Neo: The World Ends With You Review


The World Ends With You was a game I owned for many years before completing. Once I did knock it out though, it felt pretty good. The game had a very fun dynamic and an excellent plot. Throw in a sizzling soundtrack and you were good to go. Neo is definitely a great follow up. While I would give the original one the slight nudge over it, you can really expect a complete experience out of this game. It will will leave you in a pretty happy place.

The game starts with Rindo and his friend Fret hanging out around Shibuya as always. Rindo is also texting with his FanGo friend and it turns out that the person is somewhere in Shubuya too. They’ve never met in person so Fret declares that they should find this mysterious “Swallow”. Unfortunately this doesn’t work but they do get roped into a cool new app game. It involves doing a lot of little quests and fighting monsters. There’s no big prize at the end which is disappointing but the two friends split up to hang out another day.

Trouble is, they wake up the next day in the middle of Shibuya once again. Rindo doesn’t remember coming back here so the whole thing is odd. Well, turns out that he and Fret are stuck in the game now. It’s a survival game too which makes things even worse. The heroes can’t interact with ordinary people anymore and have to clear the quests with a certain level of urgency. After all, the lowest ranked team after the 7 days are up will be eliminated. Can Rindo and Fret stay alive or are they doomed? One thing’s for sure, with other teams having well over a dozen members, they are going to need some backup.

The only survival item the heroes have is a pin which allows them to fight back against the monsters as well as other players. Each pin has a different power ranging from elemental attacks to TK type abilities. Some players are nice enough to chat with you while others will try to murder you on sight so these are all things to keep in mind when trying to survive. At the very least they will certainly know Shibuya like the back of their hands once this is all over.

As a 30+ hour RPG there is a whole lot more to the story beyond the premise. Still, part of the fun is finding out what is going on and turning the tables. You will get to see a lot of characters return from the first game as well so those moments are always hype. They always show up with an excellent opening scene that is definitely worth the wait. It’s something I’m glad about because nothing’s more satisfying than seeing the characters you played as a few years ago return as complete legends and powerhouses.

As for the gameplay itself, it’s a little unique so it’s tougher to describe than most. It’s a 3D environment where you press a button to use your Pin. Each character can have a pin equipped and you have to choose pins which are locked to different control inputs. So you can have one on the R1 button, 1 on the L1 button, etc. Later on you unlock an upgrade so you can have more than one per button which is pretty handy but that won’t happen for a while.

Each pin’s ability is quite different. For some you have to hold the button down, others require rapid tapping, and others have you hold it down for a little bit and then release. It’s important you get used to how each Pin works but fortunately the menus are quite elaborate so that shouldn’t be a problem. The game also has a lot of good customization options available which you can use if things get dicey. You can also lower your own level to get more pins per victory. It makes each fight higher risk but higher reward which is a cool feature.

The battles can get tough at times so don’t be afraid to exit and train against minions. I had to do that several times but it’s over before you know it. It’ll help you get closer to trophies as well since there are some for beating thousands of enemies and things like that. Meanwhile you will also want to time your pins well to land combos. Landing combos increases your sync levels. When you hit 300 (Available after a certain point in the story) you can use a terrific final smash which also completely refills your health. I highly recommend saving this to use against the final boss. It really came in clutch for me at one point. I was nearly about to get a game over when the full health kicked in.

As you’d expect the graphics are definitely top tier here. The cutscenes are portrayed like a comic book with the characters going in and off panel all the time. Occasionally you will get full on cinematics as well but most are in the comic format. From those, you have the intro and end cutscenes to each chapters that have full voice acting and then the regular text ones. A lot of budget was put into this game for sure. Not sure if the voice actors for the original characters were the same as some of them sounded pretty different to me but it’s been a while since I played the first game. Also they are older so I suppose you’d expect the voices to change a bit.

The soundtrack is also a lot of fun. You’ll be hearing the tunes a whole lot so of course you’re hoping that the songs are on point. They definitely don’t disappoint. It’s also really nostalgic whenever a song appears from the original game. Now that’s a blast. The game is everything you could want and more from a technical perspective as well as the gameplay.

Aside from the main campaign being quite long, there is also a lot of replay value here. First off you have a bonus day set in an alternate universe that should make for a good bit of fun. Then you’ve also got the trophies to go after like completing a bunch of side missions and maxing out your social network. Obtaining the Platinum doesn’t look super difficult but it is absolutely time consuming so you can expect to be there for a long while. The game easily earns back the $60 value and then some.

As for the characters, we’ve got a pretty solid cast here. The main character is named Rindo and he’s not a big people person. Not to the extent of Neku who really didn’t get along with anyone but Rindo isn’t exactly the kind of guy who will seek anyone out. He does his own thing that’s for sure. As the game goes on he learns more about being independent and making his own decisions while still being a good people person. It’s a solid character arc.

Then you have Fret who is pretty much the opposite. He’s great at talking to anyone and just gets along with people. At the same time, he takes everything pretty lightly and you have a hard time seeing what he is really thinking. That’s what he has to contend with as the game goes on. He’s a fun enough character, I prefer Rindo but they’re both solid.

Nagi is the first member to join the group and is the main heroine here. From the 3 she is definitely the weakest character though. For most of the game she is pretty mean to Fret for no real reason. They definitely didn’t get off on the right foot but he always tries to be nice and she constantly reminds him that she isn’t talking to him. Even when she has a direct response she plays it off like they aren’t talking. Gradually she learns to get along with him a bit better but it takes a while.

Then you have the best character in the game: Minamimoto. This guy’s great, every line he has is some kind of number pun. He talks about everything as if they were fractions and number crunching. While the characters never know what is going on, it’s easy enough to follow what he’s saying. His goals are rather mysterious so you really never know what he is thinking. The scene where he confronts Susukichi is amazing though and one of the best scenes in the game.

Then you have the Ruinbringers who are a decent team. Susukichi is the member you have to deal with the most. He’s a true powerhouse and can deal a lot of damage. He also likes being a troll as he leads you on a bunch of wild goose chases. He’s definitely not bad. Then there’s Tsugumi who is very silent but immensely powerful. Her toy cat makes for a difficult adversary to fight as well. Her opening battle is impressive as she seemingly murders one of the original cast.

