Game Review

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Katy Ellis

Like a dream, or just plain heartless?

This is a good month for Square Enix fans. First rhythm-action masterpiece Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy came storming into our midst and now it's Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance’s turn to hold the spotlight. Kingdom Hearts 3D may be one of the best looking games on the 3DS, yet like many previous Kingdom Hearts DS iterations, there are a few niggles that let the whole experience down.

The plot picks up from the end of Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded. It begins with Sora and Riku embarking on a quest to complete the Mark of Mastery exam to become Keyblade Masters, which fans of the series might recognise from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. Sora and Riku must then journey to the Realm of Sleep, and awake the sleeping worlds: Traverse Town, La Cite des Cloches, Prankster’s Paradise, The Grid and Country of the Musketeers. If all of this makes little sense to you at the moment, don't worry too much; you don’t need to be able to understand the complex plot behind the series in order to enjoy the individual games, but it helps!

In Kingdom Hearts 3D the usual enemies, the Heartless, have been replaced by Dream Eaters, who look like university freshers on their way to a UV party. While lacking the scare factor, there is a plus side to these colourful characters, as you can recruit friendly Dream Eaters (known as Sprites) to your party to help in battle. Sprites are customisable, with lots of different paint gun colours to collect and spray to your heart's content. There is also a new ‘petting’ feature, similar to Nintendogs, where you tap the lower screen with your stylus to give your Sprite a stroke, earning you ‘Link’ power-ups to make your compadre stronger in battle. You can also take 3D photos of your Sprite, but only if you really want to.

As usual Square Enix has done a great job with the visuals; Kingdom Hearts 3D looks absolutely stunning. The facial detail on Sora is particularly impressive, and all of the environments and movie flashbacks look fantastic. The only downside to this is that the juxtaposition of the photo-realistic Tron: Legacy characters with the spiky-haired Sora and Riku is so odd that it destroys the atmosphere in The Grid.

While the 3D effect is not pivotal, it does add a sparkle to the beautifully detailed cut scenes, most noticeably when flames rise in the Cite des Cloches stage — make sure you have the 3D slider set to the max for that scene. Like all Kingdom Hearts games the voice acting is also spot-on; even where the original voice actors from the movies are missing, an impeccable replacement has been found, making the change barely noticeable.

Even though Kingdom Hearts 3D may look incredible, the gameplay is rather tedious. You must play as both Sora and Riku, undergoing each world twice and therefore defeating the same bosses twice too. This is where the new ‘Drop’ element features, as you're only given a certain amount of time playing as one character before you're dropped out and wake up again as the other. Having a time limit is essential, as it stops you from levelling up and progressing too far as one character. However, the drop counter continues to tick down even during boss fights, meaning you could be grinding down a big Dream Eater for ages only to be suddenly dropped out, forced to replay the whole fight over again when you next wake up.

The combat has been improved with the addition of free-flow, an acrobatic feature which adds speed to the many street brawls you encounter and becomes a very powerful tool once you get the hang of it. There is also a new Reality Shift system which allows you to perform a special command or attack depending on the world you are in. For example, in Traverse Town, when you use Reality Shift mode you execute a Slingshot attack.

One of the biggest grievances is that there are simply too many random encounters. Every time you pass through an area the same horde of neon Dream Eaters will attack you, no matter how many times you knock them down and out. Because of this, you end up rushing through the game in order to avoid all of the random encounters, and fail to fully explore the environments, thus missing many of the hidden treasures. This is worsened by the fact that there're only a few worlds in comparison to previous Kingdom Hearts games.

The controls are quite easy to get to grips with, thanks primarily to the tutorial level at the beginning in which you fight Ursula’s huge, flailing tentacles. Yet after this, Kingdom Hearts 3D bombards you with a hideous explanation screen every time a new feature or control is introduced, which can be overwhelming at first even for experienced Kingdom Hearts players.

Once you're fully immersed and battling it out against never-ending streams of Dream Eaters, you'll soon notice that potions aren't very easily accessible. You can't retrieve them from the main menu — which would force the battle to pause — or even select them on the touch screen; instead you have to flick through the X button menu using the D-pad while the fight still continues. This bad menu positioning causes a few unnecessary fatalities and doesn’t do anything to make up for the cascade of Dream Eaters that continuously come your way.


Kingdom Hearts 3D is a great looking, solid game, held back by a few design choices which stop it from being as enjoyable an experience as it should be. If you are new to the series and want to know what it’s all about, then try Kingdom Hearts I or II before diving into this one. However, if you are a series veteran then step this way, as there is still a lot of fun to be had if you can overlook the small gameplay problems.

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User Comments (134)



Jumpman said:

I've never played the Kingdom Hearts series myself but it has always intrigued me.



komicturtle said:

They should make the KH series less OVERLY-ACTION Oriented and flashy. I miss the simple yet deep gameplay the original had. Didn't like the "Push Triangle" button sequences and how it made the battles far more easier than it should be.



Mr_DSi said:

I've never been the biggest fan of Kingdom Hearts mainly because the combat boils down to how quickly you can button mash.



Neram said:

"Because of this, you end up rushing through the game in order to avoid all of the random encounters, and fail to fully explore the environments, thus missing many of the hidden treasures."

YOU do. Not everyone finds random encounters as painful as you might. No offense but I find a lot of this review to be based a bit too much on your personal opinion. I understand that's what reviews are, your opinion, but I think there's got to be a certain level of objectivity.

