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.
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.
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...)
+ 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.
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
- 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
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?!
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.
on June 4, 2010
Video Game Review
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
First off, just to clear up any confusion, the title of this game is actually pronounced "Kingdom Hearts Three Five Eight Days Over Two" weird right? Anyways, I have not yet beaten the game but I have played it enough to make a substantial review. As we all know the game started with Kingdom Hearts in 2003. About a year later they made a game for Game Boy Advanced called Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. The Story of Sora going to Castle Oblivion, losing his memories and having to sleep for a year to regain them. This is also where we first get introduced to Organization XIII. The worst part of Chain of Memories was the card based battles system, the best part was getting to play as Riku after beating it as Sora. Then there's Kingdom Hearts II, that picks up a year later with the last days of Roxas, Sora's Nobody, and then Sora's awakening. Now, a lot of Kingdom Hearts fans had a few questions as to why organization XIII only had 8 members in KH2, and why Sora awoke like he did in the place he did. Realizing that not many people played KH:COM, let alone had a GBA, they re-made the game for PS2, naming it "Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories". Now, many people are not too found of the card-based battle system, and trust me, neither am I. But COM is an essential part of the KH franchise and it is very important any true fan plays it to understand the story in it's true depth. Knowing this, they made sure to make the PS2 version much easier than the GBA version, it includes reaction commands, extra cards, 3D environment with camera controls similar to that of KH2, the ability to dodge roll automatically, and the option to choose between Beginner, Standard, and Proud mode.
Now that that's out of the way, I shall introduce KH358/2D. This game starts 7 days after Roxas' birth (when Sora stabbed himself with the dark keyblade) and takes place through the events of Chain of Memories, where 5 of the Orgnization Members (Vexen, Larxene, Marluxia, Zexion, and Lexaeus) all die at the hands of Sora nd Riku, and the game continues to play out for the whole year that Sora is asleep and ends near the beginning of Kingdom Hearts II. With the final boss of the game being Riku. Go figure. This makes sense seeing how it was him who brought Roxas to DiZ when they put him in the fake Twilight Town in the beginning of KH2. But I digress. This game will introduce you to a new Organization member, Xion. The 14th member. Who can strangely also wield the keyblade and has connections somehow to Sora and Kairi. When you start the game it puts you through a lengthy hour long tutorial that teaches you how to play the game. You go on about 7 or so tutorial mission learning the basics of game play, and all about missions, and collecting hearts for the Organization. Out of the entire franchise, I would consider this game to be the hardest of the all, game play wise. The buttons are limited, so the camera controls are extremely limited. You can change this later, however. But it will make your shortcut window harder to access. In the previous games one could use the D-pad to access the command window, however in this game you need that to move. So instead you must use the X button to choose between attack, magic, and items. Now, your supply of healing items at your disposal and how many you can pick up on the field are both annoyingly limited. Whereas in the other games you could collect munny and buy potions then equip as many to your characters are there were item slots for them, in this game everything you have and/or do is based off a Tetris like panel grid. If you wanna level up, you must take a leve up pennel and put it on the grid. Wanna use fire magic? Maybe you wanna have a hi-potion at your despinse to heal up with? Again, must equip them to the panel grid. And please note, the grid is not unlimited. You only get so many squares to place panels in. weapons, abilities, items, magic, leveling up, these things all depend on the panel system. However, all is not lost. There are these items called "slot releasers" which open up more empty squares on the panel grid for you to equip panels on. Some panels, however, take up many squares. These are called link panels, there are used to further develop your character. For example, there is a link panel that allows you to attach up to 4 level up panels to it. Each of these levels is doubled. So instead of gaining four levels, you actually gain eight, along with any other level up panels you have equipped. With weapon panels you can link ability, power, or guard panels to unlock a hidden ability, raise your strength, defense, or magic. One of the things you'll notice right away when doing this is that all the weapon panels tend to favor one attribute over another. You will either find yourself killing off heartless pretty fast but losing health even faster, or you will take forever to kill them but also stay alive longer. As of right now, I have a strength power of 93, with a defense of 32. Explain that one. Trying to evenly balance them comes with a heavy price. The other issue with the weapons is that they all tend to favor one type of combat. One weapon is extremely useful if you fighting everything in midair, another is only useful if your feet never leave the ground. There are many more though, and I have not yet made it far enough to unlock the more balanced and powerful weapons, so I cannot yet say how the gameplay progresses near the end.