Then you have the other groups stuck in the game. Fuya is the leader of Team 1 but there’s not a lot to say about him. He seemed okay I guess but didn’t get to do much. Kanon is the leader of Team 2 and gets a much bigger role. She’s a nice character who is pretty helpful even while trying to achieve victory. Definitely not someone to underestimate as a fighter. At most her weakness may be that she tries to tackle everything by herself but it’s not a trait I would ever blame any character for. At the end of the day sometimes that’s the best way to help your team out so I can support that.

Then there’s Motoi, the leader of Team 3. I definitely didn’t like that guy at all. He’s pretty annoying the whole time. After a certain point there was just no way he was ever going to go up. The opportunity for him to do the right thing had come and gone. For the main villain there is Shiba. He definitely loves his announcements. Shiba makes for a good villain. While his overall motivations may not be the best as even by the end they seem shallow, he does get the job done. He also has enough power to back up his ambitions.

Kubo is a wild card but I couldn’t take him as seriously as some of the other villains. While everyone seems to have their own motives and agendas, he seems like the only one who really enjoys messing wit everyone else. So as a villain he may be the most devoted to the role. Then there’s Shoka who is another one of the Shinjuku reapers and she gets a really big role. I was actually surprised at just how extensive it was. You can expect to see quite a lot of her as the game goes on, that’s for sure.

Shoka is a fun character, I would say she is easily the best reaper. She clearly has more morals than the rest and is always around to give a good pep talk. She throws a lot of insults around as well to be sure but does so in more of a playful way. She doesn’t seem to detest the players the way some do. Also I give her credit for actually acting while many of the reapers stay in the sidelines.

For example, I would say Uzuki and Koki look pretty bad here. They talk tough of course but for the most part they just watch what is going on. By the time they start to act they are quickly defeated and don’t stand a chance. You’d expect the big bad Shibuya reapers to be more impressive but they never actually do much of anything. At least Coco actually made some pretty loud moves on the board. She may not have acted much directly but she still contributed.

All right, the next two paragraphs are spoiler territory so skip these sections if you haven’t played the game yet. It’s time to talk about the old characters.

Neku is naturally a pretty big deal. I think everyone expected he would appear at some point in the game but I don’t want to spoil his big moment. It is a great way to jump in though and he shows why he has earned the title of living legend. The guy one shots an opponent that the main cast absolutely couldn’t deal with. It’s very impressive and very cool. I liked his portrayal throughout. You can tell that he is a veteran.

Then you have Beet who helps out a lot during the game. His skills may not be as high as Neku’s but they are still considerable. He has a lot of confidence and really gets a lot of work done throughout. I can definitely appreciate his commitment. The rest of the characters get less of a combat role but you’ll still see Shiki and Rhythm at different points in the game. Even Joshua appears briefly.

All right, spoilers are over now. So does the game have any weak points? Well, I do think the gameplay can at times feel a bit like pure button mashing. There’s so much going on in the screen when you’re firing a bunch of pins at once. You can use strategy but most of the time you may as well just spam the attacks and it’ll have the same effect. So that can be a bit repetitive and same with the time traveling. There’s one point where you basically play through the same cutscene like 5-6 times. I love time travel as a concept but I do think it could have been used a little less or maybe there was a way to make each visit a little more different.

The story itself is definitely very compelling and epic. Each week continues to increase the stakes and scope of the plot. If you’ve played the original game then you’ll really be able to enjoy a lot of the references and guest stars. If you played the Switch version with the extra epilogue during the 3 year jump then you’ll be able to get even more out of it. This game doesn’t hold back on trying to get every kind of reference thrown in as well. It’s cool how the games are all so connected as this one even gives closure to the first game.

That said, if you cut beneath all of the deep dialogue and characters wondering what is going on…you do feel like the Reapers could have done a lot more. There’s no way the villains should have even been able to get into the position that they did. It’s just hard to buy that they could suddenly change things so drastically and nobody stepped in. Shibuya has a Conductor after all and many top tier Reapers. Why did they all cower in fear or just vanish? I am definitely going to need some more details before I can really buy into this. So at the moment I am pretty skeptical. Maybe they’re just like the Gold Saints of Athena in that they love making the situation as bad as possible I suppose.

Overall, Neo: The World Ends With You is a great game. It’s a real page turner from start to finish. The characters are on point, the gameplay is solid, and you’ve got great graphics at the ready. You’ve got every reason and more to just keep on going with the game all the way through to the end. There are quite a few plotlines that are still open and story ideas to be explored so I’d like to see another sequel at some point down the road. There’s just too many cool items to leave on the shelf.

Overall 8/10

Final Fantasy II Review


This game has certainly been sitting on the backburner for many years. After beating the original Final Fantasy I tried to get in on the action with the sequel but I just couldn’t pull it off. The gameplay didn’t click. Well, I finally played it from start to finish and I have to say that my view hasn’t changed a whole lot. The story is the strongest part of the game even if it doesn’t touch the newer ones.

The basic plot is that the world is under attack by the Emperor. He has decided to rule over everything just because he can. The heroes are in a rough spot so the queen will now rely on a talented swordsman named Firian, a mage known as Maria, and a strong axe user named Guy. The three of them will need to travel the world and get strong enough to defeat the Emperor. Do they actually have enough strength to do so though? The Emperor has many powerful allies as well as pretty impressive tech at his disposal as well.

This is one of the first games where it took me way longer to complete than the estimated time on the “How long to beat” site. My time nearly doubled it I think at around 20 hours. It’s pretty difficult and that’s due in large part to how the level up system works. See, you don’t have straight level ups like 1, 2, 3. Instead you level up your proficiencies and stats in battle one by one.

Lets say you defeat a minion but you took a hit in the process. You have the potential to increase your max health, speed, defense, and attack power. If you used magic during the battle you may increase that as well. You passively level up your weapon skill as well depending on which kind you have equipped. You can already see how a lot of this is luck based. You increase the chance of increasing your proficiency but it’s not guaranteed. There are a lot of other factors here as well like the strength of your opponents and the duration of the match.

