Customer Reviews: Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance
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on August 24, 2013
One of the best things I can say about the 3DS is that the hardware is amazing, allowing for a handheld gaming experience equivalent to a slightly scaled back PS2 game. This all works in 3D's favor, as it provides fans with an experience not held back by hardware limitations like the DS games were, and provides a similar feeling to the original 2 games as well as Birth By Sleep.

The confusingly named Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance has to deal with a powerful goal: combining the huge cluster storm of a story that has been told in the previous handheld games, and somehow tie them all together, while setting up the highly anticipated third installment in the series, no matter if it has to use multi-layered storytelling, insistent terminology of its mythology, and ret-cons. Loads and loads of ret-cons.

3D takes place after Kingdom Hearts 2, and follows directly after the secret ending of re:Coded. Sora, Riku and the gang have to deal with the fact that (spoiler alert) Xehanort is coming back. To prepare, Master Yen Sid has Sora and Riku take what is known as the Mark of Mastery exam. Unlike the one seen in BBS, however, this is different. Sora and Riku must travel to 7 Sleeping Worlds, worlds that have returned after being attacked by Heartless but are still in a "sleeping state." In order to do this, they must enter a dream state themselves. Things get... complicated, to say the least, and eventually Riku and Sora are split up and they find themselves encountering old foes and an even bigger plan than they thought.

3D takes what was already a complicated story and makes it even more complicated. New elements are introduced to advance the story, but as a result end up complicating previous events in the story to make it work. The overall result is something very confusing. Luckily, the developers realized this, and they added flashbacks and journal entries that summarize all the previous games, just in case there was something you missed. For the most part, they're not bad, and they do an okay job, but the problem I seem to have is that they never really get into the terminology and definition of the previous games. What exactly are nobodies? Why are memories so important? What is all this talk about hearts and the X-blade? It does an okay job, and by the end I'm sure you'll understand, but it's still something worth noting. Furthermore, most of the important story exposition is reserved for the very end, meaning a massive amount of the story is spent trying to figure out exactly what's going on, and then the end is spent trying to make sense of all this new info you've acquired.

If I'm making it sound like I dislike the story of 3D, I apologize, as I actually really like the story, especially near the end, when everything comes together. It introduces new elements, advances and develops our protagonists in believable and natural ways, and makes the stakes actually feel severe, which is a problem a lot of recent (ex: re:Coded) Kingdom Hearts seemed to have. It gives a lot to work with for the third game, and makes me excited to see the path they go down.

Gameplay wise, there's very little to complain about. It's Kingdom Hearts. It plays like Kingdom Hearts. It uses a slightly simplified command deck system from BBS. Keyblade upgrades are the same. Kingdom Hearts 3D is different in two matters, however: Flowmotion and the Dreameater system.

Flowmotion is similar to the reaction commands from 2, but with more emphasis on movement and (as the name implies) flow rather than a button that just lets you do cool things. Flowmotion is an interesting idea itself, but I found that the more I continued playing the game, the less I used it. Getting stuck in Flowmotion makes you more vulnerable to enemy attack. It's main benefit is that it's a quick way to do some damage, but it won't do you much good if you get killed before you finish it.

The Dreameater system seems to be this game's replacement for Donald and Goofy, as well as a mix of a Pokemon/Nintendogs system. Basically, throughout the game you gather supplies and recipes to create dream eater companions, each with their own set of skills and inevitable cuteness. With these, they can fight with you, heal you, and do special limit attacks similar to the Drive forms from 2 in a way. Also included is a mode where you can play VR games and have a giant petting session with your Spirit Dreameater. They're very interesting ideas, and maybe it's just because I didn't play the game right, but it sort of seems superfluous in a way. I couldn't really see any benefit to participating in it, and for the most part I didn't have the desire to. My main focus in the game was Kingdom Hearts, not the Nintendogs system that comes with it. Then again, to each their own. I'm sure there's some that love it and really got into it, and it's really a rather well made gamemode, but it just wasn't something I was interested in.

