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

Pros:

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

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

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

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

+ Dodge roll is back!

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

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

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

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

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

+ Roxas' diary entries are interesting to read.

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

Neutral

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cons

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

That's all I really have to say about it for now. Be prepared for a slow moving story but a well-worth reward ending. :D
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on 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 June 6, 2016
Haven't finished it yet, but I love it.
It provides hours and hours of gameplay. It also take you (as Roxas) into familiar worlds from Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2 and delves even further. There are new rooms such as completely different Cave of Wonders and access to a hall above the Beast's Castle foyer and the top floor of the ballroom. The extra challenges (at least in solo mode) are complex-but-doable, and very fun.
I wish they had made a version of this for PS2 or some reasonable console. The touch-screen is hardly utilized and the game can played without using it at all.
Highly enjoyable game. As a fan of the series, I recommend it.
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on 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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on March 25, 2015
This is my favorite of the series that isn't on Playstation (Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts 2, and Birth By Sleep rank higher than this one). The story was awesome, maybe because I'm a little obsessed with Roxas ha, but I loved it. The gameplay was a little hard to get used to at first but once you get used to the buttons on the DS and whatnot it's great. The only reason I gave it four stars instead of five is because the game does get a little repetitive, but again the story line and realizing what goes on between Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 is awesome. This game is way better than Chain of Memories, Coded, and even Dream Drop Distance, so if you're trying to find a good one in the series to play, choose this one. I've played them all so I would know!
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on April 19, 2013
I can look past the bad graphics (bad compared to it's playstation predecessors) because Kingdom Hearts is my favorite series. Even 10 years later, I still play these games. I honestly think that they're the best games that I've played. They're full of all the Disney characters that you grew up watching and loving which makes this game deliver an amazing experience. You travel to worlds that you've seen in movies and the way they connect the Disney characters to the story is great. They feel like they're still the same characters. Not like different people in the bodies of them. The combat system of Kingdom Hearts has been changing and developing. I'm not too fond of the battle system in this game. But it's not too bad to the point where I don't want to play. It's just something that I've had to get used to. I'd say definitely pick this game up for your kids of any age or even for yourself. Even if you're new to the series. It's never too late to get into Kingdom Hearts. Especially with the PS3 version coming out. Wouldn't wanna miss out on all the action, right?
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on December 26, 2013
I played it and played it and played it, thinking that it would get better, but it never did. It was NOT the same Kingdom Hearts games that I've come to expect from the franchise. Overall I'm a bit disappointed, but it was still an all right game.
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on October 28, 2009
As a fan of the Kingdom Hearts series, I knew I was going to buy this game the instant it was announced. That being said, I kept up on the news as it was coming out and pre-ordered the game here on Amazon. Now that I've beaten the game I feel justified in giving a review.

First of all, the storyline is excellent as always. Fans of the series will know exactly what is going on. To me, it seems like they explained the story clearly enough for those that just picked up the game to have a rough idea of what happened in the rest of the series. The game continues the plot by filling in most of the missing details while simultaneously setting up some mysteries for future games in the true Square Enix fashion.

The Nintendo DS does a good job with the cutscenes which look almost as good as a the original Kingdom Hearts. Thankfully, they put in quite a few scenes, fully 3D with voice acting, into the game and you can watch all the scenes again once you beat the game in the Theater Mode. At a quick estimate there were over 30 minutes of cutscenes. As for the actual game graphics, they did a decent job. My only big concern while playing was that the Keyblades are obviously 2D in a way that sticks out when you turn the camera at odd angles. This isn't much of an issue, but it is noticeable.

The controls are pretty much the same as the PS2 counter parts which makes the game intuitive for fans. The small controls are a little bit problematic and I found my fingers getting a little tired of hitting the same button over and over for my next big concern with the game. For some reason that the boss level enemies in this game had way too much health. I was in Proud Mode, which is more difficult, but as the game progressed it got to the point where I would just run away from enemies rather than waste 10 minutes where I'd have to smash the attack command to even kill it. Additionally, all of the enemies will disappear when they're pushed too far from their spawn point which was another problem since some enemies actively run away and your attacks can send enemies flying.

This lead to several instances where I was just annoyed because I was almost finished killing the enemy and they would disappear only to respawn at full health. It seems like they gave the enemies large health to offset the amount of damage they'd receive in Mission Mode, which can be multiplayer though I haven't had a chance to experiment, but it seems like they could have differentiated between multiplayer health bars and single player health. Another small issue I had was telling the depth in the game where sometimes I would get hit by attacks I didn't think were close enough, but I attribute this to the small screen on the DS. Another issue with the battle system was the camera system which didn't work very well. Though the added an "auto-lock on" feature later, it wasn't very helpful when you are hunting a specific enemy.

