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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 May 16, 2016
Okay, let's get this out of the way first and foremost. This game does not earn a five star rating because it is a perfect game.It earns a five star rating because it is a spectacular achievement in storytelling and an amazingly content packed game for a DS title. I will be going through the game's individual pros and cons, so sit back, grab a keyblade, grab some sea salt ice cream, and get ready to hear about Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days( you say three five eight over days, by the way).
Lengthy game, plenty of content to explore
Great soundtrack
Emotional, moving story
Fun 'panel' system used to change character weapons and level, etc
Beautiful and fun environments based off your favorite Disney Classics
Great cast of lead characters

Storyline WILL be confusing to those who have never played Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2
Combat becomes very repetitive and monotonous
Missions aren't very different, creating a strong sense of deja vu throughout
Voice acting is hit and miss at times
Unlockables are VERY time consuming to unlock; unlocking sora will require you to FULLY complete every single mission out of the 100 or so missions in the game
Reused environments will feel old to previous kingdom hearts fans

My main problem with Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days is the way the game was designed. The game was designed for longtime fans of the series who want to know what happened between Kingdom Hearts I and Kingdom Hearts II. This makes the plot very difficult for newcomers to understand. However, the game introduces almost nothing new in terms of content, reusing smaller versions of the same worlds from the original Kingdom Hearts titles. This will no doubt bore people who have played the previous games. In fact, the design feels like a paradox: the game is a love letter to longtime fans, but yet most won't want to finish it because they've 'been there, done that', so to speak. Now, even to someone like me who has never played a KH game other than Days, I still become bored with the combat system about 2/3rds of the way through. As bad as this might sound, though, the game is still very well made. It presents some of the best graphics on the system, and also delivers one of the best storylines on the system, if not one of the best in gaming. I won't spoil it, but unless you heart is harder than stone covered in iron dipped in steel, then this game will make you want to cry. There are two more quibbles I have with the game: First, where in the world are all the FInal Fantasy Characters, and second, why does Square make you replay an already monotonous game just to unlock the protagonist of the main series in mission mode? These three problems were very annoying, but they were more than compensated by the touching story. Look, to be honest, if you own a PS3, buy Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 REmix and you'll get a 'cut scene movie' of Days (completely remastered) that will tell you about Days' great story. But if you don't, then this is the best way to experience it. One thing I do want to say about this game is that the amount of content is insane. Not only does it feature a 25 hour campaign, but it also features a 'Mission Mode' which you can play by yourself or with friends. In this mode, you can play as every member of Organization XIII and even unlockable characters like Goofy, Donald, Mickey, Sora, and Riku, It still blows my mind how much stuff they jammed onto a DS cartidge. (The game also runs at a fairly smooth framerate.)
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on May 18, 2014
As the game has been out for a while, and it'll most likely be Kingdom Hearts fans who're interested in trying to pick the game up, there will be some unmarked spoilers. Further, I have not completely finished the game; I've reached about the 2/3 point. You have been warned.

358/2 Days (Said as "Three-Five Eight Days over Two") is an interquel videogame taking place between the events of Kingdom Hearts 1 and Kingdom Hearts 2, both for the Playstation 2. The game follows the story of Roxas, Sora's "Nobody" from when he was turned into a heartless in the first game. It depicts Roxas's first experiences of being accepted into Organization XIII and being trained to perform missions that further the goals of the Organization.

First, the graphics. This is a Nintendo DS game, so as you could expect, the graphics aren't much to write home about. Cutscenes in particular are rather jarring, as you have a placid, happy-looking Xion brooding depressingly over something or a solemn, expressionless Roxas exclaiming something happily, among other... odd situations. Thankfully, the icons inside the text-boxes are better at depicting the characters' emotions(!). The in-game enemy sprites may be rather jarring as well, if you've played other Kingdom Hearts games; in particular, Soldier and Shadow heartless are very oddly proportioned compared to their previous incarnations, with Shadows being rather large and Soldiers having shrunk in comparison. Further, in Mission Mode at least, enemy models can appear very "choppy" at a distance, which was probably implemented to reduce slowdown in multiplayer games. You'll notice that there are very rarely more than three or four Organization members on the screen at a time, which was likely implemented for the same reason in single-player. The weapons, while a bit odd-looking in a lot of instances, are fairly well-rendered and have different models depending on what Gear you have equipped, and magic is fairly decent-looking as well. Ultimately, the only real downfall to the graphics in-game, however, (I'm placing it under Graphics since it doesn't seem to fit in Gameplay or other sections) is the camera. The camera can -really- screw you over if you're Locked On to an enemy that likes to bounce around a lot. Or if you have to make a difficult jump. You get used to it after a while, but it can be quite annoying starting out--and god help you if you Lock On to an enemy that's literally running circles around you; ready your motion-sickness pills.

