A classic reborn or should I say remixed? The World Ends With You was originally released over 10 years ago on the Nintendo DS. Well received with positive reviews all around, this action role-playing title captured many players’ hearts. Combining a modern-day setting of Tokyo, Japan, specifically the shopping district of Shibuya, with an incredible soundtrack, a gripping storyline with a heartfelt dialogue and characters that grow alongside the player. Add in a unique battle system and you truly have a game close to being a masterpiece.
Who am I?
Players take control of a young man known as Neku. Waking up in the middle of the scramble crossing in Shibuya, Neku has no recollection of who he is and how he came to be there. One thing he does soon realise though is that even though he is surrounded by dozens upon dozens of people, no one can hear him or see him. After wandering around for a bit Neku is attacked by strange creatures called the Noise. Unable to defend himself Neku meets his partner who forms a pact with him, allowing him to fight the enemy. However, both protagonists soon discover that the Shibuya they are currently in is not the Shibuya they know, but rather an alternate plane of existence. They are now part of a dangerous game known as the Reapers’ Game, a game which involves daily missions, which if not completed will result in erasure. Erasure from existence altogether.
The game truly tackles the underlying problems of our everyday lives including jealousy, greed, envy and trying to keep up with the rat race.
One of my favourite bits of The World Ends With You and in turn, this Final Remix version, is the character development. Starting off the game you’ll find that Neku is a complete tool. He doesn’t really care about anyone but himself nor does he care about his wellbeing at times. However, as the story progresses he begins to learn, trust and love everything and everyone around him. Treasuring life and the relationships he originally refused to nurture. You can say that he develops alongside the main storyline. Don’t rule out the rest of the cast though as Square did not hold back any punches. The game is filled with characters from across the rainbow. From aggressive and sadistic to the pure at heart and kind loving characters, fatherly mentor figures and even some that are misjudged due to being obnoxiously confident. Indeed the cast is an incredible one, and Shibuya is filled with NPCs with all sorts of problems that Neku can actually read with a special ability of his. The game truly tackles the underlying problems of our everyday lives including jealousy, greed, envy and trying to keep up with the rat race.
The rat race
Another intriguing mechanic of the game is the fact that players have to keep an eye on the trends within the areas of Shibuya. Yes, fashion trends. Although the real world or as it is known as in the game the RG (real ground) cannot see Neku and the players of the Reapers’ Game, Neku and the rest of the players can influence brand popularity by wearing that brand’s clothes during battle. This will actually play an important role in some of the missions along the way as you’ll be asked to wear or promote a certain brand and increase its popularity before you can carry on in the storyline. I, unfortunately totally slipped up and spent over an hour battling, trying to increase a brand’s popularity with pins, only to realise that I am in fact wearing a different brand’s apparel. This increased that brand to the number one spot and left me facepalming myself when I realised my mistake. Although, I hear you asking, what are pins? Pins or Psych Pins are actually buttons that we would pin onto our t-shirts or bags in real life. Each pin however is actually a different attack that Neku has access to as well as possessing a brand’s name on it. Which brings us to the battle mechanics.
The World Ends With You has an interesting battle system. By scanning the area with one of his pins, Neku is able to not only read the thoughts of people in the RG but also identify Noise. The Noise are creatures created by the Reapers who come in every shape and size and possess a multitude of abilities deadly to the players. Once scanned, players can either tap on one enemy or chain a number of them which will then throw the player into a battle screen area. Once here, depending on the pins Neku has equipped, players will be able to take on the Noise by performing different strokes, swipes or taps on the touch screen of the Switch. Neku will be able to set enemies of fire for a short period of time while the player holds down on the screen. Send forth a lightning bolt by tapping and holding down on an enemy. Lift objects and fling them across the screen with telekinesis and even a blast that knocks back enemies by rapidly tapping on them. Each attack does have its limitation though and after utilising each one you’ll have to wait for a cooldown period which can be anything from five seconds to 33 seconds before you can use that ability again. Unfortunately, it can be extremely challenging to get used to these different pins and attacks and admittedly even after 10 hours I still struggled with some of them. That combined with the fact that the Joy-Cons have to keep being synchronised with the Switch and the TV, made things frustrating at times.
I really do wish that the game had an additional, more traditional set of controls to play with.
With the game now being on the Switch, there are additional options to control Neku in battle. For example, you can control Neku’s partner with the second Joy-Con in a more co-op manner. This didn’t stop me from almost throwing my Joy-Cons at times against the wall. The Final Remix version allows players to control Neku with the Joy-Con in a point and click kind of style. However, you have to face the Joy-Con constantly at the TV. And if you find the Joy-Con out of alignment (which happened constantly to me) you can press the Y button on the Joy-Con to re-sync the cursor’s position. When you constantly have to do this, easy enemies become more like boss battles rather than grinding fodder. The alternative is to re-attach the Joy-Con to the Switch and use your fingers. This, of course, worked much better but playing on the smaller screen just wasn’t as enjoyable as seeing it on the larger screen whilst playing those sweet sweet soundtracks through the television speakers or surround sound. That, and the fact that sometimes my fingers just could not get the direction or formation that the pin needed to activate the attack. I really do wish that the game had an additional, more traditional set of controls to play with.
The Review Ends With You
All in all, Final Remix is definitely this classic’s definitive edition. The music is as it was 10 years ago, superb, with popular titles like Twister, Hybrid and Calling. The upgraded art style looks gorgeous especially having it on the big screen for the first time. The co-op mode is a welcome addition to the game especially since, unlike the DS version, the Final Remix takes on the mobile version’s battle view where both characters battle across one screen and not a dual screen. And last but not least, Final Remix actually has an additional chapter that has never been seen before.