Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep - Sony PSP
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97 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2010
This is a brilliant prequel to what will be one of most well known video game crossovers of all time.

Beautiful graphics, the PSP shines like the PS2. True sceneries could be played with more but for the PSP Im massively impressed.

The story is absolutely heartbreaking, and incredibly dramatic. A perfect tie in to Kingdom Hearts, while also setting up potential storylines for KH3(whenever that decides to be announced).

I despised 356/2 days, absolutely loathed it this is such a breathe of fresh air. True its a hack and slash but there are so many minigames and story to tell its just a fantastic experience.

The gameplay like any Kingdom Hearts game is the typical God of War hack and slash with reaction commands every now and then. I like how they added D links and I LOVE the new combat system, its very enjoyable.

The one problem with the gameplay is the camera mode, they fixed the problem in KH2 but it came back in this one, granted it does not really effect the game play but when your trying to fight the boss and it locks on to a crate it can kind of make or break you.

Which now leads me to difficulty, this game is HARD. It is very challenging especially on Proud Mode, I underestimated the level of difficulty. It seems all those fans that complained about how easy KH 2 was can breathe a fresh air because BBS especially on proud mode is HARD. I think I died 6 times in the Sleeping Beauty world, very difficult.

This game is well worth the money, well worth the wait and an incredible experience.

5/5 easily, I hope I helped. The 1 star review for this amazing game is just a huge hell no.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2010
I've followed the Kingdom Hearts series from the beginning and this one is the one I would consider the best out of all. Many have complained that the prior KH games were just button mashing. It's nice to be able to say that that is no longer the case. This game requires strategy in battle to beat the bosses (assuming you're playing at a difficult higher than easy). The battles are flashy and fun and the graphics are very nice. I have had no issues with the loading times using Data Install. The graphics are some of the nicest I've seen on the PSP and the voice acting is top notch. You might notice that Mark Hamill (Star Wars, Avatar the Last Airbender) and Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek)do voice acting as well as many of the VA from previous games. Some newcomers to KH may find the cutscenes a bit long but there is a skip scene option. Birth By Sleep is a great place to start for those who have never played a KH game before and for those who are already quite familiar with the story. With three scenarios and a fourth secret scenario as well as several fun minigames and a theatre mode that allows you to watch cutscenes after you complete the game, BBS will give you your money's worth.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2010
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep does not disappoint.

STORY:
If you're unfamiliar with the series, the general idea is that you play a hero who wields a weapon known as the Keyblade and you visit various Disney worlds (Aladdin, Hercules, The Lion King, Sleeping Beauty, etc.) to fight the forces of evil. This is a gross simplification of the story, but that's the general idea.

This game takes place about 10 years before the events of the first game. Instead of usual lead Sora, the story revolves around three friends: Terra, Ventus, and Aqua, who are in training to become Keyblade Masters. Early in the game, the heroes get sent on a mission to defeat monsters called "Unversed" that have appeared in the various worlds. In addition, they are tasked with locating the mysterious Master Xehanort, who has vanished under strange circumstances.

Since this is a prequel, we know that things can't end well for our heroes -- otherwise Sora would have nothing to do in the other games. As such, BBS has a much darker story than any of the previous games. The ending in particular is rather heart-wrenching, but I won't spoil any of the details. Despite saying all this, don't expect it to be as dark or depressing as something like the Matrix or Battlestar Galactica -- this is still a Disney game and you will definitely find yourself smiling and/or chuckling to yourself at many points throughout the game.

The story has been very well crafted and all the new characters have a great deal of depth to them. Aqua in particular I found to be a very good hero; I like her as much as, if not more than Sora. The main villain of the game is easily the most cunning and insidious villain to appear in the series. In fact, I would argue that he is one of the best villains to come out of Square-Enix in a very long time.

Do you need to play the other games to appreciate this story? No, but you will appreciate certain events more if you have played the other games (in particular, Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts 2). Even if you're new to the series, I'd still suggest picking it up.

Story: 10/10

GRAPHICS:
This game is beautiful. It is likely one of the best looking games on the PSP. It easily surpasses the graphics of Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, and is probably about as good or slightly better than RE:Chain of Memories or Kingdom Hearts 2. In particular, I found myself admiring the detail of the expressions on the characters' faces during cutscenes.

