E3 Impression

Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days


Anna Marie Neufeld

Black robes make me so goth...

After repeated - "Oh, I see you've been to Square Enix" - "No, that is a tattoo." discussions, I figured it was time to actually head over to SE to see the larger variety of games the company has on display this year. I sat down and watched a fascinating movie on the new PC games they're publishing (but not developing), and I'll be checking those out for personal interest later. I wrangled a station for Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days and settled in for some amazing key swinging.

My first thought was it was pretty cool to see Roxas in black robes. For this section of the demo, I had Axel with me, dressed the same, and I was surprised that his AI seemed pretty competent. I was inside a sewer-like dungeon by the time I started, so I popped back up to the top level only to find I was unable to teleport out; whether this was a limitation of the demo or the actual game locking you until a section until it is completed was unclear.

Boys and girls of every age, would you like to see something strange?

Combat is very typical KH fare, hacking and slashing. Roxas didn't have any magic (yet) so when I was low on health I quaffed a potion instead. Locking on is more or less automatic, though there was mention of a way to disable auto-lock on. Axel helped me take down ground enemies while I mostly focused on the fliers, since he seemed to be less then proficient at dealing with them, only swiping when they got low enough for him to smack after a combo or two from Roxas. Defeated enemies do not drop munny but instead drop heart energy or points; their use was not made clear to me.

I explored thoroughly but found many passages blocked by energized chains, making exploration very linear — though again, the question remains whether this is a limitation of the demo or the actual game. If it's part of the game, it does work nicely, generally guiding the player where to go without totally eliminating exploration options.

Without any story sequences, hacking up Heartless got a little boring, but I'm glad to see it still feels very much like a Kingdom Hearts game. I was a little worried after Chain of Memories that this would be a letdown, but I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more of the game, particularly learning more about the mysterious girl with the gorgeous blue eyes in a black cape...

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