Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Apr 012024
 

Video game news on April Fools’ Day can be frustrating, whether it’s because of fake announcements you wish were real or yet another developer using “we’re making a visual novel” as the whole joke.

But sometimes it leads to something genuinely cool, and that’s the case with the Reynatis joke this year.

I’ve been interested in Reynatis since it was announced and thrilled when its localization was confirmed. It’s an action RPG set in Shibuya…

…so what better game for a fake collaboration than The World Ends With You?

As detailed by Noisy Pixel, this April Fools’ Day joke began with tweets from the official TWEWY and Reynatis Twitter accounts about something occurring in Shibuya.

Although it’s since gone back to normal, the Japanese website for Reynatis then posted new art with the main characters of Reynatis added to the NEO: The World Ends With You key art.

Additional artwork, pictured above, later surfaced showing NEO: TWEWY’s Rindo and Reynatis’s Marin standing together.

Meanwhile, the two Twitter accounts continued to post messages in a back-and-forth conversation between Shoka from NEO: TWEWY and Sari from Reynatis.

This is a cool April Fools’ joke for many reasons, not only because the developers of Reynatis chose TWEWY to acknowledge, but also because even if the collaboration itself is fake, Square Enix clearly worked with them on it. Coming out of NEO: TWEWY’s launch, there were a lot of concerns about its sales numbers. But regardless of how it sold, it seems Square Enix still cares enough about the TWEWY brand to participate in a joke like this.

It also works as genuine cross-promotion; I’ve already seen TWEWY fans looking into Reynatis because of this, and I’m sure some people who were looking forward to Reynatis have been introduced to TWEWY now as well.

In short, while it might not be actual The World Ends With You news, it’s nice to see it still getting attention, and I’m even more interested in Reynatis because of it. Of all of this year’s gaming April Fools’ jokes, this one is my favorite so far.

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Dec 272021
 

The World Ends With You is one of my favorite games, and I waited over a decade for a sequel.

Since this is the year of incredible unexpected sequels, NEO: The World Ends With You came out (on the same day as The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, no less) to finally return us to Shibuya and the UG.

I actually played the main game in between the two Great Ace Attorney games, then came back afterwards to finish up the post-game content.

(…or rather, some of the post-game content, since I decided not to grind as much as I’d need to finish everything.)

NEO: The World Ends With You is a sequel following a largely new cast of characters who find themselves caught up in the Reaper’s Game. It’s quickly apparent that things are different this time around, with Players split into teams to compete against each other, and my knowledge of the original really added to the sense of mystery for me.

Like I mentioned back when I played the demo, NEO does an impressive job of capturing the original’s feel despite being a 3D game with more standard combat controls. Controlling multiple characters at once by using their equipped pins, alternating attacks to build up the Groove meter to unleash a special attack, eating food to increase stats… it really does feel like TWEWY.

The soundtrack is incredible, too, just like in the original. There are a lot of great remixes, along with entirely new tracks, and so many of them are fantastic.

The story didn’t carry quite the same impact that the original did for me, but I still loved it. It had some good humor, too. My only regret is that some of the trailers spoiled major details I wish I hadn’t known ahead of time. I’ve learned my lesson. I will stop watching trailers earlier from now on.

Click for major NEO TWEWY spoilers
The most notable one is that I was getting near the end of the game when I suddenly said to myself, “Huh, I never saw that trailer scene of Kubo laughing…”

PAIN.

It has a lot of cool twists, and I thought it found a nice balancing point between building on what the first game did and creating a new story. Of course, I don’t know how certain aspects of the story feel to someone who hadn’t played the first one, but as a returning fan, I was pleased with most parts.

Best of all, this universe is back. It’s not just a one-off game anymore. This could become a series.

Now, reports came out not too long ago that NEO didn’t sell well. That disappointed me, because it’s a great game and deserves to do well. A lack of marketing might be the culprit, since I saw a lot of people expressing surprise that the game existed – even some fans of the original who simply didn’t know a sequel had come out. That report ironically drew attention to it, so here’s hoping the sales situation improves enough to keep the series alive.

NEO: The World Ends With You is not as incredible as the original The World Ends With You, but it’s still a fantastic JRPG. For the sequel to one of my all-time favorites, that’s exactly what I’d hoped for.

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Jun 282021
 

Over the past few days, I played the demo for NEO: The World Ends With You, watched the final episode of the TWEWY anime, and finished The World Ends With You: Final Remix.

After debating about how to cover all of these things, I decided to just have one big TWEWY extravaganza blog post!

Let’s start with the anime.

The World Ends With You Anime Adaptation

When I started watching the anime adaptation of The World Ends With You, I had concerns. The beginning feels very rushed as a result of cramming the entire game’s story into 12 episodes, although it was still incredible just to see a game I love so much in anime form.

However, the pacing improved dramatically after the first few episodes, and I ended up enjoying it overall.

