Review by LegendofLegaia
Definitely worth buying, but there are better Kingdom Heart games out there
Ah, the Kingdom Hearts series... A strange mix of Final Fantasy and Disney movies that's actually surprisingly pretty good. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days takes place not too long after the first Kingdom Hearts game and ends at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts ll. Rather than playing as Sora, you'll be playing the game as Roxas (at least during the normal story mode, anyway) and you'll be doing a bunch of missions for Organization XIII. It explains a couple of things left out in Kingdom Hearts ll and introduces a new character called Xion. With that out of the way, let's begin!
Graphics - The graphics are amazing considering that this is a DS game. The graphics are as close to the PS2 graphics in the Kingdom Hearts series as they're gonna get, and boy do they get far.
Music - Okay, this kind of bothered me. Except for a couple of songs, it's pretty much all music from Kingdom Hearts l & ll with the only difference being that they're played on the DS instead of the PS2, making them not sound as good as they did before. I can't really praise this game's soundtrack because it doesn't really have it's own soundtrack to begin with. I mean, I liked one of the songs that they made for this game, but that's out of what, two or three new songs?
Gameplay - I found the normal gameplay to be a little less enjoyable than the numbered Kingdom Hearts games, but it's still pretty fun. It's pretty much the same gameplay in other Kingdom Hearts games for the most part. Hit enemies with your keyblade, buy items from a moogle, get weapon upgrades, kill things for experience, use spells, etc. All that good stuff. A new thing that I liked about the gameplay was the chains system. If you hit enemies frequently, then a yellow circle will appear around them and as it gets larger, you'll score more heart points if you're killing a heartless that's able to give heart points. And if you're wondering what heart points are, they're basically money, which is weird because there's still the "munny" in this game. However, there are a few new things that I don't like, one of them being the magic system of this game. Something I'll never understand about this series is why it keeps changing the magic system. I mean, Kingdom Hearts did it pretty nicely, but most of the new Kingdom Hearts games seem to make it less convenient to use. The magic system they use for this game is essentially Final Fantasy l's magic system except you don't gain the ability to use more spells through leveling up. Instead, it depends on how many panels of that spell you have equipped, which seems strange. Speaking of which, that's another problem I have with this game. You're able to equip abilities, spells, items, armor, etc. in this weird panel system. The panel system has a certain number of panels that the player can use, which tends to be very little. There would probably be a lot of space if they didn't do the dumbest thing ever with the panel system, but of course, they did. They made level ups panels. You heard me right. If you want to level up, not only do you have to gain to experience points in order to do so, but you also need to sacrifice a panel space in order to use it, and let me say that these panels definitely add up, leaving even less room to put in important spells and abilities. Another thing I should mention is that there are missions throughout the game, there are missions (as I mentioned earlier). However, there are two types of missions. Ones that progress the story and are required to be done in order to proceed in the game... And others that are optional and apparently there for the player to gain extra items and experience, but are secretly there to just make the game longer than it has to be (at least for completionists, anyway). These missions are usually the same thing done over and over again, especially the optional ones. Get heart points! Touch the emblems in time! Kill the purple blobs! Explore this area even though you've probably already seen it in a different Kingdom Hearts game already! Like I said, the gameplay is pretty fun, so I can kind of excuse the constant re-usual of missions, but it's still pretty annoying to have to do the same thing over and over again. One last thing I want to mention is the multiplayer gameplay. This was pretty awesome, considering that this is pretty much the only Kingdom Hearts game to have any kind of mulitplayer gameplay. You basically have the choice of playing through missions you did in the story mode as various different Organization XIII members and a couple of other characters that you can unlock. Each character has their own kind of attacks and all of them can use the abilities and weapon upgrades Roxas is able to use (weapon upgrades =/= keyblades, so if you have one equipped while playing as Axel, then you'll get Axel's weapons upgraded instead of him wielding a keyblade, which would be weird). However, I do have to say that some of the characters are pretty useless, though. I mean, some of them have really high magic power, but unless you have a couple of ethers, you'll be relying on your physical attacks more than your magic ones while playing as any character and the characters that have high magic power usually have incredibly low strength power.
Story - The story is basically about Roxas's life in Organization XIII before the beginning of Kingdom Hearts ll. There are things that I loved and things that I hated about the story. Let's start off with the bad. I really don't like how you can't really interact with most of the Disney characters like in other Kingdom Hearts games. It's part of the fun to see and talk to these characters after seeing them in their movies, so why make it so that I can't talk to them? I know that sometimes, a few of the characters from a world will interact with me like Genie in a cutscene, but I'm still annoyed that I can't just go up and talk to someone like Jack in Halloween Town because the walking skeleton living in a world revolved around Halloween and evil creatures will be suspicious of a 15 year old boy who's trying to steal Cloud's hairstyle. Another thing I really hated, which is a recurring theme in the Kingdom Hearts series, is a lack of NPCs. Now, gameplay-wise, this makes sense in this game because, for some reason, Organization XIII is afraid of people seeing them. I guess it's because the robe/hoodie Organization XIII wears screams "I'm evil!", but no one would notice anyway, seeing as how a few of the characters from the other Kingdom Hearts games interact with you every now and then and don't seem to mind how weird you look. And even if this works gameplay-wise, it really doesn't make any sense story-wise. Who is Jack trying to impress in Halloween Town when he and about six other people are the only ones who seem to live there? Why aren't the normal people who live in Agrabah helping Aladdin and Jasmine with the problems their facing? Why do I never come across the lost boys, OR EVEN PETER PAN HIMSELF, when I'm in Neverland!?! Captain Hook doesn't appear to have ANY other pirates with him besides Smee and the mermaids are nowhere to be found. I can understand why they wouldn't want to have the Indians in the Neverland world, but that doesn't excuse other characters that could have been there. Okay, now onto the things I liked. I liked pretty much any scene that involved Roxas with Axel and/or Xion. These three were definitely the most enjoyable characters in the game. I loved seeing the way they acted like true friends together. It made Roxas's story even sadder towards the end. Speaking of which, I also liked the way that the game was able to make me feel very bad for Roxas most of the time. You can't help but feel sorry for him during most of the game, seeing as how he's put into plenty of horrible situations throughout the game.
Overall - Graphics are great, the music is pretty much the same music from other Kingdom Hearts games, the new gameplay mechanics are confusing, but multiplayer gameplay is fun, and the story concerning Roxas and his friends is interesting, but anything relating to what's going on in the Disney worlds is rather uninteresting.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (US, 09/29/09)
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