My Games of 2021

Ugh. What year is it? 2021 is over, so now I can talk about the games I played throughout the year. I was originally going to rank the games that I came out in 2021 that I played, but I ended up playing a lot of uninteresting titles. If you want me to talk more about Mario Golf: Super Rush again I can try, but that was already a struggle previously. So, this year I am going to shake things up and talk about my top ten favorite games that I finished this year. There is a good mix of new and old titles in here and it makes for a more interesting write for me. To give you an idea of how slow I am with things, here are two honorable mention list with games I wanted to play and games I started but haven’t finished.

Games Released in 2021 That I Had Interest Playing, But I Never Bought

Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny
Pac-Man 99
Poison Control
Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139…
Returnal
Resident Evil: Village
Chivalry 2
Cris Tales
Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir
Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind
Legend of Mana (Remake)
Pokemon Unite
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles
Psychonauts 2
No More Heroes III
Sonic Colors: Ultimate
WarioWare: Get It Together!
Cruis’n Blast
Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Metroid Dread
Far Cry 6
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles
Voice of Cards: The Isle of Dragon Roars
Forza Horizon 5
Dungeon Encounters
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition (For the lols)
Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX
Super Robot Wars 30
Wildermyth
Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator

Games That Came Out In 2021 That I Played, But Didn’t Finish

Persona 5 Strikers
Bravely Default 2
New Pokemon Snap
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin
Scarlet Nexus
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition
Back 4 Blood
Shin Megami Tensei V
Yu Gi Oh! RUSH DUEL: Dawn of the Battle Royal!!


Top Games That I Finished This Year

10. Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City

“Hie thee to the ocean city… To the Yggdrasil Labyrinth. A journey to the blue depths… To conquer the shadows of night. Though you know not what this means, you go towards Armoroad. What awaits is time’s end; death’s demise. A tempestuous dream… To push away the unfathomable dark and bring light to Armoroad… A stormy adventure begins…”

Creating my list was hard, but I knew I wanted to include this game. Etrian Odyssey III was one of the hardest games I have on the DS. My gaming knowledge was new to dungeon crawlers and understanding party compensation.10 years later, I have become an adult with a better understanding of how things work. I went from not understanding how certain abilities could be helpful to finding ways to make my party unstoppable. The mix between dungeon crawling and finding treasure out in sea made the game enjoyable for many hours. The game left such a big impression on me that I went out and got the other games in the series to slowly play through the story canon games in the series. I will report my thoughts when I finish the series twenty years from now.

9. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

The trend this year was finishing games that I’ve put off for years. I was really excited to play through this game when it first came out, but I found myself playing chunks at a time since I had started grad school at the time. Motivation went south fast when the definitive versions came out and sour my mood when I learned that you couldn’t transfer your progress to the newer, shinier version. So instead of starting all over, I chipped away at the base game and finally finished it this year. 

Dragon Quest XI is a comfort game for JRPG players. It is simple and friendly for newcomers while also engaging for series veterans. The story and setting make this an adventure worth playing while never feeling stale. There is always something to see, something to do, and challenges around every corner. I still need to finish the post game and eventually play through the definitive edition one day, but that won’t be until a while from now. I did write a post about this game back in October.

8. The World Ends With You: Final Remix / NEO: The World Ends With You

Yeah I’m cheating with this one. I couldn’t decide on which game I liked more over the other since they both have their high and low points. Ultimately I decided that if you put both together, you get a great game. The World Ends With You took me places that I wasn’t ready to go. The themes of your world ending when you refuse to live in it struck a chord that I never really thought about. It opened a new viewpoint that I was unaware of and kept the optimistic flame in me going. It’s sequel doesn’t do the theme justice, but it did deliver an improved gameplay formula that irritated me in the formal. Both games had me playing them whenever I had the free time to do it, and that’s coming from someone who ignored the original game when it came out. I am sad that NEO didn’t do well enough to Square’s expectations, but here’s hoping that the series can continue with new characters, locations, and a stronger emphasis on its theme.

7. Castlevania Advance Collection

I’m still cheating! When I learned that the Gameboy Advance Castlevania games were being rereleased, I got excited. Symphony of the Night is one of my favorite games and the advance trilogy share the same formula. While most games in the collection were better than others, I enjoyed my time playing through all four games. If you would like a more of my thoughts on the games, I wrote a post about them last month.