Graphics: 10/10

SOUND:
Voice acting is, as usual for the series, stellar. Perhaps not the best voice acting ever (the Metal Gear series is probably better), but nevertheless quite good. Disney characters tend to sound just like in the movies (in some cases, voiced by the actual Disney voice actor!) and the original characters are voiced well. Of the three leads, Terra is probably the weakest for voice acting, but it's not intolerable. Special mention goes to Leonard Nimoy for his role as Master Xehanort -- he is outstanding at voicing the character.

Sound: 9/10

GAMEPLAY:
If you enjoyed the gameplay of Kingdom Hearts 2, you will likely enjoy playing BBS. The combat is fast paced and there are a variety of attacks to use, from standard keyblade strikes to casting spells to using shotlock attacks to hit groups. You can customize your character's arsenal of attacks by selecting different types of attacks and moves, allowing you to tailor the gameplay to your own preferences.

In addition to just finding new commands/spells as the game progresses, you can also fuse 2 spells together to make a new, more powerful one. In addition, you can choose to add a crystal to give the spell extra powers/abilities. It is like a simpler (albeit less addicting) version of the fusions that occur in the Shin Megami Tensei games.

Summons and Drive Forms from KH2 return as D-Links and Command Styles. D-links allow you to inherit special powers from a friend that you've met in the storyline (like Mickey or Snow White). Command Styles alter your basic attacks. By using various attacks and spells, you charge up the command gauge, and once it is filled, you may enter a Command Style. This greatly improves the effectiveness of your standard Keyblade attacks, just like entering the Drive Forms in KH2. By charging the command gauge with different types of attacks, you may enter different Command Styles.

You play through the story 3 times: once as Terra, once as Ventus, and once as Aqua. At first, you might expect this game to suffer from a lot of repetitiveness, but it never feels like that. While you visit the same worlds, you have different interactions with the characters and see a different part of the storyline. You may not even visit the same parts of a particular world. For example, in the Cinderella world, the Ventus part takes place completely within Cinderella's home, while Terra never even goes inside.

After playing through all 3 stories, if you have achieved a certain condition, then you get to play though one final story as Aqua. While it's pretty short, it gives you an extra boss fight and provides closure to the story.

As usual, there are plenty of fun minigames to play, and a couple not-so-fun minigames. But they add a nice sense of variety to the standard gameplay. Multiplayer is hypothetically fun, but only if you know someone else with a PSP. As I do not, I can't comment on that.

There are 4 difficulties to the game, as opposed to the usual 3 for Kingdom Hearts games. The newly added "Critical Mode" makes the game a serious challenge. Unless you do a lot of level grinding, expect the boss fights to be on par with Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden for difficulty. So if you're inexperienced, do not choose Critical. If you're up for the challenge though, it is a very fun and rewarding experience.

Gameplay: 10/10

At the end of the day, this is my favorite KH game. No question about it. If you're a fan of the series, then you're probably going to pick this up regardless of what I say. If you're unsure, I'd say go for it.

One last note: If you buy the game, I STRONGLY encourage you to do the full 600 MB data install. Unlike some other games, this one really benefits from it. Also, if you only have a PSPGo, you may be out of luck; at time of writing this game is not available for download from the PlayStation Store.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2010
Amazing game!

It is a portable, but WAY better than 358/2 days.

*Some unknown facts about the game*

It was in production before KH2 Final Mix, so it was originally designed as a PS2 game which is why it shines so much better than 358/2 days, and why they worked harder on it. The game features the 3 heroes, however, in Final Mix +, they are all wearing capes (gone now) and when you fight Terra's lingering segment, he doesn't have the chain on his keyblade as he does in this game. now on to the review...

*Characters*

It starts with Ventus through the tutorial and lets you control the other two during it to show how they all play. Then you can choose who you want first and Once you beat it with one person, you move on to the next. But I will strongly suggest using Aqua last, as her story goes deeper and further than the others, way past the ends of their stories. (Which is where the secret US exclusive hooded unknown battle comes in.)

*Gameplay*

The Gameplay is flawless! It may be frustrating at times, but you really have to level up the abilities. you can mend abilities together for example, fire and some strike ability, and you get fire strike. once you level up certain spells such as Cure, if you have 2 of them at max level, you mend them together to upgrade to Cura, then to Curaga (as with other spells.) And the gameplay is very fun! Also with mending, you add certain crystals to get abilities such as combo plus or HP plus, and leveling the ability at MAX gives you the ability for other use. I started the game on Proud mode, so I got really frustrated until i figured out how to use the things.