Another change is the drop system. The game shares a campaign with both Sora and Riku as playable characters, but rather go the BBS route and have you play each character's story separately, 3D has you switch between characters while you're playing. I mean literally. Next to your health bar is a meter that slowly decreases over time. When it reaches zero, you switch over to the other character exactly where you are. The drawback is that this happens against your will everywhere. Even in boss fights. The aggravating thing about being dropped in a boss fight is that when you return, you have to start the entire boss over again. There was a time where I so close to defeating a boss, only to suddenly be dropped before I could get the final few hits. This ended up with me having to replay the boss fight 4 additional times past that fact. Surely they could have devised a way to either return you as you left off in the boss fight like they do everywhere else in the game, or turn off the drop meter as soon as you enter a boss fight.

Luckily, the drop system isn't all bad because of the DP upgrades. Throughout the game, as you slay enemies you get what are known as "Drop Points." The drop points are a currency that can be used to purchase temporary advancements, items, and slowing down of the drop meter when you switch to another character. This is a mechanic that can, with enough motivation, can be abused enough to where if you feel under powered in a boss fight, quickly drop, collect some DP as the other character, use the DP to upgrade whatever you want in the drop menu, and then face the boss as the original character.

The worlds of Kingdom Hearts 3D step the bar. It's refreshing that the 7 Sleeping Worlds (minus Traverse Town) are all based off of previously unused Disney properties, meaning that for those who have grown tired of Agrabah or Olympus Collesium can finally get some kind of change. All of the worlds are rather fun to play, each very interesting in its story and design. Special mention goes out to the levels based on Fantasia. The lack of sound and the use of orchestra music, as well as famous imagery from the film, makes it one of the best levels Kingdom Hearts has seen.

If I did have one gripe about the worlds in 3D, it's that they feel far too small. Most of the time worlds amount to a handful of separate areas where you simply go straight, fighting enemies along the way. The end result makes most of the worlds feel slightly repetitive. It would be nice to see some wider areas, or some more complex areas like Traverse Town. Although, to be fair, it is already pushing the limits of a handheld system, so I'll cut it some slack in the size regard.

Reading this you may get the impression that I think 3D is a very flawed game. While the game certainly does have it's flaws, I'm jmerely nitpicking it in comparison with the others. In reality, it's one of the best games available for the 3DS at the time being, and a very worthy Kingdom Hearts game. For the most part, it closes up the Handheld Saga well and gets everything ready for 3. Highly recommended.
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on July 31, 2012
Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] is an amazing game in nearly every way. There are a whole lot of things to do while on your adventure, and the worlds are large and full of places to explore.

The story is still as complicated as usual, but it's a great one that really sets the tone for Kingdom Hearts 3. If you've never played a Kingdom Hearts game before (or just need a refresh on the story), this game has cutscenes and readable reports that fill you in from the very beginning.

New gameplay elements to the series, such as flowmotion and the drop system, are intuitive and really make the game great. Flowmotion makes moving on the field, whether in battle or not, a much easier and more enjoyable experience. The drop system is a clever pacing tool that keeps you interested in both Sora and Riku's respective stories throughout the game. In addition, the command board and abilities make a welcome return here.

In battle, Sora and Riku have partners that are creatures called spirits, and they are one of the two types of Dream Eaters. There are over 50 different kinds of spirits, and as such they are quite varied in size, shape, and fluffiness. There are a lot of things you can do with a spirit that influences their stats and even their affection for Sora or Riku; for instance, you can pet, feed, and play with them in similar vein to the Nintendogs games.

The second type of Dream Eater is called a nightmare; the various types of nightmares are Sora and Riku's main enemy throughout the game. Depending on the difficulty level you choose at the beginning of the game, nightmares can be easy or more difficult to defeat.

