Neo The World Ends With You is a sequel to the original game, The World Ends With You which was released in 2008. It takes place 3 years after the events of the original game and focuses on a new cast of players, The Wicked Twisters.
Rindo and his friend Fret are dragged into the U.G and are forced to take part in the Reapers game hosted by Shiba where they must survive a week completing objectives and have to team up with other players like Nagi and ex-reaper Sho Minamoto to survive. They are not the only ones, other groups of players like the Ruin Bringers, Deep River Society, Purehearts and the Variabeauties are all competing to survive.
The edgy atmosphere makes a comeback and it feels fresher than ever with the modernized look of Shibuya with the use of smartphones instead of flip phones.
The artstyle looks attractive as ever and every single one of the character designs is unique and stylish. The animation looks really incredible and I really appreciated the return of comic book style cut scenes.The graphics were stunning with detailed cel shaded style. The user interface was both stylish and very easy to navigate through. Shibuya has been modernized to reflect the current look Shibuya in real life and its really well done.
As in the original game, you can scan peoples' thoughts to look for clues and to also look for noise to fight and you can also form chain battles. Instead of tapping, you have to move near to the noise and then they’ll chase you. You can also dive into peoples minds with Nagi to go through multiple rounds of noise to eliminate the negative feelings the target has and the better you perform, the greater the rewards. You can imprint “memes” into peoples minds but instead of one word, you have to imprint two words to change their thoughts.
Fret has remind, which is used to help people remember certain things. Rindo has replay which is the ability to change time but the story still plays out the same and you can revisit the places you visited on “replay” as much as possible to tie any loose ends. There is a sizeable number of pins, old and new to customize and collect and it gives you a large array to experiment with. Instead of using the touch screen, it is using the buttons on your PlayStation or Switch controller.
The combat is in 3D instead of 2D and instead of it being 2 players, it’s now 4. There isn’t any sync system or changing party members having different effects for the main player like in the last game.
You can only equip one pin at a time instead of having multiple pins in the first game. Eventually you can equip “uber pins” which are powerful versions of pins. There is a cool down meter or “reboot” where you have to wait for a short time to use your pins again like in the first game. You can also evolve pins under certain conditions. Each pin has a "beatdrop" condition shown in the Pins menu; when this is met, an indicator saying 'DROP THE BEAT!' will appear. Attacking that enemy with a different character will change the indicator to "SICK!" and raise the party's Groove level by 15%. The indicator will remain until a different character attacks, the timer runs out, or another enemy is attacked.
The Groove level drops over time if it is not raised. Since the new character's pin will also have a beatdrop condition. It is possible to chain beat drops by having characters take turns attacking an enemy. The character attacking to drop the beat only needs to be a different one from the character that instigated the beatdrop condition; it does not have to be one who has not attacked before in the current chain, so it is possible to repeatedly swap characters.
When the Groove level reaches 100%, a super move can be activated which temporarily adds ongoing damage to the current target at the time. The type of super move activated is based on the Affinity of the character who is currently being controlled (which is usually the one who most recently attacked). Super moves can Drop the Beat from other moves, and can have Beatdrops themselves.
Later in the game, extra powered super moves (Mashup and Killer Remix) are added when Groove reaches 200% or 300%. The 200% move, Mashup, is a more powerful version of the 100% one and works in the same way. The 300% move, Killer Remix, instead interrupts the fight entirely and moves the characters into the sky where their only available move is to fire lasers at opponents which inflict significant damage. This move also heals the team as it ends. You can also increase your groove meter outside of combat once you progress through the game when you unlock the dash ability where you can dash multiple times to the beat of the music.
Health is shared between teammates instead of one partner. If your character is not controlled by the player, it is controlled by the AI. You can lower or increase your level and change the difficulty anytime you like for more higher quality pins.
As there is a variety of noise in the game, there is also other players you have to fight as well too. Social network replaces the stickers ability in the game where after helping people out in sidequests, you earn friendship points to unlock special abilities.
The voice acting is a quite good as the original cast returns to reprise their roles. The characters are quite likeable and it was fun to watch them. The new characters had their own arcs and unique personalities. Like the original game, it has a really good use of padding by making each innocuous event lead up to something over the top. The music its once again composed by Takeharu Ishimoto and it comprises of old music being remixed for the game and newer songs with some of the original singers of the last game coming back to record the new tracks. It has a harder edge to it especially in regards to the current change of time of music tastes and I really appreciated how nu-metal was used for the game. I also really liked how the older sound effects from the first game make a comeback.
The control system was very easy to get used to. The replay value is even more so than the first game. You can replay Missons to collect reaper reports like in the first game. You can eat food to increase your character stats but once you are full, you are going to have to fight some battles before you can eat again. You don’t have to wait a day just to eat food again in the sequel. You can buy many different clothes for your characters and style replaces bravery.
Each store that is of the same brand like “Gatto Nero” shares the same v.i.p level so you don’t have to worry about going through separate shops to attain the same level with a different shopkeeper. You can even increase it during battle by leveling up the respective brand to which the pin belongs. You thankfully don’t have to reach a certain level of “bravery” just to equip clothes. The achievement section of the game you can be able to customize the graffiti in the Udagawa backstreets with the stickers you earn as time goes by.
Theres also “Another Day” where you can fully explore Shibuya and go through a much light hearted story. The social links has features that really should have been in the base game instead of being unlockable.
There were some plot holes in the story and some characters were sadly underutilized. The dialogue was cheesy and cringey. It was also really annoying hearing the same repetitive quotes in battle over and over again. Strangely, not all dialogue is voiced yet in modern JRPGS like Final Fantasy 7 remake and Kingdom Hearts 3 of all things characters are fully voiced. And yeah it can feel like a rehash of the first game sometimes as well too and the characters can be tropey-ish from time to time.
The game doesn’t have reaper creeper or tin pin slammer sadly as mini games. The story did overly rely on Remind, Replay and Dive quite a bit in order to progress through the game. This is by far one of the best sequels and comebacks to an old franchise. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend this game.
It gets 4 out of 5 stars.
Both old and new fans are really going to love this game.