Kingdom Hearts 3D ReviewJustin Ling
Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] is the latest addition to the Disney/Square Enix crossover franchise for the Nintendo 3DS. This particular game takes place after the events of Kingdom Hearts II for the PS2 and has the two protagonists, Sora and Riku, having to journey into the dreams of sleeping worlds' to awaken them in order to be acknowledged as true Keyblade Masters. Along the way, they will have to combat beings of darkness known as Dream Eaters as well as contend with a mysterious figure that seems to be accompanied by villains that were supposedly vanquished.
This game is a bit of a mixed bag. The controls of the game are quite good, never feeling too clunky even in the heat of combat. The camera controls are simple enough as well, using the shoulder buttons of the 3DS to rotate. The Flowmotion controls, which allow Sora and Riku to pull off some rather impressive stunts such as leaping between walls, riding rails, or grabbing enemies with the Keyblade and hurling them like an Olympic hammer, may take a while to get used to but ultimately prove incredibly satisfying to use.
One of the more debated features of this game is the Drop system. When the Drop meter reaches zero, the POV is changed between the two main characters; this was supposedly done so that the players wouldn't have to play through an extra mode to get the whole story. However, some may find this particular feature annoying as it is entirely possible to drop' in the middle of a battle, especially maddening when the character is on the brink of death or in the middle of a boss battle. Players can make use of items to refill the drop meter or drop' prematurely before a big battle to ensure maximum time; how annoying it is will depend on the player.
The story of Kingdom Hearts 3D will probably gather mixed feelings as well. The plot of Kingdom Hearts has always been filled with many twists and turns, every game answering a few questions but always raising more. Newcomers to the series may be intimidated by the story of Kingdom Hearts 3D as some of the events in it require an understanding of the other games' storylines to fully comprehend. The game does feature a Mementos' section that lists the plot of the previous games for those who need a reference, though.
One of the major aspects of the game focuses on the Dream Eaters. While Sora and Riku will spend most of their time fighting the evil ones, they will also need to nurture good Dream Eaters to fight by their side. Players can make use of augmented reality to play with their Dream Eaters, patting them to raise affection, use a paintball gun to change their colors, feed them treats to hopefully raise stats, and even use toys to play with them for major increases in affection. Every Dream Eater has a set of skills that can be unlocked, skills that grant the characters boosts in stats, new abilities, or even new items. Admittedly, there might be some who might find constantly petting Dream Eaters a hassle.
Overall Kingdom Hearts 3D is a very enjoyable game. It is a solid game that provides an enjoyable experience and a number of extras that give further entertainment. Though some of the gaming mechanics may be a bit of a hassle and some may take a while to get used to, these parts do not detract too much from the overall game. Fans of Disney and Square Enix alike should check this game out; it is definitely worth it.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.