Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The world ends with you...playing "The World Ends With You"

There are a few games that will completely absorb me, suck me into the interwoven and intricate gameplay mechanics that extend well beyond the boundaries normally unbroken by the common and mundane games released. Then I got my hands on SquareEnix's "The World Ends With You," or "TWEWY" around the interwebs, and I'm reminded what a good DS game is capable of.

This game has anything and everything to keep you occupied and constantly changing your preferences to obtain what you need, when you need it. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

1. No random battles: TWEWY made enemy interaction smarter and more logical. If the user wants to enter battles, they just scan and select with the stylus. Want a longer battle with more rewards? Chain more enemies. Want to select difficulty and frequency of rare items? Adjust it. There are still enemies that will pursue you on your own, but for the most part you just select your own battles.

2. Pin abilities: The abilities your character uses are tied to these pins that you collect and level up. This is like Pokemon, but without the caring for another living being. And with so many goddamn pins around, it really makes you want to search for every single one out there.

3. Battles: There's nothing anywhere like the battles you face here. Essentially, you're fighting two battles at once - one on the top screen, and one on the bottom. The top screen is handled with the D-pad, while the bottom is for the stylus. The learning curve is certainly a struggle, and if you're not comfortable at all with the top screen battling, you can set that to "auto." However, you may miss out on the ability to battle with an advantage. If you set it to a partial or all manual system, you can effectively battle on both screens at once. This makes every single battle truly a feast on the senses, since you have to multitask everywhere. The benefit from this, of course, is better control and the ability to pass this green puck back and forth, accumulating a stronger attack while maintaining this combo.

4. Touch-screen interface: The types of attacks this game offers for the different touch styles is so intuitive that it almost makes it feel like the DS was purposely made just for this game. Of course, you're prone to just stylus-mashing, but when you know exactly what you need to do, initiating attacks is a thing of beauty.

5. Setting: TWEWY gets a shitload of points alone for being an RPG not based around swords and shields all in a medieval setting. How I longed for an RPG that was based on modern times, much like Earthbound was. TWEWY delivers, and it delivers strong. Basing a game on a popular city like Shibuya with the pins and clothes as this version's "swords and shields" gives a fresh take on the typical RPG fare.

I can go on, but typing this post has steered me away from the game long enough. A word of warning, though...this game can suck you in bad. Like, "forgetting to feed your pet" bad.
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