Top critical review
Hated this damn game
on July 2, 2017
I love Kingdom Hearts. For the past couple months, I've been on somewhat of a binge trying to beat all the games. I played through the collection for the PS4, and I just got done beating Birth By Sleep. So I decided that instead of sitting through the cinematic remake of Re:coded, why not I just pick up the game? My DS was collecting dust. So I get the game, and start playing it. And what caught my attention at first is that the game combined a lot of mechanics from previous KH games. The controls and gameplay is nearly identical to 358/2 Days, however it inherited the command system from BBS. It also inherited the panel system from 358/2 Days, but expounded on it to make it a "stat matrix" in which you have to manually allocate attributes like Strength, and you unlock your abilities like the dodge roll, air slide, etc. And with each world you unlock a new area of the matrix. So I was quite impressed with this new system. There are a few parts of the game where the gameplay changes. A few levels you play 2D (Similar to Mario Bros.), there's one level where all the fighting is turn-based (reminded me of Golden Sun), there's also 3D shooter type levels. Despite all this, the touchscreen is barely used at all. No complaint about that, I just found it interesting.
The plot was a little convoluted (like nearly all the KH games to me). Basically, Jiminy finds a mysterious message in his journal. So he uses a machine invented my Chip & Dale to "digitize" the contents of the journal. And then Mickey, Donald, and Goofy recruit the virtual Sora to find out the meaning behind the message. Moreover, someone tampers with the journal, so Sora has the task to also "debug" worlds. The plot of the game reminds me of Chain of Memories. You're playing as a clean slate Sora, visiting the familiar worlds but in the context of this journey. I'm not going to lie, this game confounded to the mysticism of Kingdom Hearts, but that's the least of my issues with this game.
The reason why I hated this game is for one reason only: the HORRENDOUS camera controls. Like this is by far the worst camera controls I've ever encountered in a video game in my life. You cannot move Sora, and rotate the camera at the same time. I don't have any idea how Square Enix could release this game like this. This game is very big on platforming, more than any other KH game before it. The fights can also be just as intense. You just have to play it to understand this pain. It can't be that it's on the DS, because 358/2 Days had simple camera controls. I understand they wanted to make commands simpler to use, but come on. What's the point of having these command shortcuts if it's a mission just to FACE an enemy?
And about the different gameplay styles I mentioned, the only one I enjoyed was the side scrolling. The turn-based level was horrible. I don't get how Square Enix of all companies could mess it up. Yes, it's not at all a focal part of the game. But have you ever played a turn-based game where you can't even choose which enemy you want to attack in battle? The 3D shooting levels weren't as bad, but I feel that these levels could have made great use of the touchscreen. Especially since there's only one button to shoot. Holding the button locks on to enemies, so when you're not locking on, you're mindlessly bashing your thumb to fire.
All in all, this game had great potential. I felt like it would have been great on the console, since there could be more freedom with the controls. I understand why they wouldn't though because the game is incredibly short. Then again, it was originally a cell phone game. But I still give it no excuse.