The World Ends with You Articles RSS Feed | The World Ends with You RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network The World Ends With You 2 is Coming to Switch and PS4 Mon, 23 Nov 2020 14:52:56 -0500 Josh Broadwell

The World Ends With You 2 is happening, over a decade after the original released on Nintendo DS. It's officially called NEO: The World Ends With You and is set for launch in summer 2021 for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.

TWEWY 2 takes players back to Shibuya, the setting of the original. The Reaper's Game is back, turning Shibuya into a hellish nightmare and putting the world at risk. Fortunately, a team of stylish teenagers is on hand, ready to make things right again.

The World Ends With You 2 sees the signature Pin system return for combat, though other gameplay details are scarce at the moment.

So far, it all seems pretty similar to the original The World Ends With You, with a couple of exceptions. This time, it's all in glorious 3D.

The character portraits, dialogue windows, and music tracks are even snazzier too, if the trailer is any indication.

Square Enix plans on releasing The World Ends With You 2 in summer 2021 for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. The original The World Ends With You received a Final Remix version for Nintendo Switch with additional endgame content and a slightly convoluted control scheme. Hopefully, Square Enix has that worked out for TWEWY 2

The World Ends With You: Final Mix Review Tue, 06 Nov 2018 14:12:55 -0500 Joseph Ocasio

Released back in 2007, The World Ends With You quickly cultivated a cult fanbase thanks to its unique anime, urban-street-culture presentation and original use of the DS touchscreen.

Since then, TWEWY has been released on iOS and the characters have made an appearance in Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance.

I was one of the many people who missed out on the JRPG when it originally released, and I thought it was a good time to see if it still holds up now that it's on the Nintendo Switch. The World Ends With You: Final Mix edition touts itself as the definitive version of the beloved cult hit, complete with HD graphics and a new control scheme.

After playing it, I can say it's one of the most difficult to talk about games I've ever had to review. 

TWEWY puts you into the shoes of Neku, your typical angst-ridden, anti-socialite. While Neku starts off as a wet blanket, seeing him grow from hateful misanthrope to (somewhat of a) paragon is at the core of the story -- and it's mostly well done.

The cast of colorful side-characters helps liven things up and make endearing Neku's anti-social personality worth the trip. The writing can expositional and it runs into cliche story beat's you've seen in countless anime, but it's still a decently-told tale.


What TWEWY does do well is embrace a unique style and presentation.

The streets of Shibuya are oozing with urban culture and the citizens that inhabit the city give life to this virtual re-creation of Japan's version of Time Square.

Tetsuya Nomura, known for his work on Kingdom Hearts, not only produced TWEWY but was the art and character designer. His work is on full display and mixes well with the street-art style that TWEWY is known for. Colors are a bit more muted than in other games in the genre, but that only adds to the game's overall immersion.

The final mix version adds more detail to the backgrounds and models. Characters, in particular, look less like 16-bit sprites and more like hand-drawn models, similar to what you see in a manga or comic book.

The environments also look much crisper and less pixelated than past versions, giving a game with tons of personality even more. 

There's still no game that matches TWEWY's sense of urban fashion and, even on an HD TV, the game still looks great despite its age.

Adding to the game's presentation is the fantastic soundtrack. From hip-hop to bits of J-pop, the game's music is almost 100% vocal and never feels out-of-place. It's so good, you might just want to get it on iTunes (it'll be stuck in your head for a week. You're welcome).

The final mix contains a remastered version of the original soundtrack, with updated tracks and melodies, that are even more pleasing to listen to. But, if you prefer the original version, you can always opt to change it in the options menu, which is a nice touch for returning fans.

Combat in TWEWY  takes place in real time, and will make use of either one of the Switch's Joy-Cons when docked, or the touchscreen when in handheld mode.

Either control style you choose will have you swiping, moving Neku and his partner via pins you collect. These powers can range from simple melee slashes to various forms of kinesis. You'll set enemies aflame, zap them with lightning, or even throw objects on the field. You can only switch between three pins powers in combat, but you can change which ones you want while in the pause screen.

Combat starts off basic, but slowly ramps up. Mixing and matching pins to your playstyle is generally a good time thanks to the flashy feedback you get. It all makes for a unique combat system but one that's begging for either a traditional control scheme or one that makes use of a stylus.

In my experience, it's better to not use the Joy-Con at all. The docked control scheme is just awful, as the Joy-Con's Gyro-sensor just isn't that responsive to keep up with the hectic action.

There's no way to turn off motion controls, so you're stuck with them whenever you're playing on the TV. Constantly flailing your arm to emulate a stylus just doesn't work and makes the game nearly unplayable. It's a shame that for a system that has the moniker, "you can play anywhere", gaming on the TV is a pain.

Fortunately, you can play with the game's touchscreen -- and it works well. The game will occasionally misinterpret one touch for another, but that never becomes too much of a problem.

What can be problematic, though, is the disconnect between story and gameplay in the exploration sections. An early mission, for example, will have you looking at a statue and trying to figure out what's wrong with it. You'll know what you have to do with it, but the game won't let you interact with it unless you search for a thought bubble that tells you what you already know what to do.

Despite these nuisances, TWEWY is still a fun game to play -- even after all these years. There are very few games that contain the style and gameplay that has yet to be re-created and it's easy to see how it gain such a strong cult following.

However, it sits in this weird state where it's both the best and worst version of the game. It's a hard deal to accept, especially at the $50 price tag. The game looks better than ever and plays well, so as long as you keep out of docked mode.

If you only have a Nintendo Switch, it's worth picking up. Just beware of some tacky choices here and there.

Why People Are Freaking Out About The World Ends with You: Final Remix Mon, 22 Jan 2018 10:29:21 -0500 pithyalyse

A few days ago, a new Nintendo Direct announced that The World Ends with You: Final Remix, a revamp of a 10 year-old RPG, will launch for the Switch later this year. For many viewers, it was a short blip about a half-remembered game, drowned out by other more-hyped titles. But for a small portion of the internet, it was as if Valve had just given Half-Life 3 a release date.

Though only a remake, a TWEWY sequel has been teased so many times since its original release for the DS in 2008 (2007 in Japan) that many fans are overjoyed to have any sort of additional content. Final Remix will contain an expansion “that gets right to the heart of the story," as well as at least one new character that has only been hinted at in the title’s mobile ports.

The game follows Neku, an anti-social teenage boy who drowns out his surroundings with music after he loses his memories and is pulled into a twisted game to save his soul. He and the other players he meets exist in a limbo between the living and dead, invisible in all but certain parts of the city -- a fantasy version of the real-world Shibuya. As he faces off against gamemasters and enemy “noise” that haunts the living inhabitants’ thoughts, he discovers his newfound friends all paid a terrible price to enter the game, and vows to defeat the larger forces pulling the strings.