6. SaGa: Scarlet Grace – Ambitions

This was a surprise to me when I was looking over my options. The more I thought about this game, the more I remembered my playthrough and the adventure I went on. SaGa: Scarlet Grace has the charm and formula of a SaGa game that is also friendly for newcomers. The almost endless possibility of how your journey could play out makes finding and making decisions fun since you have to figure it out yourself (almost literally since there are not many guides). My journey with Urpina was a daunting one, but rewarding in so many ways. The other three protagonist are still waiting for me to take them on, but I am in no rush to get through theirs (especially since I started playing other games in the series). I wrote about my experience with the game back in August, so you can get the full read there.

5. Xenoblade Chronicles

The award for the game that took the longest time for me to beat this year goes to Xenoblade Chronicles. In hindsight, I could have finished this game a long time ago, but similar to Etrian Odyssey, my dumb young brain didn’t understand how to play the game logically. Xenoblade mimics a MMO game style where understanding how abilities and status modifiers matter. Once I understood this, the game became much more enjoyable to play and finish. It was a bit bittersweet to finally cross this game off my list since I was really feeling it. My advice if you want to play the game is to get the definitive edition on Switch. It is a really good game and worth playing. And yes, I did write about it as well as part of Love Your Backlog month.

4. Dark Souls Remastered

This is one of my proudest gaming achievements. I had no intention of finishing this game anytime soon, but the more I played and got into it, I was determined to see it through. I’m glad I did since the reward was definitely worth it and I felt accomplished. The original Dark Souls may not be my personal favorite out of the series, but it is now the one I am most comfortable with. There are parts in this game that I dread doing again, but I’m not afraid of facing them anymore. It is somber that I finally get to cross this off my list, but with other games in the series to keep me busy for the next four to nine years, I think the experience will make me a better player.

3. It Takes Two

There is a reason why this game won Game of the Year. It is a well-developed game. I played this with Kat the entire way though to the point where we couldn’t stop playing it. Everything felt well designed from the locations to gameplay to how everything relied on how cooperative you and your partner had to be. The story still irks me in several places, but certain moments make it up for being heartbreaking or hilarious depending on the type of person you are. I wish the game had more to do after the campaign since Kat and I were eager for more. If Hazelight Studios can expand on this gameplay and create something more inline with this, then it would be an instant buy from me.

2. Monster Hunter Rise

A new year, a new Monster Hunter game to play through. For me personally, I enjoyed Rise way more than I did with World. Rise fixed a lot of my personal issues with scaling down the bloated environment and making them smaller and more interesting. I like exploring the maps in Rise since there are things to discover like artifacts from the previous era and remnants of epic battles. My favorite is the Frost Islands where you can explore a destroyed ship and follow the skeletal remains of the monster it was fighting throughout the entire map. It’s details like this that I wish existed in World to make my time getting lost more interesting.

Besides the map, the mobility and how fast the game plays now made for interesting hunts. The Wire Bugs are one of my new favorite additions to the series and offers a lot of elements in and out of battles. I felt “meh” at first with the Wyvern Riding mechanic at first, but once I figured out how take advantage with the controls, it became fun to use. Rampage quest are still a struggle for me. The idea is to have multiple people with you during them, but my lonely self had a hard time maintaining everything that was going on. They do present a nice change of pace and strategy, but it does feel like it was meant to be played with others.

Other than that, the new monsters introduced had their fun gimmicks and quirks. I thought the Magnamola would be a pushover since I had no real difficulty up to it, but it quickly put me in my place when it decided to fly all of a sudden. The two new elder dragons are no pushovers either since they utilize Rise’s gameplay and your understanding of them. They are neat fights and made me say a swear or five. Outside of all of that, I’m happy Rise brought back interesting and creative designs for weapons and armor. It was something I was missing and happy to have back.

I never did write a post on Rise for one reason or another, but there is a lot that I can talk about. I originally didn’t have this game high on my list, but after replaying it this month, I feel in love with it all over again. On the fence if I might double dip and get the PC version when it comes out. I may actually finish Sunbreak when it comes out. The offer still stands if anyone wants to play online.

1. Tales of Arise

Tales of Arise is not a perfect game. If I had to rank it with the rest of the series, I would put it as maybe my fourth or fifth personal favorite. The game has a lot of good qualities in it, but there are glaring issues that hold it back from being up there for me like Symphonia and Vesperia. So why is it my number one game this year? From beginning to end, I could not stop thinking about this game. I wanted to explore everything this game offered and complete each difficult challenge that was available. I tend to avoid doing ridicules challenges in Tales of games, but Arise kept me engaged throughout. I didn’t find the characters annoying outside of battle and their struggles kept me invested. Even though I felt the story wasn’t on par with other titles, it did through me off guard at times and only decided to get complicated at the last minute.

