Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days

Hello, Space Monkies.

This post comes especially late, but I figure that now is better than never. As a matter of fact, I've been meaning to write up my opinions of this game for a really long time. Its been killing me that I haven't had any sort of medium to do so up until now. And I got about ten minutes before my class this morning, its the perfect time to get writing. Even better: this limited time scale might just force this post to be a reasonable size, instead of the gigantic essays I've been writing so far.

First off, Kingdom Hearts is the shit. Its easily my second or third favorite video game series ever. You got Final Fantasy, you got classic Disney, an awesome battle system, and epic adventures. I'm there, man. Not to mention the main J-Pop themes that I must admit happen to be some of my guiltiest music pleasures. "Kingdom Hearts I" kicked ass. "Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories" was not as good, but still good. "Kingdom Hearts II" kicked even more ass. "Re:Chain of Memories".... well, that sucked. But I can overlook it since its just an ill-conceived remake. I could probably deconstruct the games to eternity, pointing out every little fault, but that would just ruin the fun. I'm not Yahtzee, I play games for pure simple idiotic entertainment.

So that leads us to Kingdom Hearts' newest installment, "358/2 Days", which despite the mathematically annoying title (it should be simplified to 179 Days), manages to very successfully fit the console Kingdom Hearts gameplay into my tiny little pocket-sized Nintendo DS. Instead of freely traveling between worlds, you're stuck playing missions. That kinda forces the game to be linear, but unlike some other linear games I could mention ("Crisis Core"), you can easily replay any mission. The battle scheme is simplified, but Kingdom Hearts was never really about much more than mashing buttons, now was it? And that's fine to me. As the game progresses, you naturally gain more and more abilities and experience. The game gives a unique system for utilizing those abilities: each one is a panel, and you must put it together into a large grid that gets bigger the farther you go in the game. Sometimes you'll have room, sometimes you won't. It can get annoying at times, but on the other hand the satisfaction of organizing your abilities into a new way so that you can fit Aerial Dodge in is actually weirdly gratifying.

There are a few good boss fights here and there, but most are just pallet swaps of regular enemies. I guess this was just lost in the shuffle of squeezing this into a handheld system, but I still am annoyed that there are only like seven real boss fights in this game. But few there are are very hard, and a great challenge. You also only get to fight against two Organization members. I was expecting at least some kind of extra mission where you get to fight against all of them.

The storyline is interesting, but it moves at a very slow pace. Some missions have a plot explanation and purpose, most don't. You're playing as Roxas in Organization XIII right around the time of "Chain of Memories". If you don't know what those names and terms mean at this point, you really shouldn't be playing this game. This is for series veterans only, they aren't going to throw you a bone. Go play the first three games before this one. Oddly enough, even though the Organization is supposed to be evil or something, you never really do anything particularly monstrous. They just send you around beating up Heartless. Then you eat ice cream with Axel. Then you eat ice cream with Axel again. Then you eat ice cream again. And again. And again. And again. ENOUGH WITH THE ICE CREAM!! This is definitely my biggest complaint here: can't this game conceive of another kind of touching scene of bonding other than just eating ice cream?? Actually, the story doesn't even start to rev up until very late in the game. When it does, it gets nice and exciting. Just don't expect very much until then.

The Disney worlds really don't build up much of a story at all, since in most cases they're stuck between what happens in "Kingdom Hearts I" and "Kingdom Hearts II". So its just a waste of time really. The best world is certainly "Peter Pan Land", since that place actually has something HAPPEN. Also you get to fly around freely, which is a lot of fun. It reminds me of "Atlantica" from the first game, which was my favorite world.

Weirdly, there's also not a single Final Fantasy character here, except for some Moogles. I don't know where they went, but they aren't here. I do miss them.

Probably the best part of the storyline is Xion, the mysterious new fourteenth member to the Organization. She's a little cutey, whose strange backstory and abilities should keep you guessing right up until the end. ...Unless you're like me and spoiled yourself by reading up on the game beforehand. Don't do that, it kinda ruins the experience. Another thing I liked is just the fanboyish rush of being able to fight alongside some of my favorite characters like Xigbar.