Critics lauded TWEWY’s aesthetic, which draws heavily from Japanese youth culture, as well as its intriguing plot and catchy soundtrack. Though opinions about its intricate battle system were divided, with some finding its difficulty only exacerbated by a steep learning curve, many agreed it was wholly unique and innovative. The game won a virtual laundry list of awards from IGN, from Best DS Game to Best New IP, and Nintendo Power later named it one of the best games of the 2000s.

What set it apart from other RPGs?

While Square Enix co-developed TWEWY, the game’s stylistic direction is largely attributed to Jupiter, the team behind Pokemon Pinball and Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective. Square Enix was reportedly impressed by the battle mechanics they developed for Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and tasked the same team with creating an IP utilizing the DS’ new dual-screen mechanics, even though the technology itself was still behind closed doors.

The team had one guiding principle while creating TWEWY: to turn the RPG paradigm on its head. They wanted to set their IP apart from Square Enix’s other juggernaut series like Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy. “We looked at the project from many angles,” said director Tatsuya Kando in an interview, “always basing our ideas on the premise of portraying traditional RPG elements in a modern light.”

Gone were random encounters and traditional methods of leveling up. Instead of fighting with traditional weapons, Neku attacks using abilities called Psychs, the types of which are determined by the pins in his arsenal These pins can be obtained from enemy noise, purchased in shops, or unlocked by putting the game in Mingle Mode (the mobile ports use Bluetooth) and passing other real-world players.

Combat takes places across both of the DS’ screens. The top screen houses Neku’s current partner, controlled via the D-pad and trigger buttons, while the player commands Neku through touch controls on the bottom screen. The mobile ports later overlaid these two interfaces, simplifying combat greatly. For the Switch release, players can choose between the original touch controls or using the Joy-Con controllers.

Instead of equipment, TWEWY’s armor takes the form of modern Japanese street fashion. And even in a fictional Shibuya, fashion is always changing. Different districts favor different styles, and staying on trend with the coolest designers leads to positive effects in battle, while wearing something that’s “so yesterday” can produce negative effects. Occasionally, repeatedly fighting in a particular brand of clothing in a certain area influences the opinion of the living until it becomes on trend.

Developers worried that tying the game so heavily to Shibuya would alienate foreign audiences, but decided the district’s singular aesthetic added to the game’s mix of fantasy and real-world elements. Several in-game stores correspond to real Shibuya locations, such as 104 (109) and Tow Records (Tower Records). The team also made several trips to the city for on-site research, and incorporated graffiti they saw into both the game’s backgrounds and pin designs.

The fan response

At this point, you might be wondering how so many people managed to miss out on TWEWY the first time. It received enough hype pre-release for the first shipment to completely sell out, leading to delays for several stores in the West. It didn’t help matters that even despite its commercial success, selling nearly 300,000 copies in its first year, Jupiter had never planned for a sequel.

“The game's concept has not seen any drastic changes since its inception, but it was the first time our team decided to develop for the Nintendo DS hardware, so figuring out how to bring out the best in this hardware was a constant process of trial and error,” explained Kando. They’d had their hands full trying to realize the ideas they did have, let alone a new game.

Still, requests poured in. Especially from Western audiences, where the game’s difficulty and tutorials had been further smoothed out upon release. As recently as 2016, the game’s producer and artist Tetsuya Nomura was asked about any potential plans for the IP.

TWEWY uses its fantasy setting to explore both metaphysical and everyday struggles, and forces its main cast to confront their shortcomings to progress. For example, players get a front row seat as Neku develops from an introverted cynic, hardly convinced that there’s a reality outside of his perception of it, into someone who would risk his life for his friends. It’s a story that resonated with many, as shown by the game’s fervent fanbase. For its 10th anniversary, fans gathered on Reddit to share their favorite moments and muse over TWEWY’s future.

Its intricate battle system continues to capture players’ imaginations as well. With over 300 pins to discover, fans continue to compare decks for certain situations and the advantages and disadvantages of certain combinations. Adding to this discourse are the pin’s diverse methods of leveling up, either through completing certain tasks, grinding experience, or, in some cases, turning off the game. The ability to unlock new pins by passing other real-world players, coupled with a mini-game that lets you fire off your pins at one another Beyblade-style, transforms the system into a card game of sorts. One that continues to inspire discussion 10 years later.

3 Great Square Enix JRPGs Already Available on Android Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Erroll Maas


There you have it, three great JRPGs currently available on Android mobile devices.


There are plenty of other JRPGs on Android, both by Square Enix and other developers. The three on this list are just some of the more notable games in the genre. While it's true these games are on other consoles, not all of those versions are as easily accessible as these Android ports.


If you'd like to learn about three great JRPG games coming to Android devices soon, then check out our list here.


The World Ends With You


This unique touch control JRPG was originally released in 2008 for the Nintendo DS, was developed by Jupiter and Square Enix, and published by the latter.


The World Ends With You -- or TWEWY as it's called by some fans-- is set in modern day Tokyo district of Shibuya, similar to Persona 5.


In The World Ends With You, you play as loner teenager, Neku Sakuraba, as he and other characters he meets unwillingly participate in a game which will determine if they live or die. 


The gameplay of The World Ends With You uses the touchscreen to move and attack, with different swiping movements allowing different types of attacks.


The World Ends with You also features a familiar art style by Final Fantasy artist and Kingdom Hearts director Tetsuya Nomura. Some characters from The World Ends With You even make an appearance in the game Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.


Buy it on Google Play.


Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King


In Dragon Quest VIII, you play as a young soldier who embarks on a journey to destroy an ancient powerful item which has fallen into the wrong hands, with an interesting cast of characters joining you on the way.


One characteristic which makes Dragon Quest 8 stand out among previous games in the series is that some enemy monsters can be recruited, assist you and your party in battle, and participate in tournaments at the monster arena --similar to the Dragon Quest Monsters spin-off series.


The Android port of Dragon Quest 8 features streamlined controls, which can easily be adjusted for either more simplistic or more complex gameplay.


Buy it on Google Play.


Final Fantasy IX


The story of Final Fantasy IX follows monkey-boy thief Zidane and his friends on their adventures throughout the world of Gaia while learning about themselves as well as a malevolent evil force along the way.


Final Fantasy IX features turn based combat and the Active Time Battle system introduced in Final Fantasy IV, in which there is a time gauge and enemies can attack or be attacked at any time.


The android port of the ninth game in the Final Fantasy franchise comes straight from the PC version of the game and as such, it includes the same additional features such as achievements, seven different game boosters including high speed and no encounter modes, and an autosave function.


Buy it on Google Play.


JRPG fans typically don't play games in the genre on their phones. JRPGs are typically the realm of the console world. Despite this, the Google Play Store already has quite a hefty number of JRPGs available for mobile gaming, with a large majority of them being exclusives or ports of older games published by Square Enix.