The sound system in the game is noticeably more high spirited and festive than other entries in the series, but this is not a bad thing. Classic Kingdom Hearts tracks such as Hand in hand and Dearly Beloved make a return, while new songs still keep to the original feel of the games. My personal favorite track in the game is Traverse in Trance.

Overall, Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] is clearly one of the series' best, and one of my all time favorite video games.
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on July 28, 2014
Sora and Riku's mark of mastery is here. Journey with them through even more disney locations and go back to some from the original Kingdom Hearts. I would recommend this to any Kingdom Hearts fan. As for newbies, play the first and second one first. It will make the experience so much better.
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on August 27, 2013
As with every (almost every) other Kingdom Hearts game, this one has not disappointed. The gameplay is smooth, the plot is interesting, and the characters (while not Final Fantasy now, but The World Ends with You characters) and their own personal stories are intriguing.

To start with the very beginning: the opening. Kingdom Hearts openings have always been amazing. I still remember Kingdom Hearts II's opening vividly (II has always been my favourite). DDD's opening is brilliant. It follows the characters straight back from the very beginning of the KH franchise, up until DDD. With the addition of the 3D feature, the opening is truly spectacular.

Now, the new things about this game: Flowmotion, for one. The game practically starts with the player learning how to use Flowmotion. I was wary about it- the scene with Neku using Flowmotion to bound off of buildings made me fear it would be a difficult button mashing scenario- but it is so easy to use and very beneficial. You can use it to get around the landscapes more efficiently and you can use it for battles. Definitely an added bonus.

Now, the Spirits and Nightmares. I love the Spirits. These are Heartless as we know them turned good, basically. From recipies that you collect, you create whatever Spirits you'd like. They fight with Sora or Riku throughout the game and are the points of levelling up and creating more abilities/defences/strengths for your character. You can play games with the Spirits to increased their level, their ability link, or their heart points. You can feed them to accomplish the same effects as well. The Nightmares are Heartless. Typical run of the mill fighting is used to defeat these, with some special exceptions for some of the boss battles.

The worlds. All of the worlds are less mainstream than what KH fans are used to seeing. Traverse Town remains as a constant. Then you have The Grid, from Tron (also somewhat familiar), La Cite Des Cloches from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Prankster's Paradise/Monstro from Pinocchio. Symphony of Sounds from Fantasia, and an appearance into the world of The Three Musketeers. (This is as far as I am in the game now. Final world is unknown to me.)

Dropping is by far the most annoying part of the game. It isn't bad, once you get used to it, but would I have liked it better if there wasn't dropping? Yeah. Basically, the game's split in two pieces: Riku's Story and Sora's Story. You adventure as one or the other, respectively, playing out certain storylines in each world. Essentially, you have a time limit- called the Drop Gauge- on each character and when it runs out, you switch over to the other character. It can get highly irritating, but you can get a slower Drop Time through collecting droplets to trade in.

Asides from the dropping, this game is spectacular. There's back story to characters that we have never had the chance to witness. There's pleasant reminders from the older games. I am happy that I bought this game and any fan of Kingdom Hearts should be a fan of this game as well.
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on June 23, 2016
This game did not disappoint! It arrived on time, well packaged and I immediately opened it and started playing it. The graphics were great, the story line was wonderful and it's an easy game to follow along with. I am a huge Kingdom Hearts fan and I 100% recommend this for any other fan or any parent buying a younger one a game for a DS. It's not inappropriate or too difficult and would be great for kids that have prior video game experience.
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on May 27, 2016
I have always been a huge fan of Kingdom Hearts. I am a huge Disney fan and Final Fantasy Fan. This game is just as awesome as the others. If you love the Kingdom Hearts series you need to add this game to your collection!
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on September 23, 2016
Starting off to say that I'm the sole provider for two dependents, working three jobs. So I don't have a lot of free time, which is why I got a 3DS rather than play lengthy console games.