Finally we get to multiplayer. Sadly to say, this is the worst part about the whole game. All you can do here is team up with another player and replay old missions just with the Organization characters. Trust me, as soon as the novelty as playing as Xigbar wears off, you'll have no interest in this system. Me and the other player got bored VERY quickly, and soon enough we were just ignoring the mission and trying to kill each other.

Other than those minor complaints, "Kingdom Hearts 179 Days" is definitely worth a play. Here's a week's worth of pure entertainment right here and now. And there's a bit of a sequel hook to the upcoming PSP game, "Birth by Sleep", which actually looks even better than this one. So I say check this out; after checking out the other Kingdom Hearts games first though.


  1. How can you call this a short post?

    Anyways, I played this as my first KH game, but you can manage if you like me likes spending hours reading the plots of the past three games, then the info of every character...

    You should try beating the game, then purchasing the Zero Gear in the shop(30,000 Hearts is way too much!), and installing 3x Ability Unit and another unit of choice(you get one of the ability units from Gold-completing one of the first missions in Agrabah, buy the rest), equip that on roxas in Multiplayer mode and enter a mission, and you'll be using a powered-down version of the Dual-Wield Roxas used in the first part of the final battle :D

  2. Also, due to a strange bug, DW Roxas can't be used in single player, it'll just revert your weapon to Kingdom Key+, a fairly strong weapon but without any combos. If you want KK+, just equip it without any ability units at all...

    Also, equipping Zero Gear with 3x Sight Unit and an Ability Unit will raise your Critical Chance by a whole 12%

  3. Uppfinnarn, you psted 2 commets in 30 sec.? Wow....

    Anyway, nice post, Blue. I personally thought the multi-player was amazing, but then again,I thought X-2's battle system was good.

  4. It was meant to be short, but I suffer from diarrhea of the keyboard. This mention of bugs actually reminds me of something I forgot to add: there's a few crazy bugs in this game. Sometimes in Halloween town if you get hit just the right way when you're standing on a rock you'll fall right through the ground and fall into eternal infinity. And the camera is annoying, but not "Dirge of Cerberus"-gamebreaking bad.

  5. I got used to the camera once you can switch to Mode B for the camera.

    I actually like this game more than KH2, because I'm a total Roxas fanboy, and the story actually made me shiver several times with exitement. Even after I played KH2 Final Mix, where you CAN fight ALL OrgXIII members(Xion excluded), I still like Days better. And the panel system reminds me of FFXII's Lisence Board for some... reason. But since FFXII is my favorite, and I love the Lisence Board(especially in IZJS), Days was quite fun because it was like I got to... build my own.

    I beat this game in 2.5 days due to the fact that I stayed up straight through the night(with the Mana energy potions at my side) for one of those nights. And the night after that I beat it so I slept after that, but I really love how the story was put together. Especially since I had this game on preorder, I was spazzing incoherently the day before out of exitement.

    My biggest complaint however, is that although there are side-optional missions, I always did them anyway, and so it never felt like there was such thing as a sidequest. I love sidequests, and thus another reason as to why I believe when I die, Ivalice will be my heaven. FFXII was full of them.

  6. Haha! Yes!

    Finally, "The Blue" has returned!

    You don't know me, but I followed your gig on FF Wiki for quite a while. Your walkthroughs proved very handy. However, I never responded, partually because I couldn't be bothered, partually, because I thought that you required an account to do so, of which I did not want. But by the time the nature of wikis became known to me, you had already left. hehe...sorry...

    However, I seek to ammend this by becoming a loyal follower as of this moment.

    Best of luck for this round's Tales


  7. Have you played Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings? 358/2 Days, Revenant Wings and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates currently holds a fixed position in my R4's Memory Card :D

    You have to stand Vaan for half the game(after that you get access to Basch to replace him with), and you're almost certain to get stuck at the boss battle with Chaos and the Judge of Wings, but those are pretty much the only bad things about this game :D

    @Xepscern: I didn't even write fast there ;)