Post Reply The World Ends with You
Posted 6/18/08 , edited 6/26/08
The World Ends with You

The World Ends with You, known in Japan as It's a Wonderful World (すばらしきこのせかい, Subarashiki Kono Sekai?, literally "This Wonderful World"), is an action RPG for the Nintendo DS handheld video game console. Developed by Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts team and Jupiter, the game features a distinctive art style inspired by the aesthetics of Shibuya youth culture.

The game is set within the "modern world" of Shibuya, Tokyo as Neku Sakuraba awakes to find himself in a struggle for his existence within a mysterious game constructed by a group known as the Reapers. Within a seven day time limit, Neku must complete missions assigned to him along with an eclectic group of people playing the Reaper's game.

The World Ends With You's story is based on the "Reapers' Game" (死神のゲーム, Shinigami no Gēmu?). The Game itself is a continual week-long contest for the enjoyment of the Reapers. A Composer and a Conductor design the overall Game, while each week, a new Gamemaster (GM) is chosen to create missions for each day of the week; other Reapers monitor the game, and "erase" any Player that fails. Players, who are people who have recently died in real life (the Real Ground, or RG), are brought into the Game and are offered a second chance at life if they win. However, to enter the Game, each Player must sacrifice their most prized possession. The Game is played in an alternate dimension known as the Underground (UG) across the Shibuya shopping district of Tokyo, Japan. Players are invisible to the people in the RG, though they can read and at times influence their thoughts. Players are required to sync up with another Player, and those that fail to have a partner are also erased by the Reapers. The UG is also home to creatures known as "Noise" that are created from the negative feelings of living persons, and Players are often required to defeat them in order to progress in the Game. Missions are given to the Players via cellphone and their hand is imprinted with a countdown indicating the time left in the mission. After one day's mission is complete, remaining Players are brought to the next day, with no conscious recollection of any events in between.

The game's story is focused on Neku Sakuraba (桜庭 音操, Sakuraba Neku?), an anti-social teenage boy as he plays the Reaper's Game over the course of three weeks. During that time, he is paired with other teenagers including Shiki Misaki (美咲 四季, Misaki Shiki?), Yoshiya Kiryū (桐生 義弥, Kiryū Yoshiya?) (Joshua for short), and Daisukenojō Bitō (尾藤 大輔之丞, Bitō Daisukenojō?) (Beat for short) in order to beat the challenges put forth by the Reapers that run the game.

The game opens on Neku waking up in the UG version of Shibuya, lacking memories of how he got there. He finds himself unwilling partnered with Shiki, and through her and Mr. Hanekoma, learns about the rules of the Game. Neku is initially apprehensive of Shiki, but opens up to her as she explains how she came to be in the game. They also meet Beat and Rhyme, another pair of Players, but Rhyme accidentally gets erased while trying to protect Beat from a Noise attack. Mr. Hanekoma takes Beat away to save being erased himself. Neku and Shiki are able to finish the week and beat the Gamemaster, but the Reapers have decided only one Player will go back, that being Shiki. Neku and Beat are offered another opportunity to play the Game again; Beat refuses, instead become a Reaper himself, while Neku takes the challenge. His previous entry fee is paid back: a brief memory of looking at his favorite mural just before he got shot.

The second week of the Game starts for Neku, and learns that Shiki's life is his entry fee for this week. He finds himself paired with Joshua who he immediately distrusts until he learns that he is working with Mr. Hanekoma to find the "Shibuya River", and that he actually is not dead, having preternatural abilities allowing him to see the UG from the RG. The Gamemaster for this week, Sho Minamimoto, goes rogue, with several days lacking missions while he summons Taboo Noise that attack both Players and Reapers; the lack of missions allow Neku and Joshua to find the Shibuya River, its entrance currently blocked. By the end of the week, Joshua helps Neku restore more of the moment before his death, revealing that Joshua had appeared to fire upon Neku while he was looking at the mural, but was aiming at Minamimoto, standing behind Neku, instead; however, this wound was not enough to stop Minamimoto raising his gun at Neku. The final mission of the week is issued by the Conductor, Kitaniji, to take down Minamimoto, which Neku and Joshua successful complete. Minamimoto pulls out a bomb after being defeat; Joshua pushes Neku out of the way of the blast. Neku learns that because Joshua was still a living Player, the week's Game has been declared null and void, and Neku is given exactly one more chance to play the Game.