Another big issue I found was that regular attacks just don't do much damage. The only way to effectively hurt enemies with attacks is through the combo finisher moves which makes upgraded keyblades useless because they generally extended the number of hits in a combo and most latter enemies aren't stunned by regular hits and will counter attack before you can finish your combo. Magic is the most effective route but it is limited by how many magic panels you equip which brings me to the next point.

Another feature that annoyed me at first was the "Panel" system. It is an inventory system but instead of equipping just items and abilities it also applies to your level. Yes, to level up you must equip level panels otherwise you have no stat gains. This was annoying at first when your options are very limited but by the end of the game I found that the panel system was pretty fun and helped make the game more strategic by expanding the customizability of your character.

All these faults aside, there is plenty to do in the game. The main storyline is composed of several missions that a player takes care of to progress to the next story bit. This is either good or bad depending on you preferences. I found it helpful since it allowed me to play the game between classes without getting trapped into a long saga. Additionally, there is a multiplayer mode that allows you to play through the plot again with up to 3 other people. I haven't had a chance to use it with anyone else but you can do "Mission Mode" alone in order to play as a character other than the main one, Roxas. Additionally the game has a challenge mode that applies restrictions to the missions you've already completed. Both modes allow you to obtain more upgrades to make your character better.

In summary:
+Plot is excellent
+Graphics are great
+Lots of post-storyline events
+Gameplay similar to others in series
+The battle system had several annoyances that detracted from my enjoyment

Though I pointed out a lot of flaws I generally enjoyed the game. The storyline was touching and I wouldn't turn the game back in despite the hardships. I'm not sure that non-fans of the series will bother with all the extras, but for the rest of us those add another level to the game and allow for much more playability.
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on October 2, 2009
Graphics:
It kind of looks good, think KHI, the cut-scenes are really good looking though.

Gameplay:
Kind of a step down from KHII, but it can be expected when moving from a console like the PS2 to the DS. Still it's not *too* bad, just lots of little things, like the whole feel becoming less smooth and more blocky.
The panel system is a new experimental system much like the card system from Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, you either love it or hate it. Either way, it's a far departure from the norm. So far I enjoy "exploring the possibilities" by experimenting with different combinations of panels. It forces the player to somewhat strategize before each battle, instead of just setting everything once and never bothering with your character's configuration again. This is more for those who enjoy tinkering and fine-tuning their character, than those who just want to hack and slash.
One drawback is that if you want to equip items before your mission, they take up panel slots, kind of like in KHII where you put items into each character's item inventory. But in this game you can't simply set it to "Auto-reload" the used items after you return from each mission. While this isn't a big deal, but it would have given the game a more "polished" feel.
The mission system alone, gets boring quick, but it's believable for what you expect the life of an organization member. You get assigned to boring tasks, before you "Return to the Castle" or RTC.
Also, if you ever play with an AI partner, don't expect much. While Donald and Goofy were actually growing more and more useful in dispatching heartless. You will often go into a boss battle and notice your Organization comrades following you around, but not engaging the enemy. This can make long battles last twice as long on proud mode.
However, multiplayer works fine and is fun for competing against friends.

Story:
Meh. It fills in some stuff about Roxas' short and troubled existence (or nonexistence, who knows, right?) and in my opinion, this part of the story isn't nearly as important as Chain of Memories, and even that wasn't very crucial to the overall storyline.

Multiplayer:
I liked it, there's lots of customizable options to make the gameplay more frantic or casual and at the end of the missions, whoever performed the best receives "Crowns" that they can later exchange for items. Only thing is, the game makes no mention of whether making the missions more difficult will produce better mission rewards or not. I don't think it makes a difference, but I haven't really looked into it.

Sound:
the music is good quality, but the voiceover's are limited to mostly cutscenes (which are few) and the occasional "haha" or "hmm" before text. Those small sound bytes are very low quality.

Overall:
If you bought this game for the story, prepare to shelve it or sell it used. If you have friends to play it with, it has the potential to become a common staple to the DS' ad-hoc multiplayer.

In short, the game is only above average if you can get the most out of story-mode and multiplayer. Otherwise, it's just another mediocre game. So if you're not a fan of the series, you might want to pass, and rather opt for the higher-caliber console versions. But for the fans, this is a fun installment to keep you busy until Birth By Sleep or the next console release.
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on December 27, 2015
This game was really fun until the ending hit me in the feels so hard that... nevermind, just know that it was bad... Then I played it LAN and that was SO MUCH FUN! Though if you go through all the stuff to unlock Sora, he sucks, REALLY BADLY. His final is Ars Arcanum, the same as those homing projectiles when you fight-- the final boss-- on --the second phase--. They look neat but they always miss and they deal NO damage.
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