It’s not a very satisfying way to level up though because it’s hard to see when you’re really getting better. You also need to make sure you choose the right spells and weapons or you’ll be wasting your time leveling up something that you’ll never need. Your 4th member of the team also tends to change every other chapter so don’t get too attached. Often times when they leave they will never return so say good bye to any level ups you got.

The weapons also don’t seem very balanced to the point where I discarded them entirely by around the halfway point of the game. Instead I focused on using the barehanded techniques for the climax and honestly they seemed better than weapons anyway. I would always deal heavy damage while the weapons would falter at the worst moments. I have little doubt that the weapons would ultimately be better than bare handed but at least to the point where I was up to this did not seem to be the case.

The final boss was very difficult to defeat like this though. RNG is partially what got me through. See, his attacks were strong enough to not only finish me in a single hit but also replenish almost all of his health. Of course, that was only with physical attacks. On one of my runs I got lucky because he kept spamming magical spells which deal far less damage. I was able to buy just enough time to defeat him before he healed. Even now I think I would have a very hard time trying to defeat him again. It’s rare for things to work out in quite the same way they did here.

I don’t understand why the game went so far as to also make the equipment work against you. Wearing heavier items makes it harder to dodge but you can’t see how heavy something is without going to your character status page and leaving the item screen. Everything just did not feel very intuitive at all. Perhaps there was an easier way and I just didn’t find it. It seems like Final Fantasy II was meant to be very experimental but in this case I felt like it just back fired completely.

FF II’s spawn rate is also extremely high. Enemies are constantly attacking you every few steps. I was able to get in a lot of good reading during every dungeon. I would just keep spamming the attack button as I read through the God of High School chapters. I finished over 100 chapters as I played through this game because the battles took forever and there were so many of them. It was also uniquely useful to multi task in this game since I didn’t need spells and could just use normal attacks for every minion encounter. If I had nothing to distract myself with that would have hurt though.

Final Fantasy II also suffers from being unclear at times. You just don’t know where to go or what to do in order to advance the plot. The worst is when you’re supposed to talk to someone again and forgot to do so. So you go to the next temple but it’s still closed so you have to travel the world again in order to open it. You don’t get to fly until the very end of the game so prepare for a ton of walking. The game doesn’t give you any real shortcuts either so you really feel like an explorer. Just not in a fun way this time.

I could go on, but as you can tell pretty much none of the gameplay elements worked for me. It’s just a title that offered no qualify of life features. The graphics are good though. The character portraits are on point and I did like the minion designs. The game has a very retro sprite look which works well enough. The soundtrack is also very classic Final Fantasy with how each tune sounds. It’s all got a lot of energy and works really well.

As for replay value, by beating the game it seems like you do unlock some kind of new game+. I’m sure that will take you quite a while. Considering that the game is 20 hours long to defeat once, this is probably a 40 hour game or so. I’m not sure what the price is nowadays but it was pretty cheap before so I doubt it would set you back all that much.

Overall, Final Fantasy II is one of the weakest Final Fantasy games for me. In fact, I would have to say it loses to Final Fantasy VII and is my least favorite title. VII has the better gameplay, characters, and stories so II loses around the board to me. Don’t get me wrong, the story is fun and all but it just doesn’t make up for the game’s weaknesses. I don’t really see myself recommending this title to others as well. I’m glad that it helped continue the franchise into its current state but this is an entry you can skip.

Overall 5/10

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Review


After quite a while it’s time to look at the next Kingdom Hearts adventure. I enjoyed the 358 game quite a bit back in the day. The gameplay was definitely a bit simplified but it was all very smooth. The story was also pretty intense and it was interesting to see the organization’s side of things. Roxas as a tragic story right from the start since you know things aren’t going to end well for him. It’s easily the most underrated game in the series. The manga is a pretty solid adaption of this. I’d say that it goes for a bit of a lighter tone but all of the events still happen and we even get some extra development on Xion’s side.

The manga starts with Roxas joining the organization. He is a “Nobody” a shell of a person who died long ago. Nobodies don’t have souls and thus can’t feel human emotions although they can emulate them based on their life experiences. They don’t have memories of who they used to be although they will occasionally get flashes. The mission of the organization is to gather a lot of hearts to open up Kingdom Hearts. Once they do that the goal gets a little more vague but opening up the gate will take a while as it is. Roxas doesn’t feel one way or another about the goal, he just goes ahead and does it. Things change when he starts to become friends with Axel and Xion. He begins to see the organization’s true nature and wonders if he is really in the right place at all.

Of course it is a little difficult to betray an organization when they are all that you knew. Since Roxas has a difficult time with emotions he also isn’t sure how he should feel. One thing’s for sure though, Roxas does develop a real heart by the end of all this. His adventures and emotions are too real for that not to happen. Ultimately he does choose Xion over the organization which was the right call. He’s definitely a solid character for sure. It’s neck and neck between him and Sora for who the better lead is but of course Sora will appear a whole lot more during the franchise. Roxas’ role was brief in comparison, but memorable all the same.

I get the feeling that the author really liked Riku because he looks quite solid here. No complaints from me because I do think Riku is top tier. At this point in the series he has really become accustomed to using the powers of darkness so he even wears a blindfold to increase his abilities. In this series he was actually able to take on the vast majority of the organization members at the same time which is pretty impressive. He’s definitely a fighter who doesn’t do down easily. Roxas gave him a good fight but even this guy couldn’t win in the end. It’s nice to see the original characters looking so solid.

Part of why the struggle is pretty personal here is because both Riku and Roxas are fighting for good reasons. Roxas wanted to save Xion from her deadly fate. Xion’s death would result in Sora’s resurrection but not only does Roxas have no reason to allow this to happen, Xion’s his friend. He can’t just let her throw her life away. The scales are reversed with Riku since Sora is his best friend so he mainly just wants him back no matter the cost. At least they do give Xion the choice although it’s a very pressured one so it’s hard to say how much she got to influence this. Also, Sora’s soul is large enough where Roxas had to go eventually as well.