Even as I write this, I still find it hard to explain why this was my favorite game I played and finished this year. There is something to say here about acknowledging all the faults it has while still finding some enjoyment out of it. I may never write about this game because I can never find the true words that I want to say. The best I have is that it is good despite its flaws. Rather that is good or bad is left to the individual. All I know is that Arise was my favorite game that I finished and completed this year.


So that’s all I got. Sorry if it is not the follow-up from last year’s presentation, but there wasn’t a lot of excitement from my gaming bubble. Let me know what some of your favorite games were this year that you finished.

Backlog Tale – NEO: The World Ends With You

I am new to the whole TWENY world. I only played the first game a few months ago, and I was impressed with its story, unique vibe, and gameplay that I started to crave for more. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to wait like other poor souls for a follow-up. NEO: The World Ends With You is the sequel to 2008’s The World Ends With You. The first TWENY game was a different beast from most of Square Enix’s JRPGs. It’s unique style and gameplay made it a different experience that most reviewers seemed to enjoy back then. At the time, people wondered if a sequel or follow-up to the game would ever come out. They would soon join the Kingdom Hearts fans in the back of the classroom and wait patiently for the next thirteen years for a new mainline entry. As a newcomer to the series, I fell in love with the charm and story of TWENY that I wanted to play the sequel as soon as I finished the first. If you want to get an idea on my complete feelings about the first game, I wrote a post about it last month, so give that a read if you want to guess my thoughts about the sequel. With that out of the way, let’s see how NEO TWENTY compared to the original to me.

Synopsis

Hell looks like a late-2000s Japanese metropolis, now with more plaid. New to the Reaper’s madness are Rindo Kanade and his friend Tosai “Fret” Furesawa who just waltz their way into the UG version of Shibuya. Things get plot-ty when Rindo sees a vision of Fret getting 360 no scoped by a utility truck and alters the timeline to save him from meeting a flatten end. Greeted by a reaper named Shoko Sakurane, the boys learn that they have to survive 7 days in hell in order to escape. Along the way, they join forces with mathematician Sho Minaminoto, and weeb stalker (and best girl) Nagi Usui. Nagi learns that she can kill people in their mind with by diving into their LiveJournal, and Fret learns that he can help people remember where they left their car keys. Rindo learns that he can kill an alternate version of himself in the past to rewrite certain events to alter the future. Together with their powers, they seek to win the Reaper’s Game and get back to playing Final Fantasy GO (I wish I was making up that last part).

Since it hasn’t been that long since I played the original, I think this would be a fun time to compare my feelings for both games in a “Who Dun It Better” kinda way. Don’t worry about spoilers being mentioned anywhere for NEO: The World Ends With You since it is still fairly new and I don’t want to spoil anything. I will spoil things from the original game since its been thirteen years and you’ve had your chance by now.

Storytime

Let’s compare the stories. I praised TWENY for being able to tell a comprehensive story in a short time with few characters running the narrative. The storyline stayed focused and everything connected without throwing in surprise elements out of nowhere. Where NEO’s story started out strong for me with it’s biggest mystery upfront, it suffered towards the middle and end by not pacing quite right. It’s always a troubled feeling when the game introduces a new character in the final act only for that person to play a critical role during the climax. NEO tried to have a longer and engaging story than TWENY, but it ended up going on a little bit too long and rushing towards its conclusion. It is a shame because there were some good story moments in the game that kept me engaged and trying to solve the mystery on my own before the game could explain it to me. The twists throughout the game didn’t feel as strong as TWENY’s twists, so any grand revelations just felt like a “ah neat” moment.

