Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Review - Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance

It should be no surprise that quite a few of us here at Adamant Ditto are fans of this Disney-meets-Final Fantasy Franchise. I'm not ashamed to admit that when the first game came out 10 years ago (I feel really old saying that), I was skeptical. Afterall, it's not the First crossover people would expect, but it was pulled off so well! This game's no exception. It features brand new Disney Worlds, and brings back classic series staples, like Traverse Town (Of course, we haven't been to about half of this game's Traverse Town). It's actually one of the few games that pushes the Story forward, rather than filling the Gap between the Two 'Main' games.

*Now that I've finished the game, I figured that I would change some of my Review. All of the Changes are in bold, much like this Statement.*

As mentioned, the game features Brand new Disney worlds, which is a nice Change of pace from the seemingly endless reappearances of Agrabah and the Olympus Coliseum. I'm not too far in the game, so I've only seen two, and let me tell you, it's really nice to not be in the Coliseum. It's also nice to see that they added areas to All of the places you have visited in the past.

Controlling both Sora and Riku does just that!
Controlling both Sora and Riku is cool. I know you could do it in Chain of Memories, but not like in this game! With the Drop System, you're playing the same worlds twice, but they effectively have two differing Stories...Ok, so they're both generally the same story as the movies, but each has it's own 'Split' between Sora and Riku. This is more or less kind of explained to you early on, so I'm not spoiling anything.

Speaking of the Drop System, it's both interesting and annoying. I like being able to switch between Sora and Riku at any time, but I hate being forced to switch, especially when it's during a fight, whether Boss or random Dream Eaters, which is the case about 90% of the time. Drop-Me-Nots are a good idea to have before a Boss fight...Or you can just switch to the other character right before so you don't have to spend Munny, and a Command Slot, which brings me to my next point.

The Command Deck Makes a Return from Birth By Sleep, but you don't level up or Meld Commands. Instead, you can be content to own one of everything, if you choose to only have one on your Deck. (Sora and Riku's Inventory is shared, so you literally only need one of each). While this is good, I actually kind of miss Leveling up Commands to meld them into a (Generally) better one. There was just something about hearing Ventus Shout 'Thunder' 100,000 times that just stuck with me...Sora and Riku also have some exclusive moves, for example, Sora' the only one who can equip the 'Spark' Magic (I believe you could see this Spell in the Demo as 'Sparkga'). Aside from the slight modifications to the Command Deck, Sora and Riku control exactly as Birth by Sleep does, which is really well.

Continuing with the new features, the Reality Shift is kind of cool. I like how each world has it's own shift, rather than the same one repeated through every world. It makes each world feel just that much more unique. That said, it feels kind of tacked on, especially because you have to use the Touch Screen. Don't get me wrong, it's an interesting and sometimes helpful idea, but in a fast-paced game like Kingdom Hearts, it feels out of place...I don't have my Stylus in hand at all times, so I end up having to use my finger, and yes, there's a part of the game where you have to use it to move on (I've only come across one so far, but it's kind of a pain). If you plan on making use of this system (Outside of having to), just make sure you have your Stylus out and ready, otherwise, you might be fumbling around like I was. There's more than one place you're forced to use this. It's at it's worst during certain Boss Fights, where you have to do them to win the fight. The Boss Battles that do make you use the Reality Shift at least give you a second to grab your Stylus. If they didn't, I would be complaining that it's just there to get a cheap death. I would suggest having your Stylus popped out a little bit on the back, just so you could grab it quicker.

Flowmotion is great. I love bouncing off of everything, and hitting an enemy with one of the attacks feels so satisfying. The only 'problem' I have with it is accidentally activating it by rolling...especially if you're trying to Dodge. It can be pretty annoying Trying to Dodge an Attack, and because there's a Lamppost that you didn't see, you take the hit because Sora and Riku love to do HARDCORE PARKOUR. But, accidents like that aside, it's an excellent addition to the series, and I welcomed it with open arms.

Yes, can't you tell? It's  the exact same shape and everything!
Raising Dream Eaters is simple, and a pain at the same time. I, along with probably everyone else ever, would much prefer the Disney Partners, but I can see why they did it. You can create them, pet them, feed them, and play with them. All of which give them Experience in at least one aspect. You can also change their colors, which could make it slightly easier (Or harder, depending on how you color them) to tell them apart from the enemies. That is probably their biggest flaw, as they show up, and look exactly like your enemy, the only difference being their colors, and an icon that it usually obscured, at least in my experience.

Yeah! Now that's what I'm talkin' about!
The Dream Eaters also have an Ability Path, which gives you Abilities (Like HP Boost, or Leaf Bracer, those types of Abilities). Of course, if you switch out that Dream Eater, you 'lose' the Ability. That is to say, the Dream Eater still has it, but because it's not in your Party, it's not equipped on you. Sometimes you get Commands from it, and you keep them regardless of whether or not that particular Dream Eater is in your Party. I almost forgot to mention, you get these by Spending 'Link Points,' Which you get from Fighting along side them, and...Petting them...Speaking of 'Links,' you can link with the Dream Eaters to do certain things. It's different for Sora and Riku. Sora does an attack, like Hopping on that Cat/Dog thing, and Riku Absorbs them and changes how he attacks for a short period of time. You can also Dual Link, which is basically the same thing, only it does more Damage, or Changes to a different Attack, depending on which Dream Eaters are in your Party...If the Dream Eaters were just your partners, I think I'd be more ok with them, but as they're also the Heartless of this game, It can get a little confusing, leading to you using one of your commands for no reason, or not knowing that you're in a fight...Don't get me wrong, I love some of their designs, but it just gets confusing...

Japanese, JapaneseJapanese
If this is your first Kingdom Hearts game, and you're worried about being lost, don't be. The game features a 'Chronicle' Mode, which allows you to read the gist of the past games stories...But, you can't access it right away, each game's story unlocks when someone brings the events of that game up in conversation. This is a nice touch for people who just decided to give into the hype, and finally pick up a game in the Franchise. They also seem to effectively explain some of the plot holes that the past games have created...Although I will admit that the story's still just as confusing as it was before playing this game.

Overall, I think this game is an Overall Good experience. It's pros outweigh it's cons, and I'd say it's an enjoyable experience. Long-time fans of the series will like it, and thanks to the Chronicle mode, even first timers won't be lost in the convoluted story. The main attraction of these games are the Disney Characters, and this game gives them that fresh coat of paint that it needed...I'm going to make a Bold Declaration, and say that this is the best Handheld Kingdom Hearts game! (See what I did there?). I still, more or less agree with this statement. Overall, my only real problem with the game is how short it is. There's 8 worlds, and you don't revisit them all. If my memory is correct, it's the only Kingdom Hearts game I beat while under Level 50. Aside from that, I still think it's the best Handheld Kingdom Hearts game, as I've already stated. If you don't mind a slightly shorter Journey through the Disney Worlds in Kingdom Hearts, I'd say definitley give this game a shot!

Josh thought this game was...

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