The battle system is no different than the norm. Run up to the heartless and press A to attack. However, the Heartless in this game are much smarter than their predecessors. Not only do they come in vast numbers and gang up one you, but a grand majority of the regular Heartless (not the bosses) have anywhere from 2 to 4 health bars. You will soon find yourself adopting a "hit and run" strategy, especially in the missions where you fight alone. It is almost kind of sad that the 5 Organization members of castle oblivion are short lived. As far as I remember the only time they assist you (or don't) is in the tutorial missions. You will soon figure out that most of your missions will be with Axel or Xion. With the occasional other member thrown in. however, the game does make up for this with Mission Mode, and I will get into that later. When it comes to difficult combat in the series, this game takes the cake. I remember I was only about a half hour into the game and I was surrounded by 7 Possessor Heartless who leeched onto me and sapped away my HP while Axel sat there picking his nose. I died exactly 8 times before killing them all off. According to the strategy guide, the game will insult you as well. If you chose Standard or Proud mode and you die too many times in one mission, the game will finally ask you if you would like to lower the difficulty level. One thing you may find yourself hardly ever using is the magic. As there is no surefire way to ensure your spells will hit the target, you will find yourself easily frustrated as a precious fire or blizzard spell floats right past your target. Unless you can master your aim, you'd be better off saving valuable panel room by just avoiding magic altogether. However, some missions require you have magic to complete them 100%. So I would say equip it for the mission, then un-equip it after.
The game progression is based off a series of missions. In order to move the story along, you must only do the mission marked with a keyblade and then choose "advance" to move on. However, moving on too quickly can result in an early and easy death. It is highly recommended that you at least try to do every mission Saïx has available for you before progressing. The game progression goes by days. Each time you do a mission another day goes by. This will continue until you reach 358. I am on day 93. This is not completely linear though. Sometimes a cutscene goes over a many day period. There is one instance where Roxas faints and stays asleep for 3 weeks time. On another instance the games skips from day 57 to day 93 without any explanation in between. The game offers you the choice to go back and redo missions you've already done, in case you may have missed something. You can only do this from the Organization castle. But that's not the only thing. Equipping panels, game configuration, saving your progress, and viewing your diary are all limited to inside the castle. These are all things you cannot do while on the field in a mission. Speaking of on the field, I forgot to mention that you are limited to haw many items you can pick up while on a mission. In the beginning, Roxas can only pick up 5 at a time. In order to pick up more you must equip a backpack panel to your level grid.
As for the cutscenes and graphics, they are as good as they are gunna get for a DS system. You will soon find that most of the cutscenes consist of text boxes and you will be doing a lot of reading. Very few cutscenes have voices. Hardly any.
Now let me talk about mission mode. On the title screen you get 2 choices. These are Story Mode, and Mission Mode. Mission Mode allows you to go through and replay any of the missions you have unlocked in Story Mode in an attempt to earn points and crowns which you can later trade into to Moogle Shop for prizes. But that's not all. Here's the bonus. Mission Mode allows you to playa s any one of the 13 Organization XIII members. And just as Roxas' keyblae changes its looks with new panels, so does the other Organization Members weapons. Many people hated that Marliuxia had a pink scythe. Well, just switch a few panels and presto! Really cool looking blue scythe with extra spikes coming out of the top. Again, that's not all. As the game progresses there are 6 characters you can unlock for mission mode by accomplishing certain tasks in story mode. These characters include Sora, Donald, Goofy, King Mickey, Riku, and Xion.
I know it felt like I had a lot of complaints, but the game is not all bad. Once you get the hang of it the game is pretty easy to handle. The biggest issue is getting the hang of it. The game is rated E10+ for a reason. Not just because of the fantasy violence and dark storyline, but also because there's no way in hell anyone less than 10 years of age is going to understand how to play it. They would die within the first 10 minutes. The game itself however, is very fun. The story is deep and intriguing. The characters are loveable. The game play is challenging enough that you won't rush through it in a day, but not so challenging that you give up. The panel system, annoying as it may be, is also another way of testing a true RPG gamer's skills at strategy. And the Mission system promises a lengthy game time aside form the main storyline.
