NEO: The World Ends With You on PC isn't loaded with configuration options, but it runs well, and that's nice
A few years ago it was almost impossible to imagine that 2007's The World Ends With You would ever get a sequel. Even when ports landed on mobile devices and later on Nintendo Switch, it was hard to have faith that cult classic would ever get a fully-fledged follow-up.
But NEO: The World Ends With You defied odds and finally launched for consoles a few months ago. Cullen absolutely loved it in his review, stating that the sequel did a wonderful job recapturing what made this formula work so well on the DS, completely matching his high expectations. Seeing his and other impressions excited me as I waited for the game to launch on PC.
Although it was a few months tardy, NEO is now available on PC via the Epic Game Store, and we checked how this port stacks up.
Let's start with the PC specifications, as listed on the store page, as well as the configuration options.
NEO: The World Ends With You PC Specifications and Configuration Options
- OS: Windows 10 64-bit
- Processor: AMD A8-5600K / Intel Core i3-3210
- Memory: 6 GB RAM
- Storage: 15GB
- Direct X: Version 11
- Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 460 / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750
- Additional Notes: 30 FPS @ 1280x720
- OS: Windows 10 64-bit
- Processor: AMD A8-7600 / Intel Core i3-3210
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Storage: 15GB
- Direct X: Version 11
- Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 460 / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950
- Additional Notes: 60 FPS @ 1920x1080
NEO: The World Ends With You doesn't look to be a very intensive game, which shouldn't be a surprise considering it runs relatively well on Nintendo Switch. The PC port does have a few configuration options, though it stays quite simple. You can set the display as a window, borderless window, or fullscreen. You can set various resolutions from 720p up to 4K. Framerates can be set to cap at 30, 60, or unlimited (the game supports at least up to 144 Hz). There's an On/Off toggle for Vsync and Anti-Aliasing, but that's about it.
I've played NEO on two different machines. First, a top-end Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 GPU with AMD Ryzen 9 5900X CPU. If you are primarily a PC player and are rocking a beefy build, you should have no issue running the game at 4K resolutions with locked 120/144hz framerates, which for an action game looks really quite nice, especially with all the various pin effects on screen. An RPG Site colleague ran the game with an AMD RX 6900xt, a generally equivalent GPU to the Nvidia, with similar results achieving 120+ FPS framerates at 4K.
I also tried the port on a more modest Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU and Intel Core i7-8650U CPU. Here, maintaining high framerates at 4K resolution is a bit out of reach, but I was able to maintain rates of around 50-60 FPS at 1440p. Or I could opt to a 1080p resolution and get a locked 60 FPS framerate (or potentially higher), which generally falls in line with the specifications listed on the store page. This should be comparable to playing the game on PlayStation platforms.
On either machine, both equipped with solid-state drives, loading times between zones are quick, lasting only a few seconds each at longest. Considering how often you'll be switching zones in Shibuya or loading into or out-of battle, this is welcome.
While NEO doesn't boast many configuration options other than the basics, simply having the game running at high resolutions and framerates is alone almost worth the two-month wait. The game's stylized & simple art style works well when brought up to 4K, and that the port lacks more fancy components like textures, shadows, or shading options isn't too big a loss. I still see some very slight aliasing occasionally around character models, but perhaps this can be mitigated through forced aliasing from GPU control panel software.
NEO's PC port also supports controller button configs for both PlayStation DualShock style controllers and Xbox controllers, with fully remappable buttons. Even though NEO is available on Nintendo Switch, the PC port does not seem to support Switch-style button icons, though you are given to option to use a generic controller layout if you want. The port also supports keyboard control, though I did not test this out as I prefer gamepad control for a game like this, so I can't speak much to how well implemented this control scheme is.
I've only played through the first few days of NEO: The World Ends With You, so I cannot say much more about the game content outside of first impressions. I'm a big fan of the DS original, and so far I'm happy with the opening moments of NEO. If the game's good reception, including our own review, is any indication, it looks like I'm in for a good time.
NEO: The World Ends With You's PC version is exclusive to Epic Games Store, which is certainly a point of contention. It's not the first Square Enix game to find itself in that situation; the Kingdom Hearts series is also currently only found through Epic's storefront. Square Enix is no stranger to timed exclusives in general, with games like Bravely Default II heading to PC months after its Switch release, and games like Final Fantasy VII Remake and Final Fantasy XVI landing on PlayStation consoles first (with no PC release currently announced, though I expect them). I don't begrudge smaller, indie-scale developers in accepting funding and support offered by platform-exclusive deals if it helps fledging development teams realize their vision, but it doesn't feel quite right when it's coming from a big third party publisher like Square Enix. It is what it is, though, and those partial to Steam will simply have to wait and see what Square decides to do with NEO in the future.
I'm happy with the PC port for NEO: The World Ends With You. Despite lacking more advanced configuration options, the game scales well to 4K resolutions, and running at solid high framerates is alone a big plus. Maybe Square Enix can start doing more simultaneous PC launches in the future. That would be nice.