Square Enix has a history of making beloved JRPG series and games, such as Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Chrono Trigger, and has released these games on plenty of different consoles over the years. Now that smartphone technology is able to handle more JRPG's from Square Enix's library, it makes sense that they would be porting more games to mobile devices.


Here are three of the best Square Enix JRPGs currently available on Android mobile devices.

Crossplaying: A Form of Self-Expression and a Way to Have Fun Sun, 15 Jan 2017 23:47:18 -0500 Unclepulky

At the college I attend, the majority of students are members of the LGBT community, myself included. There are some students who completely know who they are, while others are simply curious, and are experimenting. Either way, it is a very open-minded place.

Sadly, the world as a whole is not as open-minded a place, with some countries such as Russia continuing to be especially homophobic. Even in countries such as the United States, which claims to be a land of equal opportunity, people continue to face prejudice and discrimination for their sexual identity, and/or, their sexual preferences.

With these open minded thoughts in place, let's talk about cosplaying!

Cosplaying is both a great form of self-expression, as well as just being a way to have a lot of fun. It's something a lot of my friends and I do, and we always have a great time. However, as seems to be the case with any form of entertainment, there is a dark side to cosplaying.

Often, people, usually trolls, will come up to cosplayers, and point out everything wrong with how they look, or just make other rude comments.

Frequent victims of this verbal abuse are crossplayers. Crossplayers, for those unaware, are people who cosplay as characters who are of a different gender than them.

Both in person and online, I see crossplayers taking mountains of abuse just for dressing up as a character they love, who just happens to have different reproductive organs and hormones.

Something quite sad is that I've met a number of people who, while usually accepting of the LGBT community, still look down upon crossplayers.

Now, I am a member of the LGBT community, but not everyone who crossplays is. There are an abundance of crossplayers out there who don't care about gender at all, and just want to have some fun.

Sadly, a double standard seems to have been set. In more cases than not, I find that while the average male attending a convention will have no problem with a woman dressing as a male character, if a man has the audacity to dress as a female character, they'll receive disdainful looks and harsh remarks in response to their hard work.

Good cosplay require a lot of time, effort, and money. And for most of us, it's just a form of recreation. While I'm usually the first person to call this statement out as outdated, this is definitely one case of, "if you don't have anything nice to say, you shouldn't say anything at all."

The world is filled with problems, and unfortunately, wide spread homophobia isn't going to stop for many, many years. In my eyes, the very least we can do is allow crossplayers to enjoy themselves at conventions. Either way you look at it, when you're cosplaying, you're not really yourself anyway.


For anyone curious, some of the cosplays I've done are of: Kazuma Kuabara from "Yu Yu Hakusho," Cassandra Cain from DC Comics, and I'm currently working on a cosplay of Kyoko Sakura from "Puella Magi Madoka Magica."

11 Tasty-Looking Game Foods That We're Dying to Try Mon, 26 Dec 2016 03:00:01 -0500 Unclepulky

Food is good.

It's a simple, Kindergarten level statement, yet at the same time, I don't think anyone would try to say it isn't true. And, since video games often star people as the main characters, it makes sense that they would like food too.

Here, I'll be taking a brief look at eleven of the tastiest looking foods in video games. I'll give the background and descriptions of each food item if available, and, since I have a culinary background, I'll give my two cents on how I think each food item is made.

Princess Peach's Cake (Super Mario Bros. Series)

Throughout the Super Mario games, we often hear that Mario's reward for rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser is cake.

Now, cake is tasty, but for Mario to still be saving her after, at the very least, ten separate kidnappings, Peach must be one of the greatest bakers to ever grace the Mushroom Kingdom.

One of the few times we actually get to see what I've dubbed, "Motivation Cake," is in Super Mario 64, the above image coming from its DS remake.

Now, from the outside, this looks like a basic vanilla cake with buttercream frosting. However, we must remember that this cake is baked specially for Mario, the Italian stereotype to end all Italian stereotypes.

Maybe, just maybe, that cake is filled with not cream, but spaghetti and meatballs.

Sea Salt Ice Cream Popsicle (Kingdom Hearts Series)

Moving on from the possibility of one of the strangest, most unrealistic cakes ever, we have something that you can actually make for yourself quite easily! 

Sea salt ice cream is a frequent motif in the Kingdom Hearts series, and, like many things in those games, it's used as a symbol of friendship. It's greatest use was in the criminally underrated Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, in which it's used to represent the bond between Roxas, Xion, and Axel.

Now, salty ice cream is pretty delicious, especially if you mix in some dulce de leche, but if you just want to replace the blue ice cream bars seen in the games, all that's really necessary is to make some vanilla ice cream with sea salt in the mixture, and color it blue.

Ramen (The World Ends with You)

Regular old ramen? I think not!

 In the JPRG, The World Ends with You, one of the quests in the game involves assisting a traditional ramen chef. As Neku, you must help him figure out a way to have his restaurant complete with a new, trendy ramen bar.

While many different types of ramen are shown off, and even more are available for purchase throughout the game, it's the old fashioned, plain ramen, which is described to be the tastiest.

A traditional ramen dish consists of wheat noodles in a meat or fish based broth, usually flavored by miso or soy, and includes toppings such as pork seaweed and onions. Looking at the soup shown in the game, a quail egg may add some tasty extra flavor.

Sandvich (Team Fortress 2)

The Sandvich is a secondary weapon for the Heavy in Team Fortress 2. When eaten, the Heavy regains up to 300 health, and, it can also be shared with a friend.

Unlike most of these foods, we know exactly what the Sandvich consists of. Between the slices of bread are lettuce, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, and a few slices of both ham and bologna. Lastly, topping the Sandvich is a green pimento-stuffed olive.

Who wouldn't like to eat a sandwich the tastes great AND heals your wounds?

Spaghetti (Undertale)

In the hit indie game Undertale, one of the main supporting characters, the skeleton Papyrus, loves to make spaghetti.

Now, while those who have tasted it have said that Papyrus's spaghetti tastes rather bad, there would be a serious upside to eating it.

Papyrus... only serves spaghetti to his friends.

And no matter how unpleasant the taste of his spaghetti may be, getting to be Papyrus's friend would be worth it, as he is possibly one of the nicest characters in any video game.

Pumpkin Soup (Skyward Sword)

Pumpkin flavored anything may now be synonyms with stereotypical, vapid teenage girls, but when you get down to it, pumpkin is still a very tasty ingredient.

In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, you can visit a pub known as The Lumpy Pumpkin. There, in addition to completing several quests, you can purchase Hot Pumpkin Soup.

While it'll lose some of its healing capabilities after it gets cold, when it's nice and hot, it's more effective than a red potion.

In addition to healing your wounds, we know that this soup tastes fantastic as it is the preferred food of the sky guardian Levias. And if it's good enough for a giant sky-whale, it's good enough for you.

