Review by demonic_seer
"What matters the most... was remembered the most!"
I'm not a die-hard Kingdom Hearts fan, but I love the series, so when I heard there was going to be a Kingdom Hearts game for the Nintendo DS, I had to buy it.
Replay Value: 9/10
Trying to fit a new Kingdom Hearts game in between two existing games? Hard. Trying to put it on the Nintendo DS? Hard. Doing all this and managing to make the gameplay near flawless? Priceless. 358/2's innovative new way to handle the commands is amazing. The menus are interactive, and are set up in just a way that they aren't too overbearing. Missions, in my opinion, are the perfect way to organize the game, especially because they provide you with the same exploration as the previous Kingdom Hearts games, while giving you the chance to save in between them. The new panel system allows a new level of customization that enhances the gameplay and brings back a sense of control over abilities, like in the other games. The camera is often criticized, but shifting the camera in front of you becomes second nature after playing the game for an hour. The only problem I had was that the flying portions of the game (in Neverland) were too long and drawn-out, and the areas were almost too large. Other than that, the gameplay was perfect.
Do I really need to elaborate? If you've played the other Kingdom Hearts games, then you already know most of what goes on outside of 358/2 Days. The story, without going too in depth, is about Roxas before Kingdom Hearts II, but after Kingdom Hearts I and some of Chain of Memories. This clears up a lot of the surrounding information regarding Organization XII, along with some character backgrounds that are revealed. Seeing all of the Organization XII members' structure behind the scenes really made the games much better.
I need to touch upon the controls of 358/2 Days because of the control switch. What I'm referring to is the switch of controls from a PS2 style to the NDS. This should have been very difficult, but thanks to the people at Square Enix, they became very easy and similar to the other games. Using a separate button to move the action command box? Great. Using a trigger button for locking on? Great. Repeating the same mashing of controls over and over again? Not so much. That's the only thing I found annoying: the complete lack of variation in controls. The fact that you can switch weapons and characters alleviated the feeling of repetition, but having the reaction commands from Kingdom Hearts II would have made the game a whole lot better.
For a Nintendo DS game, the 3-D graphics were stunning, compared to most other major 3-D games. Since the graphics looked like a PS2-rendered game (almost), it was phenomenal. I mean, even some of the best (and worst) games were pretty "edgey" for the DS, but 358/2 Days set a new standard. The cut-scenes were even better! I have to say, seeing the Organization portrayed on a handheld system was amazing.
As if the graphics and gameplay itself weren't enough, the music is from the other Kingdom Hearts games, with some exceptions. Even though it isn't as grand and bold as the PS2 versions, it is great for a DS game. I mean, considering that you have a major trade off when it comes to data on a DS card (music versus voices), the programmers at Square Enix made a great choice.
Well, I'm not one of those hardcore gamers who has to get every item, every upgrade, and every weapon, but the Kingdom Hearts games in general are good for those types of people. Thankfully, the unlockables at the end of the game made me work hard even after I had beaten it. Unfortunately, I found that there was almost no incentive to level up insanely high. In Kingdom Hearts I and II, there was at least Sephiroth or some awesome boss that was completely optional. In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, there wasn't much reason to play for hours on end so that you could own enemies instantly.
Replay Value: 9/10
How do you make a great game better? Add a multiplayer system! The multiplayer mode gave me an incentive to play with my friends and unlock all of the characters. Why? Because you can get free items just for playing missions with your friends, and they help you unlock rare items. Also, it's just plain fun. Blowing up your friend by using fire on an explodable enemy and then having them yell at you, "Why in the world would you do that?!" is just great. And I have to say, the unlockable characters make the game feel like a real Kingdom Hearts game.
This is by far, one of the best Nintendo DS games ever.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 12/08/09, Updated 12/09/09
Game Release: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (US, 09/29/09)
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