Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

Posted by staff | Posted in Role Playing | Posted on 27-09-2010

5

  • Finally experience the “Kingdom Hearts” storyline missing chapter.
  • Familiar action-packed “Kingdom Hearts” gameplay that has captivated fans worldwide.
  • Panel System, a brand new system that allows you to customize Roxas arsenal by placing abilities, items, and weapon parts into allotted slots.
  • A series-first multiplayer mode, allowing up to 4 players to control any Organization XIII member.
  • Get to know the members of Organization XIII, including the mysterious fourteenth member and learn about the origins of the “Organization XIII” name.

Product Description
In KINGDOM HEARTS, Sora turned the Keyblade on himself in order to release Kairi’s heart, but his heart was also released in the process. This brought about the creation of Roxas, Sora’s Nobody. Roxas has no recollection of his previous life, which is unusual for a Nobody. He joins Organization XIII and slowly begins to discover the truth behind his existence and the Organization itself. He meets and befriends the fourteenth member of the Organization, who also has … More >>

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

Comments posted (5)

Here is a game that could have been so much better than it is. Even so, it makes an entertaining, if lesser chapter into the Kingdom Hearts Series.

First the good. The game controls great. Clever use of shortcuts makes magic casting a breeze and the action for better or worse in primarily controlled by mashing on the A button, occasionally using B and Y to jump and block/roll respectively. The fighting is good for what it is, but mostly it is a bit simplistic.

Sadly the whole game is a bit simplistic. It is clear the developers wanted to focus on graphics and story. What they wound up with is a game that looks almost as good as its PS2 counterparts. The story on the other hand is a bit muddled and what starts out as a cute bromance turns into a constant irritation. My god, I don’t care about them eating icecream for the 85th day in a row.

Also missing from the game is any bit of exploration. The worlds are depressingly simple and small, generally consisting of a few large rooms or spaces with few more caves/rooms opening up later in your missions. That brings me to the other big problem with the game which is the mission structure. Simply put, it is not nearly as fun as just a regular Kingdom Hearts game. 85% of the missions boil down to either kill a bunch of Heartless or kill one specific Heartless. It begins to drag with a flustering amount of sameness. Every once in a while you will come across an exploration mission which generally involves running around until a question mark pops up over Roxas’s hear and you press A. There are also a few missions that you have to follow a character, which are about as dumb as they sound.

The characters from Disney and other Square series are pushed to the backburner here as well, it is mostly about Organization XIII and run parallel to the events of Chain of Memories.

The final problem with the game, as alluded to by other reviewers is the panel system, which seems to be an odd combination of a card game, the materia system from Final Fantasy VII and Diablo’s loot system. You can place different panels into your inventory to do basically anything including learn moves and magic. The most irritating panel could be the level up panel. This is certainly the first game where you have to equip a level up. You get to make irritating decisions such as “Do I level up or take ‘cure’ into the battle” Do I want more casts of fire or to have the ability to block. It seems some things, such as new tactics and level ups should be automatic. I guess it adds in a new strategy to the game, but mostly I find it irritating.

That all being said, if you can look past the irritants, there is a lot of fun to be had here, especially for those who are already fans (for those that haven’t played KH before, good luck following the story). This one is for the fans only.
Rating: 3 / 5

First of all, let me start by saying that this is my favorite game in the Kingdom Hearts saga. It was definitely worth the wait. Being a hard core KH fan myself, I made sure to by the game the day it came out and I wasn’t disappointed. I played everyday after school, unable to put the game down for longer than I had to.

Length: I completed the game in 30 hours on Standard Mode, which is a pretty average completion time for a Square title game. And as Square does with most of their games, they made sure to leave plenty of extras after the game is over to tackle if you want more. I’m currently working on unlocking the Hidden Reports.

Graphics/Sound: I have to say I’m impressed. While the majority of the game’s story is spent reading (which is to be expected from a DS game), the high graphic cutscenes are absolutely stunning, easily matching those of a PS2 game. No small achievement for a DS game. The lower quality cutscenes are a bit pixely, but aren’t all DS games? As far as sound goes, this will make for another unforgettable soundtrack by Square. Also the voice acting is wonderful. My only disappointment was that it was limited to the high quality cutscenes and simple `hahas’, `hmms’ and other similar sounds before text.