"The only downside to this is that the juxtaposition of the photo-realistic Tron: Legacy characters with the spiky-haired Sora and Riku is so odd that it destroys the atmosphere in The Grid."

I find that rather neat actually, it was the same for the Pirates world in Kingdom Hearts 2.



ATDI said:

Uuuuugh! Square Enix! You used to be so good! throws my copy of FF13



RevolverLink said:

Story-wise, would I be okay heading into Dream Drop Distance having only played the two main entries? I haven't played a Kingdom Hearts game since II came out, so I really don't know what's been going on in that series' universe since then.



Banjogeek said:

@H_Hunter How would you know if it's a bad game you haven't played it.

The grinding in Kingdom hearts games are optional.The funny thing is BBS(Birth by Sleep) had a similar mechanic in where you would play Three different stories.Those three different Stories went through some of the same worlds. At least most of worlds are different in this game you didn't mention that in the review.What I mean by different is that they haven't been in Kingdom heart game before.



Jamouse said:

Am I the only that thought that 358 days was one of the best entries in the series?



RevolverLink said:

@H_Hunter - Are you making that judgement based on the demo or just on the review score? Because the review itself didn't indicate that it was a bad game (flawed, perhaps, but not bad), and I can't think of a goofy, cockamamie, non-IGN universe where a 7/10 score indicates that a game is of poor quality.



Megumi said:

Eh, wasn't expecting it to be perfect, still getting it. only thing I'm worried about is the whole Drop thing. >.>
But at least the worlds here are actually NEW.



RR529 said:

I don't have the money for this now, but I'll get it eventually (KH is my favorite series, right beside Zelda).

Decent review, but I think some of the complaints were nit-piking a little. You personally didn't like how the art styles "clashed" in the Tron: Legacy world. OK, you're entitled to your opinion, but just because YOU didn't like the style doesn't mean it's bad (and shouldn't count against the game's quality. Heck, I hate the art style in Rayman Origins, but I wouldn't put it against the game's quality, because I know it was done expertly). Secondly, I don't think you know what random encounters are (you say the enemies appear in the same areas, every time you go through. That's not random, and thus easier to prepare for). From what I read, it sounds like this should have scored an 8.

Also, @H_Hunter, first you bash NL's glowing review of "the Sword of Hope II", because it's an "old black & white game", and now you're bashing this game off of a 5 min demo! Sounds to me you don't know what you're talking about.



Millenia said:

@RevolverLink - I think you should be fine if you played through KH1&2. The only title that chronologically takes place after KH2 is Coded, which I have read did not contribute much to the plot. I'll be reading about it myself because I'm not interested to play through it. Birth by Sleep is the prequel to KH1, Chain of Memories and 358/2 Days are both before KH2. Chain of Memories came out before KH2, and you were fine then! So you'll be okay. It wouldn't hurt to read up or watch cutscenes! The series creator refers to BBS as just as important as the numbered entries though, so if you don't understand something it most likely be referencing BBS. I don't know much about the plot of KH3D though, so there's no telling. I think I also read that KH3D includes synopses of the other titles within the game, or maybe in the manual, so that will help out as well I'd imagine.

Anyway, great review! My absolute favorite in the series is Birth by Sleep by far, I feel like nothing could ever top it. I know that the same team created this game. As long as I don't expect it to outperform BBS, then I think it will be an enjoyable experience!



19Robb92 said:

So basically: a fantastic game for fans, but only a great game for people that haven't followed the series.

Makes sense seeing how story focused this series is. Which should make it rewarding for people that have actually followed the series. Looks like a great game, but it's not for me.



Rmagnus said:

@Neram Random encounters are too old it seems. I seen lots of people complaining about it. Personally I have no idea why, maybe i grew up with the old JRPGs its not a big issue, hell even bravely default caught some flank for having random encounters



gundam00 said:

This is on my list of games to get! I thought the demo was fun! I didn't know about the "Drop" feature, that's my main concern.

A couple questions I have:
1.) Does the "Drop" feature "push" you thru the game? You said, you play each level with both Sora and Riku, but if you're playing as Sora and you're dropped for Riku, do you replay the level with Sora when Riku's dropped or are you progressed to the next level?
2.) Any estimation on gameplay length? You said there's only five levels and you play them with both Riku and Sora. So it sounds kinda short to me.

Hopefully KH1 and KH2 will be remastered for the Wii U! So I can play them!



BenAV said:

Very nice review Katy.
This is about what I was expecting with this game.

I'm going to pass on this one, got plenty of games to keep me occupied until New Super Mario Bros. 2.



MeWario said:

Good score =) I haven't played a Kingdom Hearts game since the 1st one but I think this is a good place to get back on =D



MeWario said:

@Neram Sorry buddy I agree with the reviewer, not you. Random encounters become annoying when you want to take a pause and soak in your surroundings. It's a design flaw, not an opinion. Well actually it is opinion but that's what reviewers do =P



Chunky_Droid said:

The only downside to this is that the juxtaposition of the photo-realistic Tron: Legacy characters with the spiky-haired Sora and Riku is so odd that it destroys the atmosphere in The Grid.

To me it makes sense, as you wouldn't expect Sora and Riku to look realistic purely because they're in a realistic world, similar in design to Roger Rabbit.

Nice review though, I've never found any of the flaws to be deal-breaking in the KH games as I love the story and the general gameplay so much. Picking this up no-question!



