Explore a stylized recreation of Shibuya, as you take on the role of Rindo to battle for survival and unravel the mysteries of the deadly “Reaper’s Game” in this new Action RPG and follow-up to the classic RPG hit "The World Ends with You."
Reviews View More
Beaten: Sep 25 2021
Time: 30? Hours
NEO TWEWY is an interesting game in it's genre. It feels MUCH more like a visual novel (particularly Time Hollow) than a traditional JRPG, yet it's also super interesting on the way it includes it's RPG mechanics. Taken in isolation, it's a great game that's super innovative in a lot of ways. Taken with the game it's a sequel to, it's a more complicated story.
The first The World Ends With You is one of the most interesting games Square Enix has ever made. It's focused like almost nothing else in their catalog (the only other game I can think of that's similarly focused is Vagrant Story) and has an absurd amount of fun playing with RPG conventions and mechanics. All of that fun is in service of it's main theme, that connecting with people, especially all different types of people, makes you stronger than you'd be on your own. The story, the battle system, even the main character's design is all completely focused on this one point. NEO is an expansion on the mechanics and structure of the first game, but not on its reason for being.
NEO is not a thematically focused game, it's a plot focused game. The mechanics generally reinforce the theme from the first game, but as a whole it's a lot more interested in developing a cast of characters. Luckily it's very good at that, with an amazing cast of characters who are all at least likeable (more than most games can manage). Still though, I'm surprised that the sequel to Square Enix's most focused and tightly paced game would be content to drop the most interesting part of it's predecessor.
That's about it for negatives. Moving on to positives... holy hell this game is great!!!! Sure it's not as focused or thematic as the first game, but it's still a step above most games in that regard. It does have themes it explores, and unique characters (with good development), and just about all you could ask for in a visual novel. On top of THAT though, the RPG mechanics are ALSO great. The battle system is completely reworked into something unlike any game I've played before, in slight ways and massive ones. It's all the flash and combo-focus of a character action game, but set in an instanced Tales-ish ARPG mold. It's great, and a real improvement on the first game's combat (it was interesting thematically but it never really felt particularly fun for me).
It also carries through a lot of the first games most interesting mechanical decisions, such as being able to completely avoid non-critical encounters, or to be able to change the difficulty as often as you want by making it an actual mechanic! Basically, on hard you gain more experience, and on easy you gain less, but it's not in the way that game difficulty usually works? It makes it pretty obvious that the intent here is to raise the difficulty against weaker enemies, so you have to fight less of them to level up, and lower it against harder enemies if they're giving you trouble. I mean you literally unlock the difficulty modes as you play. It's so cool. The game is full of interesting stuff like that, and even if they're mostly just grandfathered in from the first game, the redone combat makes them fit even better here.
NEO is a great game, and a pretty good sequel. I super recommend it, along with the first game.