Gameplay: A tiny step down from KH II, it was still fun and the KH style carried surprisingly well over to the DS. I’ll admit I was a bit worried that, being on another hand-held system, it might end up being a bit too much like KH CoM, which, while fun, I didn’t care for the Card System. But my concern quickly faded as I got past the initial tutorial in the game.

The idea of the panel system looked a bit confusing at first, but I quickly caught on. Similar to KH II, it allows you to make shortcuts during battle to different spells and items. I’ve heard some complaint over the fact that you only get limited slots, but personally, I think it adds a nice challenge to the game, and it’s not like the slot setup you choose is permanent; you get the opportunity to rearrange your slots before every mission.

Which brings me to the Missions. This is perfectly believable for the story the game follows. While some missions are a bit repetitive, you usually have the option to skip over them and take on the missions that are different. I’d say about 60% of missions are optional. Also, I’m sure veteran KH fans will enjoy embarking on missions with their favorite Organization XIII members. The only missions I really didn’t care for were recon missions, which consisted of working your way through each world and clicking on different locations to gather info on the area.

Mission Mode: This allows you to replay previous missions that you’ve played in the game using any character you’d like. You start off having only the members of Organization XIII to choose as your player, but you can unlock more as you get farther into the game’s story.

Story: This is the reason Days is my favorite KH game. Yes, even though the game comes with a booklet that explains what happened in previous games, and the majority of the game requires no previous KH knowledge, I think new KH players might be a bit lost. But then, it is a sequel. I’m sure anyone who jumped into the middle of the Harry Potter series would be confused as well. I, however, having played all the other KH games, followed the story easily.

There are plenty of moments where I found myself laughing out loud, but there were more moments where I found myself fighting back tears. Days is, in my opinion, the most heart wrenching addition in the KH series. Also, being a fan of Organization XIII, I had endless delight at seeing my favorite characters going about their daily routines. The story takes place shortly before, during, and after the events of Chain of Memories.

So, to quickly summarize, I’m sure previous KH fans will enjoy this newest installment to the KH story, and new KH players – though they may get a bit lost at times – will enjoy the game as well. I highly recommend this delightful game.

Rating: 5 / 5

This is going to be a bare bones review, because I’m only on Day 23.

The graphics are spectacular, especially for Nintendo. Nintendo has never been known for their graphics (always pixelated and basic) – but the improbable is possible when you mix Squeenix and Nintendo. They’ve managed to combine the best of both worlds, artistry and technique. Tetsuya Nomura’s brainchild has been unleashed on the DS in such magnificent fashion. You know this game is something only HE could have created. Everything from the music down to the sound you hear when you’re trying to select something that you’re unable to at that time mimics Kingdom hearts 1 and 2. How they managed this feat, I don’t know. When you look at Chain of memories for the Gameboy Advance, it was NOTHING compared to this. It was just a failed attempt at an original game. 358/2 Is NOTHING like Chain of memories for the GBA (i hated CoM and the card system). This is a game unto itself. A game that delves into the history of the organization, and more specifically Roxas. This takes place before, during, and after Chain of memories.

if you’ve never played KH before, then go ahead and play the first one. After that, it’s up to you which you choose to play next. I would leave KH2 for last that way you’ll have a better understanding. It’s like a book with many volumes. They should be read in order, no?

So far my only 2 negs. about the game would be;

1)NOT ENOUGH VOICE ACTING. HAI QUINTON FLYNN I PAID MONEY TO HEAR YOU AS AXEL, kthnx.

Seriously. I’m all for reading, especially since there’s some in KH 1 and 2 (less in 2) but I want to HEAR the cutscenes not read them. That is reminiscent of Chain of memories. I suppose they had to though, to keep the file size smaller.

2) I’m not too fond of the panels. Setting it up and all, it’s a learning experience and with a learning experience comes a learning curve. I’m sure ill get used to it, but so far, eh.

