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on October 6, 2009
First of all, let me start by saying that this is my favorite game in the Kingdom Hearts saga. It was definitely worth the wait. Being a hard core KH fan myself, I made sure to by the game the day it came out and I wasn't disappointed. I played everyday after school, unable to put the game down for longer than I had to.

Length: I completed the game in 30 hours on Standard Mode, which is a pretty average completion time for a Square title game. And as Square does with most of their games, they made sure to leave plenty of extras after the game is over to tackle if you want more. I'm currently working on unlocking the Hidden Reports.

Graphics/Sound: I have to say I'm impressed. While the majority of the game's story is spent reading (which is to be expected from a DS game), the high graphic cutscenes are absolutely stunning, easily matching those of a PS2 game. No small achievement for a DS game. The lower quality cutscenes are a bit pixely, but aren't all DS games? As far as sound goes, this will make for another unforgettable soundtrack by Square. Also the voice acting is wonderful. My only disappointment was that it was limited to the high quality cutscenes and simple `hahas', `hmms' and other similar sounds before text.

Gameplay: A tiny step down from KH II, it was still fun and the KH style carried surprisingly well over to the DS. I'll admit I was a bit worried that, being on another hand-held system, it might end up being a bit too much like KH CoM, which, while fun, I didn't care for the Card System. But my concern quickly faded as I got past the initial tutorial in the game.

The idea of the panel system looked a bit confusing at first, but I quickly caught on. Similar to KH II, it allows you to make shortcuts during battle to different spells and items. I've heard some complaint over the fact that you only get limited slots, but personally, I think it adds a nice challenge to the game, and it's not like the slot setup you choose is permanent; you get the opportunity to rearrange your slots before every mission.

Which brings me to the Missions. This is perfectly believable for the story the game follows. While some missions are a bit repetitive, you usually have the option to skip over them and take on the missions that are different. I'd say about 60% of missions are optional. Also, I'm sure veteran KH fans will enjoy embarking on missions with their favorite Organization XIII members. The only missions I really didn't care for were recon missions, which consisted of working your way through each world and clicking on different locations to gather info on the area.

Mission Mode: This allows you to replay previous missions that you've played in the game using any character you'd like. You start off having only the members of Organization XIII to choose as your player, but you can unlock more as you get farther into the game's story.

Story: This is the reason Days is my favorite KH game. Yes, even though the game comes with a booklet that explains what happened in previous games, and the majority of the game requires no previous KH knowledge, I think new KH players might be a bit lost. But then, it is a sequel. I'm sure anyone who jumped into the middle of the Harry Potter series would be confused as well. I, however, having played all the other KH games, followed the story easily.

There are plenty of moments where I found myself laughing out loud, but there were more moments where I found myself fighting back tears. Days is, in my opinion, the most heart wrenching addition in the KH series. Also, being a fan of Organization XIII, I had endless delight at seeing my favorite characters going about their daily routines. The story takes place shortly before, during, and after the events of Chain of Memories.

So, to quickly summarize, I'm sure previous KH fans will enjoy this newest installment to the KH story, and new KH players - though they may get a bit lost at times - will enjoy the game as well. I highly recommend this delightful game.
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VINE VOICEon October 2, 2009
Here is a game that could have been so much better than it is. Even so, it makes an entertaining, if lesser chapter into the Kingdom Hearts Series.

First the good. The game controls great. Clever use of shortcuts makes magic casting a breeze and the action for better or worse in primarily controlled by mashing on the A button, occasionally using B and Y to jump and block/roll respectively. The fighting is good for what it is, but mostly it is a bit simplistic.

Sadly the whole game is a bit simplistic. It is clear the developers wanted to focus on graphics and story. What they wound up with is a game that looks almost as good as its PS2 counterparts. The story on the other hand is a bit muddled and what starts out as a cute bromance turns into a constant irritation. My god, I don't care about them eating icecream for the 85th day in a row.

