So What is it About The World Ends With You?

After finding the dead zone of game releases that is this July and wanting to keep making use of the GameFly account I’m paying for, I finally decided to try out The World Ends With You. I’ve only done a couple chapters with the first character so far but I actually am a little bit surprised to see something like this from Square Enix.

I mean, I always suspected it was something different since reviews started coming out in 2008, especially when Zero Punctuation reviewed it as one of the few JRPGs Yahtzee didn’t detest. I don’t know if I’m gonna run out and buy the game yet, but I can tell it probably doesn’t deserve all the criticisms most JRPGs get these days.

From the start TWEWY feels surprisingly down-to-earth for a JRPG for exactly the same reasons the Shin Megami Tensei games do – it’s not afraid to take place in today’s world. It might be trying a bit too hard to be hip with menu commands like “I gotta bounce,” but it takes the standard RPG staples and makes them look fresh without players having to learn about another ridiculous fantasy world.

What RPGs do really well is offer very deep worlds to explore and investigate with often complex storylines, but every RPG developer feels the need to make their own world. When RPGs decide to take that level of detail and apply it to a real place, the results usually feel more “real” than most places in gaming.  People have said this about the Yakuza games, and I also think this is one of the best qualities of the original Deus Ex.

The one thing I haven’t really been able to slip into in TWEWY yet is the combat system. I can survive, but not much more than that. I was skeptical of having to simultaneously manage two characters when I first heard about it in 2008 and I’m still skeptical now. Everything else about the combat though – the progression system namely, seems like a perfectly fine RPG, and I haven’t even started getting clothes to equip.

Overall I have to say that TWEWY does seriously stand out from the rest of Square Enix’s output over the last few years, to the point where I wonder why the game never got a follow-up, on any platform. Instead SE seems to have gone back to the JRPG fantasy tropes that seem to be wearing thin these days. If I end up not getting TWEWY it’ll be because of the rest of the massive backlog of DS RPGs I already have sitting on my shelf.

BULLETS:

  • Sega better bring over that Yakuza HD Collection they just leaked.
  • Apparently Okami HD will be 1080p, not 720p: http://t.co/Y6cpoezq
  • Most people might be disappointed that Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs was delayed to 2013, but that means I don’t have to find the balls to finish The Dark Descent this year.
  • To the Moon is on GOG now: http://t.co/q0XXJYV6
  • If you own a 3DS, one of the better eShop games, Mighty Switch Force, is on sale this weekend.
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