When you think about it the plot here is actually rather dark. Perhaps that’s why the manga tries to squeeze in a lot of lighter moments to help balance it out. Otherwise this could get rather grim pretty fast. Definitely makes for an engaging read the whole time though. The manga throws you a lot of hints about Xion and her fate from early on. The organization isn’t exactly subtle about it to the point where you think they probably could have hid their intentions a bit more from Roxas so he wouldn’t stand in their way. I’d have liked to see Roxas take down the whole organization which he maybe would have done if he escaped from Riku. I could definitely see him wanting revenge here.

As for Axel, I’m not a big fan of his. At the end of the day he stood down when it counted and his secrets played a large part in dooming Roxas. If he had been more open about what was going on then perhaps they would have been able to think of a plan to escape with. Axel’s decision to keep to himself was a poor one and it’s hard for his character to rebound from it. Xion also made a lot of bad calls. She also didn’t trust in her friends enough. If she talked to Roxas more then she could have had a better chance. I have more sympathy points for her though because she’s living with a ton of veiled threats against her. She also doesn’t want to get him into further trouble. Still not a great reason to keep secrets but it’s better than Axel’s. I always thought Xion was pretty fun and it’s too bad she couldn’t appear more.

The art is pretty solid. It’s not quite Shounen looking in the sense that you shouldn’t expect any big fight scenes here. Most of the time the fights are over in a bit or two even if they are serious battles. The series juggles comedy and action so the art also fluctuates based on that. At this point the artist is pretty experienced so the characters are all looking sharp and the style is refined. I’d like to see longer fight scenes at some point but that’s more of a writing decision as opposed to having to do with the art. From the cuts we get I think the fight scenes would work out pretty well.

The manga isn’t very long so you should blast through it pretty quickly. If anything I wouldn’t have minded a longer bit based on the final act. Once Roxas finally leaves the organization for good it’s one of the more intense moments in the series. His fight with Saix is an example of a fight that could have been extended. Roxas may be relatively new to the Keyblade game but since the manga takes place over the course of a year it’s possible he even has more experience than Sora now. I’m not sure how much time passed during the first two games. Either way my money would be on Roxas to take Saix out and that would be a really grand battle. The final chapters are intense either way so you better enjoy them.

I imagine it would be pretty interesting to start with 358. There are a lot of references to older events and such so while it would increase the mystery angle it also means you will have less reason to root for Sora and friends. It would probably up the tragic angle of the series. It’s always rare to get a video game about the villains so it can be interesting to see their side of things. Especially in a case like this where the organization is evil but the younger members don’t really know better. After all, as Nobodys they don’t have a heart or any emotions so it’s a slot tougher for them to choose between good and evil. At least Roxas and Xion proved that you can get past this and generate a real heart eventually.

Overall, Kingdom Hearts 358 is definitely a solid title and I’d recommend checking it out. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it beats the adaption for 2 or anything like that but like the game it makes for a pretty intense story. By the end of it you will feel like things are pretty unfair for the main characters. There really weren’t many options available to them and even the heroes wouldn’t try to save them. Makes it a little harder to get out of an evil organization when that’s the case. Roxas and Xion were really left to their own devices. I think if they could have convinced Axel to run away with them the 3 could have been ok for a while but at the same time they would spend the rest of their lives looking over their shoulders so in a way it’s not like they would have been living on Cloud 9 or anything like that.

Overall 7/10

The World Ends With You Review


It’s time to look at a game that I’ve had on the backburner for a very long time. The Worlds Ends With You has been patiently waiting its turn for many years. Well, it was time to finally get on with it. The game was a lot of fun back in the day but I decided to replay the whole game despite going through the first loop back in the day. The reason for this is that it has been so long. I want to make sure I really know what’s going on and with an RPG like this it’s usually best to make sure you have the complete context for everything that’s going on. The game definitely does not disappoint and is as fun now as it was back in the day.

The title starts with a kid named Neku waking up in Shibuya with no memories. He doesn’t know what’s going on but a girl named Shiki shows up and makes a pact with him. Basically what’s going on here is that the characters are trapped in a 7 day death game. The way the game works is that the villains send a message every day to the characters’ phones. Someone has to complete the mission before the time limit runs out. If you survive for 7 days you win and get to leave the game. The problem is that Neku doesn’t like people. He finds them to be too loud and annoying the whole time. Neku’s a loner who is also pretty smart so it feels like he has to wait for everyone to catch up. You can’t win this game without a partner though as that’s the only way to use pins with different elemental attacks to fight off the creatures known as Noise. Neku will have to learn to be friends with Shiki or this could get pretty ugly for him.

Right away you’ll see that the gameplay here is pretty unique. It relies heavily on the stylus so get ready for that. You’ve got two screens here. On the top you’ve got your partner and you control her by using the main buttons like A, B, Y, and X. If you follow your partner’s logic attacks on the top you can get energy towards a super attack which does a lot of damage of course. On the bottom screen you have Neku and he attacks by using the pins. Each pin has a different control setup which ranges from tapping the screen to swiping or doing something else like that. The main thing to keep in mind is to read the instructions each time. You’ve also got a hub world where you can buy items or food at shops.

In this game level ups aren’t nearly as important as your stats so keep that in mind. One thing that I didn’t do was eat a lot of food and that’s a mistake. It’s the best way to get stronger. The only way to eat is to challenge more than one enemy at a time. The more stack battles you do at once (Tapping on more than one villain icon in the hub world) the more bites you take out of your food. You don’t eat much per day so try to hit the limit every time. Do that and the final bosses will be considerably easier than if you had decided to forego this. The final boss in particular is a huge step up from the rest. Make sure you equip the final pin that gets tossed at you or you’re in for a pretty rough time.

The World Ends With You is definitely a pretty high end DS game. For starters you have a very unique soundtrack that has quite a few vocal themes. Now the one catch is that there aren’t a lot of themes so you’ll be hearing the same ones over and over again. The positive here is that they’re all pretty solid so it works out pretty well. The game also has very solid graphics with full cutscenes that play comic style as the game goes on. There’s one particular one involving a gun that maybe gets spammed a little too much but it’s a solid scene. Expect a lot of twists and turns as the game goes on. There’s certainly some nice room for a sequel here.