Also missing from the game is any bit of exploration. The worlds are depressingly simple and small, generally consisting of a few large rooms or spaces with few more caves/rooms opening up later in your missions. That brings me to the other big problem with the game which is the mission structure. Simply put, it is not nearly as fun as just a regular Kingdom Hearts game. 85% of the missions boil down to either kill a bunch of Heartless or kill one specific Heartless. It begins to drag with a flustering amount of sameness. Every once in a while you will come across an exploration mission which generally involves running around until a question mark pops up over Roxas's hear and you press A. There are also a few missions that you have to follow a character, which are about as dumb as they sound.

The characters from Disney and other Square series are pushed to the backburner here as well, it is mostly about Organization XIII and run parallel to the events of Chain of Memories.

The final problem with the game, as alluded to by other reviewers is the panel system, which seems to be an odd combination of a card game, the materia system from Final Fantasy VII and Diablo's loot system. You can place different panels into your inventory to do basically anything including learn moves and magic. The most irritating panel could be the level up panel. This is certainly the first game where you have to equip a level up. You get to make irritating decisions such as "Do I level up or take 'cure' into the battle" Do I want more casts of fire or to have the ability to block. It seems some things, such as new tactics and level ups should be automatic. I guess it adds in a new strategy to the game, but mostly I find it irritating.

That all being said, if you can look past the irritants, there is a lot of fun to be had here, especially for those who are already fans (for those that haven't played KH before, good luck following the story). This one is for the fans only.
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on October 18, 2009
If you're a big KH fan, who wants to know the back-story of Roxas' time in the Organization and who the 14th member is, then you might want to check this out. If you're a newbie KH player, you might survive understanding this without playing any of the other KH games. Several people's testaments say they haven't had much of a problem. It is recommended though, if you want to completely understand everything, you play the PS2 games first. But, it's not bad for stand-alone players either. I got my younger cousins hooked right away with it. (And for those who haven't touched this game but reviewed it anyways, like the one below me, I can only say that you intentionally want to lower the ratings...)

Pros:

+ Vibrant colorful transition from its PS2 predecessors. It's like you're staring at a PS2 game inside a DS. Not bad for pushing the system to its limits.

+ The difficulty level is just right, because the Panel system affects it greatly. You can be 10 hours into the game and still be level 6.

+ Platforming is back compared to KH2. You'll be doing a lot more pushing columns and jumping around.

+ Beautiful FMVs (even though, they're just a few)

+ Dodge roll is back!

+ Some new orchestrations by Yoko Shimomura. Don't expect majority of the game to have new ones because you're going back to the same worlds from the PS2 games.

+ New parts of the PS2 worlds created. Meaning, even though we go to the same worlds as before, a lot of them have new environments made for them. So, we're not always completely in the same familiar area i.e. Agrabah's marketplace area and outside Cave of Wonders.

+ This is a long DS game. At least 25 hours and up, depending on what you do. (Not including multi-player so just consider that extra.)

+ The new Panel system, which you can customize how many things you want. It also limits what you have in your inventory. You gain a new panel piece for every mission you beat. It gives you the strategy on how you want to do your battling. Picture the Chain of Memories cards but not in a card deck. Also, you'll be using potion a lot more at the beginning of the game so it'll go quickly. You have to constantly add to the Panel deck and alter it several times.

+ New Secret Reports are added for this game. I've yet to come across them so I can't wait to read them.

+ Roxas' diary entries are interesting to read.

+ The game's script is witty and good. Good enough that it makes me dislike Larxene 10 times more now.

Neutral

o The tutorial is long but it's not as long as KH2's.

o In the Panel system, they give you level-up panels, which allow you to obviously, as the name says, level up. You have to keep collecting them to increase your level but sometimes, you won't have any place to put them.

o The story will start off very slow but it gets better as you go along. Everyone recommends the 250th day and up to 300th for the story to really pick up. For me, I don't really care. It's already good as it is. I'm less than 80 days in at this point. Unfortunately, I'm playing this game already spoiled so I know what happens. Plus, the secret behind the 14th member...

o You'll only be using the stylus to control the camera to look left, right, and up. Which, I don't have too many qualms about.

o You have customizable options on your camera control and other things.

o Yes, you might find some parts of the worlds/scenes repetitive, but the ice cream eating has a somber meaning behind it.

o There is a meaning behind the title! If you still don't understand what it means, go look it up! :P

Cons

- The camera can get a bit shaky at some times when you're up against something.
- The D-pad will hurt your thumb at the beginning so please, take a break in-between playing it!
- When locking onto an enemy, I wish they allowed you to switch from one enemy to another like in the PS2 games.