A point for story goes to: TWENY

Characters

The casts of TWENY felt small and developed. By the end of the game, I was able to understand each character and all of their traits without needing to seek further information about them. The same can be said about NEO, minus the small casts. The casts in NEO feels almost double with the amount of players and reapers that you are introduced to. More so, you are given more details about the various NPCs in Shibuya thanks to the Reaper Social Network that acts as your sidequest tracker. The social network tracker not only gives you details about each character, but shows how some of them are related to one another and update as the story unfolds. I know I said TWENY had good characters and development, but NEO does as well and doesn’t falter when developing them as well. The main casts of Rindo, Fret, and Nagi all have their character development arcs that have a coherent beginning and end that travels throughout the entire narrative; just like Neku, Beat, and Joshua did in the original. The only main problem I have is Rindo. Throughout the game you learn that he has a hard time deciding things on his own and making quick decisions. I feel like this is a weak character trait compared to Neku’s character in TWENY. Neku had to learn how to open himself up to the people and world around him; hints the whole “the world ending with you” perspective. I don’t feel like Rindo’s world is crumbling around him just because he is a slow decision maker. I also don’t like the fact that the game knows that Rindo is somewhat boring and brings in more exciting characters throughout the game. But it is because of the better characters around him that I find NEO to have the better characters overall.

A point for characters goes to: NEO

Gameplay

I have played both versions of TWENY (DS and Switch). While both versions require interacting with the screen in some form, I greatly prefer the DS controls over the Switch. Seeing as the game was meant for a touch screen originally, this is no surprise. The only way the game could be better is if there were no motion gimmicks to begin with, which NEO provides. Each character is assigned a pin that represents a button on your controller. Pins are divided into pin types that fall under a different button input. This makes the gameplay so much better since I don’t have to worry about waving my arms just to pull off a certain input. This also leads to a better gameplay flow since characters can combo one another better than the sync mechanic from the original. Later on when you unlock the ability to set two characters to the same button input, the combos and damage that you can unleash can be quite satisfying. There isn’t much outside the gameplay of combat. You still go around and talk to people, buy clothes, and eat food for stat increases. I utilized the eating mechanic much more in NEO than the previous since there was a bit more of a challenge present despite having better controls. You can still freely adjust your level and difficulty settings whenever you like, but I only tone down the difficulty during certain side quest and the final boss since I was ready to see the end of it. If you haven’t guess it yet, I prefer the gameplay in NEO way more than in the original

A point for gameplay goes to: NEO

The Reaper’s Game

The original Reaper’s Game felt personal since you had to give up a personal thing to enter (besides your life). This lead to real stakes besides just avoiding death. There was also a deeper meaning to it since Neku’s whole arc was about trusting the people his life depended on. NEO’s reaper game felt less steaky since you were in teams playing for points to avoid erasure. The removal of a time limit also made the game feel like a giant inconvenience rather than a fight for your life. Having nothing to tie you to the game instead of just being forced to play didn’t make it feel as thrilling like in the original. If there was something more worth fighting for than not just dying at the end, then I feel like the game would be more exciting than just a survivor game show.

A point for the Reaper’s Game goes to: TWENY

Soundtrack

I still listen to TWENY’s soundtrack now and again. It’s just something that fits the atmosphere and plays well with the story and ascetic. NEO’s soundtrack is just as good with some real bangers and remixes from the original game. Some of the tracks feel a bit dated and out of place the mix of J-pop and heavy metal. When I asked for Kat’s opinion, she best described the soundtrack as “reliving her middle school rebellious phase.” With that, I have no problem with NEO’s soundtrack since it is still really good. However, since most of my favorites are remixes from the original soundtrack, I still prefer TWENY’s soundtrack over NEO’s. Shoutout to some of my favorite tracks like Ooparts -JP – NEO Mix, Someday – NEO Mix, World is Yours, and Your Ocean.

The point for soundtrack goes to: TWENY

Style and Visuals

TWENY has a certain style that makes it stand out and works with its presentation. NEO is the same way, but adds a third-dimension to the mix. Both games share the same art direction, but NEO is presented more of a graphic novel with its character cut-ins and expressive features. Both games have the weird visual of where the building look warped to make you feel like you are in a concrete jungle. Honestly, I couldn’t decide on which game had the better visuals, so I will consider this a tie.

A point for style and visuals goes to: Both

Side Quests and Minigames

TWENY has Tin Pin Slammer. You know my feelings about Tin Pin Sinner. NEO doesn’t have any minigames besides Scramble Slam, but that is part of the story progression. NEO does have side quests that the original didn’t have, but they are much to talk about besides opening up perks via the social network. Since NEO doesn’t have Tin Pin Skidoo in it, I think you know which one is better….

A point for side quests and minigames goes to: NEO

Performance

This isn’t really about comparing both games as much as the performance of NEO. I played NEO on my Switch the entire time and did not encounter any problems. I’ve seen some reports that the game will crash and some framerate issues for the Switch version, but honestly I didn’t encounter any problems that ruined my playtime. I played entirely in docked mode, but I have no idea if that matters to anything. Honestly, I feel comfortable to recommend playing the game on any system of your choice as long as you are having fun with it.