Next, the characters. Many a Kingdom Hearts 2 "Organization XIII" fan has wanted a more in-depth look at the different Organization characters. 358/2 Days delivers, bigtime. According to Kingdom Hearts lore (prior to Dream Drop Distance), the Nobodies have no emotions or personality, instead simply emulating what they think they should be feeling at the time based on their memories of their lives as actual people. At first, Roxas fits the bill spectacularly--he has little to no emotion, no personality at all, and doesn't even really have a will of his own. Basically, he's what anybody would think fits the bill of "no emotions". Strangely enough, however, he begins developing a personality, and even what seems to be emotions, as the story progresses. The same thing occurs with Xion. All the other Organization XIII members, who've been around for much longer than Roxas, seem to have no problem with this, so it can be assumed that every Nobody starts out like this before developing a persona.

Axel isn't nearly as hot-headed as one might expect, instead seeming like an interesting combination of easygoing, level-headed, and calculating. Demyx is a slacker through and through; a lazy, goofy scaredy-cat. Xigbar tends to toss around nicknames and seems rather brash, otherwise seeming to have his own agenda going on in his head. Xaldin is not unlike Xigbar in this respect, though Xigbar seems more laid-back in comparison to Xaldin's fierceness. Luxord is very cool-headed, calm, and has this immense love for gambling puns in every bit of his dialogue. Larxene, though her appearance is very brief, makes her domineering, self-centered attitude very apparent, and finally, Saix is a fairly "Strictly Business" kind of guy, not really wanting to interact much besides to hand out missions. Overall, the cast is very diverse and interesting, shattering my expectations of a dull, dreary and personality-devoid Organization XIII. There's also, of course, the Disney characters... Oddly enough, there seems to be little to no emphasis on Final Fantasy characters whatsoever in this title. Instead, Roxas watches the interactions between the various Disney characters, who inadvertently help him to develop his own persona.

A few other Organization members appear, though their roles are very short-lived. -All- of the Organization members are also playable in Mission Mode. Yes, -ALL- of them.

This leads into the next section, Gameplay.

Combat generally flows very smoothly despite the DS's weak processing power; this is doubtlessly in exchange for graphics. Each character has an array of different weapons depending on the Gear they have equipped, and different weapons also mean different fighting styles for each weapon. It's hard to explain, and something you'd have to see for yourself, unfortunately. For some examples: with the basic keyblade(no Gear equipped), Roxas will do the classic midair combo that many players are likely familiar with from Sora. If you equip the Crown of Guilt, however, the midair combo will turn into a forward somersault, then a backwards spin. Many of the different Gears will change the characters' attack styles in this manner, so choosing a weapon to equip is just as much about how comfortable you are with the fighting style as it is about the weapon's actual stats.

While this is a cool gimmick, it also leads to some problems--namely, while playing as Organization XIII members in Mission Mode. Due to many enemies' small sizes, a lot of the characters' attack styles will completely miss the enemy or are otherwise extremely awkward to use. This is made even worse in the face of enemies who don't flinch from damage (I'm looking at you, Bully Dog), and can make solo missions nearly unplayable depending on who you've chosen. In particular, playing as Xigbar infuriated me--he's supposed to be a ranged character, but his attacks rarely seem to go far enough to actually hit the enemy; his shots' trajectories change depending on his equipped Gear and many of them are difficult to use effectively. This is in conjunction with his attacks doing -very- meager damage.

In fact, damage output from your characters seems to be reduced in general in Mission Mode. Since it's supposed to be multiplayer, and you're supposed to have up to four characters wailing on enemies at a time, it's justified in Multiplayer mode--but in Solo mode, it makes some missions extremely difficult until you've gotten far enough in the game to input enough Levels or Magic panels to offset the ludicrous damage reduction. What's more, you can tinker with the gameplay settings when going into mission mode to -further- reduce your damage output or to increase the damage dealt by enemies.

Thankfully, all of these changes do become offset once you know how to manage Magic properly and have enough panel space to do so. Magic is a serious game-breaker in this game.

