Review by SilentGamer769
"385/2 Days. A Brilliant Game, Riddles With Some Flaws..."
First, let me just point out that I am a HUGE Kingdom Hearts fan. I was the first person out of my groups of friends to hear about it through a demo disc for the PS2, and the second I saw a trailer for it I instantly fell in love. I made up my mind, on the spot, to buy it the day it came out. And I did. I've loved it ever since. Immediately after it's release I bought Chain of Memories, and of course, Kingdom Hearts 2. I didn't "buy" 385/2 Days, but I did rent it (money issues... yeah) and while I didn't finish it, it was a game I thoroughly enjoyed, even if I didn't get halfway through. But you don't want me to talk about why I didn't finish it, since the review will say it all, enjoy.
The first thing I want to criticize, is the title. 385/2 Days. For the longest time, most people were saying it incorrectly, until they figured out it was "385 Days over 2" which makes no sense to me, some elements of Kingdom Hearts I'm a little weary to grasp. Such as why Xemnas was a bad guy... I'll have to go back and replay Kingdom Hearts 2 for that one... anyway, I feel it would have been better stated as "385 Days" Nuff said.
The story's all here. From Kingdom Hearts 1, to Chain of Memories, right up until Kingdom Hearts 2. And you'll progressively figure things out as you go throughout the game. My main beef with the story, is that it isn't the quickest to inform you. You play as Roxas, and he is living out his days in Organization XIII. So you're getting the story through his eyes, obviously, and while this is a VERY interesting concept, giving us a well renowned Kingdom Hearts characters backstory, that's exactly what you're doing... living out his "385 Days"! Which means you have to complete several days before the story actually progresses, then you usually go to a new world, go another several days worth of missions, then the story progresses again. The pacing WITH the story is what infuriated me the most, since I was just eager to find out more, and more often than not, they left you with cliffhangers. Like a beautifully written book that builds to a driving point by the end of the chapter, then refuses to enlighten until a few chapters over. In short, the anticipation is what really drives you to continue the game, more than most of the aspects, but I'll get to that in a bit.
I want to go into the sound first, before gameplay. Usually this is where most reviewers would give you "gameplay", but I feel I should save that for later. The sound in this game is beautifully composed, though with few unique tracks that play. This all blends so beautifully together however, you'll hardly notice a difference in comparison to any other DS game that I've ever played. I don't know though, FF3 and 4 may be just as good, but whatever. The sound is great. Nothing truly mind blowing, except on a DS! The voice acting is great, except for a few flaws I had with Xion's voice actor... she could have done a little better, but whatever.
Oh my, oh my, oh my. This is where the game truly shines above expectations, and that's saying something, considering I've been playing a PS3 for the past while. So to see something of this caliber is impressive. Even if it's not Next Gen Material. The details are beautifully drawn, and there's always something new that gives the game such a great tinge. The graphics can, at times, be a little choppy when it comes to smaller details (strands of Roxas' hair, Axel's tattoos) but it's nothing we can truly fuss over when you consider a DS' resolution, and the beautiful graphics you're witnessing, I found it easy to overlook.
Okay, this had ONE of the more infuriating parts. I mentioned above that the game was TERRIBLE in it's drive for a pace. The gameplay is a HEAVY influence on this as well. I understand that a good game paces in a way, that not too much is revealed all at once. It has to be taken slow, but with enough gameplay to truly tie you over until the next progression to the story has been made. I love Kingdom Hearts, but here's where I really gotta bash it... The gameplay mechanics return from previous Kingdom Hearts titles, moving away from the "card based system" from CHain of Memories (woo) but returning in Birth by Sleep (aww... oh well), however the magic system is slightly different. You no longer have a MP Bar, so much as... think Chain of Memories lol. You set the magic skills that ou need/want in a load out screen. I suppose that isn't all bad. Then you go talk to Saix, who sends you on a mission, usually the same types of missions, where you go to different worlds and kill X number of heartless, defeat a boss, recon a new world (most annoying) and I think that's about it. While this is quite acceptable, especially to anyone who's ever played or beaten a Tenchu game *beacon of light shines upon me*, that's all you're really doing... going and doing the same 3 missions again, about 5 different times, before the game gives you an option to "progress the story", where it skips ahead a few days and THEN you find out more about the story. This wouldn't be so bad, if it didn't take so long to get into the action. First you have to wake up, save, do your inventory/equipment, go talk to Saix, pick a mission, load it, kill the X number of heartless, usually each mission can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to beat, but afterwards you have to watch a cutscene with Axel, Roxas, and Xion. True, you can skip it, but you won't. For fear of missing anything of the plot. Then you load back to the Org's HQ where you do your inventory again, or upgrade or whatver, save, go to sleep, wake up, rinse repeat. It becomes this everyday routine, where nothing really evolves from that, and it was so infuriating, I couldn't keep playing... I rented it, and only had it for 5 days before it was returned, and there's ALOT of things you can do, but it doesn't give you the pacing of either KH1 OR 2. So you can't simply stay in a world and complete everything for it. Each time you GO to that world, you still have the option to 100% complete it, and unfortunately, one thing that drives me is ultimate completion. So no, I didn't finish it. I imagine if I re-rented and did a power run, going through nothing but things involving the story (missions and otherwise) then I could POSSIBLY finish it in a day or two depending.
Rent or Buy: Buy
This game is a buy if I ever saw one. Because if you rent it, you won't have time enough to take in the beauty of it, and you won't truly enjoy it, but be warned, this isn't a game you can just pick up and play with no prior history or liking to the rest of the series. This is for the fans only. And if you're a fan, most likely you already bought it when it came out (CURSE YOU MONEY PROBLEMS!) but if you're not, this isn't a game for you. Though I don't entirely feel this game is worth dropping $30 on, unless you have friends who like the series too.
I truly liked this game, I feel a twinge of regret and sadness that I didn't get a chance or opportunity to truly enjoy what would have been a great experience for me. In truth it was the gameplay and the story's pacing that forced me to drop it's score to a 7. I didn't give it an 8 because I didn't feel it was worth it, but I didn't give it a 6 because some of the things in it truly made up for the bad pacing and what not.
The game gets a 7/10, it's good and worth the play, and is it fun? Certainly.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 08/16/10
Game Release: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (US, 09/29/09)
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