The Cake (Portal)

Here, we have what appears to be a basic cake with chocolate frosting, topped with cherries and whipped cream.

While that would definitely be tasty, during the final battle with GLaDOS, the intelligence core recites the entire recipe. While there are plenty of items in the recipe that could make a cake extra delicious, such as coconut pecan frosting and fish shaped candies... there are also items included in the recipe like "Fish shaped volatile organic compound and sediment shaped sediment" and "Injector Needle Gun."

My advice? Leave out the ingredients that will cause you to die, and sit yourself down to enjoy a tasty chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting.

Heart Stopper Burger (Grand Theft Auto 4)


Unlike the cake from Portal, there's no way to remove the lethal elements from this dish without turning it into a normal hamburger.

Lets count for a moment. According to this advertisement, the Heart Stopper 6lb Burger includes at least nine meat patties, five slices of what I can only hope is something resembling cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomato, and onion.

If you choose to make this burger for yourself and eat it, you will die. There's no getting around that. However, it would be the tastiest death ever.

Cup of Lifenoodles (Earthbound)

 The greatest cup of noodles ever to be cooked!

While as a standard cup of noodles, its taste can't compare to the traditional ramen seen in The World Ends with You, these noodles have the ability to cure any ailment.

Broken arm? Eat a cup of Lifenoodles. Have a fever? Eat a cup of Lifenoodles. Knocked unconscious by a guy because you're enough of a nerd to write about tasty video game food? Have a friend pour some Lifenoodles down your throat.

So long as you can stomach overly-salty gas station noodles, there's nothing Lifenoodles can't help you overcome.

Honningbrew Mead (Skyrim)

Out of all the alcoholic beverages I've had in my life, none have tasted better than homemade mead.

From my experience making it with my older brother, I've learned that there are several crucial aspects of making a good mead. Most importantly perhaps is how long you let it ferment. Quality mead needs a lot of time to sit, with a minimum of a year.

Seeing as how we have no idea what Honningbrew Mead tastes like, I imagine it to taste like one of my favorite flavors of mead: Chamomile, Maple, or Honey.

Since there are readers of this site who aren't old enough to drink, and even more who aren't qualified to make their own alcohol, I'm not going to lay out the process.

However, for those of you who really do want to learn, look around on the internet. There are plenty of tutorials to quench your thirst for knowledge.

Dots (PacMan)

For nearly four decades, Pacman has been eating these white dots. And spin-off games aside, that's really all that he does.

So what do these tiny, little, white pixels taste like?!

Surely, they must be good enough to risk getting killed by ghosts for. However, we have no idea what flavors they contain. Are they salty or sweet? Bitter or sour?

Perhaps the answer... is yes.

Perhaps this is a food so delicious, so perfect, that it perfectly balances all possible flavors.

That is the way of the dot. That is the way of the Pacman.

What food from games do you want now? And what would you throw in the dust, and not even leave for the dogs? Let us know in the comments below.

Are RPGs Doomed to be Dumbed Down Forever? Fri, 18 Nov 2016 04:27:45 -0500 Unclepulky

Any long time player of RPGs can tell you that that genre has changed a lot over the last few decades. And, unfortunately, the things they have to say about the current state of the genre aren't positive.

The first commercially available tabletop RPG was the first edition of Dungeons and Dragons, released in 1974. A few years later, the concept of the RPG would move over to video game platforms such as the Atari 2600 and the NES. While these early games were rough and, for the most part, don't hold up too well, things quickly improved.

Many of the RPGs from the 90s are known as some of the best games of all time. The Final Fantasy series really hit its stride with numbers IV, VI, and VII, Earthbound showed that the genre could have non sci-fi or fantasy based games and still be a success, and the greatness of Chrono Trigger is denied by none.

What made these, and numerous other RPGs from this time, special weren't the refined gameplay or updated graphics compared to what had come before, but the stories. Stories which had never been told before, that had real, meaningful themes, and rich characters which players could relate to and care about.

Sadly though, its been a long time since stories like these were the norm for the genre.

To be fair, in the 2000s, things still weren't looking too bad. Final Fantasy has arguably its best iteration of all time in IX, players gained more control over the direction the stories took, the action and strategy RPG genres gained a lot of popularity, and of course, there was the release of my favorite game of all time, The World Ends with You.

However, it was during this time that the tropes and cliches of the genre became more noticeable and prevalent. There were even tropes which didn't come into existence until the 2000s that people got sick of within the decade. Ex. Morality systems.

                                      This game still rocks though.

And now in the present, AAA RPGs have, for the most part, become a joke. Gone are the days of stories with actual meaning, and in their place are games which feel they can get by solely on flash visuals. Even the gameplay seems more shallow now.

For the sake of comparison, lets look at Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar, released in 1985, and Final Fantasy XIII, originally released in Japan in 2009.

In Ultima IV, there is no antagonist for the player to go up against. Instead, you, as The Avatar, spend your time traveling the world, teaching interesting lessons about morality to others, and by extension, teaching the player.

In Final Fantasy XIII, your party consists of a ragtag team of idiots who are, for the most part, very difficult to sympathize with, and you travel around never really understanding what's going on because most of the game's lore is only available to learn about in data logs. And even if you do understand what's happening, there is no depth to the story beyond "We are friends and that makes us strong."

Sure, Ultima IV's graphics are horrendous compared to the beautiful presentation of Final Fantasy XIII, but it's clear which of these games is more interesting.

So, are we stuck in a world without great modern RPGs?

Not in the slightest!

Major developers may not be bringing their A game, but these past few years, the indie scene has been picking up the slack.

Evoland paid homage to all of the classic RPG tropes without simply recycling them, Gingiva threw logic away and worked as a surrealist masterpiece, and Undertale, with a story that can stand aside Final Fantasy VI's and Persona 4's as one of the greats, was one of the most popular games of 2015.

And with basic programs like RPG Maker available for an affordable price, we've got people whom, despite their limited resources, can bring their visions to life. Sure, there are tons of generic and downright bad RPG Maker games, but for everyone of those, there's a The Logomancer.

So no, we don't have anything to worry about. As long as there are independent developers with a story to tell, the gaming community will never stop getting great RPGs.


5 Modern JRPGs That Will Convert Any Western RPG Player Mon, 07 Nov 2016 06:00:01 -0500 Pablo Seara

Role-playing games are one of the most revered and prolific genres in the industry. Most of us play and like at least one RPG. There are also many types of subgenre and division, one of them being Western and Japanese games. Each of them has certain characteristics; Japanese games tend to focus on the story and characters, with turn-based combat at its core, while Western games are usually more open and active, offering big worlds to explore and very customizable characters.

However, there are some exceptions, as usual. Some JRPGs are influenced by Western culture, creating a fine mixture between traditional Japanese elements, and more innovative tropes that come from the West. In this list, you will find five modern Japanese role-playing games that will convince any Western RPG player to come to the dark side.


