The popular IP from Square ENix returns to the spotlight later about 15 years with NEO: The World Ends with You, new title coming this July 27, 2021 for Playstation 4, Xbox one, Nintendo Switch and PC, and here is ours preview on demo recently released by developers. Before we begin, however, we must make an important one Premise, given that we are talking about the sequel to a product conceived many years ago belonging to a genre to say the least specific, so in some ways we could say that the brand is of strong appeal mainly for a specific user segment limited to fans of the RPGs similar Japanese souls. Despite this, some features could still make the joy of both novices and historical fans of the title released on the Nintendo DS back in 2007. We are talking about a product from the narrative incipit which still remains quite interesting today, although perhaps partially inflated by other stocks.
A day of ordinary strangeness
The story of NEO: The World Ends with You is the sequel to the events of the homonymous game 15 years ago, and updates the pop context of a Japan rich in color, movement is high tech technologies. The events therefore go to frame new protagonists and partly change many of the previous narrative features of the predecessor, so as not to leave the newly arrived users too far behind. The story then kicks off with the young Rindo in the company of his lifelong friend Fret who are on a beautiful sunny day in Shibuya and after a delicious meal they suddenly come across a enigmatic and catastrophic event.
In fact, the two boys are almost unconsciously sucked into an alternate reality, a sort of kingdom of the dead known as Reaper game. In this new plane of existence the two do not immediately seem to understand what is happening but gradually discover that they are part of a perverse game, where fighting against supernatural entities is required to get out alive. Unfortunately, due to the limited length of the demo, we weren’t able to go further in the history of NEO: The World Ends with You, and therefore what we have been able to observe in this preview does not go too far, but certainly the incipit presented gives us hope for the success of an intriguing narrative plot.
Obviously, together with the hopes for the success of the title, we cannot even ignore some doubts that peeped out during the test session. In fact, we are talking about a context that is almost from anime shonen, despite some more serious issues and, consequently, the game seemed to us perhaps a little too loaded with stereotypes which the world of Japanese comics for kids are sometimes stuffed with. Figures such as the intelligent but introverted protagonist, the braggart friend, the mysterious boy, the nerdy girl and the super villain with a goatee are part of many already seen plots. In short, we are talking about that type of narrative even if, as very often happens with works from the Land of the Rising Sun, even works with recycled masks such as those represented here have repeatedly managed to reach impressive expressive peaks. We just have to wait for the full title also to clarify this specific point.
Street battles with versatile powers
The gameplay of the Square Enix game is that of a JRPG in real time which partly rejuvenates the context of turn-based role-playing games but which does not totally renounce complexity typical clashes of the genre. In fact, during the trial of the demo for this preview of NEO: The World Ends with You we could notice a extremely intuitive combat system which allows the group of protagonists to face monstrous creatures in real time with few key combinations. As already mentioned, the system may therefore initially seem extremely trivial and simplistic since it will be enough to repeatedly press some key combinations, not very precise, to inflict the greatest damage, alternating them to obtain even more success.
The element that, however, goes to counterbalance and significantly stratify the combat system is certainly the presence of power pins. These powerful accessories – which were also present in the 2007 game – allow you to vary considerably the battle style of each member of the group to adapt it to the tastes of the player and the difficulty of the clashes. Simply put, it is possible to build build specific battlefields which change both the elements of the attack and the movement itself of the moves, transforming for example a boosted calcium in remote launch of a sphere of energy. Furthermore, the boss fights are also interesting, with some truly colossal and well-characterized enemies, even if we must admit that the models of the secondary enemies often tend to repeat themselves during the clashes.
In short, there seems to be lots of space to give sufficient depth to the playful sector of the title. The component that leaves us relatively perplexed, however, are the exploration phases and some enigma to be solved during the adventure that at times seemed excessively guided. But we understand that these limitations are probably gameplay changes by the developers, to adapt the product to a very preponderant narrative function.
NEO: The World Ends with You and its anime graphics
Excellent the technical component, even if we must premise that obviously we are talking about a game halfway between anime and manga, and therefore interested users should always take into account the graphic style used. That said, we can reiterate a good technical quality for NEO: The World Ends with You at least in this preview phase for PlayStation 4. The frame-rate during the clashes he always remained stable and the textures were generally defined and pleasant to look at. Basically, NEO: The World Ends with You has shown itself in good repair waiting for the upcoming release, although they still remain some doubts on certain components of the product; however, there are good hopes why the job of the guys at Square Enix manages to show itself as a noteworthy work for both historical fans and newcomers.