Neku quickly discovers that he is the only Player at the start of the third week, his entry fee for this Game, but before he is erased, Beat appears and becomes his partner. Because of his actions, Beat is stripped of his Reaper powers by the week's Gamemaster Mitsuki Konishi and given only six days to live. Beat explains to Neku that Rhyme was his little sister, both having died when he tried to save her from a car accident. When Rhyme was erased, Mr. Hanekoma captured Rhyme's spirit into a Noise which Beat then synchronized with to stay alive. Beat's entry fee for this Game is the Rhyme's Noise form, and Beat is determined the only way to recover her form is to battle the Composer and to take that position himself. Neku and Beat find that both people in the RG and Reapers are falling under the spell of red pins that make them slaves to the same thoughts. They enter the Shibuya River, its wall torn down by the reincarnated form of Minamimoto, and find Konishi, who they are able to defeat and recover Rhyme's Noise pin. Venturing further, they find Minamimoto crushed by the waiting Kitaniji. Kitaniji explains that he does not know where the Composer is, when Joshua enters, apparently unharmed by the bomb. He reveals himself as the Composer, and that he had set up a beat with Kitaniji for the fate of Shibuya, offering to let Shibuya remain if Kitaniji could change it. As the Composer could not interact directly, he selected Neku as his proxy, revealing Neku his true moment of death; Minamimoto's shots were aimed as Joshua who easily evaded them, then Joshua shot and killed Neku at point-blank range. After Neku defeats Kitanini, Joshua offers Neku a choice; fire upon Joshua to become the new Composer, or to not fire and possibly wipe out Shibuya forever. Neku opts for the latter, upon which Joshua fires upon him. Neku recovers consciousness and finds himself back in the UG, forced again to play the Game.

The game's credits show scenes seven days later, Neku meeting with Beat, Rhyme, and Shiki (in her own body), meeting by the statue of Hachikō. Secret reports that can be obtained by completing additional missions after beating the game, reveal that Joshua, after seeing the change in personality of Neku over the weeks of playing the game, decided to spare Shibuya, now believing the city to be ideal.

The World Ends With You uses common elements of console role-playing games but includes many additional features. The game is broken down into three chapters and one bonus chapter, following the three weeks that Neku is involved in the Reaper's Game, which each chapter further divided down by each day of the week. The player controls Neku and his partner as they explore Shibuya to complete each day's mission. Though most missions require Neku and his partner to complete within a certain time, this timer is not correlated to the passage of time for the player.

Shibuya is divided into several districts, and some districts may be inaccessible on certain days, or may be blocked by a wall that can only be removed by meeting the request of a nearby Reaper, such as killing a number of Noise or obtaining a certain pin. Neku has the ability to scan the area by activating a special pin. This scan will reveal the thoughts of the non-player characters in the Real Ground, which may help to progress the plot at times. Alternative, the scan may provide a word or phrase that Neku can then use to implant into the thoughts of others, such as reminding a mechanic to collect a new fuse from a store. The scan will also reveal random Noise that drift about the area, or in some cases, floating around a specific character. The player can initiate combat by selecting from one to four Noise while scanning in order to start battle; selecting more than one Noise to fight initiates a chain battle, where each consecutive Noise becomes tougher, but also leads to better rewards if won. In some cases, the Noise may attack Neku if the scan is initiated. The player can alter the benefits earned from battle by changing both the difficulty of the Noise and the amount of hit points Neku and his partner have going into battle through the game's menus.

Each district has fashion trends that affect gameplay. By wearing pins or clothing from the more popular designs in that district, the effects of the items will be improved; alternatively, the least popular fashions will have diminished effects. However, the player can alter the fashion trends of the district by wearing less popular fashions into repeated battles. Players can enter selected shops to buy new pins and fashions, as well as food items that are gradually consumed during battles to improve the characters' basic stats. A mini-game called "Tin Pin Slammer" is similar to marbles, with each player attempting to use their pins to knock the other player's pins off the gameboard.

The World Ends With You features the use of pins that are used for combat as described below, for "Tin Pin Slammer", or as items to be traded in for money or equipment. Most pins, particularly those used in combat, can become more powerful as the player accumulates "Pin Points" (PP), which can also lead to evolution of the pins into more potent versions. Pin Points are most commonly earned through battle, but two other methods exist for earning such points. One type is earned for shutting down the DS and then restarting some time later, giving the player credit for up to seven days of inactivity with the game. The other type is earned through "Mingle Mode" which uses the wireless features of the DS. By playing others one-on-one in Tin Pin Slammer or mingling with another player playing The World Ends With You, or even communicating with another DS playing any other wireless-compatible game or random wireless noise, the player is credited with Pin Points. Each of these methods of acquiring Pin Points influences the evolution of pins within the game.

The game's combat system is called the "Stride Cross Battle System". The combat takes place across both screens on the DS, with Neku on the bottom touchscreen and his current partner on the top; the two characters battle the same enemies simultaneously. The player controls Neku by using touchscreen actions based on the currently equipped pins. These actions may include slashing across an enemy, tapping the screen rapidly to fire bullets, or holding down on an enemy to inflict damage. Other pins need to be touched to active them, such as for health restoration. Each pin has a limited number of uses before it must "reboot", during which time those actions produce no result. Neku can only be equipped with three to six pins at any time.