Bloodborne is one of the best PS4 exclusives and arguably the best JRPG on the console. This excellent action role-playing game delivers an amazing experience based on the elements that made Dark Souls a legendary franchise, but with a faster pace, making it more suitable for western RPG players.

The player takes control of a hunter, dedicated to exterminate the beasts that populate the Gothic city of Yharnam. Bloodborne take places in a Victorian era inspired world, with special attention to visual details, creating a haunting atmosphere. Its incredible enemy design, specially of the bosses, original gameplay and amazing soundtrack, make this title a must-play for any PS4 owner.

Xenoblade Chronicles X

Wii U is a console with many good games, and one of them is this grand JRPG with hundreds of hours of content, Xenoblade Chronicles X. It tells the futuristic story of mankind's survival in planet Mirra, after two warring alien races destroy the Earth. The open world and overall gameplay are an evolution of Xenoblade Chronicles, another master piece for a Nintendo system.

The title has many different systems implemented, adding an enormous depth to the game. However, western RPG players shouldn't be afraid: its expansive world can be enjoyed without getting really into these systems, as they act only as elements for more hardcore gamers. Cool features like the ability to use mechas to bring down gigantic monsters can -- and will -- attract many of us.

The World Ends With You

This stylish JRPG for Nintendo DS gets into this list for its story regarding alternate dimensions and time distortions, interesting characters and an attractive combat system, which takes inspiration from Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, but without including cards and with a faster pace.

The World Ends With You displays a great fictional version of Shibuya district in Tokyo, one of the crowdest places on Earth. Western RPG players might find it interesting for being a great representation of Japanese youth culture and a good way to learn more from this peculiar country. It is also available for Android and iOs devices, which makes it accessible to almost everyone.

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen, the enhanced version of Dragon's Dogma, is probably one of the most Western-influenced JRPGs out there. Developed by Capcom, it takes elements from Resident Evil and Devil May Cry to propose a mixture between exploration, hack n' slash and role-playing game set in a fictional Medieval universe.

However, it is undoubtedly a RPG, with classic characteristics like class selection, leveling system, strategy options, etc. Players can create a customizable avatar and explore an open world with the company of three more characters, controlled by an artificial intelligence. Dragon's Dogma also includes new, original mechanics, like a "pawn" system or the ability to grab or cling to enemies.

Pokémon Heart Gold & Soul Silver

Finally, I cannot end this list with non other than Pokémon, the franchise that introduced million of players to their first JRPG. Pokémon has sustainably delivered great games since the days of Red & Blue, becoming one of the most successful franchises of all time. Choosing just one title above the others might prove hard, but I firmly believe that Heart Gold & Soul Silver are the best Pokémon games out there, although I can recommend most of them.

As of why should Western RPG lovers play Pokémon, the answer is clear; it is the perfect gateway into JRPGs. They are lovable, addictive and simple, yet they have all the characteristics of a solid role-playing game. They can even become really deep for those who want to create the perfect team. If you have never tried any Pokémon game, you owe this to yourself.

What do you think about these games? Did you wish to see another one on the list? Leave your comment!

What are the Merits of Handheld Gaming Over Everything Else? Tue, 04 Oct 2016 12:00:02 -0400 Greyson Ditzler

For nearly as long as video games have existed, and especially in the the last 15 years, there has been a heated debate as to whether gaming is superior on consoles or PC.

Handheld gaming has definitely always had a huge audience, many members of whom intersect with the console and PC crowd, but it's never been quite as vocal or recognized in the media as the two other major platforms.

Allow me to ask a simple question to those of you who have ever owned a Game Boy, Nintendo DS, or Sony Handheld of some kind. How often have you been playing something on one of these systems in public and been asked by a stranger "Oh, is that Pokémon"?

This very situation has happened to me personally several times, and in most of those separate occasions, I was not playing Pokémon at all, but rather one of hundreds of other great games available on handheld systems. I feel that this example speaks to two separate points -- the first being that Pokémon is still very popular and probably never won't be, and secondly, that handheld gaming in general has a very simplified identity in the eyes of the general public.

I'm here to try and answer a question that's been on the lips of quite a few people over the last few years:

Is handheld gaming on the way out? Has the accessible trend of mobile gaming, alongside traditional console and PC gaming, finally begun to succeed in making handhelds obsolete?

The answer may seem obvious, it's a bit more complicated than you might think.

Let's go into this matter a bit deeper.

The objective differences between handheld and mobile gaming platforms

For the sake of this argument, we're going to examine the major appeals of handheld gaming compared to the other available types of gaming in the present market. Some have wondered for years if mobile gaming would be the handheld killer, seeing how people could now play cheap and addicting games on their phones with just the push of a button, and handhelds are much more complicated than that. But today, we're going to examine this issue from a critical perspective, and show how the two spheres of gaming are completely different from one-another, and how both have their own, completely separate kind of appeal.

It may go without saying, but some people have yet to think about how different mobile stuff like THIS is from most handheld games. 

When comparing handheld gaming to mobile gaming, the portability of them both is where the similarities end, as they have completely different design philosophies. Mobile gaming is a great place for simple games with simple design and objectives such as Angry Birds, Jetpack Joyride, and Fruit Ninja, where only a few fingers are needed. And their simplicity alongside their small size, makes them justifiably cheap; at only a dollar or two. While there are some more complex mobile games for hardcore gamers, the majority of popular mobile games are much more simplistic. 

Handhelds these days, on the other hand, are objectively more complicated and capable gaming machines than mobile devices. There are a number of reasons for this. One is that handhelds have more built-in controls than nearly any given mobile game, as the touch-screen mobile movement is a far cry from the days of most phones having external keyboards, and the New 3DS alone has around 10 buttons (not counting the two control sticks and the D-Pad).


The shoulder buttons aren't visible here, but the number of front buttons is still evident.

But the biggest difference between mobile and handheld devices is the simple fact that, in the beginning, mobile devices were not made for gaming. The average cell phone that could play Snake over 15 years ago was not specifically designed for that, and while iOS and Android have come to embrace gaming as a medium and put more time and effort into making their products into game-machines, that still isn't what they are primarily made for.

There are games on mobile that are more mechanically and graphically complex than Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja, but most of them exist in the same category as the simpler examples -- while handheld games, no matter how simple, are being made for the ground up for more powerful machines that have been specifically designed for playing games.

Mobile phones and tablets have definitely come a long way since this, but such devices still aren't exclusively-designed gaming platforms.

Handhelds experiment a bit more than most platforms

The handheld sector of the gaming industry has also been, for a long time, one of the best corners of the industry to try out new ideas. From the more recent additions to handhelds like touch screens and gyroscopic controls, to the initial thrill of being able to play games like Tetris and Super Mario Bros. on the go, handheld gaming has, for the most part, always been a sphere with major innovations constantly occurring.

