Since dice kinda hinted at me putting my reviews in here instead of my blog, I've decided to start doing that. And I'll kick if off with one my most controversial reviews to many out there with one of the bigger DS titles: The World Ends With You. Why may this be semi-controversial? Simply put people think of this game as a god. And simply put, it's not. It's just another RPG in the dominion of the RPG gods (which consists of the first Final Fantasy, Super Mario RPG, and others). Is this the best RPG ever made? No way in hell. Is it the RPG of the decade? Nope. Is it a fun game and a good RPG? Yes, it is. Let me first dispell why people think its great. First off, it's a weaboos wet dream. Not only does it have anime characters and a storyline fit for the anime peoples, but it's set in Japan. Modern day Japan. In Shibuya. With tons of references to Shibuya youth culture. Well, that's what Wikipedia says. And yes, I know what Shibuya is. My mom was watching some show about buying houses and this guy was looking at a house in Shibuya. Plus Wikipedia is the best thing since bread. Anyway, what isn't to love about all that stuff I mentioned if you're a weaboo? Still, you can't let all this pour into your head and cloud your judgment and vision. So, TWEWY (as I'll refer to it from now on) is about an anti-social boy named Neku. He doesn't like people, and he's kinda a douchebag. He's like me, without a sense of good fashion. Anyway, one day he wakes up in the middle of streets and seems to be invisible to everyone around him. He soon finds out he's involved in something called "The Reaper's Game", in which players must complete tasks in order to avoid erasure (aka death). Even for someone who doesn't fall for all the stupid anime gimmicks, I can appreciate the art style and storyline here. It's very pretty and the storyline isn't over-the-top (like most anime) or full of lackluster cliches. Still, some may find it a little offsetting. However, let's get to the heart of any game, and that's the gameplay. TWEWY is innovative, but innovation only gets it so far. You'll be using both the top and bottom screen, as well as both the stylus and the D-Pad (ABXY pad for lefties). You'll control Neku on the bottom screen with the stylus and your buddy on the top screen with the respective button pad. You also have to choose pins for Neku to use. Each pin has a different motion on the touchscreen and has different effects, from flinging on-screen objects at foes to zapping them with lightning bolts. There's also non-usable pins in battle that you can trash for either cash or health. It's a nice mechanic that definitely adds some pizazz, although the downtimes on them can be annoying. For the touch screen, they map too much to it and it overall gets sloppy, inprecise, and cumbersome. It's hard to manage all your different pins plus movement all with their respective motions. On top of that, you have to manage the top screen through button combos at the same time. The learning curve is huge and while you'll eventually get a hold of it, it's still very frustrating. The makers were nice enough to throw in autopilot on your cohort if you're too distracted on the bottom screen, but it doesn't measure up to manual control on both. The RPG elements are alright, with your traditional selection of stats and clothing. Nothing too out there, nothing too minimal. My overall summary of gameplay would be innovative to say the least, but innovation can't carry sloppy and cluttered controls all the way. For graphics, the game's cutscenes are nicely done, as are the backgrounds, but the character sprites on screen seem average, almost GBA quality to me. Attack animations gammer the same verdict as well. It's really impressive how they pulled off the looks of Japan, though. They put lots of time and effort into replicating the Shibuya skyline, to the point of even placing a coffee shop in the place of a Starbucks. You have to give them a hand for that. As for sound, its J-Pop. If you're like me, you'll get chronic diherria from listening to it. If you're a weaboo, you'll be changing your shirt after you've cumshotted yourself (since you'll already have your pants off from the anime characters). The sound quality is nice and the generic zips and bops are good, but it's very much just your general opinion on J-Pop. Overall, a lot of the game's general opinion is based on how much you like Japanese culture but has a solid enough core gameplay to be acceptable to those who are uninterested or even turned off by Japanese culture. The controls can be sloppy and annoying, and the learning curve is pretty high, but eventually you'll get into the groove and have some decent fun. It's probably not the best RPG you've ever played if you're someone who doesn't find all the weaboo gimmicks amusing, nor will it score in your top 10, but it's a fun romp. Presentation: The story is nice, even for those not interested in anime-ish ones. The art style is nice, although its reliance on weaboo-ism and blind fanboy gimmicks is a little too much to those who don't find either of those appealing. 8/10 Graphics: Cutscenes are nicely done and the backgrounds are impressive, but the on-screen sprites could use some more work. Battle animations could also use some pick me ups as well. The recreation of the areas to just how true they are in real life is incredible, though. 8.5/10 Audio: Lots of J-Pop. If you like it, then you'll love the soundtrack. If you don't like it, you'll be turning the sound off and cranking up the death metal on your iPod. Battle sounds aren't bad but aren't quite impressive either. 7/10 Gameplay: Innovative, to say the least, but that can't carry the cluttered and clumsy touch screen controls and the steep learning curve. It takes quite a while to get used to, and even when you do get used to it, the controls still aren't as clean cut as they should be. However, the chaos of it can be relatively fun and the core RPG aspects are pretty good. 7/10 Lasting Appeal: Completionists will have a pretty nice romp in-game, collecting all the items and such, but the overall experience isn't an epicly long RPG. However, it's still worth the cash you payed for it (if you did) in hours played. There's further single player stuff to do afterwards that will keep you going, but they aren't vast enough to make a large expansion on playtime. The multiplayer isn't anything to call home about and not a huge appeal factor. 8/10 Overall: 7.8/10 Flame shield on!