Kingdom Hearts: Dream D….whut?
By: JayAre – GGV Writer
When I heard that a new Kingdom Hearts game that actually pertained to the main story was coming out, I was filled with a schoolgirl-like glee; and not in a gay way. After seeing the trailers, I was even more excited. My favorite game, The World Ends With You cast was going to be in it!
Dream Drop Distance is a direct sequel to Kingdom Hearts 2 centering on Sora and Riku, who are currently trying to get their “Mark of Mastery” for their upcoming battle with Xehanort. To do so, you are instructed by Master Yen Sid to travel through sleeping worlds and open their Keyholes to waken them from darkness. Said worlds are now conquered by a new darkness called the “Dream Eaters”. For those of you rusty on your Kingdom Hearts lore, don’t fret. The new “Flashback” (as they call it) both reveals all parts of the story we haven’t seen and opens a glossary section for each game in the Kingdom Hearts legacy.
The battle system now features a new innovative system called “Flowmotion”. Flowmotion is Sora and Riku’s ability to use their surroundings to hurdle themselves toward higher locations, speed to faraway doors, or even to use as an attack against enemies. The fighting is very fluid, very rarely lags (only on one occasion for me), and is reminiscent of Kingdom Hearts 2. The second addition is “Reality Shift” which uses the Touch Screen. When an enemy is weak enough, Sora and Riku can trigger the “Reality Shift” which is different for every world. From using enemies as cannon balls to gathering them up in a bubble and popping it, this system kept the fighting fresh and every world felt like I was part of a new battle system.
But like me, many of you will be slightly disappointed. As I walked into the first world, the all-too-familiar Traverse Town; I was welcomed by my hero Sakuraba Neku. I jumped for joy at the thought of being able to fight alongside one of the most badass heroes from an amazing game! I readied my body, but was sorely disappointed when he ran away, and was consoled only by a small flamboyant looking cat-pig that was to be my new partner. As I wiped away my tears, I found out that you could create these Dream Eaters called “Spirits” to fight with you and that they offered a new ability called “Dream Link”. When your colorful partner has enough points you can link with them. Sora will fight WITH them (i.e riding, throwing, magic . . . ing) while Riku will fuse with them to gain a new move set (i.e growing wings, bigger sword, claws).
My only real problem with the battle system is what’s called the “Drop System”. Sora and Riku have a meter under their health bar called the “Drop Meter”. When the bar reaches 0, your current character will fall asleep and force you to switch to the other. This can get incredibly frustrating during boss fights. Assuming you don’t finish a scripted fight and you “Drop”, you will have to start the fight over when you switch back. I came very close to throwing my 3DS when this happened more than once.
All this aside, this game features an amazing cast with the same good voice actors. The story was very compelling and I was eager to learn what other worlds I could drop into and what heroes I could (not) fight alongside. But, true to their legacy, the climax of this story will leave many of you scratching your head and wondering what anyone is talking about. Again, like its’ predecessors, the end of the game left me wanting more and craving the newest installment. If this is a precursor of things to come, we have much to look forward to . My only real question is if the next game will be our last? My guess is the census will reveal: “Please, NOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
Story- 4/5 – The story was very engaging and I found myself on the edge of my seat more than once. I do feel like they were trying to pander to the mass of fans near the end, but that may be my personal opinion taking over. Still… very convoluted.
Gameplay: 4/5 – Very good and engaging like all other Kingdom Hearts. They continue to outdo themselves with innovative gameplay and mechanics. The only real problem is that there may be too many of these mechanics for one game. For instance, the best way to level your Spirits and get them abilities is to play “NintenDogs” with them, very childish (even for KH) and lackluster if they were trying to make a new mini-game.
Battle: 5/5 – First-rate battle mechanics have been what set the KH series apart from other RPG’s for so long. This game continues to impress and find new ways to astonish the crowd with newer and more interesting styles.
Music: 5/5 – This game offers a fresh and utterly amazing new score. I found myself replaying the tunes in my head, even after I set the game down. Nothing more can be said about a piece that goes so well with the tone of the game.
Visuals: 4/5 – The graphics are much the same as KH2, but the 3D is a welcome part of the visuals. While it’s extremely hard to use the 3D while fighting, it’s more than a treat for the eyes during cutscenes. The maps are now much bigger than before to accommodate your new ability to scale walls like Spiderman on speed.
Overall: This game is a must buy for any Kingdom Hearts fan. While Re:coded was a hackneyed game that was used to tide over the fans, Dream Drop Distance makes up for every mistake that the prior game made. While the new mechanics and systems are welcome, I feel that there were far too many included for a newbie to just pick up. That being said, the new battle system was seamless and felt organic. While they convolutedly pile on the story, the end will leave you yearning for the next game.
I give this game a – π/3.4