While not used as often as it could be, the back-touch-pad of the PlayStation Vita is quite a unique advancement, used especially well in Tearaway.

Not to mention, with technology constantly improving, the average AAA console or PC release just keeps getting bigger and prettier and more expensive with every passing year. Despite that, handheld gaming has stayed at a place where, no matter how expensive even a high-end handheld production may be, it's still much cheaper than a typical console or PC game. 

This means that while technology is always improving, which is a fact for handheld gaming as well, handhelds can exist in the middle of the investment-scale, and still have very large, deep, and pretty games, while still being less complex and grand on a technical scale, and allow for certain in-between-type games to find a place to belong.

Games like those in the Ace Attorney series, which have always been very long and progressively getting more graphically detailed and mechanically deep since day one, feel right at home on handhelds like the DS and 3DS.

The most recent installment in the series shows this off particularly well. It all looks very nice, but it wouldn't feel right on a console.

While a few of the Ace Attorney games have been ported to consoles and mobile platforms -- and decently well at that -- their pick-up-and-play nature, as well as their relatively simple graphics and progression model, make them much more suited for handhelds. They are too small for consoles, and too grand for mobile.

A great example of a game made from the ground-up for handhelds is The World Ends With You. While not every exotic feature it had was necessarily implemented perfectly, The World Ends With You was made specifically for the Nintendo DS, and it simply could not be ported or remade close to it's original vision on any other system except for the 3DS.

The use of the Nintendo DS's dual screens, touch controls, face buttons, and microphone take full advantage of the system, but also make it impossible to replicate nearly anywhere else.

The World Ends With You received a iOS port called The World Ends With You: Solo Remix, which received very positive reviews, much like the original/ But the fact is that they weren't the exact same game anymore. The iOS version is one of the few handheld-to-mobile ports that has come out in recent years -- but even with it's positive qualities, it will never be as mechanically deep as the original in the same way, because it simply cannot be.

Great port, great game, but it isn't quite the same experience as the original, because it literally can't be.

What keeps handhelds popular?

In the end, what keeps handheld gaming popular, despite its technically superior competitors, is very simple. Some people just prefer to play games on handhelds. Some people may want a deep gaming experience, just at a cheaper cost, available at home or on the go, and without having to start-up and deal with a more complicated machine like a console or PC.

While the sales for handheld consoles in general have shrunk over the last generation of gaming, I don't think at this point it would be fair to say handhelds are dying or on the way out. As long as there are people who want a cheaper or simpler gaming experience without sacrificing depth, or just people who want to play games differently than with console, PC, or mobile, there will always be people who love and support handheld gaming.   

If nothing else, we can reasonably assume that Pokémon will still be around for a good while.


...Pokemon never changes.

5 Amazing Handheld RPGs Fri, 09 Sep 2016 10:00:01 -0400 Alex Anderson_0905

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance

The Kingdom Hearts series has never been scared to experiment. This sometimes makes less than amazing results. Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance felt less like an experiment than some of the other handheld games in the series, and it shows.


While the story of Kingdom Hearts is an acquired taste, the gameplay in this title is fun and engaging. The Drop function was an interesting way of changing between Sora and Riku, and exemplifies the idea that the two are tethered together. The fights are fast paced and don’t feel like they’re punishing players for no reason. Dream Drop Distance was a great addition to the series.


If you’ve never played any of these titles, give them a try. They are amazing games that will keep you engaged where ever you are. Did I miss your favorite handheld RPGs? Go ahead and comment why you love them.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

Borrowing from its predecessor, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is an excellent strategy RPG.  It utilizes the grid system from the previous game, while adding a new story and characters.


The game’s color palette is bright and vibrant, and the gameplay is pretty simple -- making it easy to understand for anyone with any RPG experience.

Half-Minute Hero

While the story is pretty standard—a hero sets out to save their land from evil—Half-Minute Hero on the PSP is anything but. This RPG sets players out to save their world… in half a minute. Yes, the game lasts more than 30 seconds, but the concept is still interesting.


In order to receive more time, Players must venture into towns and offer money to the Goddess. However, the price gets higher and higher each time. This adds another challenge to the game. There’s a perfect mixture of tension and fun, making this a memorable RPG.

The World Ends with You

The World Ends with You on the Nintendo DS is a treat. It introduces interesting gameplay mechanics and great characters that draw you into the world of the UG. Players play as Neku, a young boy who died and must play the Game for a chance to get back to life. He fights the Noise using special pins on the bottom screen, along with various partners, who players can control using the buttons and top screen.


With an enthralling story and complex characters, The World Ends with You is an amazing RPG.

Persona 3 Portable

The Persona series has always had great RPGs. Persona 3 Portable on the PSP is no exception. It not only captures the fun and magnificent story of the Persona 3 game, but also adds more with the female protagonist.


While the game is essentially the same, it gives you more interaction with the SEES team than in the original game. This allows for players to get to know these characters all over again, and in a new light. Persona 3 Portable is a fun and accessible handheld title for the ages.


Handheld games are amazing. They allow players to carry their favorite series along with them where ever they go -- the bus, the park, the bathroom. Anywhere.


This is especially great for RPGs. RPGs can be time consuming, so it might be hard to drop everything and play your favorite game. But with a handheld RPG, you can beat a stage and put your system in rest mode until you have more time. It's accessible and convenient. 


So now that we've established why handheld RPGs are great, let's talk about which ones you should be picking up and taking along with you.

The 5 Best Real-World RPGs You May Have Never Heard Of Fri, 01 Jul 2016 12:30:01 -0400 Noor Sami

RPGs are known for their fantastical elements, whether through medieval settings like Skyrim, science fiction worlds like that of Mass Effect, or the recent flood of post-apocalyptic environments like those in the Fallout series. Games set in our modern-day world, however, are much less common. Here are 5 of the best real-world RPGs to date.


The 1994 JRPG for the SNES initially performed poorly in the United States compared to its relative popularity and critical acclaim in Japan. Though the premise of the game involves a journey to stop the destructive forces of the alien force, Giygas, it was unique at the time for its primarily real world setting.

Protagonist Ness must travel the world, across resorts and deserts and boarding schools, to find a way to stop Giygas. Designed to be a satirical portrayal of Western culture, the game eventually gained something of a cult following and was reissued for the Wii U Virtual Console in 2013.

The Secret World

This horror folklore-themed MMORPG, developed by Funcom, was released in 2012 to fairly positive reviews. Throughout the game you must fight creatures like werewolves, vampires, and ghosts -- but the setting is ultimately contemporary.

A New England fishing village hides zombies, and Transylvania is home to vampires and werewolves. Despite critical appreciation for the game’s storytelling and atmosphere, it has remained largely under the radar and sold far fewer copies than Funcom expected.