So, with that said, on to Magic. Magic is extremely different in 358/2 than in other Kingdom Hearts titles. For one, there is no Mana meter--your spells are limited to a hard number by how many magic panels you install. For two, while there are three levels of each spell, -each level is a separate type of spell-. Rather than losing Fire when you get Fira, or losing Cura when you get Curaga, you keep all spells. In fact, keeping the earlier spells can sometimes be advantageous over using the newer ones; or you can go for "themed" panel-sets by equipping Fire, Fira, -and- Firaga (or the same with any other elemental spell). Fire, for example, is a small fireball that homes in on whatever enemy you're locked on to. Fira, however, shoots a medium-sized fireball that goes in a straight line and pierces all enemies in its path, dealing damage to them all. Blizzard creates a slow homing ice-ball that tracks the enemy and strikes them multiple times before disappearing, while Blizzara creates a sort of "Ice-mine" that damages any enemy who steps on it. These differences in magic allow for a lot of customization in your fighting style--and even as you get the -ara and -aga versions of spells, the first-tier spells can still be more powerful than them if you install them into Magic Level-Up links, meaning you aren't necessarily missing out on damage just by equipping a lower-tier spell.

The trouble in managing magic lies in the hard-cap, which unfortunately can't be overcome until later stages of the game. There is a workaround, however, in Ethers. Using the Magic Ring, you get the ability "Ether Boost" which increases the number of casts of each magic that're restored by Ether items. If you only equip two types of magic--say, Fire and Cure--and stock five each of them, you'll get one cast of each spell back if you use an Ether, leading to each ether restoring two total magic casts out of a stock of 10 total spells. -however-, let's say that you instead choose to stock 3 Fire, 3 Blizzard, and 4 Cure; this leads to restoring three total casts of magic; one of each spell. With Ether Boost, this becomes two casts of each magic, meaning you have four more attack spells for each Ether used. Naturally, this means that having a more diverse range of spells to cast can mean the ability to cast more spells total over the course of a mission. Learning to manage your magic types and tiers and your Ethers can make you a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.

As the final combat mechanic I'll go over, there's the Limit Break. Yes, the emotion-dependent, classic last-ditch-attack in Final Fantasy series is actually available to even Roxas(and the other Nobodies). The HP bar is segmented between a Green section and a Yellow section; if you're down in the Yellow section, you can activate your character's Limit Break by holding down the A button. This will allow your character to unleash powerful attacks that generally put their normal attacks to shame. It's a double-edged sword, however; as you use more Limit Breaks, your HP has to get lower to continue using them. Further, being attacked while Limit Breaking does not interrupt your own attacks; this is both good and bad, as situations that'd normally knock you back and make you want to back off and try to heal won't stop your onslaught, often going completely unnoticed unless you're keeping a close eye on your HP bar. Limit Break truly is a -last ditch effort- attack, not to be taken lightly in most cases. Use it carefully and it can turn the tides of battle, but use it carelessly and you'll end up failing more missions than you succeed at.

There's one last thing I need to review: Mission Types. They generally fall into the following: "Collect Hearts"(defeat all heartless that can drop hearts), "Defeat The Heartless Threat"(Defeat specific strong Heartless or Boss Heartless), "Collect Organization Emblems" (a sort of obstacle course) and "Investigate/Reconnaisance"(Look for different stuff for Roxas and his partner at the time to comment on about a new world). There are a few miscelleneous mission types, but these are the most prominent ones. I will warn you straight away--the Reconnaisance missions can be incredibly frustrating. There are generally no particular signs that you should investigate a particular spot; you just have to either run around covering every inch of ground you can, or look up a guide. It can lead to a lot of wasted time that could be spent towards other missions, and unless you just like listening to the snarking of whoever Roxas's partner is, the recon missions are just generally... un-fun. The Collect Organization Emblems missions can be difficult, as well; you're never pointed towards the starting point of the obstacle course, so you could get halfway through collecting the Emblems only to find out that you started out in a -very- bad spot. I strongly recommend looking up guides for them if you're aiming for 100% completion.

