Review by blueblur595
"Something for Everyone? Nope. Fun to play? Oh yeah."
So Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. Hmm... I was kinda questionable about this game as everybody has different tastes. First off, I'd like to say that this game is ENTIRELY MISSION BASED. It doesn't have the free roam aspect, so if you don't like that, this probably isn't the game for you. But let's take a look at it and see what's up with Roxas these days.
STORY - 10/10 (conditionally)
It's Square Enix people. The story masters. It's not an assumption to say that Kingdom Hearts has a very deep story hidden underneath the gameplay. But if you've never played a KH game before, I suggest not picking this up if you wish to understand the story a little bit further. Go buy KH1 for PS2 if you want a better look at the story, but otherwise this is what's happening:
358/2 Days is set after the events of KH1 and simultaneous with the events of Chain of Memories. When Sora turned into a shadow at the end of the first game, a nobody was created, as you learn in KH2. That nobody became Roxas. This game is about his days in Organization XIII (that's 13, kids) and going up to his life in Twilight Town. I won't say anymore, for the sake of spoilers.
People who come into this game first instead of KH1, or even KH2, will be confused. But for the people who have played the other games, they will understand this stuff and as you progress through the game you'll hear yourself going "Ohhhhh... that's what that is," tons of times. It felt gratifying to finally get the gist of the story at the get go, however it wouldn't help for a refresher of the past games (timeline wise). But as long as you've played KH1, you'll have this down.
Overall, story is perfect - unless you've never played this game before, in which case, GO PLAY KINGDOM HEARTS 1 ALREADY!
SINGLE PLAYER GAMEPLAY - 9/10
The core experience for every RPG (with some exceptions), it's pretty intact. If you like Kingdom Hearts 1's battle system then you'll love this. The fight system definitely leans more toward the first game than the second. It's basic, non-flashy combat. That's right people - no reaction commands, no drive forms (aww man), nada. But it does keep some things from KH2 such as the limit breaks. More on that a little bit later.
Like I said before, the game is completely mission based, so basically you start as a rookie in the organization. By doing missions you raise your rank and unlock new worlds, like Neverland, Wonderland, or Olympus Coliseum. The difficulty rises at a nice pace and I wasn't overwhelmed too early in the game.
Equipping is completely different than you remember from before. Roxas basically has a tiled board to put panels of different shapes and sizes. You put abilities, items and keyblades in your space. Every item you use erases it from the board, making you go back if you're item dependent. Abilities are usually 2 or more spaces and can be upgraded using a specific tile. An example would be the glide. You can add on another glide power-up, and it enhances it. Keyblades however are split into different categories, like Aerial, or Ground, or Magic. They specialize in a certain aspect of combat, so use them to your technique. These can also be upgraded, such as adding power, magic capability and even new abilities. You should spend a good amount of time trying to maximize the space.
When you get into a level, you'll start by doing some free roam. Depending on your mission, you could be doing recon, heartless hunting, and what not. Sometimes you'll be joined by another member of the Organization (my favorite is Xigbar and Axel) or you'll be by yourself. When you start tackling your mission, a meter on the touch screen will start to fill. Sometimes you complete the mission and the bar is full. But other times you can do a little extra to get more iterms and rewards.
Now, the battle system. There's not a lot of flashy stuff - just repeatedly tap A to bust a combo. You operate your command menu with the X button, so you can use your magic, items, or open stuff. You can also make shortcuts. Tap R to center the camera behind you and tap it twice to lock on to enemies. The camera can stumble a little bit - I've found myself getting hit because I couldn't see anything, leading to me getting frustrated. But that's one problem in a sea of goodness.
Lastly, there are limit breaks. Every character has a different limit break. I won't spoil what it is, but Roxas later gets an item that expands his limit break and makes it last longer and go into a second stage. However, just like in FF7, you only get these monster moves after taking damage. If your health hits the yellow part of the bar, it's limit break time. You do have a set amount of time to use it, and a limited amount of times you can.
MULTIPLAYER GAMEPLAY - 8/10
I haven't played a lot of the multiplayer, but I've played it enough for me to write a review. The reason I couldn't is because not a lot of people I know have the game. Yes - no DS download play. I wish some Nintendo WFC was there to play with people elsewhere, but it isn't.
Basically, you do the same missions that you do in single player, except now you can be different people other than Roxas. Be anyone from the Organization and even other unlockable characters (not saying who). You can only do missions according to the person with the lowest rank. I found that kind of annoying, but you don't want to spoil the story for someone who hasn't got there yet. Everyone competes for crystals that are tallied up at the end. I personally didn't like the sound of it, but playing against a boss with friends makes for some pretty epic combat.
Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days was very enjoyable for me, so much so I'm playing it again for the fun of it. Aside from some minor problems the core gameplay remains intact. But others who like flashy stuff like in KH2 won't find it here. So it's not something for everyone, which I think gives it...
An 8 out of 10.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/22/09
Game Release: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (US, 09/29/09)
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