My recent posting hiatus can be blamed on a lot of things – my thesis being due, my job being insane, a few family crises – but really, what it all comes down to is this:
I don’t know what to say about The World Ends With You.
TWEWY (I hate to go the acronym route, but good god, I can’t write that title over and over) is, as anyone who has kept up with the trickle of non-GTA gaming news still on the internet knows, the new Nintendo DS action-RPG created by the Kingdom Hearts team and designed by Square character design mastermind Tetsuya Nomura.
In a rare and glorious departure, though, the game is set in a world that resembles our own. To the extent that Shibuya, Tokyo’s youth fashion epicenter, can be considered the real world. Instead of some steampunk future, some magical village, or Halloweenland, you’re travelling through packed intersections and ramen shops.
I’ve already talked a little bit about what makes the gameplay so special. The level of customization I talked about there – the on-the-fly difficulty adjustments that encourage playing the game at the exact level you like best, from super hardcore to blissfully easy – is just the beginning. The game allows you to restart failed battles at a lower difficulty level, completely avoids random battles, and allows you to play the two-character combat with as little attention to one character as you wish.
And that two-character combat model, the game’s odd combination of selling point and detraction, both pushes the possibilities of the DS to its furthest limit and shows just how insanely overcomplicated the system can be. You control one character with the stylus – the one you must control – and one with the d-pad (in Dance Dance Revolution-style combos), the one you don’t have to, necessarily. The game rewards you for playing as hard as you can, but you can take on most encounters with a decidedly casual difficulty level.
How this pays off for the story and the direction, after the jump.