Neku's partner on the top screen can optionally be controlled by the player, though the player can opt to have this character controlled by the game. Each of Neku's partners has a slightly different approach, but in general, attacks are made by completing a sequence of card-based games. For example, Neku's first partner, Shiki, requires that face-down cards be correctly identified. To select a card, the player uses the directional pad or face buttons to navigate through a pathway to select the card to be used; if the card is correct, the partner will make an attack. When a series of cards is matched, a special pin appears on the touchscreen side allowing for a combination attack of both Neku and his partner to be unleashed; each series matched can build up this attack further if it is not used. The player can also help the partner character dodge attacks.

Neku and his partner are in sync during battle; they share the same pool of hit points so that even if one character does not take any damage, the pair can fail in battle if the other takes too much. A green "light puck" will pass between the characters during battle; when the character has this puck, their damage is increased. The movement of the light puck is determined by the "sync ratio" between Neku and his partner, with the puck staying longer with one character with higher ratios, and equipment that causes the puck to move faster or slower between characters.

The game was developed by the same team which created the Kingdom Hearts series, with input from Jupiter, the company that developed Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. The development team wanted to make a game that took advantage of the Nintendo DS hardware, while building the game around a real location. They selected Shibuya as the main setting, which led to the development of much of the game's other features, including food, clothing, and cellphone usage. The layout of Shibuya was duplicated for the game, retaining the real-world landmarks while rebranding the names of stores and buildings for copyright reasons.

Character designs were handled by Tetsuya Nomura and Gen Kobayashi. In an interview, Nomura stated that the character designs are made to match with the real-world Tokyo setting, after which their outfits are designed based on the character's personality. Kobayashi was also in charge of designing the game's non-player characters (NPC) and he noted how most NPC designs made it to the final product.

The Japanese title, literally translated as It's a Wonderful World, was not used internationally due to copyright issues. Instead, the game was released in North America and Europe under the name The World Ends with You, from a line by Mr. Hanekoma in the game. The Square Enix localization team, while translating most of the dialog and interface items into English and other European languages, preserved many Japanese elements to avoid losing the culture of the game. They were also limited by the size of the dialog balloons used within game, and took several steps to avoid losing the meaning of the story within the game.

The music in the game is composed and produced by Takeharu Ishimoto. It includes a large variety of music with an influence of hip hop and electronica. The main theme of the game is "Lullaby For You" by Japanese pop artist, Jyongri. Various vocal artists featured in the game include:

* Sawa
* Makiko Noda
* Leah
* Ayuko Tanaka
* Mai Matsuda
* Wakako
* Hanaeryca
* Cameron Strother
* Andy Kinlay
* Nulie Nurly
* Londeil "Taz" Hicks

The official soundtrack of the game, It's a Wonderful World Original Soundtrack (すばらしきこのせかい ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK, Subarashiki Kono Sekai ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK?) was released in Japan on August 22, 2007 and is on sale in the English-language iTunes Store. A physical CD format of the soundtrack is available for purchase on the Square Enix North American E-Store for the price of $16.99 USD. The soundtrack, however, does not include four tracks unique to localizations outside Japan, due to the CD's sold in North America being imports of the Japanese CD.

However, Square Enix will be releasing It's a Wonderful World + The World Ends with You (すばらしきこのせかい + The World Ends with You, Subarashiki Kono Sekai + The World Ends with You?), an arranged version of the soundtrack on July 30, 2008. This release will contain tracks from both the Japanese and the North American/PAL version of the game.
Critical reception

Overall, The World Ends With You has enjoyed critical acclaim. Many critics note the departure from other popular titles such as Square Enix's Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series. Thunderbolt gave the game 9/10, citing its refreshingly original story, integration of urban culture and spiritual myth, and intuitive, fast-paced combat via the touch screen; while bringing up the aforementioned differences between it and other Square Enix games. GamePro also awarded the game 9/10. Game Informer gave the game 8.25/10 along with the Handheld Game of the Month award for May 2008. IGN has given the game three different reviews, each from a different regional branch (UK, US, and AUS), and scores of 8.9, 9.0, and 9.1 out of 10 respectively, as well as Game of the Month for April. All three have awarded the game an Editor's Choice Award. In addition, X-Play gave it 5/5 and called it a "must play" DS game. This is the first DS game in almost two years to get a perfect score from the show. The previous DS game awarded this score was Mario Kart DS.

The World Ends with You was adapted into a two-chapter one-shot manga by Shiro Amano. The manga ran in two issues of Monthly Shōnen Gangan. In North America, the manga has been released online via the Square Enix Members website.

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Posted 6/27/08
this game is really cool I downloaded for my R4 but didnt play it yet but everyone who played it loved it. lol
Posted 7/2/08
This is my fav game on nds of the year, the story line was Unexpectable, and it is awesome, i made a group.. if intrested please join!
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