Review by crystalking18
"The Latest, but is it the Greatest?"
As a mild Kingdom Hearts fan, I've been waiting for this game to come out for a while. This and Peace Walker were my big PSP games of the year, and couldn't wait for either of them. The past Kingdom Hearts game were okay, but the last one 358/2, was a very boring game for me. So, does the PSP game do any justice towards the series?
The game takes place 10 years before the first game, with a cast of 3 characters; Terra, Ventus, and Aqua. All 3 of them have different play styles, but in the end, you'll have to play as all 3 of them for the best ending. Each story is a fraction of the main game, so playing Terra's, then playing Ventus will give you some explanation to some confusing aspects in Terra's campaign. Overall, each story lasted about 15 hours for me, and that wasn't even doing everything. The final boss battle for each character's story mode is quite good, and is certainly epic to watch, with cutscenes everywhere, giving a satisfying ending for each story. Without revealing much, the final ending does have everything tie together for the next game in the Kingdom Hearts storyline, whenever it comes out. The only thing I didn't like about the story was that you will always hear the words "heart", "light", "friendship", and "darkness". They always have a way of just going on and on about the stuff, especially Terra. I know that it's a whole thing in the series, but it doesn't have to be in every world you go into.
This is a PS2 on the go, without a doubt. The game never slowed down for me, and everything was always great to look at. All of the levels are very unique, but the actual characters in each level leave more to be desired in terms of looks. In Deep Space, just watching Dr. Jamba is a little odd to see everyone have their mouths fully animated, but his is just the weird opening closing effect on some characters. But the real show stealers are the Unversed, with each of them being fully stylized, and looking much better than the traditional Heartless.
This was the 1 part of the game I just thought was meh. Not horrendous, but it's one of the worst parts of the game. The music of reach level are pretty nice, even though a couple are recycled form past game, but the main letdown of the sound were the voice actors. The main characters were great, especially Aqua, Vanitas, and Xehanort. Terra's was pretty boring though, and Ventus was just like how you expect Roxas to be from the past games. The worst offenders are the supporting characters. Some of their voices are just not right for them. I never really thought that Snow White, Cinderella, Eraqus (Even though he was played by Mark Hamill), and a few of the Disney characters for Disney town, ever fit the role. Just my opinion, but some of the other characters, like the mirror, were great.
Having just 1 control stick is a detriment to the PSP, but they pulled of the controls pretty well. Everything is very fluid, and not hard to use at all. The only time it was a problem was when I had to not only move around, but use the d-pad to select an item. I had to cramp my hand in a very odd way,. It wasn't painful, just felt weird. The biggest problem though is the camera. You lock on with the shoulder buttons, which is easy, but keeping it locked onto an enemy is a challenge, or even switching to another enemy. The biggest problem for me with the camera was the end boss in Terra's campaign. He was hard enough, but if I stopped moving, the camera would just stop locking onto him, leaving me open. Besides that, the controls are very nice, and probably would be one of the best control schemes for the PSP.
Difficulty - 8/10
I've only played on hard mode, but note that there are 3 more modes, 2 below, and 1 above. Hard mode was a nightmare for me, which is probably why I took 15 hours to beat the game. Taking out the difficulty, I would have beaten each story mode in 12 hours. That being said, you have the option to set your own difficulty, but you most likely will choose hard mode, just to get the secret ending.
Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep is a worthy entry to the Kingdom Hearts series, and is the most complete game in the series in my opinion. I think this game is worth $35, so if you're a die hard fan, you can buy it now and play it. If you aren't, this game will most likely convert you.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/13/10
Game Release: Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (US, 09/07/10)
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