DS: The World Ends With You... the Best RPG You've Never Heard Of?

Continued impressions!

It's hard to explain the game without giving away specifics, so I hope it won't spoil anybody too much to say that you don't make it out after the first 7 game days. I'm now on week 3, and so I'm pretty far into the game (I think). Here's the good and bad.

Good, part 1:
- The emo is gone. The main character occasionally professes to emo believes, but then his little bubble thoughts just go, "No, that's stupid, I should try to get along with others."
- The battle system is very solid still, and has gotten very challenging of late.
- The story still has me mostly interested.
- The game doesn't require much grinding at all, and when you get to a boss that kicks your ass you can just set them to easy and get through it with no problems.

Bad:
- Pin leveling has taken a turn for the retarded. Taking a cue from Pokemon (or something), it turns out that the pin leveling system is more complicated than expected. Allow me to explain how pins work; basically you have all these pins, and they can all level up. Each pin has between... oh... 3 and 6 levels. You level up by one of three manners. Either by fighting battles with that pin or either equipping that pin and shutting down or using the wifi to detect other DS users. So I had originally figured that this was just general bonus experience, and for the most part it is.
But here's the rub, some pins can *evolve* into more powerful pins. For instance, there is a set of combat pins that can go through 6 total evolution cycles. Here's where the bullsh*t starts. It turns out that the TYPE of experience matters. As in, if you want to evolve from Pin Super into Pin Ultra, you maybe need most of that experience to come from shutdown experience, or else you are hosed on that one. This, by all accounts, is massive bullsh*t that made me realize I had hosed myself badly on a LOT of pins. Hell, just check out the actual pin wiki that's going over here.
- Second bad point is that certain pin maneuvers are just impossible. "Scratch" is one of them that seems just impossible to get right.
- There are a ton of little plot interesting bits, but every time they have one come up, they literally resolve it within an hour. There's a character named Joshua who had a potentially very interesting story, but instead of keeping it interesting they resolved it in typical anime bullsh*t style within an hour.
- Organizing massive numbers of pins is a pain in the ass.
- Battles getting a bit too samey, with the classic problem of, "Now fight the same enemy as before, but this one is red so he's stronger."

Good, part 2:
- With regard to pin evolution, what originally pissed me off isn't so bad anymore, as when you get to a new area you quickly get access to those evolved forms that you missed out on earlier. So even if you suck, as I do, you'll be fine without having to examine leveling charts for pins. I'm sure there's a few *really* good pins that can only be accessed via evolution, but I'm not exactly a "Gotta catch 'em all" type, so no biggie.
- While I am still annoyed by many of the anime conventions, particularly towards story, I do like the overall direction they went with it. It's a setting that hasn't really been hit before, so I enjoy that departure from normalcy.

Summary:
- Game is still very solid and only has minor problems with a few stupid plot decisions and a few quirky design problems. Overall, the game is very refined and makes excellent use of the DS. This game really ought to be required playing for nearly any game developer as they do so much of the game right. Seriously, you know how you have all these great games, but each one of them is marred by a design decision that's just retarded as hell? Well this game *fixes* every one of those problems.

So I totally recommend picking it up, so long as anime stylings don't annoy you too much. It's a lot of fun to play.

General_J wrote:

Hell, just check out the actual pin wiki that's going over here.

Gadzooks!

MechaSlinky wrote:

I have not played it, but I love freedom and I love forces!

I know it's a bit off-topic, but this argument might also be persuasive: Freedom Force has been made by Irrational Games led by this Ken Levine guy.

dhelor wrote:
wanderingtaoist wrote:

Just ordered this one and looking forward to it. Nice to see that Square is trying new things.

I'm also looking forward to this one Square-Enix is coming out with. I think it's as close to a sequel to Eternal Darkness we're going to get.

I've spotted that on Wired's Game-Life I think. I'm quite a fan of good horror and this one seems all kinds of awesome. I was actually quite surprised seeing Square doing the game, I always had them securely pigeonholed in that JRPG/SRPG box.

So apparently, if you raise the main character's Bravery stat enough, you can wear a dress. True story. Makes sense, you would have to be pretty brave to walk around wearing a dress if you're a guy who isn't Scottish.

Just beat the game!

Okay, so I must admit that the game got fairly difficult near the end, to the point that I actually had to turn my hit points up by a lot to stay alive. The end game is confusing (seemingly intentionally so) but here's the cool thing:

After you beat the game, it actually gives you a chapter select menu. Not content to just have you replaying the game, it then gives you bonus objectives for each chapter to complete. For each chapter that you get all the bonus objectives, it unlocks new bits of story so as to reveal what happened during all the various holes in the story. I gotta admit, it's a very clever mechanism for extending game length. Also, it gives you a sorta joke non-canonical chapter to play in which your character is completely the opposite of how he acts in the main game.