*Command Board*

It's like Mario Party on drugs. You play the game just like Mario Party but you level up your abilities at the same time, or if you win.

Storyline

It takes place before the first Kingdom Hearts, everything is explained in a beautiful way, feels like a PS2 game, definitely.

All in all, I rate the game 5 stars. And don't go thinking just because it is a portable game it would be as watered down as 358/2 days. That game was decent, but not the best in the series and not even close to Birth By Sleep.

***Spoliers Below***
One of the cooler cutscenes is Terra appearing at Destiny Islands. He lets (young) Riku touch the Keyblade and tells him if he looks inside his heart, someday he will be the next Keyblade Master and can travel freely (as Riku wants to leave the island). Sora is their too, and its funny because after Riku talks to Terra, Sora says
"come on riku, tell me who he is! I'm the best at keeping secrets!"
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2010
I'm not going to go hugely in depth with this review, but I did want a chance to rate it and say a few things.

First, this game reminds me again why I own a PSP, for epic amazing looking games such as these. Heck, this could stand up for itself (content wise) on a PS3 (not so much graphically, obviously). This game feels like you are playing a legit PS2 game in the palm of your hands, it's THAT good.

Do yourself a favor and pick up this game. If you don't own a PSP, buy a PSP then buy this game.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2010
One of the best psp games 45 hours of gameplay 15 hours for each characters i highly recommend picking up this game
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2011
Set about ten years before the original Kingdom Hearts, this game follows the interwoven stories of three new would-be Keyblade Masters. When I heard that the game was going to be divided into three separate stories, I was a little apprehensive. I prefer a single longer narrative to multiple shorter ones. Thankfully, the format works better than I would have hoped. Starting from scratch the third time through can feel a little tedious, but the character advancement is fun enough to keep you engaged, and since each character's story fills in the plot holes left by the others, the sense of discovery never has a chance to wane too much.

The gameplay is fantastic, and the graphics look beautiful on the PSP, especially the flashy spell-effects and the CGI movie. I actually found the combat in this game to be the best in the series. (Yes, the camera is still imperfect.) I still miss the platforming aspect of the first game. Without it, the worlds just seem a bit less interesting. If you are tired of saving Agrabbah or Halloween Town for the tenth time, you will be glad to know that there are new Disney worlds to explore here, including the Fairy Tale lands of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, Peter Pan's Neverland, and even Stitch's Deep Space.

But what makes the game special is its original characters and story. It borrows a lot from Star Wars, but in a good way. The Keyblade Masters are a lot like the Jedi of the Kingdom Hearts universe. Mark Hamill even voices one of the characters (the guy is a terrific voice actor; I didn't even recognize him in the role). The story is accessible to everyone, but those who have played Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II will get a lot more out of it. I actually felt that the storyline was one of the best in the series, eclipsed only by the first Kingdom Hearts. I loved the villain of the piece, Master Xehanort (voiced to evil perfection by Leonard Nimoy). If you have played the other games, you might suspect what's coming, but that doesn't make it hit you any less hard when it does. The tragic elements of the story are some of the most emotional scenes since the first Kingdom Hearts. But it's not all tragedy; there's plenty of heartwarming stuff here too. I especially loved when the heroes of the story ran into a some familiar faces. Seeing a couple of young someday-heroes, and knowing what lies ahead for them, is sure to make you smile.

If you are a fan of Kingdom Hearts, you want to play this game. You will love finding out what happened to the Keyblade Masters, and Xehanort's heartbreaking rise to power. If you have never played a Kingdom Hearts game before, there is enough new here to make you feel right at home, but it's a little like watching the Star Wars prequels without seeing the original trilogy. Knowing what lies ahead makes the story all the more poignant.

I still think the original Kingdom Hearts is the best, but this one might just be second. With a wonderful, bittersweet story and new characters to care for, it is a treat for already-fans of the series, and might just welcome some new fans as well.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2010
I'm aware of the kingdom hearts series but i was really surprised by the level of content that it contained. The 3 story plots have their own uniqueness and it makes the game seem new when starting a different character's story. there is some overlap but that's expected since the 3 characters are connected so deeply.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2011
While original Kingdom Hearts games on PS2 had very childish stories, I loved them because of their unique combat system and fun RPG gameplay. Therefore I had to give Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (KH:BBS) a shot. I after finishing the story twice with two different characters, here is what I thought.

