I love the Kingdom Heart series, two of my favorite things stuck into one game, Final Fantasy and Disney. However the series is hardly fan friendly as the games span over multiple consoles so not everyone can keep up with the complete story line. I remember one of my friends complained about the start of KH2 on the PlayStation, to him and I assure you others the start made no sense unless you happen to have played Chain of Memory on the Gameboy. This is frustrating to any fan who doesn’t own all consoles, now the KH games span across the PS2, Gameboy advance, PSP, DS and 3DS. The HD collection coming out in September will give PS3 owners a chance to play the original and the remake of Chain of Memory which was release on the PS2 in Japan but not here, I also believe there is the story cut scenes remade in HD of 358 Days but not the game itself.
Kingdom Hearts DDD or previously titled Kingdom Hearts 3D does a great job explaining everything that has happened so far with short cut scenes and texted Chronicle section throughout the game. The story is set after KH2 and is supposed to link in the next numbered game which has been announced on the Xbox One and PS4.
Graphics are very good for a handheld game, on a par with Birth by Sleep on the PSP, maybe even slightly better, the 3D looks pretty good too but if you play like me you would only use it to see what it looks like then revert back to 2D as keeping your eyes focused while fighting in 3D can be a little tricky.
In the game you take control of both Riku and Sora who undergo the Mark of Mastery exam in order to become full-fledged Keyblade Masters after the destruction of Ansem and Xemns. Both characters are separated into a dream world however these worlds where once destroyed by the heartless and now have been restored in a state of deep sleep. When Riku and Sora enter these worlds they cannot see each other yet somehow still manage to have an effect on each other’s worlds with their actions. Like previous games of the series you will travel to Disney worlds, Tron from KH2 is back but has updated itself to the latest film Legacy; Pinocchio is also back from KH1 however not confined to Monstro himself. New Worlds include the 3 Musketeers, The Hunchback of Notre Dame & Fantasia. Other Square-Enix worlds return including Radiant Garden, Traverse Town and another I won’t mention.
As someone who has played all the games (Apart from Re Coded) I can appreciate the little hints and follow on stories from previous games which I feel maybe lost on those who are new to the series.
Combat is taken from Birth by Sleep and why not as it’s probably the strongest battle system out of the lot. This being said you are also accompanied by up to 3 Dream Eaters as companions, like Donald and Goofy these fight by your side but you do not control them. You start with one but can gain other throughout the game through recipes. These friendly dream eaters have mini games you can play to level them up, feed them and pet them, it was very Nintendogs for me and I never really bothered with it. I kept one Dream Eater with me and never bothered collecting anymore. It was an added extra I didn’t need. Maybe why I found the end so hard!
Also added in each world was a command that came up on the touch pad, once swipe down with your finger (because who else keeps the stylist in their hand) and you enter a short mini game that helps you in combat, this at times was quite tricky to move your finger/thumb from the analogue stick or buttons quickly enough to catch but was a nice addition none the less.
I love the BBS combat system however my only flaw with it and every Kingdom Heart game is healing. Potions aside, spells like Cure, Cura etc take some time to perform, if you haven’t selected it as a shortcut you have to find it with the D-Pad and then use it, if you are hit while casting you lose that turn and have to wait while the bar refills. This really becomes an issue with harder boss fights who don’t give you time to mess around trying to find a cure spell and use it before being hit and can really become a major frustration.
This is my only major issue with the game and although it does add to the challenge of timing everything I don’t feel this is the best way to make the game harder.
The other issue I had was part of the games story which had the characters falling asleep. This is how you switch between characters, Sora or Riku will fall asleep after a certain amount of game time and then you will resume where the other character left off, you can delay the time before hand and most of the time it isn’t as bad as you get a heads up before the switch. The time where this becomes an issue is during boss battles, because if you haven’t beaten that boss before the timer has run out when you resume playing said character you have to start all over again!
The game really does focus on Riku more than Sora which is a little strange as Sora has been in the spotlight in most of the KH games. Riku has the harder and better boss battles and is actually more fun to play. I find this very strange if they will be using Sora as the star in KH3.
Music is what you expect from Disney and Square-Enix, beautiful with familiar sounds, the difficulty is a challenge throughout but more so near the end. There is a hidden boss which again is an extra challenge is there if you want it.
All in all a welcome addition to the series with some minor flaws.