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Kingdom Hearts Re: coded


Kingdom Hearts is a winding story thatís probably gone off the deep end more times than mot over the years. In this release for the Nintendo DS, the episodic mobile phone version of Kingdom Hearts coded (only released in Japan) has been adapted for the touch screen system in the form of Kingdom Hearts Re: coded. In other words, if you played the mobile version already, you wonít find anything new here beyond an adapted control system and a new secret ending (no spoilers). However, itís new to North American audiences. The gameís main narrative is positioned after the events of Kingdom Hearts II, so people that finished that game on the PlayStation 2 will be in good shape.

kingdom hearts re coded sora

The basic premise is that Jiminy Cricketís journal has gotten a virus of sorts and the Disney gang has to send virtual Sora into the digital diary to set things straight as well as deal with a computerized version of Heartless. Again, if you are familiar with the first two games, you will immediately recognize all the locales like Agrabah and Olympus. It feels like something of a cop-out to simply reuse these portions of the previous games, but thatís a common occurrence in handheld gaming. Another issue with the narrative is that you need a solid base of knowledge on the Kingdom Hearts story to date in order to understand much of the story twists and main characters.

While I definitely preferred the combat system in Birth of Sleep, I did enjoy the leveling system thatís prevalent within Re: coded. Created in a matrix network of skills, the game not only allows you to boost your own skills, but also jointly boost skills or even merging skills for greater impact on enemies. Itís a fairly involved skill tree that requires a little experimentation. You can also tweak out skills on characters with lower overall levels to have a much greater impact on the outcome of the battles. Unfortunately, the sheer amount of instanced fights in the game will wear down your patience greatly. The gameís pacing also suffers due to this and you will long for the next boss fight when forced to enter another long battle with Heartlessís minions.

kingdom hearts re coded mickey donald goofy

Another major problem with the game is the painfully stupid camera, specifically during combat. The camera loves to point away from the action depending on the angle that you used while running into the next area. I had to constantly fight with the positioning during combat with the D-pad plus the R button and the gameplay suffered because of it. All the developer had to do was create a fixed camera position behind Sora, but apparently that was too complicated for them. Beyond the main story, you can try to snag all the trophies as well as trade maps of the dungeons with your buds. However, thereís very little reason to play through the game again and nothing really substantial to extend the life of Re: coded even further.

Graphics

The visuals actually look darn good on the dual screen mobile device. Something tells me that the low resolution requirement for the NDS made a mobile game easy to translate. The developer also did a great job with conveying character emotion via the conversation scenes that utilized static images. And yes, everyoneís hair is still super spiky. They much have an abundance of hair gel in the matrix. The game runs fairly smoothly and loads quickly. The only black mark on the visuals is that ridiculous camera.

kingdom hearts re coded battle
Audio

Thereís a surprising amount of voiceovers recorded for the gameís cutscenes, specifically the main Disney characters like Goofy, Donald and the loveable Mickey. However, the rest of the game is populated with text bubbles instead of full speech. Understandable considering the limited space on the DS cartridge, but a downer compared to other games in the franchise. Much of the music will be familiar to series veterans as well as the library of sound effects.

Conclusion

You are looking at about 14 to 16 hours of gameplay for Kingdom Hearts Re: coded, but slogging through the entire story really lacks any substantial payoff. It also pales in comparison to the recently released Kingdom Hearts: Birth of Sleep on the PSP. While the character leveling tools are probably my favorite over all the games in the franchise, the repetitive nature of combat and horrific camera angles were incredibly annoying. For Kingdom Hearts fans, this release seemed much like a money grab rather than something brand new to the KH franchise. If you are looking to buy a new RPG to devour on your NDS, check out the recently released Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies or Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. Kingdom Hearts Re: coded is probably bettered served as a long rental rather than a purchase, but only if you are in love with the Kingdom Hearts series.



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