The lights are on
There are many things to like in this game especially if you are a Kingdom Hearts fan. It gives those players a chance to play one of their favourite franchises in a handheld, thus letting them take it wherever they want. However, this game does little to improve the series, whether it is in terms of gameplay or storytelling.
The gameplay is solid, and true to the Kingdom Hearts franchise. I personally was not a fan of the panels, which the way you equipped everything (items accessories, spells, weapon, etc.). I see the reason behind this though. It makes you think harder about what to equip and turns the regularly simple act of sorting your bag into a fun puzzle, so others might enjoy it, but it took my concentration away from the main experience. The combat is fast paced and fun, even there was no innovation here, but there is little enemy variety, which weakens this aspect of the game, especially if you decide to go back to the same worlds to complete the side missions.
There were some advantages to having this game on the DS, but not many. The combat is pretty much the same, and so is the awful platforming, but the bottom screen serves as a very good mini-map.
What I loathed about the game was the layout of the missions, they were incredibly repetitive. You would always have to ask the same NPC to give you sidequests or missions, which would usually be kill x amount of heartless (the bad guys), or kill a certain heartless. Then you would probably be rewarded by a cinematic, and the process repeats, until of course, the ending of the game.
While I am a huge fan of the story of Kingdom Hearts because its human side is very relatable, but as most of the fans know it can get awfully convoluted as well. Newcomers will be very confused because this is clearly made for fans. Xion, Roxas and Axel's friendship is still touching though, and it will be loved by everyone.
The graphics are nothing to brag about because of the DS' is not such a powerful machine, but the developers made the most out of what they had.
All in all, if you are a fan of the series, consider getting this game, but with Birth by Sleep out now, I see very little reason for even them to play this game unless they want to know the story. It is a good game, but there are many vastly superior, including others in the very same franchise. Newcomers, I recommend you to pick up the first Kingdom Hearts.
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