Backlog Blues - Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance - JonnyLikesGames Blog - www.GameInformer.com
Switch Lights

The lights are on

What's Happening

Backlog Blues - Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance

Greetings, fellow gamers!

My name is Jonny and I like games.

My never-ending quest to conquer my backlog has earned a small but well earned victory today.  With a list of nearly two hundred games to go through, each game I finish and check off my list instills an invigorating feeling of satisfaction.  It certainly helps when that game has provided an enjoyable experience.  As the title of this blog indicates, that game is Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance.

The story begins when our heroes, Sora and Riku, are standing before Master Yen Sid.  Yen Sid has Sora and Riku go through the Mark of Mastery exam, which will determine whether or not they are fit to become Keyblade masters.  They are also to awaken sleeping worlds, which have been previously destroyed by the Heartless.  Sora and Riku become separated during their quest, where they end up exploring parallel versions of each world they visit.  Along the way, they meet many new and familiar characters from the Disney and Square-Enix franchises.  You switch between playing as Sora and Riku, progressing the story through each of their view points.

There are many other details, but sadly, the plot is just as convoluted as the prior entries in the series.  That being said, I still think the story is quite good, even though it is a challenge to maintain a firm grasp on the complexities of the interwoven events.  

There are basically two purposes to KH:3D.  The first is to set up the events that will take place in Kingdom Hearts III.  As for the second, it is to bring other players up to speed.  While you progress through the story, you acquire documents that summarizes the past events that took place in each Kingdom Hearts game, including the handheld entries.  This is good, but it does raise a certain concern I have, which I will talk about later.

Each entry in the Kingdom Hearts games usually likes to shake up the battle system in some way, and KH:3D is no exception.  Here we are introduced to Flowmotion, which allows you to use a wide variety of acrobatic moves during battles.  Different examples include bouncing and jumping off of walls, grinding on rails, and spinning around lamp posts, which can all end in a combo attack causing extra damage.  This ensures that each battle is exciting, fast and a lot of fun to watch.

We also use the Reality Shift system.  Certain objects and damaged enemies can be interacted with when a shift icon is visible above them.  By pressing the L and R buttons, you are taken to a very brief mini-game, where you use the touchscreen to cause massive damage to your opponents.

I will admit I wasn't fond of these systems at first, but as I learned the ins and outs, I later found myself enjoying it immensely.  From what I have heard, Kingdom Hearts III will also use the Flowmotion battle system, or at least a similar or evolved version anyways.

There are also new enemy types in KH:3D.  The Heartless and Nobodies are no where to be seen here.  Instead, we have what are called Dream Eaters.  Each Dream Eater resembles an animal of some kind, such as a bat, lion, penguin, and even a Tyrannosaurus Rex.  However, there's a cool little twist.  You can synthesize your own Dream Eaters to fight along side you in battle.  Taking cues from popular franchises like Pokémon and Persona, there are a large number of Dream Eaters to collect.  Each Dream Eater can be leveled up and learn new abilities.  It's a bit strange at first having them in your party instead of Donald and Goofy, but it does bring refreshing ideas to the formula.

One last thing worth mentioning: the final boss encounters are infuriatingly difficult.  It took a surprising amount of will power to keep me from throwing my 3DS XL across the room.  I can only imagine how hard it would be to fight them in Proud mode.

Overall, I enjoyed my time spent with KH:3D.  Any fan of Kingdom Hearts should play this game...which brings me to my next point.

Like I mentioned earlier, the game does a pretty good job of getting you up to speed, in order to prepare you for the events to follow when Kingdom Hearts III eventually comes out.  However, I know of many people who have only played the console games, Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2.  I have seen them dismiss the handheld games as mere "spin-offs", incorrectly assuming that they're unimportant.  Honestly, this is a pet peeve of mine.  It irritates me to see them make such assumptions.  

But on the other hand, I also can't really blame them.  I don't know what Square-Enix was thinking when they decided to put five vital chapters on four different handheld platforms.  Because of this, those who wish to have the complete Kingdom Hearts experience needs to shell out a whopping amount of cash.  To be frank, most people are either unable or unwilling to make such an investment.

Do you remember when Kingdom Hearts II came out?  If the only other Kingdom Hearts game you played at the time was the first one, then you were met with a lot of confusing scenarios when you booted the game up.

Who the heck is Roxas, and why am I playing as him?

Who is Namine?

Why is Sora asleep?

Who or what is Organization XIII?

Sadly, this confusion could've been avoided if you had played Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories on the Game Boy Advance.  But like I said before, I can't blame you for that.  The real people at fault here are the folks at Square-Enix.

Are you excited for Kingdom Hearts III?  Have you dismissed or ignored the handheld games and declared them as mere spin-offs?

If you answered yes to both of those questions, then frankly, you're in for a rude awakening.  You won't have the slightest clue what is going on in Kingdom Hearts III.

Fortunately, Square-Enix is finally helping to remedy this by releasing the HD Remix collections, allowing you to play Chain of Memories and Birth By Sleep, while also giving you the cutscenes to 358/2 Days and Re:Coded.  If you haven't played these games, I strongly urge you to do so.

But we're still left with one problem: Dream Drop Distance.  Right now, the only way to play this game is on the 3DS.  I'd go on about the importance of playing this chapter as well, but I think I've made my point.  

As a very enthusiastic fan of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, I was willing to pay for the complete experience.  It may have been worth it for me, but that doesn't necessarily mean you would find it worthwhile.  I'll never understand why Square-Enix made the decision to spread the franchise across so many platforms.  I'll conclude by encouraging you to play the rest of the series.  At the very least, watch a Let's Play on YouTube or read up on it at Wikipedia.  Get yourself caught up and up to speed.  Because there really is a good story to be told here.

NOW FOR THE NEXT GAME

Now that I finished KH:3D, it's time for me to randomly select my next handheld title.  With the help of the Random Thing Picker, the next game is...

XENOGEARS


Aw, yeah!  This is an epic game!  I had put in about ten hours, and what a ten hours it was.  I'm very excited to finish this masterpiece!

With that, I'm off.  Thank you for reading!

To see my backlog, click here.

comments