This game was so reminiscent of the wonder and awe of the story of the original, with some extra stuff thrown in I didn't really go for (I guess the original had the gummy ship side content).

I got up to Pinocchio's world, on the easiest difficulty, before running out of potions and going against a boss which runs away from me, and can chain attacks together which drain almost half my healthbar before I'm able to react. Dev's definitely failed to provide an easy mode so that I can experience the story, instead, forcing the player on the easiest difficulty to either waste time grinding or be a pro gamer. I'm just going to trade in the game and prefer to watch the 5 hour story movie on YouTube, I don't have time for this game and its failure to provide a low-stress playthrough.
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on June 17, 2014
This is my first 3DS game I actually enjoyed, even though I bought other highly acclaimed 3DS games. I really wanted to play a kingdom hearts game, and I'm glad I started with this title. My biggest complain is that, in order to get new powers and get stronger, you have to frequently pause the game to play some kind of pet simulator and some minigames to make your companions give you your powers. I though that aspect broke the whole fast-paced combat action of the game. although the story is confusing, this is one of the few games I have had a lot of fun in recent years due to combat alone (and I'm impressed in how much powers, abilities, and combat animations Square Enix packed in this title). If you are looking for an exhilarating sword fighting role playing game, I reccommend it, but expect pausing the game a lot between combat to do some tedious pet simulator minigames.
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on December 31, 2012
I bought this game for my son so do not have a detailed product review telling you how awesome all the characters and new motions are. Here is my opinion from a "mom" point of view.

I like the Kingdom Hearts franchise because it allows my son to play a complicated story line and "battle" with out all the adult themes that seem to go into most of these type of games. All the gamers are going to yell at me but remember I trying to talk to mom's not gamers....This game is similar in my opinion to the Final Fantasy franchise. The nice thing is that it is Disney characters so it has taken an "R" game and brought it down to a "PG" or "G" level. That makes it appriate for a 10 year old + child. I am not sure for younger than that, you would have to use your best judgement.

My sons have loved all of the Kingdom Hearts games. I now my younger son loved this game. My only complaint would be that he "finished" the game in about 4 days and that was not with content play. So to me it seemed like a short story line. That said I would recommend this game for any young teenish boy.
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on February 22, 2015
I love the Kingdom Hearts series! Haven't played all of them but have played 1 and 2, Castle Oblivion, and 358/2 days. Overall this one does not disappoint, but have points that can be improved.

-Graphics: as always Square Enix exceeds all expectations in this area; the graphics in this one is so amazing they don't even need to make cinematic cutscenes 'cause even normal gameplay quality is so high. I cannot emphasize how amazing this one is; compared to tons of other big title 3DS games this one wins by a mile
-Flow Motion: this is super cool - makes everything feel epic; a lot of the places where you can glide also feels intense/exciting
-Epic battles: kind of similar as above, there are so many awesome combos/mechanics in this one even if you're not super pro whatever you're doing just looks amazing
-New dream eater system: this is super cool! Everything from shooting paint balls at them to the mini-game; I love this system. I'm generally not a big fan of mini games but this one was very fun and entertaining
-Game "flow": the game/story flowed very nicely; good pace

Overall.... a lot of things were confusing even for a long time player like me
-Confusing tutorial: you learn a LOT very fast; even as a previous KH player a lot of parts were confusing; my friend who never played KH was sooo lost and had no idea what was going on; difficulty also scales up very fast even on normal mode
-Confusing storyline: similarly unless you know the entire KH franchise storyline a lot of parts get confusing really fast. They try to slip in these mini "flashback" clips that teach you what happened and provide context but there is just SO much info it's hard to keep up/care if you're a new player (or even if you're just someone who didn't play all the games)
-Story: the whole game didn't really feel like it advanced the KH storyline forward; kind of felt like a filler

Overall very enjoyable; but I feel the confusing elements can be a turn off for newer players, which is unfortunately because the entire game has such, such, SUCH high production value!
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