One thing that helps this game out as well are the solid characters. It’s almost inevitable that an RPG would have a solid cast by the end but it’s still important to note in all of these. Neku is the lead and he’s very solid. He has a big character arc since initially he doesn’t get along with anybody and by the end of the game he’s mellowed out quite a bit. He’s still not cheesy or anything though as he still has some pretty harsh thoughts about everyone and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Then you’ve got Shiki who’s a solid heroine. She’s definitely quite lively and makes for a good foil to Neku’s character. She’s always trying her best to see the bright side of things.

Beet is another one of the main heroes but he goes through some rough patches. While he gets a lot of development I can’t really side with him after what he did at the end of Act 1. He tries to walk it back later but it was a little too late for him. Meanwhile Joshua was actually my favorite character in the game. Like Neku he always had a comeback ready and he was really handling the villains pretty well. He gets the most memorable scenes in the game. Whenever he appears you knew something fun was going to happen.

For the villains you’ve got quite a few here. My favorite one was the Grim Heaper. He had a lot of good math puns and a solid design. he wasn’t afraid to get things done his way which is always important. You’ve also go the elusive conductor although he mainly just gets mentioned a lot. You’ve got two villains who are like a serious version of Team Rocket. While they try to be nice and relatable near the end you can’t forget the fact that they’re mass murderers either way. One thing you don’t want to lose sight of is the fact that this is a murder game. Keep that in mind when all of the twists are happening. No matter how you slice it that means all of these guys are knowingly complicit in these actions.

Overall, The World Ends With You is a pretty great RPG. It’s got a solid set of characters and really nice technicals on its side. There’s a good amount of replay value since you can warp to any of the previous days to do any missions you skipped. It’s a game that gives you a lot of options for what you want to do next and the length is pretty good as well. With news of the anime coming up the series is definitely staying relevant. As long as you like a good story then this is a game I recommend to any gamer. It’ll definitely hook you on the interesting premise and solid characters.

Overall 8/10

Final Fantasy VII Remake Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 24h 5m
PS4 Trophies 30/54
Battle Intel Reports Collected 1/20
Colosseum Challenges 0/11
Combat Sims 1/14
Odd Jobs 1/26
Enemy Intel 91/114
Enemies Assessed 3/114
Weapon Abilities 4/24
Enemy Skills 0/4
Manuscripts 0/56
Music Discs 2/31
Cloud Dresses 1/3
Tifa Dresses 1/3
Aerith’s Dresses 1/3
Chapter 14 Resolutions 1/3
Chapters Cleared on Hard 0/18

Character Levels

Cloud 34
Tifa 34
Aerith 33
Barret 34

Final Fantasy VII Remake Review


It’s time to take a look at 2020’s Game of the Year title. I’ve been waiting many years for Final Fantasy VII Remake to come out and it was all worth it. You can feel the polish and development time that went into this title. It’s easily the most theatrical game I’ve played since FF XIII-2 and it is fair to say that this one is even higher budget. You could make a case for this being the best Square game yet. I would have to ultimately have it top FF XIII-2 and Kingdom Hearts 2 as the best RPG. It’s really just a definitive title and one that has a ton of content. After beating the game which took around 24 hours, that’s just the tip of the content here.

So the story starts by introducing us to Avalanche. They are a group of terrorists who are trying to blow up various Mako reactors across the planet. The reactors are controlled by a company known as Shinra which basically owns the planet. While this does make life a lot better for many, Shinra excludes the poor who have to live under a dome. Avalanche intends to bring the world back to how it used to be by blowing everything up. There will be a lot of casualties but the idea is that it will ultimately make the planet a better place. To this end, the group has hired a mercenary named Cloud. The guy’s an Ex-SOLDIER which means that he is pretty tough. SOLDIERS in this universe are people who were bathed in Mako and trained by Shinra to be ultimate fighting warriors. Cloud’s just in it for the money but sooner or later he’s going to have to make a decision. Keep on helping Avalanche and fighting Shinra or going his own way.

The plot is ever changing in just about every RPG but especially in something like Final Fantasy. That plot really describes the first few hours and then things change quite a lot. Part of the fun is seeing all of those story details so I won’t go much farther than that. As it adapts the content you’re used to, you will notice one new subplot involving some ghosts that keep flying around and messing with people. It’s a pretty interesting plot and the game gives you a lot of foreshadowing that this will be important. The game goes in some pretty interesting directions by the end. I can’t say much more than that, but what I will say is that I’m not even more hyped for the sequel. It’s really a superb ending in every way.

The climax is pretty great. You certainly have a lot of boss fights to sift through and great visuals. It’s also pretty challenging so make sure you’re ready. I lost the fight the first time so I had to regroup and barely clutched it out the second time. That’s one of the fun parts about the game. There are a lot of times where you will be at the edge of your seat throughout a boss because you’re so low on health and it feels good to get the win. A lot of the battles came down to a last hit situation. It’s a tough game that doesn’t feel unfair. You can always polish up your fundamentals in order to have an easier fight. I didn’t notice many locations for grinding EXP but you could also do that if needed. This is probably the first RPG in a while where I didn’t do any grinding this time. There just wasn’t a need to do so for me.

Some bosses did take around 30-40 minutes as a result though. It’s the price of being low level but it was worth it. I admit that if I had lost any of those fights that would have been unfortunate though. I came really close so many times. My advice is to always make sure you have a bunch of Phoenix Downs and potions. Keep in mind that you can’t use any items unless you have an ATB gauge loaded up so you may also want to equip Revival earrings as well just in case. Those activate automatically so you don’t need to worry about not using the item in time by mistake.

As expected the graphics here are absolutely top tier and same for the audio. It feels like a full movie experience and this game could easily pass itself off as a movie if needed. You could stitch these cutscenes together and just add a few new ones for fights and it could be ready for theaters right away. In particular a game like this always needs a great opening and FF VII delivers absolutely. Then we’ve got the soundtrack which is over 6 hours long according to Youtube’s playlist. That’s pretty crazy. I love to see all the variety here and the various remixes of the classic themes are intense. One of them even seemed to borrow from Advent Children which was a really nice touch.

