rindo and Fret make associates with loads of new gamers and some previous faces acquainted to followers of the sequence. Nagi Usui (a recent face and considered one of our favorites at that!) is pretty reserved and simple (and fairly an Otaku) and can soar on the likelihood to introduce somebody to her favourite cell sport, Elegant Technique. Then we’ve got 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 sport, so it’ll make you query why he’d shift positions and be part of your celebration early on. Then you definitely’ve received 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 just a few fancy pre-rendered signature “Sq.-Enix” cutscenes sprinkled all through that arrive at effectively deserved moments, 99% p.c of the story is delivered via visible novel-esque segments. Characters are represented on-screen with satisfying hand-drawn artwork that’s harking back to the unique sport’s type, 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 effectively, often in the beginning and or finish of a day throughout essential moments. Whereas there may be the choice to make use of the unique Japanese dub, the English voice solid has actually gone above and past to offer every character an additional dimension, and we caught with that via our journey.
Whereas NEO: The World Ends With You takes place after the occasions of the primary sport, 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 sport does an incredible job of briefing the participant naturally with any mandatory intel. There are many twists and turns which can be positive to have you ever on the sting of your seat, though we’re undecided 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 somewhat bored it felt like one thing new received thrown our technique to snap again our curiosity. The facet of competing towards different gamers’ groups provides a brand new dynamic not discovered within the first entry, as effectively. Suffice to say, the bar was set fairly excessive in any case these years and for the sake of spoiling issues, we’ll go away 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 celebration, rival groups, and reapers alike will devour about half of your total playtime, so be sure you come geared up together with your readers and be ready to press ‘A’ so much. There’s an auto dialogue possibility for the voiced segments however we turned it off pretty shortly per our choice. One minor grievance we may make in regards to the authentic TWEWY is that it doesn’t essentially provide you with sufficient time with many of the characters to essentially get to understand them, however NEO provides you loads of moments to be taught extra about your group, the Depraved Twisters. Watching Nagi swoon over Minamimoto however then shortly ignore any kindness from Fret by no means will get previous, and this sort of banter helped preserve us continually invested. There are many aspect quests that’ll ship extra of that backwards and forwards chatter, too.
When not discussing your subsequent plan of action for the Reapers Recreation, you’ll be given the possibility 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 understood for, Tower Information is there, too, and provides you CDs that you may buy and take heed to in-game and the 104 buying middle (which can not share the identical title as our real-world counterpart) looms overhead, filled with clothes and Pins to buy in your group.
The digicam is at all times locked to an angle when within the overworld and can observe the participant as you roam about, however it’s mounted completely to offer you a large and expansive view of the town. There are tiny particulars snuck into each side of the world that makes us want there was some type of first-person photograph mode to discover a bit extra freely and bathe within the finer particulars much more. We’d have most well-liked if at the least considered one of your celebration members adopted you round whilst you searched the streets, as effectively, as it will possibly really feel somewhat lonely operating round as simply Rindo, however there’s sufficient banter between the group that these emotions by no means lasted lengthy.
When you can’t instantly chat with many of the passersby on the road, you’ll be able to scan the world and browse their ideas. Why ask somebody a query when you’ll be able to rip the reply straight out of their mind, proper? That is principally a novelty and in case you use it continuously you’ll begin to acknowledge repeat ideas, however NEO makes use of this characteristic together with 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 supplying 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 flexibility to faucet into somebody’s thoughts and rid them of damaging Noise that’s afflicting them in fight, which appears like an incredible alternative to elucidate the battle system.
Whereas scanning your environments on the overworld you’ll discover pink 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 fingers on the sport, we have been nervous NEO was going to borrow fight parts 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 geared up with a singular Pin that provides that consumer a novel psych capacity. Some permit your characters to fireside a stream of vitality blasts, slice away with a kinetic beam sword that emanates from the consumer’s hand, and even create a lava whirlpool under their enemy’s ft. Controlling so many characters directly with totally different talents sounds prefer it’s going to get fairly messy, however there are a lot of parts at play that make this really work. Pins are assigned to a selected 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 received’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 considered one of your solely different expertise is a dodge roll, which actually does come in useful in case you can preserve your eyes targeted on the enemy whilst you battle. There isn’t a soar button, however sure Pins nonetheless help you uppercut enemies to take to the skies once in a while to realize these epic battle moments that simply really feel naturally cool.
