World End Syndrome
PS4 version tested
Review code provided
A quiet seaside town is haunted by an old legend, and a high school club finds itself in the centre of it. World End Syndrome is a collaborative mystery visual novel from Arc System Works and TOYBOX.
The story follows a 17-year-old high school student that moves to coastal Mihate Town. Plagued with the traumatic experience of his sister’s death, the main character comes across as moody and disconnected that’s just looking for a new start. Unsuspecting to him, Mihate Town harbours the Legend of the Yomibito that states that every 100 years, the dead rise up and cause havoc within the town. Coincidentally, it is the 100th anniversary of the last known incident.
The game unravels slowly. Things feel eerie and foreign at first, and as a new student in town you slowly find your place and make friends. You join a school club. You start learning the local spots. It becomes apparent you care again. And things seem great, with summer on the horizon and a symphony of cicadas singing you on, you almost forget this is a mystery novel. Until there is a string of deaths that stir unease in the town.
A central theme in visual novels is romance, and there’s plenty of that in World End Syndrome. With an array of girls, from a journalist to an idol in disguise, you’ll get to decide who to spend time with as you work on solving the mystery of the Yombito. However, the game doesn’t play out like a typical visual novel. You’ll have very little control of the story early on, in fact almost all the things you decide to say will have no impact on what happens. Which is okay, as the purpose is to build the world and people who live in it. It demands patience, and to get to the meat of the game you have to go through the novel knowing it’s just setting the stage.
The artwork in the game is stellar. With some animated scenes and a variety of spots to explore in town, you are met with great attention to detail. Dialogue is where the game really picks up. As characters start to open up and be more comfortable, the conversations get engaging and interesting. I mean, there’s even a great conversation about Lady Gaga. It keeps the game entertaining, and you’ll feel invested in the characters to drive you to see how things pan out.
World End Syndrome excels in storytelling, art and music. You’ll feel like you’re there in the town experiencing this mystery alongside the characters. This is a horror game sprinkled with a slice of life romance, with plenty of endings to pursue. The slow burn of starting the game may be off-putting, but it’s worth keeping up with.
TBG Score: 8.5/10
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: 14/06/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, RPG
Developer: Arc System Works / TOYBOX
Download link: PSN