DeMoN-13ruce said:

i got it today becuase i pre ordered it omg w0000t:D

btw you can watch old vids of the old kh in it....



ueI said:

If other reviews for the game are like this one, I won't be getting it. All the flaws Katy covered are gameplay related, which is what I care about the most. Sure, I liked the DS Kingdom Hearts, but I would expect some sort of improvement as the series progresses. More improvements than are noted in the review, anyway.



DeMoN-13ruce said:

Lol the gameplay is very good imo and about the newcomers youcan watch vids of the old khs in and the trailer of before playing =whole story in 2 mins



hYdeks said:

I played 1 and 2 and playing re-coded right now, so I will be getting this.

Great read!

The tron part is the reason i want this game, guess tron isn't for everyone



BulbasaurusRex said:

You know, the main series Pokémon games have always used random encounters, and those games don't get very many complaints over that issue.



Shirma_Akayaku said:

Does anyone else agree that the first KH game was possibly the best?
I say this because in the first, it looks more colorful, more childish, and more fun than the other KH games. After a while, to me it felt like the series got more darker.



Aviator said:

I get what Katy is saying about the Tron stuff.

What I can recall, a lot of the settings (if not all) in KH are cartoony, very un-realistic. (Correct me if I'm wrong) So with one section of a game having two out of place characters in the realistic Grid may seem odd.

Great review Katy.



GameLord08 said:

Slightly lower score than I expected, but it's not too surprising. Wasn't positively decided on picking this up later, but it seems I'll pass for now. I've always been interested in trying Kingdom Hearts for a change though, so I'm sort of hoping we might see the two original games (or the first alone, really) re-mastered for the Wii U.

Excellent review, Katy.



Araknie said:

Well is see very mixed reviews on this game so it's a game i have to own.



alLabouTandroiD said:

@Katy: Good review, i really like your writing style. ("university freshers on their way to a UV party" will probably be the best thing i'll read today. )
Having only played some hours of the GBA game before i came away unimpressed from the demo. In addition your review pretty much told me everything i needed to know to decide that this isn't what i want.
I'd still be interested in a couple of things though.

  • What did you think about the story?
  • Did you play it with the Circle Pad Pro too? Did it feel better that way?


Samholy said:

never played any kingdom heart. skipped the ps2 versions because you know. im not too much into little mermaids, cinderella or mickey mouse.

i really enjoy oldies mickey mouse and friends cartoons, the original ones. but into a rpg ? no way !
whats wrong wit hthat franchise, i dont get it.

i saw the world ends with you charecter when i started the demo and i was in awe. i need another TWEWY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

keep your kingdom heart, all hail a new TWEWY !!!!



HandheldGuru97 said:

So wait if I have never a Kingdom Hearts game this isn't a good starting place then what is? I pre-ordered this game a while back and now I am not sure if I should keep it.



childofacid said:

After reading IGN's review I was certain I was going to get this game but after reading this review I'm a bit on the fence about it.
Another thing that concerns me is that I have never played any of the games. Is it worth investing my time? If I buy this game what are the chances of seeing Kingdom Hearts III on the Wii U? This is mainly why I didnt buy Metal Gear Solid for the 3DS. The games never come to Nintendo's home console so why bother trying to play catch up?



Banker-Style said:

Certainly the best review I've seen for the game yet.

I kinda want to get it.
How long is the game?

I'm hoping a 15-20 hour game.



Aqueous said:

It's still going to be mine regardless. The only thing I could see as annoying and important to know from the review was the time limit.

@Square-enixFan - You should be fine. This one sounds like it explains and everyone of them that I played, just kind of goes on it's own. Sure they tie into each other but each one focuses more on what is happening rather then what has happened and does dip into what just happened a little at the start to prevent you from being totally lost.

@Katy_Ellis - Nice review, your writing style is nice. The "random" encounters sound more like the preset ones in the other Kingdom Hearts I played. Where they are always positioned in the same spots.
Thank you for the tip on potions, I'll stick to cure spells for my healing as always.
You never mentioned platforming how does it compare to the others because in Kingdom Hearts I it is horrible.

@A-Hungry-Banker - Here,



Pokefanmum82 said:

Still getting this game. Don't really care if it's hard to play. I like challenging games. It got a better score on and they had the same gripes about the game. Except they didn't have a problem with the Tron world like Katy did. I like to form my own opinions about the game but still a great review Katy.



turtlelink said:

So this is KH3? About time.

Good review. The game doesn't really interest me that much.



grumblebuzzz said:

I tried the demo and it's not for me. I just can't get into many RPGs, especially from SquareEnix, even if I dig the story and characters. Too many button-press combinations, menus and terminology to memorize. I'll stick with Paper Mario.



Barbiegurl777 said:

I wanted to see the The hunchback of Notre Dame come back to the handheld's as a remake from the original gameboy version made by disney interactive year's ago but not like this as a goofy little cut scene in KH I have nothing against KH & don't play KH have no intention on it but really wish they would have left the hunchback of notre dame out of it.

Those that are actual fan's of The Hunchback of Notre Dame written by Victor Hugo & the have watched ALL the hunchback of notre dame different movie version's (which I have) If they play this KH game they'll see it contradict's everything in both the movie's & book.

You guy's can have your KH game. But it would have been really nice if they did The Hunchback of Notre Dame by it's self in a 3ds cartridge form if they did I'd gladly buy it in a heart beat & also copies of the game for my friends as well.

