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Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (DS) Review

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Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (DS) Review

Post  Donth8 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:34 am


NA Release Date: September 29, 2009
Genre: Action RPG

Kingdom Hearts 358/2Days takes place between KH1 and KH2 and roughly at the same time as Chain of Memories. You take control of Roxas during his days as a rookie member of the Organization. Being the newcomer that he is, he isn't completely let in the loop at first. As the wielder of the Keyblade, his job is to collect hearts by defeating the Heartless. He doesn't know the Organization's true motives nor does he know his true purpose. Roxas isn't the only Keyblade wielder in the bandwagon. A mysterious fourteenth member named Xion also wields the Keyblade. Roxas will discover more about No.14's origins as he travels to different worlds and experience cases of deja vu.

If you've played a Kingdom Hearts, you pretty much know the basics. You travel to a different world, go beat up some Heartless, gain experience and level up. While not a complete departure from the basic Kingdom Hearts formula, 358/2Days still feels and handles like a KH game. Progressing the story is now done by completing missions that you're given. Customizing Roxas is now done with the new Panel System. It's a 5 by 8 grid where you can put panels to customize the items you are carrying, the spells you have equipped, the combos you perform, etc. You acquire panels by doing missions or buying them from the Moogle shop. The higher your rank, the better panels the shop offers. You start out as a rookie but you get promoted as you progress through the game. Leveling up is also done with the Panel system. Level up panels are acquired either by doing missions or the Moogle Shop. You unlock more Panel slots as you progress through the game. You can store up to 3 different decks. There are also special panels that amplify the effects of certain panels such as multiplying the damage done of a spell or multiplying the number of times you can use that spell. Before embarking on a mission, you are briefed with your objective. The breakdown also list the rewards you get for completing the mission and also includes hints such as what spell the target Heartless are weak to so you know which deck you need to bring. During a mission, there's a bar at the bottom of the touch screen called the mission gauge that fills up by accomplishing you objective. It keeps track of how well you do and you are rewarded with better bonus at the end of the mission if you exceed the minimal requirement.

Games of this genre occasionally suffer from the lack of replay value and poor pacing. 358/2Days manage to avoid these obstacles. In fact, abundance of replay value and being a well-paced game is where the 358/2Days really shine. It's also challenging to boot. Bosses just doesn't require you to mash the attack button. On some missions, Roxas is accompanied by an Organization member. When they are KO'd, they will come back after a few seconds. They also heal themselves when they're low on health. When you're down on your last legs, you can activate a special move called Limit Break which makes your character perform their special attack. Each organization has a unique Limit Break. Seasoned KH player will find a lot in 358/2Days. There is no New Game + but you can replay any missions with all your panels still intact. Upon beating the game, you also unlock Theatre Mode where you can view any of the FMV cutscenes.

358/2Days is the first game in the series to have multiplayer. You and a friend can tackle any of the missions from the story mode. You can play as any of the Organization members. Other characters have to be unlocked by meeting certain requirements. Customizing is the same on multiplayer via panels. It can be done from scratch or you can migrate one of you decks from the story mode. The game runs pretty smooth with two to three people but the game suffers from minor slowdowns with four.

One of the best looking games for the Nintendo DS. Square-Enix really wanted to push the hardware’s graphics capability to the max. Character models look impressive. The worlds you travel to are almost identical to their console counterparts.

Because you’re travelling to worlds that you’ve already been to in the previous games, you can expect to hear some very familiar tunes. While 358/2Days has some new music, there’s quite a lot of recycled from the past instalments. The quality of the voice acting compensates for this.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2Days felt like it was meant to be enjoyed after playing Kingdom Hearts II. For newcomers, it’s not the best place to start but fans who have been keeping up with the series since will be in for a treat.

The Good
-Plenty of replay value
-Simplified panel system for customizing characters
-Well paced
-Hardcore fans will like the challenge
-Great boss fights

The Bad
-Recycled music from previous games
-Slowdown with full party on multiplayer

8.5/10

Donth8
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Re: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (DS) Review

Post  Terra on Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:12 pm

Great review donth8 Smile

I wish I'd realized this would be best played after KH2 sooner, since I ordered 358/2 Days yesterday Arrow

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Re: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (DS) Review

Post  Donth8 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 6:09 pm

Thanks for the feedback Terra. Smile
You haven't played KHII yet? Try it when you get the chance.

It's also interesting to note that the US version of this game was released to pay a tribute to Wayne Allwine. Mickey's former voice actor who passed away last year.

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Re: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (DS) Review

Post  Terra on Sat Aug 21, 2010 6:26 pm

Believe me, I plan to get it soon. I just bought 358/2 Days first because of the chronological order of the series. Maybe I should wait until buying KH2 before I start playing it, it's only 4 days until I get paid for the month.

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Re: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (DS) Review

Post  Donth8 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:32 pm

Hmm, now that you mentioned that chronological order thing. I guess it's ok to get started on 358/2 Days as long as you're aware of where it fits in the timeline.

It works both ways. If you played 358/2 Days first, you'll enjoy KHII more and vice-versa.

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Re: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (DS) Review

Post  Adminassassin on Sun Aug 22, 2010 2:44 pm

You said the recycled music is annoying, but what about the recycled worlds? Do they feel like the same thing all over again and/or boring to explore? They've always been the main pet peeve of the series for me.

Great review.

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Re: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (DS) Review

Post  Donth8 on Sun Aug 22, 2010 4:22 pm

About that recycled worlds. Yes, you'll be revisiting the same worlds from previous games but the area you can explore depends on the mission you're in.

Ok, let's say that it's your first time setting foot on a new world and your mission objective is to do some reconnaissance duty and your only limited to exploring that one area. New areas to explore will eventually open up and become accessible for later missions that require you to hunt down certain types of Heartless etc. You don't always start at the same spot when embarking on a mission. Also, I forgot to mention that 358/2 Days brought back platforming elements that were in KH1. There wasn't much platforming in KH2.

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