So overall, I gotta say that game was very worth the money. Ultimately, outside of the annoyance in managing lots of pins, none of the other stuff was that bad at all, and the overall gameplay never really got old for me.

If I were into giving games actual numerical scores, I'd rate this one quite high. Definitely on the high side of 9/10, or thereabouts. Suffice to say, if you have a DS and don't have an aversion to anime-stylings, it's a great game to pick up.

i don't want to give much away, but I'm around 10 hours into this game and I love it. I'm 29 and totally out of touch with Japanese youth culture, but this game is tons of fun and actually has some decent dialogue for a JRPG-like game. The battle system is a bit complicated at first but once I got it down it is pretty fun. Highly recommended.

I bought the game after keeping it in my gamefly queue for an extended period. Of course I'm selling it to a friend, but at least it will be in good hands.

It's an excellent, excellent game for anyone who enjoys the endless choices of being able to customize and fine tune your skill list. Battles are a ton of fun and it's the best use of the touch screen in any DS game I've played to date. I hope we see more games like this.

Too bad Square Enix spends most of their time and resources re-pimping their back catalog that developing more original games like this.

SommerMatt wrote:

Too bad Square Enix spends most of their time and resources re-pimping their back catalog that developing more original games like this.

Well I sorta agree but I also think they still release a fair bit of original games but when they finally bring out titles they haven't released in like 10 years, I don't blame them for releasing stuff like that, but it's the best of both worlds.

I have to revive this thread a little, if only just to make people realize that this RPG is the best of its kind on the DS so far. I'm somewhere in the middle of the game - 7th day with Joshua - and I still can't stop playing it. The hoarding of pins and their evolution is a game all by itself, the battles are still fresh - not only the enemies change, but you can choose both the difficulty and level on which you take them, thus receiving more XP and better drops. I even came to like Tin Pin Slammer, it's surprisingly fun minigame. The shops, their leveling and abilities of things are fun to uncover. Hunting the green piggies and optional bosses. And the list goes on and on. And one of the best things is that you can ignore most of that stuff and just follow the story, Neku became quite an interesting character, which says a lot, as I really despised his emo attitude at the beginning. People, just buy this one, the gaming deserves a sequel to it.

The mechanics though take quite a while to get used to.

Just finished the game and immediately took up the secret report stuff. Definitely one of the best, if not the best game for the DS so far. Soundtrack is quite catchy, by the way.

A necro-bump for those interested: Game Developer Magazine has a postmortem of the game and GameSetWatch sums it up nicely. Interesting read.

wanderingtaoist wrote:

Just finished the game and immediately took up the secret report stuff. Definitely one of the best, if not the best game for the DS so far. Soundtrack is quite catchy, by the way.

Eh, the repeating JPop didn't do it for me. I found myself playing with the volume down most of the time. I liked some of the mechanics and thought it was a decent game, but I returned it to Gamefly. I might pick this up once it gets to the $20 level or so.

Anyone still playing this? I just picked this up today. So far I'm impressed if a little overwhelmed.

Did they ever talk about this on the conference call?

I kept hearing how much a departure it was from typical square games and looked at buying it a bunch of times.

What always kept me from it was exactly the one thing you mentioned. Gameplay videos and descriptions I heard of the actual mechanics on podcasts (1up Yours and maybe 1up FM) always sounded absolutely overwhelming.

Thin_J wrote:

I kept hearing how much a departure it was from typical square games and looked at buying it a bunch of times.

What always kept me from it was exactly the one thing you mentioned. Gameplay videos and descriptions I heard of the actual mechanics on podcasts (1up Yours and maybe 1up FM) always sounded absolutely overwhelming.

It is a little overwhelming but that's because I'm trying to learn how to play both screens. It almost feels like an intense side scrolling shooter where you always feel on the edge. If it is overwhelming though there are options to make it simpler. You can set it so the character on the top screen is ai controlled all the time or becomes ai controlled if you don't anything with them for 3 secs or 6 secs. You can also adjust the difficult setting on the fly. I'm only a few hours in so I can say definitively if i recommend it, but I really like it so far. I also feel like i'm getting better and getting a hang of the combat.

The combat sure demands focus, but once it clicks, it's great. With the right combination of pins it's just so much fun. But yea, it has been overwhelming for a long time at the beginning. Just perfect your lower screen fighting, then gradually add upper screen, it's useful mostly to attain those combo points (or whatever they're called when both characters attack).

Thin_J wrote:

I kept hearing how much a departure it was from typical square games and looked at buying it a bunch of times.

What always kept me from it was exactly the one thing you mentioned. Gameplay videos and descriptions I heard of the actual mechanics on podcasts (1up Yours and maybe 1up FM) always sounded absolutely overwhelming.

I never got the hang of using both screens which made some fights harder than they should have. I was kicking ass on the bottom screen and the stupid automatic AI control of the top screen was getting ass-kicked. Fortunately you can mindlessly hold down one button to make the guy on the top screen block. Unfortunately there are some bosses you can only hurt on one screen at a time, and they switch.