That's all I really have to say about it for now. Be prepared for a slow moving story but a well-worth reward ending. :D
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on January 20, 2010
I've long been a fan of the Kingdom Hearts series, but after being disappointed with Chain of Memories (a friend brought it over for me to try out and I knew after an hour that I wouldn't be buying that one) I wasn't holding out high hopes for this iteration of the series. Well, after finishing it, I must say I'm pleasantly surprised. It's not as good as the PS2 originals, but it's certainly a fine game and worth playing.

Graphics (score 10/10): The graphics are pretty darn good for the DS. Everything looks almost between PS1 and PS2 quality, which is quite impressive for a handheld system. I'm thoroughly pleased here and have no complaints--there's even some better rendered cutscenes interspersed with the already-good normal game graphics.

Music (score 8/10): Well, how much you like the music will be entirely dependent on how much you like KH2's music, because it's the same. The intro song is the same, and the other songs sound the same. If they're not exactly the same, then it's some sort of very slight variation. That being said, the music is still good, and I love the intro song. Still, it was kind of lazy of them not to make any new music. Lazy bums!

Characters (score 10/10): The main characters (Roxas, Axel, and Xion) are pretty well developed. The organization members don't get as much screen time, but at least you learn more about them than you did in KH2. Plus, you get to see them just sitting around on couches talking to each other about their daily schedules and how they all need a vacation. It's surreal and funny at the same time. There's even a moogle Nobody that sells you stuff in a little cloak and hood! Cuteness!!! Most of the character development focuses on the friendship of Roxas, Axel, and Xion. Squeenix has decided that ice cream must be the path to true friendship because they basically eat ice cream every single time they hang out together. Some people seem to really hate these repeated ice cream scenes but they didn't bother me. The ice cream really serves as a tangible visual symbol of their deep friendship and is a recurring plot element throughout. I thought it was pretty clever but I do agree that they ran that into the ground just a little. Anyway, this game really lays the groundwork for Axel's motivations in KH2 and I imagine replaying that game will be even more poignant now that I've played this.

Story (score 10/10): Have you ever played an RPG and thought about how interesting it would be to be able to play from the villain's perspective? And I'm not talking about the crappy trend of having a "moral" system available for the protagonist so you can do random good or evil acts. I mean actually getting into the mind of a fully developed antagonist character who has real thoughts and motivations. For example, imagine being able to play through Final Fantasy VII as Sephiroth and being able to finally get behind those pretty green eyes and fully understand why he became so unhinged. Well, the great thing about this game is that now you can finally play from the villains' perspective! You play as Roxas during his time in Organization XIII. And you will meet just about every organization member at least once. Honestly, they were not fleshed out well in KH2 and this game was desperately needed to flesh out their personalities and motivations. And honestly, you'll become oddly attached to them, even the dickish ones. I suppose once you get to know these characters it makes you more empathetic with them. Aside from that the story mainly follows Roxas and his friendship with Axel and Xion which ends rather tragically. Still, it's an excellent story and any game designer who can make a cliché like the theme of "friendship" seem appropriately dramatic and heart-breaking (and appropriate for children too!) deserves an award. Also, as a note for anyone who's wondering, do not play this first if you've never played the PS2 Kingdom Hearts games. You will not know what is going on and nothing will make sense. I mean sure, you can still play this and beat it if you know nothing about Kingdom Hearts, but I don't recommend it. It would be like watching a movie in a language you don't speak without any subtitles on. You might get the gist of what's going on but you're not going to fully understand it.