Stringing your events’ assaults collectively is essential to victory. After dealing sufficient injury with considered one of your characters a blue circle will seem over the enemy telling you to “Drop the Beat.” In case you’re capable of begin attacking then with a special character shortly earlier than the Beat timer goes away, you’ll increase your total Groove meter. As soon as this hits 100% you’ll be capable to pull off a particular AOE assault relying on the type of Pins you could have geared up. These assaults can actually assist out once you’re in a pinch and vary from a large fireball falling down from the sky to a cluster of tornadoes taking up the streets.
Battles will happen pretty continuously because the story goes, however you’ll be able to battle Noise everytime you like on the overworld to achieve some extra EXP or new Pins. You’ll be able to even string a number of Noise battles collectively to lift your probabilities of pulling in additional Pins. There’s a mission kind referred to as the Scramble Slam, a turf warfare for Shibuya, which pits rival groups towards each other. This will make for some tedium as most of those battles towards gamers lack selection because the opposing groups’ fight patterns really feel systematically comparable. 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 world you began the battle, providing up a wide-open house, freed from civilians to assist preserve you targeted on the Noise. At first, we received somewhat bored of the identical previous 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 will possibly additionally really feel such as you’re watching a well-orchestrated play once you pull collectively a string of assaults completely.
One of many main facets that make us wish to soar again into the battle system repeatedly, although, is the Pins. Experimenting with differing kinds and formulating methods is extraordinarily rewarding by itself. Pins additionally acquire expertise as you utilize them, changing into stronger in flip and a few may even evolve right into a extra superior model. You’re continually gaining new ones alongside your journey and most received’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 somewhat over half, so there’ll be a lot extra to return and dig up for anybody in search of extra cause return. Plus, you’ll be able to alter the problem on the fly earlier than any battle, with increased difficulties providing up the possibility to earn uncommon and unique Pins.
Your celebration members will acquire expertise from battles, too, however solely their HP will rise with every degree up — you increase their different stats by consuming out at eating places in between battles. Each meal will ship a everlasting increase in HP, Protection, and or Type. Nonetheless you’ll be able to solely abdomen a lot meals at a time, so that you’ll have to burn off some energy in battle earlier than you’ll be able to 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 celebration will name out a restaurant everytime you cross one in the event that they’re feeling famished. Every character has their very own distinct style and choice as effectively, and you’ve got the possibility 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 once you uncover a meals that Minamimoto really enjoys (surprisingly, he loves avocado toast).
Within the authentic TWEWY, you possibly can buy clothes from lots of the totally different outlets scattered in regards to the metropolis however the primary character was the one one who may change their clothes. This time round, nonetheless, your entire celebration has the possibility to decorate it up equally. From what we skilled, the entire gear is only stat-driven and received’t change the beauty look of your characters. These Type factors we talked about earlier go in the direction of permitting your characters to benefit from additional talents dished out by your gear. Some items of clothes could merely give a stat bonus if a sure character has it geared up whereas others may increase your likelihood of amassing extra Pins after a battle if stated character has a excessive sufficient Type level degree. The clothes you wore within the authentic additionally had an total impact on the town and the way in which the residents considered every of the totally different clothes manufacturers, however with a bigger celebration of characters who all have their very own gear this time round, we will see probably why that characteristic was axed.
The soundtrack provides a large mixture of tracks protecting every thing from pop tunes with catchy choruses to heavy steel breakdowns. New songs are launched at a wholesome price all through the journey, making it a pleasant shock once you uncover one. Shibuya Survivor and Your Ocean would undoubtedly soar straight to the highest of our weekly music playlist if we ran one. Followers of the primary outing shall be glad to listen to loads of cherished songs made the soar 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 Change in docked mode. We skilled just a few mild body dips when scanning the town for Noise and when fights received extraordinarily hectic, and whereas this occurs extra continuously in handheld it doesn’t detract from the general gameplay. Additionally in handheld mode, it may be somewhat powerful to make out the characters within the warmth of a battle with lights bouncing and colours splashing in every single place, however it received’t hinder your fight both.
We additionally skilled just a few crashes the place we have been booted again to the Change House menu, twice whereas we have 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.