Ultimately, I give Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days a 4 out of 5. It has all the makings of a fantastic game; it could use some damage and hitbox tweaks in Mission Mode(particularly in Solo mode), the Reconnaisance missions can be incredibly frustrating, and the graphics aren't exactly the best thing ever--but the combination of strategy and fast-paced action, as well as the surprisingly diverse cast and the inclusion of a -multiplayer- mode for this Kingdom Hearts title make it every bit worth playing. As long as you don't frustrate yourself too much with Recon or Emblem missions, you'll find the title extremely hard to put down, and even people who started as Roxas-haters(like myself) will find themselves gaining a newfound fondness for the character.
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on August 1, 2017
I literally got Super Mario 64 DS instead of 358/2 days
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on January 16, 2017
This series is amazing! I have played Kingdom Hearts II and was dying to play with Roxas again. When I found out that Square Enix made a KH game for the Nintendo DS, I just had to buy and try! So far I love that this game is centered on Roxas and the Organization. It explains the friendship between Roxas and Axel and what the Organization was after. Although it doesn't have many cutscenes, it does have a lot of conversations and the gameplay is just like that of KH II with the exception of missions. In fact, many of the lands that are explored are those that were explored in KH II such as Agrabah and Beast's Castle. Though it may be repetitive for some who've played KH II, I think KH 358/2 is something any Roxas/Organization fan and any KH fan that wants to play something KH will enjoy.
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on August 12, 2014
I have only been able to play 3 Kingdom Hearts games until this point. Obviously KH1 and KH2 along with the PS2 version of Chain of Memories. Kingdom Hearts as a whole is in my top 10 for gaming franchises. Due to all the KH games released after KH2 being on portable consoles, I have missed out on some of them. However, I wanted to play 358/2 Days really bad because Roxas is one of my favorite characters and I need to experience more of him. I finally dusted off my old DS Lite and got this game. For a DS game lets just say I was extremely impressed with the graphics and gameplay. However, the hallmark of the game is its story. KH2 introduced us to Roxas who had a short but pivotal role in the game's story. 358 provides us with how Roxas came about and his experience with Organization XIII. It is a strong story that hits all the emotions. Even though I never cry playing games, when Xion fades away into Roxas, it almost gave me tears. This game was designed very well. It was linear, but it felt right since you were a member of the Organization and you are mainly tasked with carrying out missions. As the story progresses, Roxas becomes more and more powerful. It hit its peak at the end when he fights Riku. My much anticipated part of the game, and while it was short, it was a blast. This my just be my 2nd favorite KH game behind KH2. Only thing that could top it is Dream Drop Distance which I will be playing shortly or even Chain of Memories simply due to the Riku campaign. If you are KH fan, and have yet to play 358 find a way to. It is a fantastic game which adds more to the universe and gives you another opportunity to play as Roxas. Got it memorized?
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on November 14, 2010
So, I read the reviews and saw that there were over 50 five star reviews and not many bad ones, so I jumped in thinking this must be a pretty fun DS game. I haven't played any of the other Kingdom Hearts games before, so I thought I would see what it was all about. Well, let me tell you, this game is incredibly boring for about the first 27 hours of it, and the last 3 are where the story finally comes alive. Not having played the other games, I had no idea what was going on at all (look elsewhere, I won't spoil the story here) so all I had going for me was the game itself, which really wasn't that fun at all.

I ended up equipping one weapon and a basic set of spells and then went through the whole game, mostly smashing attack and jump buttons, not too much strategy except avoiding enemy attacks. All of the early cutscenes were repetitive of them eating ice cream, and the little cutscenes with Disney characters were about the lamest ever. After playing this game, I have no idea how anyone could like having the disney characters in this game, it was just so incredibly bad and lame. I'm 29 years old, perhaps this is more exciting for young kids, so adults take warning that this game may not be for them.

What I did like was the last 3 hours of the game, the story got good, almost great at this point, and the battles were suddenly way cooler than they were before. However, I can't give more than 1 start because I wasted 27 hours of my life getting to those last 3 hours, I could have you-tubed it or something easier.

Last 3 hours of the game are cool, cool CG in the end
Panel system is cool

Repetitive gameplay that did not require any strategy after a while
Repetitive cutscenes over and over
Disney cutscenes set a new level of lameness
Not much strategy
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on March 11, 2018
i got the case and booklet but no game cartridge,is this supposed to some kind of joke. If so, I am NOT laughing.
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on February 23, 2018
Fun game, and helps add more to the story of the Kingdom Hearts franchise.
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on June 20, 2017
Probably my favorite KH game, as well as the Manga. You should definitely should give it a chance and play it. Screw the haters! But really do wish it could get a Console version of it instead of being made into a cinema. Oh well. Either way; Give it a chance. Play it. Enjoy it.
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