The lights are on
After just finishing Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, I'm completely satisfied with the game. With enough challenge, story, throwbacks, and surprises to please any fan of the series, this was a great ride.
I'm not going to spoil anything here, since it's so easy, but the story is fantastic. I was extremely happy with it, and I caught every little throwback to the older games there were. Surprisingly though, even though this is a prequel, you'll want to start from Kingdom Hearts 1 for PS2. With great characters, great pacing, and great voice acting (I'll get to that in a minute), the story, while convoluted, should be experienced by every fan of the series, and possibly anyone who likes RPGs. And make no mistake, you'll really want to try and unlock the secret movie.
As always with Kingdom Hearts games, the sound is great. The music is top notch, and most of the Voice Actors bring their A-Game. ...Except Terra. Some may find his serious and calm voice fits his character, I think the Voice Actor sounds like he didn't want to do this. That said, he is redeemed by Mark Hamil, the Disney Voice Actors, and others.
The gameplay in this game is great... for a PSP game. I found my self dying a lot due to the poor way the PSP system was made, especially when trying to use D-Links. That said, the game plays like any other Kingdom Hearts game. Not that that's a bad thing, of course. That newer battle system is amazing. It's a great mix between the poor (in my opinion) system of Chain of Memories, and the great system of Kingdom Hearts 2, making one of the best battle systems in the series. It's great fun trying to pick out a balanced deck of commands, and you can even meld certain commands to make them stronger. But one word of warning, if you die, be very careful. The default option is st on "Continue", which sets you back in the area before the battle started, while "Retry" puts you at the start of the battle, but without the items you used. I found myself to the brink of throwing my system when I had no potions on a tough boss.
Closing Comments: Like Bryan Vore of Gameinformer said in his review, you'd be losing out if you pass this game up because it's on PSP or doesn't have a shiny 3 on the end. With only some frustrating and questionable choises, and minor translation issues (I.E. "Becaws"), this is a great game that any PSP owner shouldn't miss out on.
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