I have tried KH on PS2 as a rental before year's ago & thought the graphic's were nice. I'm not a fan of KH now after this.

I am sorry but it is insulting to those that are actual fan's of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Happy Gaming! (^_^)



FonistofCruxis said:

Good first review Katy. I know people say that these games can be enjoyed on their own but I'd rather wait 'till I've got a console that can play other entries in the series to fully understand the story. I'd want to play the first one before Chain of memories and 358/2 days and I'd want to play the second one before Re:Coded and this one and I might get a PS2 at some point. Getting a PSP seems less likely so if I do get a PS2, I might just play through the series without BBS unless it gets ported/remade.
@L4DYB4nSH33 Wow, I'm surprised you like this series after seeing your complaints about FF and Tales of while praising DQ as this series doesn't have the basic stories that DQ has. The stories in this series seem to have more similarities with FF and Tales of than DQ.



NintyMan said:

So the characters in the Hunchback of Norte Dame world sound about the same as in the movie? That's a good thing, because Frollo's voice actor died back in 2007 and I didn't know if his new voice actor would sound right, but I'm glad that he apparently does. It's great that a new KH game finally has new worlds, and this game seems to be leaning more to the Disney side of things rather than the Final Fantasy side unlike past games.

I've played KH 1 and 2 and a little of 358/2 Days, so I shouldn't be too lost on the series plot. Going by the demo, the flowmotion was tricky to use at first, but once I use it over and over in this game, I'll get better at it.



Xerxes said:




katenkyoz said:

I'M REALLY REGRETING HAVING BOUGHT MY 3DS.... To confess, I just don't think the games are worth, of course some are fun and nice, but the majority of the games are just not me. There are to many kids games for the 3DS"". To many in deed and very few for young/mature adults. And those games that are suitable for mature audience, they are just to small in content (Isn't the 3ds as powerful as the XBOX 360, then why are the games so short on content?) I have played nintendo ds games that are way bigger in content than many of 3ds's. So please, I beg the Nintendo association to think about us, the adult audience as well, we also love 3ds, but many of us like me are just struggling with this fact.



LegendaryQ said:

...Huh. The demo felt like a lot of fun, though it was short enough that few if any of the review's concerns would be experienced. This "Drop" thing sounds... strange? Not sure if I'm going to grab this game now.



Superconsole said:

At NLife we still consider 7/10s as a great score. I anticipated some fans being a bit annoyed about the review, but I really wanted to give an honest opinion of the game and not force myself to score it higher (out of slight fear of internet wrath!!!) I absolutely loved KH1 & KH2 so was sincerely disappointed by the small niggles in the game that let down the experience for me. It still looks aesthetically fantastic



Superconsole said:

@battLeToaD I won't give away what happens but it clears up a lot of the story in Birth by Sleep.
And unfortunately I didn't get a change to use the CPP with it, so am interested to see how that worked too!



Emaan said:

I think it deserves an 8 score to be honest. Won't rant on the judgement here though, its just disappointing. I'm still getting this. I love Kingdom Hearts, and other reviews have said its great.



Superconsole said:

@RevolverLink The storyline is mostly connected to themes in Birth by Sleep, but you can probably get by if you haven't played the latter iterations as it does give story background text for you to read.



Onett said:

This game looks like it could be fun but also looks like more of the same. I'll be content with borrowing this from a friend.

Excellent review.



Salnax said:

@Jamouse I'm not with you on this, but only because the original was that good. Days is one of my favorite DS games.



Spoony_Tech said:

@katenkyoz Are you kidding me? I'm 39 and enjoy quit a few 3ds games. Resident evil revelation, Metal Gear, Kid Icarus, Mario Kart Mario 3d land, Ace Combat,Heroes of Ruin I just picked up, I mean the list goes on and on of the games I have and many I know that are in their 20s and 30s. I've got plenty more I can mention but ill just leave it at that.

As for Kingdom Hearts I've got to much other money invested atm so it will go on my wish list but I definitely want it! Looks like lots of fun and great fighting sequences!



Millenia said:

@ymmas626 - What on Earth are you talking about? KH only recreates -Disney- worlds so it will only be adapting the Disney movie version. How does the game contradict the movie?



Wanderhope said:

I am so torn between this, Mario Tennis Open, and New Super Mario Bros. 2. First world problems?

NSMB2 may be winning at this point, since Mario platformers are my first love. But I was really itching for a long RPG/adventure. UGH. Hard decisions are hard.



Expa0 said:

I was expecing this to be better, but once again SE fails to impress.



pariah164 said:

It may not be perfect, but I'm getting it anyway. KH is one of my favorite franchises.



autosaver said:

Is there any reason why you're using the beta/prototype screens in this review? It seems awfully out of place and misguiding as the entire mechanic has been removed. Nobodies are NOT in the game at all and you do not play as KH1 Sora/Riku outside of Destiny Islands.



RevolverLink said:

@Millenia, @Superconsole - Sounds good, thanks for answering my question. I figure that as long as I don't have to do too much extracurricular reading in order to grasp what's going on in this game, I'll probably pick it up at some point.



Banjogeek said:

@autosaver I don't know either nobodies and KH1 sora/riku are not in the game maybe she couldn't screen cap the 3ds?

@RevolverLink The intro to the game explains what is going on but it doesn't explain what happened in BBS.