The anime has its flaws. Some parts don’t come across quite right, and there are a few changes I wasn’t crazy about. Most of these changes are probably also the result of the fast pacing, although there was one near the end that I don’t know why they changed.

Click for major TWEWY spoilers
In the anime, Kitaniji is completely defeated before the encounter with Joshua. They still showed the flashback of him and Joshua agreeing to the Game, but I feel like it lost something by not having that final conversation between them.

Yet the anime also pulls off some scenes incredibly well. There are even a few parts that I’d say the anime did better.

I expected the anime to cover A New Day, the new epilogue added for the Final Remix version of the game, but it didn’t. Instead, it ended on the game’s original secret ending, expanded to include some more details in a way that I thought worked very well.

Meanwhile, I used the anime as a guide to keep my Final Remix playthrough in check, as I’d follow up each episode by playing up to the same point in the game.

The World Ends With You: Final Remix

My playthrough of the original The World Ends With You was absurdly long, since I wanted to complete everything. For the Final Remix, I was much more restrained and stuck mostly to the main story (and of course, A New Day).

I was a little worried about revisiting a favorite game, afraid that it might not resonate with me as much over a decade later.

My concerns were unfounded. The Switch controls are cumbersome, and I quickly decided to stick with the touchscreen controls since the Joy-Con controls are somehow even more awkward, and I forgot how some parts of the game require you to grind a bit for specific pin/material drops, but I was immediately sucked into the game just like I was when I played the original.

I love The World Ends With You. The story, the characters, the foreshadowing, the humor… and all sorts of little fun details I forgot about that all come together to make it a unique experience.

Comparing it to the anime after each episode provided extra entertainment as well, and I’m really happy that I decided to play through The World Ends With You: Final Remix after all.

And then I played A New Day.

You unlock the three “days” of A New Day by completing certain challenges in the main game. A New Day itself doesn’t seem to distinguish between days, however. I only knew I was on a different day by seeing that the menu screen said so.

Anyway, Neku and Beat find themselves back in the UG for a new Reaper’s Game, and they’re joined by a Reaper girl named Coco who is one of the most annoying characters I’ve ever seen. Neku is also having visions of destruction and a mysterious girl wearing headphones. Shibuya’s layout has been shuffled around so that the streets don’t go where they’re supposed to, and most paths are gated. Remember how I mentioned grinding for drops in the main game? That’s a core focus of A New Day, and it’s so tedious… I felt like it went out of its way to be as tedious as possible.

Meanwhile, the story is… strange. I dislike several aspects of A New Day’s ending, as well as their puzzling presentation.

Click for major A New Day spoilers
Was it really necessary to have Neku get shot at the exact same place again? I’m sure they intentionally mirrored the main game’s scene to have his visions of Joshua shooting make both him and the player question whether he was seeing the past or the present, but then to have Joshua hit Coco’s shoulder and have her run away in basically the exact same pose Minamimoto had in the original scene? Really?

And then she revives Minamimoto with a Taboo Noise sigil, basically mirroring his revival in the main game? Really?

And she needs Neku for some purpose, so is the implication that she shot him to use him as a pawn, mirroring his original death even more than it did already? Really?

In short, not only do I dislike Neku being killed again, I also dislike how it felt like a weird remix of ideas from the main game.

I’m glad I played the NEO: The World Ends With You demo before A New Day, because if A New Day was my only brush with new TWEWY content, I’d be very nervous.

NEO: The World Ends With You Demo

Fortunately, the same can’t be said for my time with the demo! The demo covers the first two days of NEO: The World Ends With You, and it’s fantastic.

Rindo and his friend Fret are going through what seems to be a normal day until they find themselves in the Reaper’s Game without much knowledge of what’s going on except that teams are competing for points and they need to fight Noise.

The characters introduced in the demo are likeable so far, but what really impressed me was how much NEO feels like The World Ends With You.

Scanning is back, although now you can move at the same time. You still use scanning to read people’s thoughts and start battles with Noise, and chaining encounters is back as well. I came across a Pig Noise, too!

Combat is pretty different now, since the game is 3D and uses ordinary controls, but – and this is kind of amazing to me – it still captures the feel of the original. Every character can equip one pin, and you use that pin’s button commands to switch to control that character in battle. This adapts the sense of controlling multiple characters at the same time to a 3D single-screen system, and you alternate back and forth to build your gauge for a powerful attack similar to how the light puck functioned in the original and the cross-combos work in Final Remix.

I am seriously impressed by how much the combat feels like TWEWY combat despite having such significant changes.

I almost regret playing it, because partway through, I had to remind myself that this was only a demo and I would have to stop. I’ll need to wait another month to play more NEO: The World Ends With You, and the demo was so good that I want to play more now.

Conclusion

That was a lot of TWEWY content to talk about, but what are you thoughts? How do you feel about The World Ends With You, its anime adaptation, Final Remix and A New Day, and the demo for NEO: The World Ends With You? Personally, I’m even more excited for NEO than I was before!

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