A point for performance goes to: Whatever your preference is.

Overall Enjoyment

TWENY made me fall in love with the series. I found the story, characters, and presentation to be strong and give me something that I haven’t played before. While the combat got frustrating to a point, I stuck it out just to see how this story would unfold. NEO fixed the gameplay issues that I had, but the story started out strong and then just got flat towards the end. I feel that if they kept a constant pace with the story instead of rushing it at the end, I would have put NEO higher than the original. Both games have their biggest strengths and flaws, but if I were to return to one of them and complete all of the hidden objectives, it would have to be NEO. I can ignore the story in NEO and just have fun playing the game and unlock all of the pins, clothes, music, and achievements. With TWENY, the story was the biggest draw for me outside the gameplay, and I would have a hard time collecting everything in TWENY just to unlock everything. And if I am going to return to a game, it has to be about me having fun while playing it. So while I feel that TWENY is more enjoying to experience, NEO is more fun to just play.

A point for overall enjoyment goes to: NEO

The Winner and Final Thoughts

By the counts, it seems like I enjoyed the sequel over the original. Both games have their strong points, but as a game, TWENY has a few gameplay flaws than NEO does. This doesn’t mean that I think NEO is the better game overall. It just has elements that make it a better game to play on repeat by default. I would honestly say that if you want to replay the original, do what I did and play the DS version for a better time. Overall, this is a great series that I have sunk into now. Now I can join the unfortunate crew that has to wait thirteen years for a new game to come out. Based on some dialogue at the end, they could possible do another game, but it would have to be with brand new characters and maybe a different setting to spice things up. For what its worth, NEO: The World Ends With You is a fun game to play if you are looking for an Action RPG with fun gameplay with a story that is inoffensive at the end.

During my playthrough of NEO: The World Ends With You, my stats were:

Finished on: 9/11/2021
1 Full Playthrough

Books Collected: 82/107
Music Collected: 1/51 (Didn’t feel like spending money on music)
Pins Collected: 161/333
Pins Mastered: 64/333
Threads Collected: 80/277
Food Dishes Ate: 53/95
Total Collection Completion: 43.6%

Noise Encountered: 77/92
Noisepedia Completion: 39.7% (Based on four different versions of each Noise)
Psychic Rank: Master Player
Graffiti (Achievements) Collected: 20/50 (39.2%)
Social Network Completion: 60.0%

Total Completion: 50%

And that was NEO: The World Ends With You. Give it a try if any of the things sounds interesting to you. Also let me know if you liked this comparison type of posts. It’s rare that I play games in a series back-to-back, but if it happens again I may or may not use this format again.

Backlog Tale – The World Ends With You: Final Remix

*DISCLAIMER! I WILL BE TALKING ABOUT SPOILERS FOR THE WORLD ENDS WITH YOU. THAT IS YOUR DISCLAIMER!*

I remember when I first heard of The World Ends With You. It was this mobile RPG that was ported to the Nintendo DS on April 22, 2008. Published by Square Enix, this weird title utilized a hybrid combat system that required the use of the touch screen and D-pad to get through its challenges. At the time, I was interested in the titles that Square was releasing, but this game never grabbed my attention. It didn’t look like an interesting RPG to me at the time, and I opted out from checking it out for some other game that was probably crappy.

Thirteen years later, I am kicking younger me for not giving this game a chance. I feel like younger Danames would have really enjoyed The World Ends With You at that time of his life. The themes of friendship, change, and acceptance would have made the final years of high school go by with a little more optimistic outlook. Nevertheless, what I experienced from this title left me with a positive experience with the game’s enjoyable story that is full of twists and turns, and short playtime that manages to not waste your time with anything. This is my experience with The World Ends With You.

Synopsis

Hell looks like a mid-2000s Japanese metropolis. Neku Sakabura wakes up in the middle of the Shibuya Crosswalk and amazed that he hasn’t been run over or trampled to death at this point. Like a true anime protagonist, Neku has lost his memories and has no idea what is going on and why people seem to be ignoring him. The only thing that he has going for him is a message and a cool clock tattoo on his hand. Young Neku must learn the rules of this altered Shibuya to survive at the end of seven days. Throughout his journey, he meets people who reluctantly enter his new life and do the young people thing of becoming friends at the end.