Battle System (score 9/10): When I heard that this game wasn't featuring card battles, I jumped for joy. Damn card battles. As an added bonus, this game features absolutely no use of the touchscreen. Thank goodness. Nothing's worse than when a developer decides that they need to shoehorn in touchscreen controls for a game where they don't help, and may even hinder, gameplay just because it's on the DS. And they've managed to adapt the PS2 game's control scheme fairly well here. You can glide, jump, dodge roll, lock on, smack things with your keyblade, cast spells, you name it! It's all here! However, because there were fewer buttons available for them to work with, you'll have to put your magic in the shortcut menu to effectively use it. As with all Kingdom Hearts games, the camera can go a bit wonky on you. It generally works fine enough, although it works best when you lock on to your target. A.I. controlled party members make a comeback here too. You'll either be alone or sometimes a party member (other Organization XIII members) will accompany you in battle. Each Organization XIII member has a different weapon and mode of attack. A.I. can be set to have your allies focus on the enemy Roxas is attacking or on other enemies, or they can focus on healing and support. I personally set them to attacking Roxas' target. Generally, they do pretty well (better than KH1 and KH2, although that isn't saying much), but they sometimes just stand there like idiots and do nothing. Even in attack mode they will occasionally heal you but I really wouldn't count on them for that since their support seems really spotty. Overall, I'm very impressed with how well the developers managed to take the battle system from the PS2 games in the series and adapt it for use on the DS.

Gameplay (score 7/10): This is a bit of a catch-all category for me. This is where some of my complaints about this game come in. Yup, the same two complaints everyone has about this game: the mission system and the panel system. First off, this game is mission based. This means that there is one room in the Organization Headquarters where you can buy things and talk to Saix for missions. Basically, you just select the mission you want to go on and then it takes you there. You do it, then return to that one room and choose another mission. That's the pattern. This can get really repetitive over time. However the designers really tried to spice it up with different mission types (recon missions vs. combat-oriented missions) and to reward you with cutscenes after most every mission. Not to mention, every time you start to get bored the game throws something new at you, be it a unique mission, a new world, more plot, etc. Still, I think it would have been more fun if the game was more exploration based like the other entries in the series. Maybe the DS was too limited for them to make it that way? Oh well... The other complaint has to do with the Panel system. Basically you get little squares (kinda shaped like tetris pieces) which represent various items, abilities, weapons, and magic. You get a grid of spaces and you must fit equip these things by fitting them into the grid like a jigsaw puzzle. I didn't mind equipping the weapons and abilities, but equipping the other things was not really a good idea. For instance, you have to equip a panel for every single magic spell that you use. Yes, you get x4 panels later, but it still feels like you can't cast nearly as much magic as you could in KH1 and KH2. It's really limiting. It's the same way with items. You might only have space for 6 potions. What really sucks though is that you have to equip levels. Seriously, you have to equip levels. Every last one. This will take up the majority of your space by far. I could've handled having to equip everything else, but levels should've been something automatic that you keep regardless. That's really my biggest complaint. My only piece of advice is to play on Beginner mode and don't level up excessively. Then maybe you'll be able to fit decent amounts of potions on you're panels. Oh, as final notes of interest, there's new game plus content of sorts and multiplayer. The new game plus lets you view cutscenes if there's a cleared file on your cartridge and it puts you back at your final save before the end boss so you can replay any mission you want. As such it's not a true "new game plus" since you can't replay from the beginning, but it's something at least. Multiplayer allows a friend to take control of one of the organization members during mission replays. That's pretty much it.