****************PROS.********************
THREE PLAYABLE CHARACTERS AND THREE SIDES TO THE STORY: KH:BBS is a unique game in the sense that you have three playable characters in this game. You get to choose which character you want to play as in very beginning of the game. Each character will visit different parts of the given worlds, will grow in a different way and experience a different facet of the main story. Thus, to experience complete story, you will have to finish the story with all three different characters.

BATTLE SYSTEM: Like KH1 and 2, the battle system is the strongest aspect of KH:BBS. While this game is on PSP, it is amazing the number of different physical and magical combos you will find yourself pulling off on enemies. Throughout the game you get many different magic and attacks and you can combine these different magic and attacks to create stronger, more stunning and vary unique moves. In addition to attacks, you will also have different finishing moves. As you use different types of attack you will develop different finishing moves and different combos. It is very difficult to explain in words, but once you play, you will have an idea about the depth of battle system in this game. I personally loved it. Furthermore, different characters starts out with different moves so the variety of attacks you will have at your disposal are simply ridiculous.

GRAPHICS, ART AND ANIMATION; The game looks as gorgeous as KH on PS2. Just like KH1 and 2, different Disney and Square-Enix characters are aesthetically animated and assuming you watched those cartoons and played square games, you will go through many nostalgic moments. Loved it!

OPEN WORLD GAMEPLAY: Throughout the games you will visit different Disney worlds and game at most times gives you freedom to choose which worlds you want to visit. You are also allowed to revisit worlds to collect treasure that you may have missed or were unable to collect on your first visit. This is one of the features I loved in original KH games and am happy they have kept it here.

RPG ELEMENT: Just like previous KH games, as you defeat more enemies, your character will level up and his or her strength, magic, health and other stats will increase. Also, as described above, in addition to your character you can also upgrade different magic, attacks, moves and finishing moves. The advantage of this system is say if you are finding a boss or enemies in certain area difficult to finish, then you can always level up and have another shot at them. RPG element is one of the biggest reasons I have been a big fan of KH games.

ENEMIES AND BOSSES: Again just like previous games, very nicely designed. Different enemies and bosses will require different strategy to beat them (especially on harder modes). Buttonmashing will only get you so far. I won't spoil much, but I loved the fight where you fight human opponents.

MINIGAMES: In addition to main gameplay, you will also find yourself playing couple of minigames, such as racing and dice games. Fortunately most of these are optional so if you like them, play your heart out, if not, not a big necessity. Great way to kill some more time though. Also, your performance in these minigames may help you upgrade your skills in the main gameplay.

CO-OP GAMEPLAY: KH:BBS has an arena mode where you can either by yourself or with your friends fight hordes and hordes of enemies, race against each other or play dice game. While not necessary, it is an great addition to this game. I personally loved this mode. More you play, tougher arena modes you unlock (i.e. tougher horde fights etc.)

REPLAYABILITY: As stated above, you will be finishing the story at least 3 times to explore all the areas and all the aspects of the story. And at least from what I have played, you won't get tired anytime soon.

SECRET ENDING: No spoilers. The game itself tells you that if you want to unlock secret ending, play on harder modes. To unlock it, you will have to collect certain reports. So if you are completionist like me, you will be playing this game for quite a while to unlock this.

***************CONS.************************

REMOVAL OF SOME FEATURES FROM ORIGINAL KH GAMES: Since this game is may be taking place on PSP, they removed some good things from original KH games. You no longer have any partners. In many ways this makes things easier, but I kind of miss them.

*************CONCLUSION*******************

I have personally loved this game. Unfortunately, it will take a long while for KH 3 to come out, but meanwhile this is definitely a great game to pass some time and get ready for KH3. I personally loved the gameplay and also the story in this game. Hopefully they connect this game with KH 3. I would give this 9/10.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2010
First off, i'm a Huge Disney, Final Fantasy & Square Enix Fan.

The presentation is amazing, it looks smooth, Runs Smooth (and thats without using the Extra 16-32 bit & Color palette options) The Kingdom hearts game series has increasingly great Final Fantasy Cameo's & Fun disney worlds and that's no different with Birth By Sleep.

i was kinda wary of Worlds like Cinderella & Sleeping beauty when i heard they were in this (Well they're not exactly action based disney titles) But actually they're Jolly Good fun.

If i had more time i'd be more descriptive, but i'm short on time, So, all i Can say, is This game will Grip your Heart, & Take your breath away, it's definitely worth the $39.99 (& Ignore the reviewer who rated one Star, they're biased)
My Verdict: 10/10
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