WingedSnagret said:

I have honestly never played a KH game, nor gave the series much thought. And yet this intrigues me. I think I'll pick this one up sometime soon after it comes out.



MitchVogel said:

This game looks fantastic! I'm a bit disappointed to hear that they still haven't fixed some issues, but I never really cared about them to begin with. Great review Katy!



Superconsole said:

@autosaver The images for our reviews are randomly generated from our media bank (so I'm not currently seeing the same pictures as you), and unfortunately I have no control over which ones appear, but you can check on our KH3D game page for more screens



grimbldoo said:

@ATDI #7
Come here bro, you need a hug. It's all because they thought that they could be amazing without Nintendo, return you prodigal children!



Blaze said:

Great review!

I'm kinda disappointed with the game so far; hoping it picks up soon. A 7/10 sounds about right though.



zipmon said:

Thanks for the review! Having never played a KH game, this was really helpful!



retro_player_22 said:

Why does all three Kingdom Heart games always end up with 7/10? 358/2 Days and Re: Coded were also 7/10 here but I felt 358/2 Days were better than the other two.



Barbiegurl777 said:


I understand KH does disney character's etc but alot of stuff I saw in the KH trailer goes against what's in the movie & the book if you've ever even read the book by Victor Hugo which I have.

KH is mixing good vs evil & taking it to a far extreme in this game not to mention using symbol's related to prophecy/end times material. & what I mean by good vs evil is:

The Hunchback of Notre Dame for the most part has a lot of christian & catholic's view's in it.

KH is on the complete opposite:

Soul Eater's
Number's on the hand in the trailer - Remind you of a certain number give you hint the three of these: 6
Demon's in the game meant to be character's?
Dream Eater's also etc

Maybe your laughing but I'm not I thought something was way wrong year's ago when I rented a KH game on PS2 to see what the hype was about back then. This game is riddled with occult, & demonic symbol's in it. If you want to play it then hey go all for it.

But I refuse half because of the occult, & other symbol's in the game & half because it's insulting to fan's of Victor Hugo book The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Happy Gaming! (^_^)



Radixxs said:

Good review, I particularly like the use of the word "niggles" which I previously did not know existed!



theblackdragon said:

@ymmas626: if you want to talk about Disney warping original material to suit their movie and/or gaming image needs, get in line — just about everything they touch that's based on existing content is boiled down and molded in some way to suit their purposes, even things based on actual people and historical events. anyone naive enough to watch or play a Disney production expecting any kind of technical accuracy at this point almost deserves to be horribly disappointed, no offense.



Hokori said:

Why do all the KH games get a 7 on NL? It's weird I figure this one would be better then coded at least, either way I'll get it



Chunky_Droid said:

@Aviator: In Kingdom Hearts II they had a Pirates of the Carribean world which was much the same. It felt like Roger Rabbit then too, but I love Roger Rabbit, and I think having Sora looking like a real person because he's in a real (ie. non-cartoon) world would be detriment to the characters.



Henmii said:

I think I'll give it a pass! I much rather try 1 or 2 instead of this one!

Why sooo many side-games, that don't seem to live up to 1 or 2? They should finish 3, and bring all 3 to Wii u!!



ouroborous said:

Never played any KH games since they looked corny and childish (not a big disney fan), though they get great reviews. Tried the demo for this one in my constant effort to find new 3DS games to play. Think I'll have to pass for now though, it was o-k but not great and I think the combat system could get shallow/tedious. Maybe I'll give it a toss later when it's used and cheap (same with FF Theatrhythm) since there are a few new games out and coming out that I am actually excited about.



sinalefa said:

@Bulbasaurus Rex

I think Pokémon does not get flak for the random encounters for two reasons:

1. You evolve most monsters by earning levels, which is done by battling, so you actually need those battles to increase the Dex, one of the main selling points.

2. The devs were still kind enough to make the wonderful item know as Repel, with their super and Max variations. I wish more JRPGs did that, since it really lets you choose when to fight and when to explore.

About the game itself, I will pass. Never been into KH, and the demo did not convince me otherwise. And congrats to Katy for a review that looks very sincere, written in a fresh style.



Knux said:

Prepare for probably the longest comment I've ever made in quite awhile! As a Kingdom Hearts fan, I have a lot to say.

@Superconsole: Great review, Katy! Although I personally think it sounds like a 8 or 9 game, the Drop system sounds like something that can be annoying at times (getting switched to Riku in the middle of a boss fight while playing as Sora sounds awful to be honest). I think it would have been better if the character switching was manual only or the two characters had different scenarios like in Birth by Sleep, but I'll find out how it works when I get my hands on the game.

Overall, it looks awesome and certainly a lot better than the DS installments (which I greatly enjoyed). Although, I'm curious if you think this game is better or worse than Birth by Sleep, which in my opinion is the best Kingdom Hearts game besides Kingdom Hearts I.

The only thing that really didn't make sense was the random encounters. I personally don't think that there are such things as random encounters in any Kingdom Hearts game. I guess I view random encounters as something like in Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Pokemon. Usually when a enemy pops out, it's pretty easy to run away from them if you don't want to battle them. Either way, it just doesn't bother me that much unlike in FF or DQ. But I could be very wrong.

The cartoon characters also being in a real world doesn't really bother me that much. It seemed to work in Port Royal, and I just can't imagine a ''live-action'' version of Sora or Riku looking too well.