Well that’s it. I’ll edit this as i go through the game.
Rating: 5 / 5

If you’re a big KH fan, who wants to know the back-story of Roxas’ time in the Organization and who the 14th member is, then you might want to check this out. If you’re a newbie KH player, you might survive understanding this without playing any of the other KH games. Several people’s testaments say they haven’t had much of a problem. It is recommended though, if you want to completely understand everything, you play the PS2 games first. But, it’s not bad for stand-alone players either. I got my younger cousins hooked right away with it. (And for those who haven’t touched this game but reviewed it anyways, like the one below me, I can only say that you intentionally want to lower the ratings…)

Pros:

+ Vibrant colorful transition from its PS2 predecessors. It’s like you’re staring at a PS2 game inside a DS. Not bad for pushing the system to its limits.

+ The difficulty level is just right, because the Panel system affects it greatly. You can be 10 hours into the game and still be level 6.

+ Platforming is back compared to KH2. You’ll be doing a lot more pushing columns and jumping around.

+ Beautiful FMVs (even though, they’re just a few)

+ Dodge roll is back!

+ Some new orchestrations by Yoko Shimomura. Don’t expect majority of the game to have new ones because you’re going back to the same worlds from the PS2 games.

+ New parts of the PS2 worlds created. Meaning, even though we go to the same worlds as before, a lot of them have new environments made for them. So, we’re not always completely in the same familiar area i.e. Agrabah’s marketplace area and outside Cave of Wonders.

+ This is a long DS game. At least 25 hours and up, depending on what you do. (Not including multi-player so just consider that extra.)

+ The new Panel system, which you can customize how many things you want. It also limits what you have in your inventory. You gain a new panel piece for every mission you beat. It gives you the strategy on how you want to do your battling. Picture the Chain of Memories cards but not in a card deck. Also, you’ll be using potion a lot more at the beginning of the game so it’ll go quickly. You have to constantly add to the Panel deck and alter it several times.

+ New Secret Reports are added for this game. I’ve yet to come across them so I can’t wait to read them.

+ Roxas’ diary entries are interesting to read.

+ The game’s script is witty and good. Good enough that it makes me dislike Larxene 10 times more now.

Neutral

o The tutorial is long but it’s not as long as KH2’s.

o In the Panel system, they give you level-up panels, which allow you to obviously, as the name says, level up. You have to keep collecting them to increase your level but sometimes, you won’t have any place to put them.

o The story will start off very slow but it gets better as you go along. Everyone recommends the 250th day and up to 300th for the story to really pick up. For me, I don’t really care. It’s already good as it is. I’m less than 80 days in at this point. Unfortunately, I’m playing this game already spoiled so I know what happens. Plus, the secret behind the 14th member…

o You’ll only be using the stylus to control the camera to look left, right, and up. Which, I don’t have too many qualms about.

o You have customizable options on your camera control and other things.

o Yes, you might find some parts of the worlds/scenes repetitive, but the ice cream eating has a somber meaning behind it.

o There is a meaning behind the title! If you still don’t understand what it means, go look it up! :P

Cons

- The camera can get a bit shaky at some times when you’re up against something.

- The D-pad will hurt your thumb at the beginning so please, take a break in-between playing it!

- When locking onto an enemy, I wish they allowed you to switch from one enemy to another like in the PS2 games.

That’s all I really have to say about it for now. Be prepared for a slow moving story but a well-worth reward ending. :D
Rating: 5 / 5

This is actually a 3 and 1/2 star score, which is great. There’s a LOT to love here, but also many things that keep it from being a truly incredible title in the series.

The Good:

The graphics are INCREDIBLE. Especially considering that the NDS is somewhere between the power of N64 and the original Playstaion. Yet somehow it looks very close to the Playstation 2 Kingdom Hearts games. The animations are nearly identical to the PS2 games, which is exactly what makes it look so accurate. Square Enix deserves lots of praise for the graphics department. The recreation of the worlds from KH 2 look beautiful!

The battle system is where the game shines to me. The designers decided to revert back to a battle system that feels more like the first Kingdom Hearts game. Not the confusing, annoying card-based battle system from KH: Chain Of Memories, or the overly simplistic, non-defensive battle system from KH 2. Instead it rests somewhere between KH 1 and KH 2, but also get bonus points for the very addictive panel-system that allows the players to really make the game play the way they wish it to. In a way, the panels work very much like Square Enix’s “The World Ends With You” Pin system, which is still to me the best game ever made for the NDS.

