July 6, 2012

Impressions: Kingdom Hearts 3D

Kingdom Hearts has always been a little bit crazy, but Kingdom Hearts 3D ups the crazy ante in suitably crazy ways. The story, of course, has become even more convoluted (Or has it...? It probably has.) this time involving Sora and Riku ridding dream worlds of dream eaters so they can pass their Mark of Mastery exam and become keyblade masters. Still with me? Good. The game's new set of enemies are crazy neon animals that come in both "nightmare" and "spirit" forms. Nightmares are bad, but spirits will fight with you, replacing Donald and Goofy. And that's just the most minor difference.

|How's it play?| There have been major changes to the combat this time around. The game utilizes a system it calls "flowmotion" which lets you slide along the ground, launch off walls, spin around polls, grind on rails, and more. It's very, very fast paced. Of course, you can still use the traditional combat with dodging and lock-on if you want, but I'm not sure why you'd want to. See, this new system is really exciting. You're flying all over the place and doing crazy combos. You can slide around larger enemies, sort of like KH2, except this time it initiates a crazy combo attack. The boss fight was one of the craziest I can remember in a Kingdom Hearts game.

The game also throws in a bit of a Pokemon mechanic with your dream eater companions. You can collect them to use in battle and each one will give you different attacks or abilities during combat. One of the little cat guys I had with me initiated a rhythm minigame in the middle of battle. How well you do determines the range and intensity of the attack which involved a blast of sound waves. The other guy, some sort of bear thing allowed me to ride on its back while I bounced it on top of my foes. Certain items in the world can also be interacted with. In the demo, I could lock on to a box to make a slingshot that could be aimed with the touch screen.

It's worth noting that both Sora and Riku are playable in this game and the types of abilities gained change depending on who you're playing as. Sora will do team attacks, whereas Riku will simply receive buffs. Speaking of the two characters, you'll switch in between them during the course of the game. Apparently, the characters are narcoleptic now and will fall asleep randomly if you don't keep the action going, causing you to switch characters. I didn't experience this, and only time will tell if it'll be annoying or not. Additionally, you now travel between worlds by "dropping", which is exactly what it sounds like.

But anyway, both characters have the standard command deck that lets you do magic attacks and healing. There's no meter for this, but instead a recharge for each ability. You select these using the dpad, which bothers me slightly because you can't move and do it at the same time (but that's always been the case). The camera is controlled with the shoulder buttons like in the original, and pressing both at once will lock-on to enemies. It's also compatible with the circle pad pro, if you happen to have one. If you were wonder whether you should buy one for this game, wonder no longer. Don't. You won't need it. Normally, shoulder button camera control would bother me, but the new system is made to compliment it. You're flying around so much you don't have the time or need to rotate the camera because it's always wipping around for you.

There's a lot of dream eater stuff thrown in here, too. You can play oodles of minigames with them, as well as battle them in a multiplayer mode. This sounds like a combination of Pokemon and that damn chao garden from Sonic Adventure 2 that I loved to death as a kid. Basically, it sounds awesome. And if you've ever wanted a virtual reality pet, well then this game's for you!

|Other thoughts| The demo actually sends you back to good 'ol Traverse Town (which Sora says weird for some reason) which is pretty much unrecognizable. I'm not sure about Final Fantasy characters, but I do know that this game features the cast of The World Ends With You. Whether that's because it's was a DS game or what, I'm not sure... but it looks like Kingdom Hearts is expanding beyond just Disney and Final Fantasy. Speaking of that, the worlds are somehow all new this time. There's The Hunchback, Pinocchio, The Three Musketeers, Tron Legacy, and Fantasia. The music is Kingdom Heartsy, but noticeably more playful, at least in my opinion. There's an abundance of sleigh bells and tambourines for some reason. And for reasons unknown (well, there's probably an explanation that makes no sense) Sora and Riku look younger in this game even though it's latest in the timeline. Speaking of looks, the game looks great. At least, as great as a KH game has ever looked. Did you ever realize there's never been an HD Kingdom Hearts game? I'm not sure if I even want that, at this point.

|Should you keep an eye out?| Hellz yeah! If you love Kingdom Hearts or just own a 3DS, you'll need this game in your life.

Preorder now from Amazon and get AR cards that unlock new dream eater companions!

Or, get the Mark of Mastery Edition with a bunch of random crap for $55!

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