I haven’t really talked about the gameplay but it is naturally pretty great. It’s a real time 3D hack and slash as you try to destroy the opponents in front of you. One change here that makes it a bit more like an RPG is that you can’t use any items unless you have enough meter which effectively makes it “your turn” to do an action. It makes the battles more intense because you can always choose to use a super attack, use a summon, use an item, or use a spell. Each one costs a spell bar and the only way to build it back up is to attack an enemy with normal attacks. What this means is that if you’re on low health and you just used a bar on an attack, it’ll be a little bit before you can use a potion. Keep this in mind when planning what you will do.

In most battles there will be 3 of you in the party so you can switch to them at any point. You can also just give them orders like which attack to use. For the most part they will never use any super attacks or spells unless you tell them to so when you switch over to them they will probably have a full bar. I recommend telling them to do something whenever they charge up. Also if you have it, give one of them the auto cure spell as soon as possible because that’s a spell they can use on their own whenever you’re low on health. The parry technique is also very handy here. Try to block and counter as often as possible because it builds up the opponent’s stagger meter pretty quickly and can put them in a pressured state. There are a lot of nuances to the gameplay but you’ll pick it up pretty quickly.

There is also the occasional level that uses different gameplay. I always think it’s pretty impressive when a game adds a new gameplay style even if it will only be used for a level or two. A good example of this is the motorcycle levels. There are only two of them in the game but they’re both a ton of fun. It’s a nice change of pace and as I also love racing games what beats mixing the two up like this right? In Advent Children Cloud was definitely a really good expert on a bike so it’s good to see him get to use those skills again here.

As mentioned, the length here is pretty good. It took me around 24 hours to beat the main campaign and that’s considering that I didn’t really do any side quests. The closest to that was when I decided to quickly take a ride on the slide at the park. Beyond that I just played the game straight through and never looked back. I can also see the Platinum Trophy for this game being pretty difficult so that’ll take time too. Even without a post game this would be worth the 60 bucks and with all of the extra content it goes without saying. It’ll be very difficult for any game to take this one down even in the next few years unless they suddenly announce the next Super Smash. Final Fantasy VII Remake did what all Final Fantasy games tend to achieve, it has once again set the bar higher for all AAA titles.

The game has a ton of highs and no real lows so what was the best part? Well, the best part of the game to me would actually be the opening act. Everything up til they destroyed the first Mako Reactor was my absolute favorite part of the game. In part I think it’s because it was the intro so I was still absorbing everything as this really fun movie. It’s all incredibly impressive and while the game never lets up, it’s hard to forget such a beginning. I also liked Cloud’s personality quite a lot in the intro with how direct he can be. The guy was pretty fed up with everything at that point so it made for a lot of great banter between him and Barret. Of course, they had a lot of great scenes after that as well like running up the stairs to the top floor. That segment is great so I hope you don’t choose the elevator there. In general the first act just feels like a really solid mystery thriller. I also liked Cloud’s first confrontation with Reno and Rude. Considering how terrible they looked in Advent Children it’s nice to see how they used to be fairly powerful.

There aren’t a lot of boss fights against human type opponents so enjoy them when they show up. From fighting another SOLDIER to taking on a Shinra boss, it’s always hype fighting another human. These battles really test your knowledge of the parry system as well as your pure fundamentals. You’ll need them if you’re going to take them out. In particular the fight on the roof against the gun wielder was a lot of fun. The fight against Rude was also a lot of fun with the various hand to hand techniques he would use against you.

The cast is also pretty great as expected. Cloud’s basically a perfect lead who does whatever he can to help his friends out. It’s also pretty nice to see his character arc here now that you know the events of Crisis Core and Advent Children so you’ve already got a pretty broad scope of what he’s been through/will go through. Tifa is also a lot of fun as always and tries to be a moral compass for the group. Barret’s probably been helped the most by this remake as I didn’t really notice the guy so much in the original but here he is one of the starring characters. He gets a lot of great moments throughout the game and I really like all of his enthusiasm for the cause. This guy definitely believes in saving the planet whole heartedly even if Cloud thinks he is crazy.

Aerith is more of a mixed bag for me though. She keeps a lot of secrets throughout the game and is intentionally not helpful. Talking a little more early on would have helped out quite a bit. I’m sure she has her own reasons for doing all of this of course, but until we see what those are she can be more annoying than helpful. It doesn’t help that in a fight she’s my least favorite ally to have. She’s good for aerial enemies but beyond that give me Tifa and Barret any day.

The other fighters from Avalanche are cool as well. I’m not a fan of Wedge and he’s mostly there just to give the group more of an unguarded fellow. Biggs is a solid member who seems like your average soldier. He’s got a sense of humor and is a nice guy. I liked having him around. Then you have Jesse who gets a big role here. She’s fun and charismatic although based on some dialogue from the other members she does like stringing people along. Cloud doesn’t fall for it, but this is a bit dubious so it’ll keep her from passing Biggs here. There are a bunch of other supporting characters of course but those are the main ones.

For the villains, well Sephiroth is awesome as always whenever he shows up to mess with Cloud. A lot of the time you have to decide if he is really there or if it’s just Cloud’s head messing with him. Get ready for a lot of seizures. Cloud had a lot of those in Advent Children but he usually didn’t get them quite so much in the OG timeline so you have to wonder what’s affecting him so much. The SHINRA vice president Rufus is a lot of fun here. I didn’t care for him much in AC, but here he seems like a pretty tough boss and in general just a guy that you don’t want to mess with. The other SHINRA leads are less memroable but serve their purpose as good villains. The mad scientist is more on the iffy side. He’d be my least favorite villain if not for the Don also being around. That guy was definitely the weakest one.

Reno and Rude are solid villains as well. Despite all their tough talk and how they act like they have morals they still do everything their boss tells them to do so I still see them as villains. There’s also another SOLDIER who shows up at one point which was interesting. I thought all of the SOLDIERS were already dead by this point outside of Cloud so I wonder how he will play into the sequels or if other SOLDIERS will show up. I guess it makes sense there would be more, we just usually don’t show them. Assuming they are all First Class level that will make for some pretty fun boss fights soon. Somehow I doubt any of them would be quite as strong as Sephiroth, Genesis, or Zack so Cloud should be okay though.

