Monday, April 23, 2012

Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days...finished!! And self-imposing Kingdom Hearts catch-up challenge!

In an effort much like my self-initiated challenges for Final Fantasy XIII and Disgaea 3, I've begun the progress to get myself up to speed on the Kingdom Hearts saga.  I've already completed both Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 (secret movies unlocked for both) and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (on the GBA, not the PS2 remake).  Now, I can add Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days to that list of completed titles!

First off, I never anticipated how canon the game's storyline was to the KH universe; I was expecting some half-ass filler content that gave a meh "congratulations" when you completed the game.  Without going into detail, the game's story surprisingly fills a lot of the holes in the last 20% of the game.  To many KH enthusiasts, it would be wise to complete this game just for the story alone.

What does that say about the gameplay?  While most RPGs require you to complete a set of tasks/missions presented to you as clever story/plot points, KH: 358/2 Days is literally a checklist of missions to complete.  And they mostly consist of the same thing over and over again - find monsters, kill quota, then return back to homebase.  The only thing that kept me going was the level of customization you could instill into your character with they panel system.  Like a good puzzle game, your skillset is only as good as your ability to consolidate and organize the panels and links you assign on the space limited to you.  As you complete levels, your skill area becomes larger, allowing you to add more to your battle repertoire.

What's unfortunately mundane is the way they drip-serve story through very tiny vignettes of  animated gestures and dialogue.  Most of the meaty full-CGI cutscenes won't be revealed until at every third of the game or so, with an avalanche of them near the end.  So with each mission complete, I kept wishing I'd progress further than a 5-second clip of silent polygon characters walking across the screen.

But, through any challenges I've set to myself in the past, the main goal has always been to complete the game...and to that I'm on track.  Now with Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days complete, I'm on to the next game, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, on the PSP.  I believe this is the last game that occurs between Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2.  Maybe if I have time after this game, I'll play through Kingdom Hearts: Re:coded, which is set after the events of Kingdom Hearts 2.  Who knows - maybe the story there will pleasantly surprise me just like 358/2 Days did.
Post a Comment