The World Ends With You

Square Enix and Jupiter’s urban fantasy for the Nintendo DS is set in the Shibuya shopping district of Tokyo, and follows Neku Sakuraba and friends as they participate in a high stakes game.

The World Ends With You’s missions and gameplay borrow from Japanese youth culture to lend the game a unique and realistic feel. Critics largely praised the game for its graphics, setting, and soundtrack. However, the planned spinoff ended up cancelled because of a lack of interest.

Costume Quest

This 2010 Halloween RPG follows a child trick-or-treating when their sibling is kidnapped by a monster. For the rest of the game, you must wander the neighborhood in search of tools to help fight the monster, with an emphasis on the child’s costume as a means of battle.

It is available on multiple platforms: Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. A sequel was released in 2014, and both received positive reviews.

Parasite Eve

Square Enix’s first M-rated game was Parasite Eve, a horror survival RPG based on a novel available for the PlayStation. It tells the story of Aya Brea, a New York City police officer fighting to stop a monster bent on destroying humanity.

The game was praised for its graphics and gameplay and went on to spark two sequels and a manga adaptation. Special attention was paid to the soundtrack that accompanied the game, and it was well-received enough that two album releases came of it.

What are your favorite real-world RPGs? Let me know down in the comments!

5 Nintendo DS RPGs That Stand the Test of Time Thu, 30 Jun 2016 08:18:10 -0400 cactusjudy

Radiant Historia 

Radiant Historia might be the least-known title on this list, but that doesn't make it any less memorable. The game, produced by Atlus and featuring largely the same staff as Persona 3 and Etrian Odyssey, follows intelligence officer Stocke who works for the kingdom of Alistel in their war against the neighboring country to the West.


After becoming severely injured in an ambush, Stocke discovers he has the power to enter a land called Historia and travel into the past and along different timelines. Using this power, Stocke jumps between different branching timelines in a quest to save his world from desertification, gaining different skills and meeting unique characters in each branch. 


Radiant Historia requires that certain events in Stocke's history be revisited and their outcomes changed before he can continue in his story, like preventing character deaths, gaining new information, and snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. The game's cast is diverse and dynamic, with character interactions and relationships changing dramatically between the different timelines as Stocke's choices and his alliances shift. 


Radiant Historia's combat follows a "Grid System" where enemies are placed on a 3x3 grid. Enemies closer to the character's party will take more damage but also inflict more, making the placement of characters in each battle highly important. Enemies can be moved to different spaces on the grid by various special attacks, and party members can switch turns with one another and with enemies in order to pile on combos and do more damage, though switching also makes the character more vulnerable to future attacks. 


Ultimately, Radiant Historia is one the most fleshed-out games on this list, as its unique nonlinear, time travel gameplay and diverse cast of characters make for an original and enthralling experience. The game more than deserves its spot on this list as an RPG that is worth breaking out the old DS for.


Good RPGs are truly rewarding games, offering fun and challenging gameplay alongside unique, deep plots with charming characters. The 5 games on this list represent the best of the genre, elevating the Nintendo DS to one of the best gaming systems ever created. 


What do you think of the RPGs on this list? Are there any great DS titles that I missed that still hold up to current titles? Let us know in the comments below! 

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Darkness and Explorers of Sky

A children's game and a Pokemon spin-off might seem an odd choice for this list. Nevertheless, years after its initial Western release in 2008, Explorers of Time still stands as not only one of my favorite DS RPGs, but one of my favorite DS games period.


The gameplay is pretty standard for a dungeon-crawler, with the player controlling a team of Pokemon as they traverse dangerous dungeons catching Pokemon criminals and helping innocents in need. Battling also follows standard rules of turn-based combat, with each team member selecting an attack to perform on an enemy (the attacks replicating those found in mainline Pokemon games), choosing to defend, or use an item.


What really sets Explorers of Time and Darkness, and its expanded-story companion Explorers of Sky, above the rest though, is its excellent plot and endearing cast of characters.


The games follow a Pokemon (one of 16 species, decided upon by a personality test at the beginning of the game) who has lost all of its memories, remembering only that it used to be a human. The main character and their partner (one of 13 Pokemon species, chosen by the player at the beginning) join the Wigglytuff Guild, a group dedicated to exploring dungeons and protecting vulnerable Pokemon and lead by a quirky Wigglytuff and his overworked assistant Chatot. The characters soon find themselves chasing down a rogue thief Grovyle, who is stealing the world's Time Gears. Yet, Grovyle and his goals aren't all what they seem to be, and the plot proves darker and more complex the more the story goes along.


Mystery Dungeon may have unfortunately repetitive gameplay, but its gripping plot and lovable characters are sure to keep players gripped to their dual screens. And if you haven't shed a tear or two by the end of the game, then you're probably heartless. I highly recommend this game for any and all Pokemon fans, as well as anyone looking for an RPG with a heartwarming, emotional story. (And it's a fun spinoff game to play while you wait for Sun and Moon.)

Chrono Trigger

Originally released for the SNES in 1995, 2008's DS port made this heavily-acclaimed game accessible for a new generation of gamers. Chrono Trigger is considered one of the best video games of all timeand as such it more than deserves a spot on this list despite the DS versions port status. 


Chrono Trigger follows a cast of six party members from various points in time as they travel through history in a quest to save their world from future destruction. Gameplay consists of turn-based combat wherein the space between each character's turn is decided by a timer based on their speed stat. Players can use regular physical attacks or special and magical attacks called "Techs" that are more powerful and can be used in conjunction with other characters' Techs, but deplete the character's MP (magic points). 


Chrono Trigger's seemingly simplistic plot and gameplay belie a highly memorable story full of lovable characters, side-splitting humor, and important character choices that lead to one of 13 different endings. Given its entertainment value and comparatively easy gameplay, Chrono Trigger is a great choice for newer RPG fans, or those who simply want to focus on the narrative experience instead of wasting hours in grinding levels. 

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

Almost any of the DS Dragon Quest titles could have made this list, but Sentinels of the Starry Skies stands out as the best-received and first to reach international acclaim. The game sold more than 4 million copies in Japan and 1 million internationally in its first year of release, received a perfect score in Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu (only the 10th game to ever do so), and revolutionized the use of passerby connections in gaming, leading to advances in this function on the 3DS.


In fact, Dragon Quest IX is considered one of the catalysts for social interaction in gaming. Thousands of fans set up real-life meet-up locations, and eventually opened up a new destination in Akihabara (Tokyo's electronic district and anime mecca) in order to exchange special treasure maps.  


Sentinels of the Starry Sky isn't just included on this list for its revolutionary multiplayer capabilities, though. The game features a 50+ hour story, challenging gameplay, character customization, and intriguing plot and characters that together make for a truly enjoyable experience.


The story follows a young Celestrian (angel) who falls from the heavenly Observatory down to the Protectorate below, the land of mortals. The main character must help out human beings in order to gain benevolence and earn their way back to the Observatory. The plot grows more complicated as it goes along, and eventually leads to the main character and their party of 3 human beings (fully customizable) on a mission to save both the mortal world and the heavens. 