It is a really fun game with a great story though, and I really like the comic book presentation style. The way the end boss dies is pretty epic, too. That's not a spoiler, right? It's OK to say that there's an end boss and you beat him?

I rented this one when it first released but, despite the seemingly fantastic battle mechanics, I couldn't get past the emo-hip hop dialog and returned it after about 30 minutes of play. After reading through this thread again I've added it to my Gamefly queue for another go around. Thanks for the posts!

Fyedaddy wrote:

I rented this one when it first released but, despite the seemingly fantastic battle mechanics, I couldn't get past the emo-hip hop dialog and returned it after about 30 minutes of play. After reading through this thread again I've added it to my Gamefly queue for another go around. Thanks for the posts!

The emo-heavy tone subsides after a bit, I hated it as well. Persevere and you will be delighted.

I dismissed this game offhand despite being a huge Square fan because it looked like it focused on everything I don't like about their recent stuff and drained everything I liked about their old stuff from it.

I enjoyed it for quite a while, but the story just didn't draw me in. The combat and the "gotta catch em all" vibe was great though. I think the point where it lost me though was when I had a mission where I needed to wear a certain brand of clothes. I wasn't big into the food and clothes stat boosting, which is weird because that is usually my cup-o-tea. It is for sure worth giving a shot, and no matter what the combat will be fun with the right pins.

wanderingtaoist wrote:
Fyedaddy wrote:

I rented this one when it first released but, despite the seemingly fantastic battle mechanics, I couldn't get past the emo-hip hop dialog and returned it after about 30 minutes of play. After reading through this thread again I've added it to my Gamefly queue for another go around. Thanks for the posts!

The emo-heavy tone subsides after a bit, I hated it as well. Persevere and you will be delighted.

I absolutely loved the story. Well, perhaps not the story itself so much as how it all unfolded. The emo stuff definitely falls away, but it also has a role in everything. They didn't just make him like that because they couldn't come up with a good character.

Oh, and the ability to change the difficulty on the fly is great. You also get different drops on different difficulty levels, so there's added incentive there.

And one last thing, I think they did a better job than most games do at giving you a reason to play through again.

wanderingtaoist wrote:
Fyedaddy wrote:

I rented this one when it first released but, despite the seemingly fantastic battle mechanics, I couldn't get past the emo-hip hop dialog and returned it after about 30 minutes of play. After reading through this thread again I've added it to my Gamefly queue for another go around. Thanks for the posts!

The emo-heavy tone subsides after a bit, I hated it as well. Persevere and you will be delighted.

I had the same exact reaction. While I liked the music at first, the constant j-pop loop started to get on my nerves. Gamefly has the Keep It price set to $23.74, so I'm considering going back to it.

IUMogg wrote:

Anyone still playing this? I just picked this up today. So far I'm impressed if a little overwhelmed.

As you can probably guess from my userpic, I loved this game fervently. At the risk of sounding cheesy, at 34 years of age (most of those years spent playing video games), this is one of the only games whose story actually made me re-evaluate my approach to life. I could write several pages about why this is one of the greatest games I've ever played, both artistically and as far as mechanics and design, on any system, of any era, but I won't bore you.

But I will respond to you by saying that one of the nicest things about the mechanics is that if something overwhelms you, you can probably ignore it. For example, I couldn't do top-screen combat (like most people) so I set the AI to immediately take over. You can also usually spam left/right attacks with barely glancing up (what I did for most boss battles). If the pin leveling is too much... ignore it, you'll usually get better pins in a day or two anyway. Can't keep up with the brand/"threads" system?... using pins in an area makes that brand more popular, so after a few combats you get all the advantages. Between that, adjusting difficulty on the fly, and the ability to restart lost battles on easy mode (which you get early in the game), the game is only as difficult or complex as you want it to be.

Fyedaddy wrote:

I rented this one when it first released but, despite the seemingly fantastic battle mechanics, I couldn't get past the emo-hip hop dialog and returned it after about 30 minutes of play. After reading through this thread again I've added it to my Gamefly queue for another go around. Thanks for the posts!

Note General_J's and wanderingtaoist's comments... the main character quickly grows out of the "emo" tone, and in fact, one of the main themes of the game's story is learning to open yourself to other people. (Coming from the minds behind Kingdom Hearts, this shouldn't surprise you.)

After finishing the game, an extra parody chapter becomes available. One of Neku's first lines is "Must... resist... emo... urges..." It is obvious the writers have a sense of humor about Neku's early-game behavior!

I agree with the above. I'm playing this right now and I'm already in love. Especially with the combat. Well done, Squeenix.

I just finished it up this weekend and I enjoyed it a lot. One thing on the pins... if you find one you like and will evolve, just put the game down for a day. The PP points you get while the DS is turned off is a nice reward for playing this as a true handheld game and not some console port/marathon session game.