Overall, Final Fantasy VII Remake is a superb game. It is excellent in all aspects and there is not a single weak point to be found in the game. The gameplay is stellar, the cutscenes are out of this world, and the soundtrack is quite dynamic. When you mix all of this together then what you have is an amazing package that ism’t likely going to be defeated anytime soon. I’m hoping the wait for the next installment isn’t too long though. Now that we have all of the character models and assets (Aside from new characters who need to show up) I like to think that we could have part 2 by late 2021 but most likely I guess it would be late 2022. That sounds like ages away though. Ah well, in the meantime it’ll let us discuss the ending a lot more. I’m looking forward to reading the Reddit theories and watching the Youtube ones.

Overall 9/10

Kingdom Hearts III Review


It’s time to look at a game that fans has kept fans waiting over 10 years. There have been a lot of spinoffs and such after KH2 which were all pretty solid but everyone was ready for 3. After all, this one was going to end the arc and wrap up the organization plot. It’s definitely a fantastic game and an excellent end to the trilogy.

Following the events of KH2 Sora and Riku took the mark of mastery exam so that they would be strong enough to stop the mastermind Xehanort now that he has returned from the grave. Unfortunately Sora failed and lost all of his powers. To reclaim them he must go to a bunch of Disney worlds and reaffirm his reason for fighting. Riku and King Mickey head to the world of shadows to save Aqua and to begin gathering the 7 Keyblade masters. Will that be enough to stop the newly resurrected Organization XIII?

As always the gameplay here is a blast. I always enjoy a good 3D action game and the combat is very well done here. There are a bunch of different mechanics to learn and utilize as well so you always feel like you have a lot of options. It’s all very fast paced and one big change is instead of forms like Master, Final, you have temporary super attacks or weapon changes. It’s effectively pretty similar although I liked the outfit changes that the forms had. The super moves range from things like boats to cars, tanks, etc. They’re all pretty handy although their damage output never seems to get any better so towards the end of the game I’d like to have turned them off as the would take up space in my combat zone. (I’m sure there’s a way to select a different super attack when you have more than one option but I was not able to find that out.

To make the worlds a little more special in this game, each of them have their own unique gameplay element. In Toy Story you can control a robot, in pirates a ship, etc. It’s pretty cool that they developed so many game modes for this title. It does help to make the whole experience feel even more polished. While playing through the game everything is really sharp. I don’t think you’ll have any gameplay complaints. It’s pretty much perfect and all that you could expect here.

Naturally the graphics are quite good as well. The opening is extremely sharp (Although 0.2’s intro is probably still the best animated one) and the graphics in game are also still very impressive. Square is always at the forefront when it comes to graphics and this game does not disappoint. It’s all very detailed and bright throughout. Then we’ve got the soundtrack which is also very solid. The new intro may not be quite as good as the older ones but it’s almost impossible to top those. We still get quite a few solid battle themes here and the final boss theme is pretty intense.

The story mode lasted a little over 20 hours, but typically is seems like it usually lasts around 30. III does feel shorter than the first two games and was one of our least played KH titles, but I have to factor in the fact that I was dashing through the game for the most part. I haven’t gone back and done all of the bonus content. Once you do that the game will definitely get very long. The Platinum trophy could take as long as 60-90 hours which is crazy. There’s no shortage of content here, that’s for sure. You’ll also want to make sure that you unlock the secret ending or at least watch it on Youtube since there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

While III is a near perfect game, it still does have some issues which keep it from beating KH 2. I’d also say that in terms of the plot it’s the third strongest behind Chain of Memories as well although as a complete package I would put it as the second best KH title. As I mentioned, the game does feel a bit short. This isn’t really a complaint because once a game is 20+ hours it is certainly long enough. I just feel that given how long this game took to come out it could have been longer. If anything it feels like they probably just had this game on hold for most of that time because development wise it doesn’t feel like it should have taken much longer than the usual 3 years for a new game. It took so long that I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the code got outdated for the older gen and they had to restart development at times.

The story also doesn’t always go in the direction I’d have wanted it to go. I think adding the dolls was maybe not a good move although this technically started a few games back. By creating a life like doll, a soul can go into it and the character is effectively reborn. As such, you’ll see a bunch of old characters in this game. For the villains it can feel a little redundant because we already dealt with these guys a while back. Do we really need to deal with all of them again? Even more than that though, the villains all seem way too strong. The heroes never seem to even stand a chance against them.

You know that things are getting dicey when one enemy is able to take out all 7 Keyblade masters. How can they beat 13 Organization members then? The power levels definitely seem more than a bit wonky here. Going back to the plot, I also thought Aqua’s plot was a little off. It seems to me like she could and should have left the dark realm a long time ago. There wasn’t much of a reason for her to stay and doing so almost backfired. Finally, I didn’t care for the ending. Granted, the after credits scene certainly saves it, but otherwise the normal ending will definitely be very unfulfilling when you see it. It makes the whole journey less satisfying because try as he might, one character couldn’t outrun his destiny which sort of proves the villains right from the start.

That’s enough of that though. This is still the climax of the arc so we’ve got a bunch of hype moments throughout. If anything you’ll be blasting through the Disney worlds extra fast here because you just want to get to the plot stuff. Typically something plot related happens whenever you leave a world. Naturally the climax is pretty intense as it’s fight after fight. We finally get to see Roxas again which is one of the best scenes in the game. Dark Aqua was also cool and Riku gets his moments even if he does get wrecked quite a bit here. You’ll quickly see why the Heartless tornado is probably the strongest character in the franchise. You’ll be engaged from start to finish during this game. The Frozen section was also impressive as we got the full Let It Go song. I wasn’t expecting that.