The Reaper’s Game

I am going to go ahead and get my biggest complaint out of the way. They turned this DS game into a Wii game for the remaster. In an attempt to keep the original gameplay and feel of the game, the game can only be played with one joycon and by pointing and clicking at the screen. This will be an immediate turn-off for some people. As you can expect, some of the motion actions that you are require to do to activate pins will sometimes not work. This would happen to me constantly with pins where I had to click and drag objects into enemies. Despite clicking the item and trying to drag it, the game would not register it and I would have one less move at my disposal. One saving grace is the option to push a button to realign your pointer to the center of the screen. If you are not position exactly center to your monitor, pushing the realign button will make wherever your joycon is pointing to the new center point. Learning how to abuse this a little bit helped me during some fights as losing my pointer happened constantly. This will not however help you for one of the most annoying minigame that I have ever played in a video game.

Let the hate flow Neku

Fuck Tin Pin Slammer. Fuck the rules, fuck the mechanics, fuck the anime protagonist who wants to be the best Tin Pin Slammer, and fuck the bonus day at the end of the game that revolves around this broken, garbage game. I hate this minigame with a passion and congratulate those with the patience to deal with it. Tin Pin Slammer is a minigame where you take the pins in your collection and use them to knock your opponent’s pins off the table. You can use any pin in your inventory since each come with their own stats for Tin Pin. There are pins however specifically designed for Tin Pin Slammer, so you want to get those if you want to be better at the game. I would argue that that is all pointless since Tin Pin Fuck has terrible controls. This is still a motion control game, so in order to slam your pins, you need to hold a button down and use your joycon to flick your pin into your opponents. The issue obviously is that the joycon can’t register what a simple flick is or you just tossing your pin across the room. Most of my matches ended with my pin going over the edge when I’m just trying to position it. What makes things worse is that you can’t see the entire board; little alone your opponent’s pin until it is close enough to yours. I haven’t gotten to the Tin Pin Slammer part in the DS version, but I imagine that it was easier to control than the unresponsive motion on the Switch. I hated Tin Pin Slammer.

Trust Your Partner

Okay so I had my beef with the motion controls. What kept me engaged with the game? If I were to tell you that this has one of the best stories that modern Square Enix has made, would you believe me? What kept me playing each day in this game was to solve answers that the game was throwing at me. I like to believe that I can see a twist in a story very earlier since some writers like to make the evidence obvious from the get go. I got most of my guesses correct, but I was surprise when the narrative took a new turn that I didn’t predict. It’s simple hooks like this that keep me invested in games and find ways to tolerate difficult controls if the game is short enough to keep me invested.

*SPOILER SECTION* SPOILER SECTION* SPOILER SECTION*

At the end of the game, you come to realize that Neku is not the unexpected hero that the game builds him up for. It turns out, Neku is meant to be the villain and bring about the destruction of Shibuya. Some of the actions that Neku does during his three week tour help lead the world to it’s destruction. Neku is an unwilling pawn in the schemes of the Conductor; who happens to be Joshua.


Early in the game, you are taught to always trust your partner. This is difficult for Neku who sees the value of friendship worthless and more of a hassle than a good thing. This makes him a perfect pawn for the Conductor (Joshua) to use in his own Reaper’s Game with the Composer of the game, Megumi Kitaniji. If Megumi can erase Joshua’s proxy in the allocated time, he can save Shibuya. If Megumi fails, both he and Shibuya will be erased. Joshua chooses Neku for his bleak perspectives of the world and believes that he is incapable of change. Things go to plan, until Neku has to replay the Reaper’s Game in order to save Shiki’s soul. On the seventh day with Shiki, Neku begins to open up the idea of letting people into his life even if they are a stranger. It’s when he has to fight for someone else’s life do we see him more concern for others than himself. Even when he has to team up with Beat in the final week, he finds a way to get along with him and earn each other’s trust. This accumulates at the end where Neku has to make a final choice and it is something Joshua was not expecting.

At the end, Neku has to make the choice of killing Joshua to save Shibuya, or be killed. As much as Neku wants to kill Joshua for everything that he put him through, he can’t find himself to pull the trigger. He instead decides to trust Joshua’s final decision on rather to erase Shibuya or not. Joshua has no hesitations of killing Neku right then and there, but is impressed with Neku’s personal growth over the previous days. Joshua declares himself the loser and revives everyone who has died and restores Shibuya. All of this is heavily implied since the final scenes are Joshua shooting Neku, Neku waking up in the real Shibuya, and all the characters live a happy life together. It is cryptic storytelling, but unlike other Square Enix games (Kingdom Hearts), it is easy to understand the events that transpired. You have all the understanding you need to know all of the character’s motivations and the story wrapped up nicely for a 15-20 hour game. The game offers some explanations in secret reports that you can get in the post game, but they serve as extra explanations in case you are still confused about the story for some reason.