Platforming is back too! This is a very big comeback for me. KH 2 seemed like they concentrated too much on making the battles LOOK stylish and slick, but sacrificed nearly any platforming and didn’t give the player any real reason to do any exploring. In 358/2 Days, platforming is key to advancing, as well as actually hiding treasures/chests to challenge the player to explore every part of the world. The controls, for the most part, work very well. The camera does have some quirks in it though. Nothing too unbearable.

Multiplayer is a very fun addition, and would love to see this element cross over to other games in the KH series. No complaints here.

Unfortunately, for all that it does right, there are more than a few things wrong/unrealized

The Bad:

This game resembles Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII WAY TOO MUCH. Not necessarily a bad thing (CC:FFVII is one of my favorite PSP games ever), but if you’ve played CC:FFVII, there’s an overwhelming sense of “been there, done that” in this game (also partially because it does re-cover some of the KH stories from the previous games as well). It’s basically Crisis Core in Kingdom Hearts clothing. The mission based gameplay is directly lifted from CC. The missions are always set in the same levels, only with different enemies and certain parts closed off till later, just like in CC:FFVII. Even the Axel-Roxas story is pretty much a reverse version of the Zack-Cloud story from CC:FFVII. To stay spoiler-free, I’ll just say that KH 358/2 Days also shares the same flaw as CC:FFVII in that this new entry in the series adds some continuity errors for the overarching story line.

The story is actually decent. It fills in many of the missing pieces that KH had garnered. Any person who has played any of the previous releases will find lots to love! But that’s also the problem. This game is SOLELY dedicated to existing fans of the series. If you’ve never played any of the games, there’s NO WAY to understand what’s going on here. It’s hard to expand the fan-base when it relies so much on the previous material.

Nothing really new. You get a bland new character named Xion who doesn’t really do much for me other than break the series continuity (So is it Organization XIV or what?), much like the way Genesis broke the series continuity for Final Fantasy VII. She does have a purpose in the story of Roxas, but it feels very forced. You visit the SAME WORLDS as the previous games. Can Square Enix not get the license to anything new? Native KH players have seen Agrabah, Wonderland, and Halloween Town four times now. And it seems like we’re about to go to some of those areas again for a fifth time in Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep as well. IT’S GETTING OLD. Also I’d like to add that the Disney implementation doesn’t feel as smooth as it did in the previous games. The Disney characters don’t have an active role this time around. They’re just kind of “there”. And no new music as well. All recycled from the previous games, which also adds to the whole “been there, done that” experience. Not even a new arrangement of music, but directly ripped from the others.

SEA-SALT ICE CREAM…my gosh Square Enix! WHAT THE HECK???!!! They took a cute gimmick from Kingdom Hearts 2 with the Sea-Salt Ice Cream and OVERKILLED IT here! After every single mission they give you a sea-salt ice cream scene. You beat a boss, you get another sea-salt ice cream scene. No matter how big or small your accomplishments are, you get more sea-salt ice cream scenes!!! By the time the game’s finished you’ll never want to see or hear the words “Sea-Salt Ice Cream” ever again…in your entire life! Is this some kind of ploy to get Disney to release Kingdom Hearts-branded food?! After this game, I wouldn’t even want to touch that stuff, even if they DID make it readily available! If sea-salt ice cream finds it way into Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, I will SMASH THIS GAME CART TO PIECES!!! As shallow as it may be, I actually lowered my initial score for the sheer amount of annoyances in this game (and there’s many emo-moments that badly annoy here too), but NONE of them compare to the POINTLESS, ANNOYING, and COUNTLESS AMOUNTS of SEA-SALT ICE CREAM SCENES!!!!

Overall, this is a good game. I had a lot of fun playing, and enjoyed having some of the bigger question marks in the series answered here. It’s a simple playing and beautiful-looking title. Unfortunately the amazing technical achievements are hindered by the seeming lack of effort Square Enix put into creating it. Instead of using all of their technical knowledge to make a fully-realized Kingdom Hearts NDS title, they just combined Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and Kingdom Hearts with heavy emphasis on making it LOOK good. But at least it got me to play my DS again! So that’s saying something. Let’s hope that Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep will be the definitive KH title (till 3 comes out). I have faith!
Rating: 3 / 5

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