Gameplay is similar to other Dragon Quest titles, with the main difference being the significant increase in difficulty. Players engage in turned-based combat in order to defeat enemy monsters, stacking up damage by performing consecutive attacks of the same type. Different character classes (thief, priest, etc.) use different skills and attacks, and each character's class can be changed or upgraded when meeting certain conditions. 


In all, Dragon Quest IX is an excellent RPG that effectively utilizes challenging combat, an engaging plot, and a quirky cast of characters in order to deliver a top-notch gaming experience that I would highly recommend to any RPG fan looking for a bit of a challenge. 

The World Ends With You

Released in 2008 by the same team behind Kingdom Hearts, Square Enix's The World Ends With You has become a cult classic, praised universally for its challenging and unique gameplay and intriguing story arc.


The game follows an antisocial young man named Neku Sakuraba who finds himself in an alternate version of Tokyo's Shibuya district called the Underground (UG). He is entered into the Reaper's Game, wherein chosen deceased individuals can sacrifice their most treasured possession in order to be entered. The prize is either resurrection or transcendence to a higher form of existence.


Each game lasts a week, and the winner is the one who best completes the tasks set out by the game's Composer and demonstrates the worth of humanity. While completing the tasks, contestants must team up with other players in order to defeat creatures called "Noise" that exist simultaneously in two separate "zones." The World Ends With You follows Neku for three consecutive Reaper's Games as he connects with new individuals and tries to uncover his memories and the circumstances of his death.


Confused? Don't feel too bad; it's a complex game, with an even more confusing (and challenging) battle system. Called the "Stride Cross Battle System," combat utilizes the DS' dual screen capabilities in order to conduct two battles at once, one with Neku and the other with his partner.


The two players are synchronized in battle, with the effectiveness of each player's attacks dependent on whether the player possesses the "light puck" that passes back and forth between Neku and his partner. The character with the "light puck" will be able to perform more powerful attacks, and the speed at which the puck travels between the two characters can be affected by the team's "sync ratio" and equipped clothing. Equipped pins also affect what moves can be used, and whether the character can self-heal. 


It's a weird system to be sure, but also one that can be seriously fun and exciting. There's a reason why The World Ends With You was named IGN's DS Game of 2008, and has a critical score of 88 on Metacritic. If you're at all intrigued by the odd plot or complicated gameplay, be sure to check it out! 


RPGs have long been a vital part of any system's library, drawing in classical game fans, Japanophiles, fantasy nerds, and children alike. Every gaming platform has had its share of great RPGs, some of which stay popular far beyond the platform's original lifespan.


This rings especially true for the Nintendo DS, whose fun, engrossing RPGs continue to ring in sales and bring in new fans. If you have any interest in RPGs, and are looking to dust off your old DS (or play some old DS games on your 3DS), then look no further than this list of 5 DS RPGs that continue to engross gamers to this day.

Top-tier video game soundtracks you might have missed Sat, 08 Aug 2015 10:35:29 -0400 Dalton White I

Video game music can be one of the most gorgeous and hype-inducing elements of the whole package, and it definitely has a hand in whether a game is a hit or a miss. Every so often, there are games that have unique and catchy music behind a quality story. So now is the time to possibly expand your music library with some top tier video game soundtracks.

Don't worry - I'm not going to list the obvious ones like Skyrim and Halo and Final Fantasy. You already know they're great. These soundtracks are a little more obscure, but they deserve just as much love.

Video Game music pic

Ori and the Blind Forest

Composer: Gareth Coker

Ori and the Blind Forest is a platform adventure game with a griping story full of heartbreak, sacrifice, and touching moments. Its soundtrack is mostly instrumental, with some chilling acoustics thrown in there occasionally. Often the music reflects the beautiful and happy vibe of the game and helps bring life to the Forest of Nibel. My favorite track, however, is more of a battle theme that is both beautiful and psyches you up. If you like music that is a real experience to listen to, then this is a must buy!

Shadow of the Colossus

Composer: Ko Otani

Speaking of sacrifice, heartbreak, and stirring visuals and music, naturally Shadow of the Colossus has to come up in conversation. The music in this critically acclaimed game matches its gorgeous visual style perfectly. The score matches the intense moments when Wander is clashing with Colossi and also captures the melancholy sadness of the mysterious “Forbidden Land”. It is rather difficult to find MP3 files from this game, but the search is very much worth the effort.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Composer: Jamie Christopherson

Let's move from gorgeous overtures to hardcore rock. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is very much the black sheep among its fellow Metal Gear siblings. Instead of stealthily taking down foes, Raiden is slicing and dicing multiple giant, and often very ludicrous, robots and cyborgs. Despite being a strong departure from the MG series, its soundtrack matches its over-the-top playstyle with intense rock ballads. These songs quickly pump you up and get you psyched to take down giant robots - or anything else that gets in your way. They also make really good songs to work out to.

The World Ends with You

Composer: Takeharu Ishimoto

Another brilliant game that hasn’t gotten too much acclaim is Square Enix’s The World Ends with You. This RPG combines the urban environment of Shibuya with the typical fantasy themes of an RPG. The soundtrack features all kinds of different style: rap, hip-hop, and even a bit of J-Pop. The story itself is very complex and surprisingly dark, and yet it's meaningful with a small cast of very colorful characters. Also, this soundtrack has a good number of different tracks to listen to, giving you both quality and quantity.

Hopefully I have turned you on to a couple of amazing video game soundtracks that you might have missed.  Any recommendations? Did I miss a personal favorite? Leave a comment! And remember: for all your gaming articles, stay tuned to

Theatrhythm DLC Adds Music from The World Ends with You, Chrono Trigger, and More Thu, 22 Jan 2015 18:22:39 -0500 WesleyG

The latest Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call DLC released today, introducing more music from Chrono Trigger and Romancing SaGa 3. It also marks the début of The World Ends with You, one of Square Enix's lesser known RPGs released for the Nintendo DS. Normally I don't take a second look at DLC for rhythm games, let alone write about them, but have you seen this track list?

  • Battle Music Sequence (BMS)
  • “Liberi Fatali” (FINAL FANTASY VIII)
  • “Final Confrontation” (Romancing SaGa® 3)
  • “World Revolution” (CHRONO TRIGGER)
  • Field Music Sequence (FMS)
  • “Wind Scene” (CHRONO TRIGGER)

In all my experience playing role-playing games, Chrono Trigger and The World Ends with You are easily in my top five RPGs of all time. A big part of that is their amazing soundtracks.

Each track is available individually for $0.99. Every song is worth the price, but "Wind Scene", "Twister", and Final Fantasy VIII's title track "Liberi Fatali" are must-haves for anyone looking to build their Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call library.