The World Ends With You •

The World Ends With You •

The World Ends with You came out in 2007 – I just checked out – but it still looks a bit like the future. Or maybe it looks like a future. It was a Square-Enix action RPG perfectly crafted around the Nintendo DS, and using a lot of the wonderfully weird features of this wonderfully weird console. You tapped the screen to move around and navigate the menus, sure, but when it came time for a battle, you controlled different characters on different screens, working restlessly with different input methods like action. of hockey between your allies. Even when you weren’t in a fight, the game was unusual: an RPG set in modern-day Shibuya and featuring a group of stylish teenagers trained in a set of deadly challenges. Every day a new obstacle: follow clues, solve puzzles and fight against monsters if you want to stay alive. Quest givers wore hoodies. Your types of attacks revolved around the badges you collected. Vital information has been texted to you on your flip phone. You could read the minds of passing strangers, immersing yourself in a timely world of daily crushes and worries.

Neo: The World Ends with YouDeveloper: Square EnixPublisher: Square EnixPlatform: Played on PS4 via ParsecAvailability: Released July 27 on PS4 and Switch, and this summer on the Epic Games Store

It was a game that you could initially only see running on the DS, but it’s Square-Enix, of course, so ports to everything from smartphones to the Switch followed, all losing the second screen and a bit of the weird magic with that. Now the game has a proper follow-up, in the form of Neo: The World Ends With You, which will head to Switch and PS4 in July, and then the Epic Games Store later this summer. No second screen, but has the magic been rekindled?

Based on ninety minutes of play from the first two levels or days of the game, things look pretty good. The biggest surprise here is probably the switch to proper 3D: As you explore Shibuya, the skyscrapers now rise high above you, and you can move inside their homes, climb the stairs and discover the alleys. You can’t rotate the camera with the right joystick, but the placement of the roaming point of view is smart and cinematic. Much thought has gone into the staging of each area, whether it’s the low, wide tracking shot following you through the famous level crossing, or the side view of the Dogenzaka hill you are in. framed from a distance.

Anyway, here’s a question: curry or ramen? It’s the first big decision you need to make in Neo: The World Ends with You, and it’s the key, I think, to the second biggest surprise. Namely, if you come from the first game, it will all indeed feel warmly familiar – a nice slice of virtual tourism that gives itself to the cultures and subcultures, niches and trends of the streets of Tokyo. Where to eat, what to dress, what emojis to use on your phone conversations – these are the kinds of things The World Ends with You takes very seriously, and rightly so. You can follow two new heroes on this adventure, but their concerns remain the same as those of the teenagers of Shibuya. The game is colorful, elegant and intoxicating. It’s fantastic to see an action RPG come out of such modern threads.

And the adventure, from what we’ve seen so far, is also very similar. Our two heroes are stuck in another game with the mysterious Reapers, who challenge their teams every day, sending them running around the city and fighting monsters. You still have a little trouble solving puzzles, and you can still read people’s minds and chain enemies across the world map, triggering kinetic badge-fueled battles.


The fights themselves may miss all of the movement of the hockey puck between the two screens, but they retain a wonderfully cumulative type of aggression and are given the soul by some really nice breaks. You use different face buttons and triggers to use the different badge powers you’ve equipped, and if you chain attacks together enough, alternating between party members as you go, you can build the Groove Meter and possibly activate a special move. These badges mean, however, that even the basic attacks are pretty special. From Flames to Lightning, there are plenty of returning favorites, and badges grow and evolve as you use them – although, like before, you still have to bypass their cooldowns.

The plot that unfolds during the first few missions is already full of charm and clever ideas – one of the two new tracks can actually travel through the heads of strangers and help them resolve their memories via a little mini -game with the joystick – but the whole impression is that of a rich blur of colors and energy, a generous play in its recreation of both a place and a specific culture of youth. I can’t wait for this one.

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