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20 Jan 2023

REVIEW: NEO: The World Ends with You on PC Steam

Review by Jon Donnis
From Square Enix comes the PC port of console game NEO: The World Ends with You. It seems rare to have a console game ported to PC these days, usually PC gets the first release, anyway here we are.

Since this is a port, I wanted to quickly point out that there aren't that many graphics options on the PC release, standard stuff, the game runs well even on a mid-powered PC, so power is not something you will have to worry too much about. And if you have the PS4 version, then there is no real difference to the PC version, although the PC version is graphically superior as you would expect.

NEO: The World Ends with You is the follow up to the beloved action RPG The World Ends with You, you play as a high schooler named Rindo, one day you are on the streets of Tokyo, doing your thing with your friend Fret, when out of nowhere you are pulled into a weird game, (The Reapers Game.) whereby your very survival depends on how you play. I will let the official synopsis better explain it.

"It was just another seemingly ordinary day in Shibuya, but not for Rindo. He could tell something about the city felt different.
When a psychic battle breaks out on the Scramble Crossing, Rindo thought he'd managed to escape it. Until a girl calling herself a Reaper shows up in front of him. "Welcome to the Reapers' Game, kid."
Surely nothing too terrible could happen in a game...
With this thought in mind, Rindo casually joins the game with his friend, Fret. But as they start playing the game, the two start to feel like something isn't quite
right. There's something off about this "Shibuya" they're in!
As the pair grapple with their doubts, they're suddenly confronted with the rule of the Game: win, or be erased.
In this second Shibuya called Shibuya's Undergound (or "UG") they must compete with the other Players to take the top spot and survive.
Will Rindo and Fret be able to return to the original Shibuya...?"

As you progress you will meet up with and team up with a group of unique people, together you will explore the city and solve the mysteries of the game.

The plot of the game here is very important, and there is a lot of dialog to watch/read through, plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested. There are a lot of references to the previous game, but if you never played that, then don't worry as everything is explained well.

Most of the fun comes from combat, each of your group's members can use a psychic ability, by equipping a pin. For example, Rindo might have a pin equipped that allows him to slash using a spectral sword. Other pins allow different attacks, for example to fire blasts from far away. You control all of you group simultaneously, and by pressing the corresponding button on the controller, you will use those players abilities. But be careful your abilities have limits and when they reach that limit, they will need time to recharge, so button bashing will only get you so far.

While you fight you have something called a Groove, which you will see as a percentage at the top of the playing area. Reach 100% and above and you can start a Mashup, you can increase your groups attack power, and even get launched into the air and attack from above. To be brutally honest I found this all a little confusing at first, but slowly you do get the hang of it.

You also get to level up your pins, which makes them more powerful, get new ones with new abilities and so on. Although this sounds a bit confusing when written down, in practice it is much simpler.

Outside of the battles, you will also get to explore Shibuya, you can scan people by pressing a button, and read their minds. You can also find monsters this way, known as "Noise", beating these is a great way to unlock new pins.

Throw in side quests alongside the main story, and you get something called Friend Points (FP) you used these to unlock bonuses attached to each friend you add. So, if you "Friend" with the owner of a restaurant, you can unlock new items for him to sell in his shop. This is also a great way to boost your stats. Check out clothes shops and buy yourself clothes and accessories and for your group too.

The graphics have a totally unique look, and the soundtrack will keep you bobbing your head.

The Good
Very interesting gameplay, very different to any action RPG I have played before, the graphical style, the music, everything just feels different, and finding something different in the gaming world is a tough thing these days.

Although the general concept of the game is a bit complicated at first, you will get into it soon enough.

The Bad
The camera angles are fixed, so when running around the city, I kind of just wanted to move the camera and I couldn't. Also there is a lot of dialog and the story is important, so sometimes when you just want to get going and explore, you might get frustrated at having to wait.

An interesting and pretty unique game, unlike anything I have played before. It is "very Japanese" in its style.
For fans of the previous game, this is a no brainer. For people new to the franchise, it might seem a bit weird, but stick with it and there is a fun game to be had.

I score NEO: The World Ends with You on PC Steam a fair 8/10

Out Now on Steam

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