But either way, I did enjoy the review and your writing style. I hope to see you review more games in the future.

@Everyone else: For all of you newcomers to the series, this is probably the worst game to start out with. You're pretty much wanting to do the equivalent of playing Metal Gear Solid 4 before you play any other MGS game first. This game takes place after all of the other games in the series, and pushes the story forward while answering a lot of mysteries in the series.

It would be best for newcomers to play all of the other games starting with Kingdom Hearts I and playing them in the order they were released. If you play Kingdom Hearts I and don't enjoy it, then you're not going to enjoy the rest of the series.

It's really not that hard to get into the series. You don't have to own a million consoles and handhelds to play all of the games in the series like some people claim. All you really need is a PS2, PSP, and 3DS (although European gamers will need a DS or GBA to play Chain of Memories since the PS2 remake was never released in Europe; but in my opinion the GBA version sucks, so play that one at your own risk). Most gamers should already have at least most if not all of those consoles or handhelds, and even then it doesn't cost that much to buy them.

Sony haters or dislikers should buy a PS2 and PSP just to experience the main Kingdom Hearts games. Playing Kingdom Hearts I and Kingdom Hearts II changed my life forever. I used to not care much for RPGs before playing Kingdom Hearts I, but now it's one of my favorite genres. Yes, I know that Kingdom Hearts I is an action RPG, but it made me love traditional RPGs over time.

You can judge the series like I did before I even played the first game, but please play the first game before you write off the series as ''corny and childish''. If you dislike or hate the first game, then you might as well avoid the rest of the series. But don't use Dream Drop Distance as a starting point for the series. Because even though Nomura is trying to paint the game as friendly to newcomers, it's the complete opposite. This game is meant for the fans who have already played nearly every game in the series (you can avoid Re: coded because it hardly has a plot, but I wouldn't recommend it because it's still an awesome game).

Also, people saying that there are getting tired of seeing all of these ''side-story'' Kingdom Hearts games need to get their facts straight. There are only two actual side-story games in the series, which are 358/2 Days and Re: coded (but even 358/2 Days filled in some plot holes, so it's still essential to play). A Kingdom Hearts game doesn't need to have a number slapped on at the end to be a main series title. All of the Kingdom Hearts games that have been on Sony consoles or handhelds are main titles (KHI, KHII, COM/Re: COM, and BBS). BBS is essentially Kingdom Hearts 0 since it's a prequel that explains a lot of mysteries surrounding the series, and DDD might as well be called Kingdom Hearts III or IV since this is really the fifth main title in the series. DDD is essentially the first main KH game to be exclusively on a Nintendo platform (for now, anyway).

Anyway, I'm looking forward to DDD since it's looking to be just as good if not better than BBS. I'm so glad that all of the Disney worlds are new, because going through Agrabah and Wonderland for the millionth time was getting ridiculous.

Anyway, it's time to get back to Xenoblade Chronicles and hope that I somehow beat that game before July 31 (which is highly unlikely).



CaPPa said:

Are there 5 or 7 worlds? Every other review I've read has said 7, but Katy only lists 5. So is it 5 themed worlds and 2 other worlds or did she just skip a couple?

I really don't care about the review score or the 'niggles' as I'm buying this game anyway. It'll be my first portable KH too as I only played the main series before.



kobe1724 said:

kinda disappointed by the score, I was hoping for at least an 8 or 9. Usually NL and IGN are the two main sites I go to for reviews, but this one seems a little more negative than IGN. Now I'm not sure if I really should pick this one up for my b-day, so maybe it'll be NSMB2 instead. @Katy Great review though, keep 'em coming!



pikku said:

When you're in the middle of a boss fight and you switch to playing as Riku (or vica versa) does the boss's HP remain the same when you return to playing as that character? If it does then it's not nearly as bad as it sounds on paper.



Late said:

@Knux: Your whole post seems to be something I would've written so I won't write it twice. Although there was one mistake. KH:CoM on GBA is an awesome game My favorite KH game although the fact that it was the first one I've played may also affect a little.



mamp said:

Pretty good review. The only flaw was that you didn't use the Circle Pad Pro. Wished you could have also told us something about how the game plays with it (since they were able to do it for RE: Revelations).



ueI said:

I see that some people say this is a good game to start the series with, while others say you should play I, II, and BBS first. What about COM, 358/2, and RECoded? I've only played the Kingdom Hearts games that have been on Nintendo consoles. Just out of curiosity, do you guys think I'm ready for this one?



Shotgunryugan said:

@katenkyoz Nintendo has always been more kid friendly,so it should come as no surprise that the 3DS has more "kid" games than "mature",so really you should enjoy games for what they are not because they are the latest FPS craze or have gallons of blood coming out.

Anyway,great review Katy!
I thought it would get a 7,it's good enough for me,i'll be buying this when it comes out here in Puerto Rico

As for the people confused by the story,the game does have summaries for each game and if you're still confused you can do what i did and go on YouTube and watch the cutscenes for every game



kobe1724 said:

@katenkyoz yeah, Resident Evil is totally a kid's game, right? your comment is so spot on, it makes me laugh. Wait, that's not the reason I'm laughing...