This is what I loved about the game. The characters, plot, and buildup were perfect to me. Every character had a purpose to the story and there isn’t anyone that I hated (maybe except that fucking Tin Pin Slammer kid). I was left wanting more which is rare for a game to make me want. Sure I could play to get all the secret reports, but that would mean I’m playing for the gameplay and not the story that I became invested in. I want a side story where you play as Beat during the second week while he was a reaper. I want to explore Shibuya with Yashiro and Kariya and learn more of their lives before becoming reapers. Hell, I’ll take a math educational game with Minaminoto where his stupid math puns are in full scale. The World Ends With You isn’t one of my favorite games in the gameplay department, but it nails personality and character development for me that I was not expecting at all.

Tell me you wouldn’t play a math game with him

It’s So Wonderful

With everything that I loved and hated about The World Ends With You, there is one thing that was a constant plus, the soundtrack. Takeharu Ishimoto did a fantastic job of combining different genres to match the ascetic of Shibuya in the mid-2000s. There are mixes of solemn tracks with high energy hip-hop that matches the tone of each given situation. My favorite tracks from the game would have to be Hybrid, Someday, Satisfy, and Owari-Hajimari. The entire soundtrack can be found on most streaming services if you want to give it a listen.

At the moment, I am slowly playing through the DS version of the game and comparing the original to the Switch version. Immediately I can already tell you that I have mix feelings about the gameplay. The touch controls work perfectly in the DS version (shocker), but I have a problem keeping up with the different things happening on each screen. You control the characters on the top and bottom screen separately and it can get annoying sometimes. Luckily, you can switch your partner to auto-play and they will take care of themselves. You miss out on building your sync gauge quicker, but it takes some of the pressure off. That’s not to say that I’m breezing through the DS version. I have gotten more game overs just in the first chapter than I did in my entire playthrough on the Switch version. This is mostly because I am not used to your partner having a separate health gauge that I have to keep my eye on. The game looks like you share on health bar, but that is not the case. Once one character’s health reaches zero, then you immediately lose the battle and have to start from the last place you saved until you unlock the “retry battle” option later on. It made me realize that despite having issues with the motion controls, at least I was able to win most of my battles. Also if the final boss and the partner mechanics annoy you like they annoyed me, then change the difficulty level (which you can do at anytime) to easy and mop the floor with him. The final battle is not hard at all if you change the difficulty to easy.

In my playthrough of The World Ends With You: Final Remix, accomplished the following:

  • 1 full playthrough
  • ESPer Rank: Supernatural (D) – I mostly stuck to pins that didn’t give me a headache using
  • Noise Report: 65 (61.9%, B) – Some noise you can only encounter by adjusting the difficulty, which I never went above Normal
  • Item Collection: 134 types (24.6%, D) – I didn’t utilize food effects enough to make getting some clothes worth the effort.
  • ESPer Points: 201 (E) – No idea what ESPer Points are or how to you get them
  • Pin Mastery 28 types (8.6%, E) – Again, I didn’t want to bother with pins that gave me a headache trying to activate.
  • Level When Finished: 30
  • Total Game Time: Around 20 hours

I would highly recommend the story to anyone, but hesitate playing the game if you are not a fan of motion controls. If you do want to watch the story, you can either find it online or watch the anime adaptation of the game. It sticks to the story of the game and is the easiest way to enjoy it without breaking your controller or monitor. I wish I had the motivation to go back and collect everything, but that would involve playing Tin Pin Slammer and I do not have the patience for that.

Love Your Backlog Week 2020

This Valentines’s week, most people will be thinking about the love they share with significant others or another substitution to fill the void. While I tend to not over celebrate the holiday, I do like interesting topics that revolve around the theme of love. Enter Love Your Backlog Week! This fun observation of our backlogs was created by the lovely Kim from Later Levels. Thank you Kim for giving me more reasons to talk about my backlog!

I originally created my site with my backlog in mind. I wanted to create a project to help motivate me to finish games on my backlog. At the time of writing this, I have completed a grand total of 5 games since starting my blog. A small number indeed, but with how busy my schedule was last year, I’m actually really proud of myself. Where does that leave me in the grand scheme of things? Well….

