2008, The World Ends With You, Top Ten

My Top 10 Games of ’08 – #3

JRPG’s are always criticized for never trying anything new. They adhere to ye olde battle system, and vary only slightly between iterations. They feature neglectable, derivative characters, with some “save the world” plot that is supposed to teach you a valuable lesson at the end. Also, there’s lots of fan service. In the face of that apparent (i. e. not always true) stereotype, I am glad we have games like The World Ends With You on DS.

Square Enix’s (yes, that’s right, the people who have spawned most of these stereotypes) brings us something completely different from their Final Fantasies and their Dragon Quests (and their baggy pants, and their rap music…) this time around. TWEWY breaks so many JRPG traditions that to call it a breath of fresh air is an understatement. From the completely original battle system (controlling two characters; one using the touch screen on the bottom and the other using the D-Pad/buttons on the top), to the completely off-the-wall story (youhavesevendaystocompletethesemissonsoryouwilldieGO!), to the pin-and-clothes-based customization system, the game has a lot offer to those who are entrenched in the RPG’s of old (leveling system, lots of monsters and bosses to fight), and those who’ve never touched one.
There are very few things that TWEWY does that aren’t unique, and too much deviation can be bad. But somehow, Square Enix managed to make every new feature they were trying to create work well. It’s something completely from left field, and it manages to bring a lot of new ideas to the table without getting to ahead of itself (what I mean by that is, the game is a lot of fun to actually play, something that not many RPG’s can say), and in a field of clones and boring tales, TWEWY is truly a gem that needs to be played. By you.
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