Regardless of the few minor annoyances, this game quickly becomes very addicting like the rest of them. But unlike the rest of them, this one presses you to move forward and try hard, rather than just handing the victory to you like the other's did. But then again that could just be my gameplay skills. I actually seem to have forgotten what it was like the first time I ever played any of them. But I do recall there hasn't been a single Kingdom Hearts game where I haven't dies at least 3 times my first time through the story. Overall though, this is a very good game that will force you to place everything you know about strategy games on the line and then some. As it is not all fighting. Sometimes you must sneak past characters or follow them, keeping them in your line of vision, but staying out of theirs. There are also missions that require you to investigate new areas, and others that require you to collect emblems. Another good thing about this game is the worlds. While there are very few worlds, consisting only of The World That Never Was, Twilight Town, Agrabah, Beast's Castle, Halloween Town, Olympus Coliseum, Wonderland, and Neverland, these worlds are mainly repeats of their KH and KH2 counterparts to an extent. Many of them contain extra areas and remade versions of old areas to explore. For example, Beast's Castle consists entirely of everything it does in KH2, plus a secret hallway leading from the courtyard that allows you to drop down into the main entrance hallway from a hole in the ceiling. Also, with Agrabah, it looks and feels almost the same as the Agrabah in KH1, with the exception of the Cave of Wonders, which is absolutely nothing like it is in the first 2 games. Also, the music. I always have and always will love the music in the Kingdom Hearts games, which is why I downloaded the soundtracks. Even though most of the world music is recycled from the first 2 games, there are a few new musical tracks for the game itself, along with a brand new theme and battle music for Neverland.
Like I said before, the cons I mentioned earlier are only minor setbacks to an overall extraordinary game. Do not let the confusing controls scare you, at first it may seem like hell, but after awhile you find yourself getting really into it. You may find that the controls are actually less complex than the PS2.
Overall I'd say this game deserves an 8/10 rating and is absolutely a must-have for any Kingdom Hearts fan, especially those wishing to fill in the blanks of the story.
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 October 22, 2010
Alright. Firstoff the graphics in this game are awesome but they don't do a lot with them its do a mission, sit up on the clocktower and eat icecream throughout the whole game. All of the locations are extremely pristine especially for a transfer to a handheld system but despite their stunning accuracy to what we saw in KH one and two there isn't that much to them.
Secondly the magic and healing items and weapons are not as automatic or iterchangable as they were in the ps2 games. They must be equipped via the touchscreen. I found this to be extremely troublesome because you have to weight your items and abilities by what you think might be more important and install them in panels instead of always havuing all of them at your disposal this includes your leveling up . Your magic is also very inaccurate. I shot magic at several enemies I was locked onto and it still missed.
The last thing that bothered me was the fact that you'll find yourself playing very annoying games of cat and mouse or "stay out of sight" often with the person you're trying to track or avoid having a very large field of vision and even turning all the way around to look behind them. There aren't a lot of these but they are the most annoying and pointless events I've ever seen in a kh game.
Storywise this game is beautiful and heartbreaking as is much of the KH storyline. Its yet another bridge between KH one and two and essential to understanding just how sad Roxas's story truly is. Its very good and though the game may be redundant in some respects or annoying its worth playing through just for the full story.
A few words of advice
DO NOT use an action replay card with this game. the cheats suck and though it claimed to be giving me 1000 experience points per mission, I looked at my level before I went to fight the final boss. It was twelve. I couldn't defeat the boss so I had to start the game over again.
Secondly DO EVERY MISSION ASSIGNED AND FILL THE GAUGE. a good deal of the missions are optional and even the ones that aren't often only require you to do so much but if you fill the mission gague completely and do every mission instead of advancing the calendar, you'll level up faster and be at a much better advantage when fighting the final boss. The only exception to this advice is the mission where you have to defeat at least six heartless bosses. The seventh is pretty much invincible so stop at six. Overdo your job and it will pay off big.
OPEN EVERY CHEST. You'll get a heartless every now and then but it allows you to synthesize better weapon panels.
on June 17, 2010
By putting "Kingdom Hearts" in the title, I'm already interested in this game. So interested in fact that I can overlook the strange "358/2 Days" part which, at first glance, doesn't make much sense. I can also overlook the fact (okay, somewhat) that this lovely little DS game is all about Roxas, the obscure, random character that players first learn about at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts 2 and are forced to play for nearly three hours before finally getting to the well-known and much-loved Sora. I wouldn't say that I don't like Roxas, but I don't particularly care for him. He's not all that interesting and seemed to be more of a nuisance in KH2 than anything else. Despite this, I, like a crazy KH fan girl (okay, I have my moments), picked up this game because I'm completely starved for some Kingdom Hearts.
Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days takes place between KH 1 and KH 2, and follows the untold story of Roxas, his experience in Organization XIII from his first day in the group up to the end, and why he's relevant to the plot of KH2. Roxas spends his days collecting hearts for the Organization and gets to know fellow members Axel and Xion. With the help of other Organization members, Roxas fights through numerous missions, develops friendships and learns about his origins and his, Axel's and Xion's strange connects to Sora, Riku and Kairi.
The gameplay of 358/2 Days is pretty much exactly like the hack and slash style of the main KH games. However, this time players have to deal with rather restricting slots for weapons, magic, items, abilities and even levels. With some help from synthesizing and slot links, players can power up characters, but, unfortunately, players have no opportunity (as in, nil) to control other party members at any point in the game and the AI isn't too sharp. The game is also divided up into a series of missions where Roxas travels to different KH worlds such as Twilight Town, Beast's Castle, Agrabah, Neverland and Halloween Town to complete a specific objective. While good for younger players, this style quickly becomes very repetitive: load up, leave HQ for mission, complete mission, see some cut scene/plot advancement (not all of them even move the plot along), wash, rinse, repeat. The world is very linear and there's no free roaming.
The only break in this madness is the mission mode, which allows for players to re-play missions in story mode as a different Organization character and try to beat your best time, etc. or play with another person via a multiplayer feature. This additional mode does help give the game an extra dimension, but by the time I got through all the missions in story mode, I was already too bored with them to really dive into mission mode.
358/2 Days, while it did help satisfy my craving for Kingdom Hearts, left me wanting a little bit more. I wanted to see more of the wonderful worlds and get more out of the gameplay. I guess I've just been spoiled with the main KH line, which is just so darn fun. I would suggest this game for younger fans of the KH series or hard-core fans only. The plot is somewhat interesting, but it's not essential for enjoying (and understanding) the universe.
on November 9, 2009
NOTE: In this review, I will NOT be comparing this game to the other KH games. I feel this game isn't getting good reviews because of people who keep saying they wish it was more like the other games.
I have NOT played the other KH games. If you want to play this but can't play KH 1 and 2, then please read the plots on Wikipedia. That way, you will understand what the heck is going on.
Fact is, the DS graphics aren't going to blow anyone mind. Nor will they even light a fuse. But Square Enix really has brung out the best of the DS's graphics technology. Cutscenes are presented in full 3D(some prerendered, others not), amazing for the DS. Out in the field, if you close up on your character's face, their facial features are actually recognizable(!) and every so often the character will blink. Some characters even have hair that will move.
At the beginning, the pacing is painfully slow and boring, because your character is new to the world and has no idea what to do. Square Enix attempts to create this feeling in you but fails. However, later on in the story the plot twists come in. It's like a roller coaster that goes up slowly for five long, boring minutes, building up to the climax, and then shoots down, twisting and turning everywhere.
At heart, this game is purely a button masher, with slight platforming. Mash A to kill everything on screen. That's it. However, there are various types of magic to make fighting easier, and at times you will be forced to use magic, keeping gameplay interesting. Also, once your health falls low, you can activate your "Limit Break" which is a rush of power that sends your attack speed and strength skyrocketing. Sadly, it only lasts five seconds at a time.
Keeping things fresh though(and one my favorite bits of the game) is the panel system, which you can configure to your liking before a mission. Like magic? Equip lots of magic panels and a Keyblade that boosts the power of your magic. Are you a coward? Equip a ring to boost defense, take lots of health potions, and install the Block and Dodge Roll panels. Yes, everything other than jump and attack must be in your panel grid to be used on a mission, a system I really like. It's like a puzzle, figuring out where to put each differently sized panel.
As I mentioned before though, this game has problems with pacing, and waiting for new panels to arrive to the shop is like watching grass grow. It takes a long time. Specifically, new items are buy able once you attain a new rank, and the spaces between ranks are too long.
There is a mission mode a challenge mode to tackle, which unlock very nice prizes. Challenge mode is quite difficult even on easy, but you get a great reward. For Mission Mode details, keep reading.
Multiplayer: This is where Mission Mode comes in, a mode where you replay the old missions for prizes(solo mode) or play multiplayer and collect points and fight as one of 13 characters(not including other characters that can be unlocked). At first I believed this was a gimmick, and I thought the new characters were just skins of the main characters. I was wrong. I found out that there are 13 different weapons in the game that can be customized through the panel system. And since there are around 50 weapon panels, that 50 x 13 weapons in multiplayer. Thats a lot, wouldn't you say?
This game is definitely one of the best 3D action games the DS can offer. Must buy for a DS owner.