Overall (score 8/10): NOTE this score is not an average; it's my subjective overall score. All things considered, this is a solid entry in the Kingdom Hearts series and should not be missed by fans of the games. I only wish they had named it something different. "Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days" is one of the most awkward titles I've ever had the displeasure of trying to carry on a conversation with a fellow gamer about. You're not going to see that lend itself to a catchy acronym anytime soon. I say we change the title to "Kingdom Hearts: The Ice Cream Chronicles". C'mon, who's with me?!
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on September 29, 2009
This is going to be a bare bones review, because I'm only on Day 23.
The graphics are spectacular, especially for Nintendo. Nintendo has never been known for their graphics (always pixelated and basic) - but the improbable is possible when you mix Squeenix and Nintendo. They've managed to combine the best of both worlds, artistry and technique. Tetsuya Nomura's brainchild has been unleashed on the DS in such magnificent fashion. You know this game is something only HE could have created. Everything from the music down to the sound you hear when you're trying to select something that you're unable to at that time mimics Kingdom hearts 1 and 2. How they managed this feat, I don't know. When you look at Chain of memories for the Gameboy Advance, it was NOTHING compared to this. It was just a failed attempt at an original game. 358/2 Is NOTHING like Chain of memories for the GBA (i hated CoM and the card system). This is a game unto itself. A game that delves into the history of the organization, and more specifically Roxas. This takes place before, during, and after Chain of memories.

if you've never played KH before, then go ahead and play the first one. After that, it's up to you which you choose to play next. I would leave KH2 for last that way you'll have a better understanding. It's like a book with many volumes. They should be read in order, no?

So far my only 2 negs. about the game would be;
1)NOT ENOUGH VOICE ACTING. HAI QUINTON FLYNN I PAID MONEY TO HEAR YOU AS AXEL, kthnx.
Seriously. I'm all for reading, especially since there's some in KH 1 and 2 (less in 2) but I want to HEAR the cutscenes not read them. That is reminiscent of Chain of memories. I suppose they had to though, to keep the file size smaller.

2) I'm not too fond of the panels. Setting it up and all, it's a learning experience and with a learning experience comes a learning curve. I'm sure ill get used to it, but so far, eh.

Well that's it. I'll edit this as i go through the game.
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on December 26, 2013
I played it and played it and played it, thinking that it would get better, but it never did. It was NOT the same Kingdom Hearts games that I've come to expect from the franchise. Overall I'm a bit disappointed, but it was still an all right game.
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on November 9, 2013
Like Chain of Memories, 358/2 Days (referred to as "Three-Five-Eight Days over Two") comes in between KH and KHII. In 358/2 Days, however, the game has a different protagonist. Instead of starring the usual protagonist, Sora; it stars Roxas, a boy who was first introduced in KHII.

The 358/2 Days game takes place throughout the events in Chain of Memories. The group called Organization XIII just got a new member into their team - Roxas. At the beginning of 358/2 Days, Roxas starts off kind of lifeless. As the game progresses, however, Roxas gains a personality. The Organization hires Roxas to kill "heartless" (strange beings that eat people's hearts), and to do a bunch of other stuff throughout the whole game. A week later their group gets another member whose name is Xion (pronounced Shee-on). Xion begins like Roxas and gets a personality later in the game. Through most of the game Sora is sleeping in a special pod that will help him recover the memories that he lost in Chain of Memories. A strange thing about the Organization members is that they may look like humans but they're really heartless beings called "Nobodies." The Organization takes the hearts that Roxas collects and gives it to a heart-shaped moon that they believe will give them hearts of their own. This heart-shaped moon is Kingdom Hearts. After every mission, Roxas, Xion, and Axel ( Roxas' best friend) meet at the top of a clock tower to enjoy some sea-salt ice cream (yuck!). That's the basic storyline of the game. While the story is a little weaker than the other games, it is still a good one. It's also a little less confusing as long as you have played the other games.

358/2 Days' game play is very similar to the console titles. You are put in a free-roaming world trying to accomplish the objectives that you are given. This game, however, limits you from going everywhere because at certain places, you'll see a big X in front of the unavailable area. While exploring, you fight plenty of the heartless in real-time combat and gain experience points which will help you level up. In this game, you don't do anything but mash the same button over and over again (aside from using magic) to attack, but I had too much fun to notice anyway. Throughout the game, you use a key/sword thing called a keyblade, which is the basic weapon of the Kingdom Hearts series. The weapon becomes customizable and can be upgraded later in the game. You also obtain stuff like items and munny (yes, they spell it that way) found in treasure chests and enemies in the worlds you visit. Basically, it mixes the RPG genre with the Action-Adventure genre. Unlike the console titles, you start at a sort of hub world. Then, you receive your objective(s), go through a series of levels/missions, and repeat. Each mission tells you to do something like killing a certain amount of the heartless, doing reconnaissance in specific worlds, and occasionally defeating bosses.