Lets talk about some of the characters. Sora’s come a long way from the old days and is mostly past his shaken confidence. Still, he has lost most of his powers and has to train up once again. He does begin to lose his way towards the end of the game, but stays strong when it counts. I do think he was right to suggest trying to save Aqua sooner. Without him the others were definitely doomed. Goofy gets a lot of hype in this game as he’s constantly making the most sense. I think the writers were going for some irony here as Goofy appears to be the smartest of the heroes despite the character not usually having that rep. Then we have Donald who is a good ally as always. He gets slightly less to do but his flare spell near the end was definitely hype.

King Mickey is solid as usual but he has been heavily nerfed. Roxas is a scene stealer and whenever he shows up you can feel the hype. The guy can dual wield Keyblades so you know that he is serious. If anything it’s too bad that he couldn’t appear more, but I do like the possibilities of him being more of a main character in future games. Axel gets quite a bit of screen time here, but at the same time he doesn’t really do anything. He sort of gets hit by the hero curse where now that he is a hero it seems like he can’t really fight all that well. I think he should go back to using his twin discs instead of a Keyblade.

Kairi fans will probably be pretty disappointed with her role. She doesn’t do much of anything and is mainly just a liability. Meanwhile it is nice to see Aqua and the gang also showing up. Aqua definitely looks solid here and Terra has his key moment. Ventus doesn’t do quite as much but he’s always eager to help out, even if everyone tries to stop him. For the villains, most of them don’t get to do a whole lot. They basically just follow orders or pay the price. Two of them start talking about possibly betraying Xemnas, but they never get around to it. Ansem from game 1 doesn’t do much but he’s always a cool villain regardless. Just showing up is neat. Xemnas’ voice feels even deeper than usual and he always makes for an epic boss. Then we have Xehanort who may not be as cool as the first two Ansem versions but he makes for a good final boss as well. I do think there is some plot hax with Sora being able to take him on, but maybe Xehanort underestimated the kid’s potential.

Either way, with the organization gone now that means that new villains will be showing up. The game’s ending does give us a glimpse at who these guys will be. I think the heroes can probably school them if it’s a fair fight, but this is Kingdom Hearts so that is unlikely. There will probably be a bunch of mental battles as well as emotional ones. I also get the feeling that we won’t see the 7 Keyblade masters teaming up for quite a while. The villains will probably separate the team and without Sora they’ll all be lost. Sora, Roxas, and Aqua are probably the 3 strongest Keyblade masters at the moment so the rest could all be in danger.

Overall, Sora takes the line “My heart’s a battleground” to the next level. Things are constantly happening to him and his friends and their battles aren’t always limited to traditional planets. One of the big bosses is literally fought inside of a heart. It’s definitely refreshing to play a Kingdom Hearts game again and hopefully the wait for 4 isn’t nearly as long this time. I’m ready to continue the saga and hopefully this time we’ll get some actual Final Fantasy representation like Cloud or Lightning to show up and help out.

Overall 9/10

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue Review


It’s time to look at the recent Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Collection. I’ve played all of the Kingdom Heart games previously but this collection brought a new adventure featuring Aqua and also has a movie which serves as a prequel to the series. As a result, I played those, but didn’t play the Dream Drop Distance remake so my review will not be addressing this one. I also won’t count it towards the score to make it fair despite knowing how the game works. Just a slight disclaimer up front.

Following the events of BBS, Aqua is now in the shadow realm. She been here for many years to the point where she had lost track of time and is slowly falling into the darkness. Still, Aqua has not given up and continues to try to find a way out. Can she escape this place?

0.2 is very short of course as it’s more of a prologue than a full game. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was initially going to be included in KH3 as the intro. It would be an ambitiously long one which would fit the series. It’s a lot of fun and also works well as a preview of how the next KH will play. It has a lot of polish in the gameplay and it’s fun throwing out the ole combos. A new mechanic or a least one that I didn’t remember is that you can now charge up a flurry of energy blasts to send at your opponent. It came in real handy during the final boss. The game is actually fairly difficult as you can’t really grind your level up to make it easy. You’ve just gotta roll with the level that is pre set. There did seem to be at least one cluster of heartless that you could maybe stay with to gain levels but it would take a long time and since the game isn’t very long it wouldn’t be all that worth it.

The graphics are definitely excellent and could pass for being a movie. 0.2 still has the best opening out of all the KH titles as well, managing to beat out KH2 from the top spot. The song is definitely on point and I think it works as a good recap to BBS. These openings have always been very recaps and I look forward to seeing KHIII’s. As expected the soundtrack is also very good. I’ve heard the final boss themes many times as it played during the modded Smash 4’s final destination. It’s a 5 star ost to match the rest of the game.

As far as replay value goes, there isn’t much here but you could try to grab all of the treasure chests and such to make sure you get all the trophies. Beating the game on proud mode will also probably be very hard and time consuming. The game thrives on quality over quantity.

Of course we also have the movie which is about an hour. This serves as a prequel to the whole franchise which is cool. Of course we learned about the Great Keyblade War from BBS, but the movie shows what got the war started. There was a mysterious being who could see the future and he quickly got some pupils. He gave them all different tasks which nobody else could know. Then the master vanished. The prophecies quickly start to create a gap between the pupils and by the end you feel as though the war is inevitable. It’s definitely one of those fairly mysterious films where it doesn’t answer too many of the questions you may have. It’s more about understanding the basic premise of the origin and how we got to the war than exploring the timeline.

It does a good job of doing that and each of the characters got a good amount of personality in this stretch in time. Prophecies can make people paranoid so it’s no surprise that everyone started to turn on each other by the end. They definitely don’t have the bonds that Sora and the others possess. The film is pretty fast paced and it will keep you entertained. I think showing it all at once like this is better than just giving bits and pieces through a game as it would probably be jarring to be fighting Sephiroth and afterwards you are suddenly in a flashback.

Overall, Kingdom Hearts 2.8 is definitely a great game. 0.2 is another excellent expansion to the Kingdom Hearts series and the movie was pretty interesting. It is fairly short which just barely keeps it from the 9 but keep in mind that this is all by not counting the first game. For those of you buying the game and haven’t played the first one, then this quite easily jumps up to a 9. Either way I highly recommend buying this game and you better hurry since Kingdom Hearts III is right around the corner.

Overall 8/10