Review by DARKDEATH98

"Keyblade Wielders Unite!"

Well, let's get this out of the way first: Keyblades are awesome, and instantly make a game even more so. And Kingdom Hearts already rocks my toe-socks, so this is just better tenfold.

Now, on to the review:

STORY: 4.5/5
The story is set BEFORE the first game, so this is a prequel. It ties up some loose plot points in the second game (Chain Of Memories), and a couple of things about the first game that hardcore fans will appreciate. The story unfolds from the points of view, in three different characters with distinctly different abilities and stories, so here is my individual scores:

TERRA'S STORY: 5/5
Terra is a young man who feels compelled to find greater strength. He relies on brute force in combat.
His story involves him trying to overcome the darkness in his heart, which means he consorts with the villians in many of the Disney worlds. Angsty barely describes Terra. His story is easily the best, and he's reccommended for begginers to play as. What's not to love?

VENTUS'S STORY: 4/5
An outgoing and iquisitive young boy who holds his Keyblade backhand. Quick attacks are his forte.
Ventus (Ven) has a decent story at first, involving his quest to find Terra before it's "too late". Apparently, he listens to a "bad guy" who says by the time he finds Terra again, he'll be a different person. After Terra literally abandons him, he continues his journey, which becomes listless and lacking of any clear direction, trying to make friends. Yeah, pretty lame, but his character makes it worth playing. He also has a unique playing style which makes his story very fun. Plus, HIS final boss is SUPER EPIC. Being a balanced character, he is reccommended for those who like to customize abilities to fit their playing style.

AQUA'S STORY: 4/5
A young woman who's sense of wrong and right never wavers. She is nimble, and a gifted mage.
Aqua has a pretty mediocre story of spying on Terra, and finding Ven and bringing him back home. She uses magic, so she's not exactly my favorite character. In fact, her weak physical strength and durability and difficult boss battles make me loathe playing as her. But people who enjoy magic users are probably better with her after all. She's good if you like flashy moves and intelligent gameplay that involves tossing spells like there's no tommorrow (which, in her boss battles, their usually isn't)!

GAMEPLAY: 5/5
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Square Enix took a new approach: If it's halfway broke, repair it. And it works. Rather than cycling through magic, sleight and item menus, attacks are mapped to the X button, defense to the square button, jump to the O button and everything else to the triangle button. That works because, keyblade skills (also referred to as sleights), items and magic, are all installed into a list called your "Command Deck". You can install ANYTHING from special attacks, magic attacks and even ITEMS (like potions) into your deck and use it easily and intuitively during battle. You no longer have to cycle through poorly constructed secondary menus while running your ass off from enemies bearing down on you, but instead fight like a pro with minimal hassle. The gameplay shines, but if you don't like grinding, you'll have some major trouble with a couple of bosses...

LIFESPAN: 5/5
I'd like to give this a 6/5, but I can't. It's that good. With three interwoven plots, a bonus final chapter, interesting backstory info to unlock, LOTS of Keyblades to aqquire, online play, and the Mirage arena and Command Board, this game will keep you VERY busy for a LOOOOONG time. Trust me. It's also big on replay value (for me, at least)...

PROS
-Great new battle system
-Three stories in one!
-Has that Kingdom Hearts feel
-Keyblades

CONS
-Can get frustratingly hard
-Not all stories are that good
-Mediocre ending
-No party system

FINAL SCORE
True to the Kingdom Hearts series, this is the best game so far.
It gets a 5 out of 5.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/27/11

Game Release: Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (US, 09/07/10)


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