In this game, you are given a panel system. The panel system is a bunch of empty blocks that you fill with stuff that you either find in missions, or purchase at a moogle store (moogle is actually the only character from the Final Fantasy series that appears in this game). After every mission, you unlock more empty blocks that you can fill up with items. This system maybe a little confusing, but it is helpful for when you need to change your character's settings. However, the panel system is only customizable in the hub world that you start at before you go do another mission. Even though the game play isn't exactly like KHII, it still has some of the best game play on the DS (in my opinion).

A new addition to this game is the multiplayer mode. Up to four players can help each other finish missions. The unfortunate part is, there is no multiplayer story mode. Also, you need a game cartridge for each player in order to play. I like how they chose this feature for this game since it's a DS game, meaning that you don't have to share a screen. What's cool is that you can choose up to 19 different characters in multiplayer mode! Note: Six characters need to be unlocked before being playable.

There's not a lot of voice acting in this game since it's a DS game. However, when the characters do speak, I find that the voice acting is well done. The music is almost completely borrowed from other Kingdom Hearts titles, so if you've played both KH1 and KHII, you'll recognize almost all the songs. In other words, the sound in 358/2 Days is really good, if not great.

For a DS game, the graphics are amazing! All the scenery and characters look really good. It's surprising that Square Enix could fit the open worlds from the console games into this one. After all, the DS can only hold so much in one game cartridge. Of course, that means that all the worlds except for Neverland from Peter Pan look exactly the same as they did in the console titles. Still, it's awesome that you get to see PS2 graphics at certain points in the game.

The controls in this game seem perfect for the DS. The game has two different control options. In control option A, you jump by pressing B, attack by pressing Y, and press the R button to put the camera behind you. After a few missions, you unlock control option B. The only difference in control option B is that it allows you to control the camera angle by pressing the L and R shoulder buttons.

The Kingdom Hearts series is one of my favorite video game franchises! 358/2 Days isn't a necessary chapter in the series, but it is still worth getting. However, I recommend this game for those who know the rest of the Kingdom Hearts story because if you don't know the rest, you\'ll probably get lost immediately. The game is surprisingly difficult, so I think that the game being rated E10+ is pretty accurate. If you get this game because of the Disney characters, then you will be disappointed since Mickey and the other Disney characters are only in the game for two minutes.

Final Score: 8.8/10

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on June 6, 2016
Haven't finished it yet, but I love it.
It provides hours and hours of gameplay. It also take you (as Roxas) into familiar worlds from Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2 and delves even further. There are new rooms such as completely different Cave of Wonders and access to a hall above the Beast's Castle foyer and the top floor of the ballroom. The extra challenges (at least in solo mode) are complex-but-doable, and very fun.
I wish they had made a version of this for PS2 or some reasonable console. The touch-screen is hardly utilized and the game can played without using it at all.
Highly enjoyable game. As a fan of the series, I recommend it.
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on October 31, 2015
Ok so I got this game a while back and apparently my first review didn't post for some reason so here it goes. I spent countless hours playing this game I enjoyed every last cutscene and text dialogue. So much so that I decided to replay it. However I will say gather as much heart points/badges as possible and watch your panels. Make good use of the space given
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on September 27, 2015
Kingdom Hearts is my favorite series of game and this one is no exception, it's a must have for anyone who is a fan of the series! If you are new to the series I would still highly reccommend it, the story is played out so anyone can jump in to this wonderful universe.

Game took me about 40 hours to complete and had fun each second, it was a truly wonderful experience!
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