It’s Over 9000!……minus 8518.

If I am counting just games in my personal backlog, I am currently sitting at 482. This is big for me because I could have sworn that number was bigger. I have decided to exclude games that my wife owns, which would add an additional 206 games. I am not technically responsible for those that she has bought, but she does have a lot that I do want to play (all of the Suikoden, Dark Cloud, Wild Arms 3). I don’t expect to be below 500 for very long, but I will enjoy it while I can! With all of that out the way, Kim also provided us some questions to ask associated with our backlogs.

A Game You Are Eager To Play, But Haven’t Started

This was a tough choice since I have a lot of great contenders. Ultimately I will have to go with Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wing and the Lost Ocean. The Gamecube is home to some of my favorite games and I am a sucker for card base games. Baten Kaitos was one of those games that eluded me into wanting to try. At the time I heard mixed reviews about the card element, and it strayed me away from it for a while. Now that I am older and have opinions of my own, I am eager to try to play this one day. Like fine wine, I am waiting for the right moment to crack this bad boy open and enjoy it for what it is.

A Game You Have Started Several Time But Haven’t Yet Finished

There is one game that comes to mind, but I am saving it for a different category. My answer for this questions will have to be Dark Souls: Remastered. I own this game on three different platforms (PC, PS4, and Switch) and I have yet to get beat this game. I am further in the PS4 version, but stuck in Anor Londo fighting Ornstein and Smough. It is only a matter of time until I beat them, but every time I get over one struggle, another pops up that makes me put the game down for a while. Or in the current case, go play Dark Souls II or III for the time being. I will beat it one day and praise the sun for the rest of my life.

The Most Recent Addition To Your Library

Lucky, I keep a track list of all my purchases! After telling myself that I was not going to buy any new games this month (lols) I bought The World Ends With You: Final Remix. I have a good reason though! My GameStop had it on clearance for $21 USD! How could I have passed that up? I’ll tell you how, I didn’t. Not even Cat could stop me because she could not argue that price. On top of that, I had an active $5 coupon, bringing my total to $16 USD! I never felt this giddy buying a game since the time I bought Seikero when it first came out for only $10 USD. I have the DS version of the game, but I think I will start over with the Switch version since I did not get far to begin with.

The Game Which Has Spent The Most Time On Your Backlog

That is very hard to tell if I want to go technical. The oldest game I could come up with is Final Fantasy VI: Advance. I picked this game up on a whim one day and did not realize how popular (or valuable) it was. This would have to be one of the oldest games that I own that I have not finished; but for a good reason. My cartridge is very special in that the slightest tap will erase all the data on it. I have gotten to the second act of the game multiple times, only to have my data erased one way or another. For that reason, this is one game that I have not been able to finish (yet).

The Person Responsible For Adding The Most Entries To Your Backlog

Who are they? What person would do such a thing to me? What motive do they have for adding this responsibility to me? Does such a person exist? Do I know who is responsible for this?

Shocker!

Okay I admit. I have no one to blame but myself on this one. This was never the case in the past however. Growing up we did not have a lot of money to buy video games all the time. The games that we did get I had to share with my other two brothers. Since we only had a small collection for a while, it was easy to pick up a game that was not finished and play the crap out of it. It was also easier since we had all the time in the world when were not in school or band. Even when I got my own job and could start buying my own games, it wasn’t frequent that I would leave a game unfinished. The two contributing factors that started me on this past happened in the same year. My original PlayStation 3 died on me and took all the data I had saved on it with it. This caused me to start over on most of my games at the time; and me being me I did not want to start over on some of them. The second factor was around the same time. My friend gave me his old gaming PC and he taught me how to build a PC from the ground up. After that, games on Steam were no longer an obstacle and I planned on one point to do my main gaming on it. That did not pan out as well, and now my Steam library continues to build as I continue to play Final Fantasy XIV. It also doesn’t help that I like to find old games that I did not have the chance to play in the past. I get a rush finding difficult to find games and immediately snatch them up to add to my collection. Now if I can get around to play said games then I could be dominating my backlog.

For those interested in browsing my collection, I keep an “organized” spreadsheet that is kept up to date frequently. For Steam users, you can view my library here. 2020 is shaping up to be the year I tackle most out of my backlog and I am looking forward to see how far I can go!

Thanks for reading,

DanamesX