Gamer83 said:

Seems like this game is quite the mixed bag. I really like Kingdom Hearts 1, 2 and Birth by Sleep but I couldn't stand 358/2 Days and the reviews I've seen for this game haven't convinced me it's worth a buy at full price. Maybe later on after a price cut. Doesn't seem like a bad game just not the smash hit I was hoping for. SE really needs to just stop messing around and get busy on Kingdom Hearts 3 for Wii U or PS4.



BulbasaurusRex said:

@ymmas626 I see, you're one of those critics, the ones who want to ban the Harry Potter books. There's really nothing wrong with presenting demons and such as bad guys, otherwise you could make the argument that you shouldn't read the Bible for the same reason. Yes, Japanese mangas and animes do sometimes present "good" demons, but they're working off of Eastern religions where such an idea is acceptable, and let's not forget that the Kingdom Hearts games are developed by a Japanese company.

As for "witchcraft," the Bible warns against it because it uses the power of the Devil (when it's not just a hoax). However, if we're in a fantasy world where there's a neutral source of "magic" (one unknown to the writers of the Bible if Christianity is also established in such a universe), there's no reason it can't be used for both good and evil, just as God's prophets use His power for good.

If I'm interpreting you right, you're also complaining about the various demonic characters contradicting Christian ideas of demons while including a Christian themed story. While you're correct that they do contradict Christianity, who says Christianity is true in the Kingdom Hearts universe? Maybe it's true in the world of Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame but not true in any of the other worlds in Kingdom Hearts. The very idea of having a cross-over with all these different worlds in itself strongly suggests that we're dealing with multiple dimensions of reality here.



MeloMan said:

I really wanted to dive into the world of KH but dropping in now doesn't seem like a good place to start. Plus after playing the demo, I could sense how the battle mechanic could be great at some points, alot of it is just chaos and "too much"-ness going on for me, but that's just my opinion. Plus, as someone has said already, as story focused as this game is, I really have no clue wtf is going on. Too bad... guess I'll have to wait for a KH collection one day or something...



Arcamenel said:

Yeah I'm not going to be getting this. I don't have the money or desire to try and find the other games in the series, play and beat them just to understand what is going on. I'm guessing the KH series is just one I'm not going to be a part of.



WingedSnagret said:

So I should not get this game at all because I have not played any of the others? But I thought this particular game comes with cutscenes from previous ones so you know what is going on.



TimboBaggins said:

This is a good review, I think it is pretty fair and balanced actually compared to what a few haters claimed on here



Superconsole said:

@WingedFish It does have lots of cut-scenes at first to explain back stories, but then it feels like Enix gives up on that half way through and instead provides you with reams of text to skim through. It's still very enjoyable without thinking about the storyline though!



Nintendude92 said:

@5. "No offense but I find a lot of this review to be based a bit too much on your personal opinion."

It's almost like a review is the authors opinion and not anyone elses!



Barbiegurl777 said:


Your half right & half wrong on my opinion.

I don't want to ban harry potter or kingdom heart's. Your right though I don't read harry potter for the same reason I don't play Kingdom Heart's.

As far as the bible goes that's something to actually take seriously in reading for life.

There is no such thing as a good demon & bad demon I really wish the japanese culture would quite putting that out there like as if there is good & bad in demon's.

There is no such thing as a good demon.

Demon's come from Hell & can also posses a person also known as demonic possession there is nothing good about that.

If you read the bible there are several verse's where Jesus had to cast out demon's out of several people in the bible.

There's one verse where Jesus cast out demon's into pig's.

When I find the verse's I'll post them at some point.

You don't get it. When we die & either go to heaven or hell based on whether or not we asked Jesus Christ into our heart. We are going to be based on EVERYTHING we did down here on earth.

Earth is meant as a testing ground for people to see if they'll do what is right & what is wrong & to see if they ask Jesus into there heart's.

Getting back to kingdom hearts topic:

Yes your right I think on alot of what you said...

There are ALOT of hunchback of notre dame fan's of the actual movie/book. They can put it in KH to make the KH fan's happy but I also wish they would have made a seperate hunchback of notre dame 3ds game that stayed true to the actual storyline based on the movie/book written by Victor Hugo.

Happy Gaming! (^_^)



Miroku said:

LMAO I like how they include those emo TWEWY characters but they're cutscenes only.



Dusktail16 said:

@ymmas626 Not trying to be too rude, but if you are going to hate an amazing series all because you're that big of a fan of something else? AGain, not trying to be rude, but that sounds stupid. KH is amazing, and either way, it's just a movie/game. You don't have to hate kingdom hearts because of...whatever reason you said. (forgot)



Xerxes said:

@ymmas626 You seriously are taking your religion to like, a fanatic level. I suggest heating up a cup of tea, calming down and realizing that KH is just a videogame, a work of art if you will. You won't get demon possesed or sent to hell by playing it. Allow me to enlighten you in a bit of Japanese shinto culture, christians tried to spread their religion in japan a long long time ago and due to the language barrier many of the beliefs where not carried over correctly for example, in shinto we have 'Makai' which is the spirit world, in makai there live Onii, Chirstian evangelist told them that they are wrong, and that Makai is hell and that onii are demons which has since brought the modern translation makai and Onii as such, although it is incorrect. Onii are free spirits in the shinto religion and they can choose to be evil or good. That's why in many japanese games you have demons that are good or bad, travels to the spirit world makai, chats with the king of onii, and many Kami or 'gods'.Shinto and Christianity are wayy to different to should never be compared. their games are heavily inspired by their culture and if you understand you could really appreciate it and respect it. Also your comparisons of dream eaters and demons are totes bat-guano-nuts. The bible is a great book, but youre like one step away from like, westboro baptist church cray cray. If you broaden you mind and begin to understand and try to appreciate other cultures you will be a better person and christian nonetheless, the world needs people like that.



winter123 said:

I own the PSP KH, which I've heard is the prequel to this one. I like it, but I agree with the overall tedious nature of the game. In the PSP version though, once you clear a room, it's clear and you can explore... Sounds like this one enemies infinitely respawn. This will be a bargain bin game for me.



Skitrules said:

I disagree with the random encounters because when i play and i'm trying to level up i defeat all the enemies go to somewhere else in the same room to fight more enemies defeat them comeback to fight the enemies from the place before and they arent there so i have to leave the room and come back to fight them. so for me i completely disagree with the random encounters



RabbidAssassin said:

I've been playing the Kingdom Heart games since the very first one. I favor the 2nd game on the PS2 more then the others. I enjoyed that game so much because they already got all the beginning story line stuff out of the way and did some upgrades to the game. The story is a huge part of why I love the game so much. Thats why I didn't like the handheld versions of the game as much. One the graphics were more then terrible and being that they couldn't fix much data on those games back then, it didn't pull me in like the PS2 versions did. Now once I first saw KH3D I knew it was going to be more like the PS2 games and less like the handheld versions. I'm happy to say that it was correct. This version of the game is amazing. They gave you back the good graphics and kept the story alive. Plus adding in the new moves and not having to just use the disney characters as battle partners was a HUGE plus. I at first did not like the way you had to create your Dream Eaters, but now that I've gotten more into the game I have to say they did the right thing. Now you can create the ones you want and not HAVE to you whatever ones they give you. I have to give this game a 9.5 hands down. Great games all around!



RabbidAssassin said:

@Skitrules I'm totally with you on this one. If they did not bring back the enemies after you defeat them, then you would not be a high enough level to more on to harder worlds. I do the same thing to make sure I'm not going to be killed on the next world or whatever. Its always better to take a little more time to beef up your characters then just rushing forward and not understand why you are not able to beat the high level enemies and/or bosses.



Oziku said:

I really would enjoy the interaction with the spirit dream eaters and the overall gameplay is purely awesome so I might give it a try.



Oziku said:

@ymmas627 I have no dought that there is demon symbolism in this game. I'm not criticising it but, yes disney has been hinting witchcraft and wizardry since they were founded. Heck, Mickey mouse was originally a wizard and for anyone that doesn't believe that they are into something evil: try turning to disney channel (forgot what day) and watching this new show called gravity falls. Anyone with an oz. of knowledge in illuminati symbolism can tell somethings not right, right from the opening when a giant All-seeing-eye flashes across the screen and almost over every window in the entire show. This was produced in the USA mind you. And if you want to see even more go to google and search 'Gravity falls illuminati' Its real, very real. Oh, and lets not get on the fact that the 'D ' in Disney is actually a 6. I totally agree with you and happy that you stood up for christianity.



TonLoco said:

This game is awesome. I love the flowmotion attacks and the amount of customization you can do to your characters skill set. I will say as someone who hasn't played a lot of KH games that the amount of content was a bit overwhelming at first. That is absolutely not a bad thing. One of my favorite games right nowl



pasc said:

you'll soon notice that potions aren't very easily accessible. You can't retrieve them from the main menu — which would force the battle to pause — or even select them on the touch screen; instead you have to flick through the X button menu using the D-pad while the fight still continues. This bad menu positioning causes a few unnecessary fatalities and doesn’t do anything to make up for the cascade of Dream Eaters that continuously come your way.

NO just NO.... you can easily assign a shortcut for one command in your deck:

1. got to "edit command deck"
2. go to the command you want to shortcut
3. press X

Whenever you need said command in a pinch:

  1. press left on the D-pad
    2. X to execute it.

I found most flaws pointed out marginal at best. This game really is epic.
It might have a lack of worlds (due to having to play then two times) and the addition of twewy characters is a welcome change to the reptitious ff characters.

Howver they tried their best to keep from reusing old worlds like agrabah, hollow bastion (which I liked ), deep jungle (which they couldn't reuse even if they wanted) etc.

I'm quite far in the game and enjoy it as much as I did enjoy KHII and BBS.



redclow said:

7/10!!?!? Wow... this game deserves a 9/10. How come this site pretty much always gives 7/10s????



supertskill said:

Kingdom hearts 1 and 2 is the only great ones
other than that it started to get a little lame



DrMetroid said:

@Bucho The bible isn't completely fiction. A good portion of it is the actual history of the Hebrew people and a very important part of the Hebrew culture. Yes, a lot of it carries the (possibly) fictional beliefs of the Hebrew people. Anyways I'm not a Christian myself.



rayword45 said:

As people stated, most of the flaws listed are marginal. This deserves a high 8 IMO. Plenty of fun for my money.



apocacrux said:

I also found the tutorial bits after the intro to be terrible, overwhelming and muddled. Too much information at once and I feel like I didn't have time to even use it before I was being told about some other new feature. It's called pacing, Square Enix.



DePapier said:

@pasc I'm with you 100%. You just CAN'T finish the game without knowing this simple tactics, even though it is arguably hard to find. But it is definitely something that shouldn't have been omitted in a review, especially if it is part of what hindered the score of such a good game in my opinion...

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