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Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep back to reviews
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A Mix of the Divine and the Base
Story and Characters

This game is definitely a story-driven rather than character-driven piece, unfortunately to a degree that is detrimental to the overall story. Characterization is rushed through or ignored in favor of pushing the pace, and character development is similarly rushed or nonexistent. A player may have difficulty learning who the characters are, let alone caring about their fates.

The story, however, is surprisingly straightforward for a series with as much Kudzu Plot as Kingdom Hearts. Very little in the way of new questions are raised compared to how many are answered or given implied answers, a relief to many who feared the game would complicate an already over-complicated 'verse.

Gameplay

Gameplay is where this game really shines. Interchangeable and numerous commands insure you can customize to your playstyle. The action is quick-paced, challenging, and fun. Bosses require both strategy and quick thinking and reactions to beat. Simple hack-and-slash gameplay is sometimes broken up by Escort Missions, scavenger hunts, or platforming elements.

The Command Board minigame is decently executed and has benefits that extend to the main game, replacing grinding to a degree. However, the Disney Town minigames are uninspired and uninteresting.

Level design is very good. Although this game does not match the interactivity and platforming of the first game, it comes closer than 2 and CoM. Levels are fun and encourage full exploration.

Value

While this game is gorgeous to look at and fun to play it does suffer from one other flaw. The levels are well-designed, but sadly are mostly re-used between the three characters' scenarios. With a few exceptions, all characters will play on the same maps. Additionally, much of the story for each character is learned by playing through Ven or Terra's story. This means that, unless you played as Aqua first, after the first playthrough very little of what you encounter will be new in any sense.

This reduces what should be ~45 hours of new experience to closer to ~20-25 hours. One has to wonder what the developers thought justified the full price tag for this game, given the amount of reuse. Depending on what you look for in an RPG, you may want to consider buying this one used.
What reuse?

There's very little reused from previous KH games.

Also, each characters story is short, around 15 hours. Also, each character has their own unique areas to go to.
comment #5131 PataHikari 15th Nov 10
Reuse within the game itself, not from previous games, as I already said in this reveiw. And I also said there are exceptions - there are some unique areas per character, but there are not very many. In general, each character will have one unique map per world. The only major exception is Ven's Castle of Dreams, which is (almost) wholly unique to him.

I have no idea why you're telling me each character's story is short. That seems like an almost complete non sequitur.
comment #5132 ccoa 15th Nov 10
Some of the stories, I could beat in around 10-12 hours. But I still loved my overall time with the game. I played on Expert because at least one review suggested the game is too easy otherwise, and I agree.

I agree with you that the level design is almost back up to the standards of the first game. Not quite there yet, but Square-Enix is learning, it looks like.

I think this is definitely a full price game. When you consider that I can beat KH 1 in less than 20 hours, this is surprisingly long for something that actually costs less! The reusing of content is annoying, though the addition of paths that only certain characters can take (such as Aqua's path through Neverland, or Ven's Castle of Dreams) is a nice addition. What I didn't like was Terra's story. I played him first and originally thought the level design was terrible, and was disappointed with the game. The other two characters proved me wrong.
comment #5140 BonsaiForest 16th Nov 10
Eh, when I buy an RPG for full price, I don't consider it a good deal unless I get at least 50 hours of playtime the first time through. Anything less than that feels like a waste of money to me. I also rate story/characters above every other consideration, so this game was doubly a disapointment. Not that it was bad - it was a fun game. I just didn't feel like it was worth the rather high (for a portable game) price tag.

Also, as a amateur game developer, I can see how much time and money was saved in reuse in this game - maps, models, animations, sound effects, enemies and AI, etc. are all shared to a very large degree between the three scenarios. That means that they are charging full price for a game that cost significantly less to develop than it would first appear, and that strikes me as greedy.
comment #5141 ccoa 16th Nov 10
Matter of taste, definitely. I find gameplay more important, and it's how much fun I have that keeps me coming back. While I do care about story and characters (for example, I love the ones in the Uncharted series), how much fun I'm having is largely a result of gameplay, though setting, music, how much I like the characters, and other factors play a role.

The reusing of content is a cheap way to save money, and to be honest, I'd rather have all of each location be explorable with a single character, like in the other KH games, then have only 2/3 of each world be explorable with each character, and the remaining 1/3 blocked off for someone else to visit. The game would then be shorter, but it wouldn't feel like Padding. I still think it would be worth the price even then, even if the game was only 20 hours like the first one.
comment #5142 BonsaiForest 16th Nov 10
Nobody making mention of the ad-hoc multiplayer? I find there's lots of fun to be had in that, and even solo in the arena I have my fun finding ways to clear the screen faster. It's at least a challenge. For once the completionist-challenge caught my attention, too.
comment #5299 134.58.253.55 30th Nov 10
I think the reason almost no-one really talks about the multiplayer is because finding multiple players who have a PSP and a copy of the game isn't easy, so while it may be a cool feature, it's not really going to be used by many people. I think the multiplayer for 358/2 Days is better, letting you play as multiple characters including the Disney characters, redo missions together, and even play a 1-player version of the multiplayer mode, but again, finding people who have copies of the game and are willing to play... not easy to do. The setup is simply not feasible for most people.
comment #5304 BonsaiForest 30th Nov 10
I don't use multiplayer, period, so I'm not qualified to review if it was used well. Someone else will have to review it.
comment #5333 ccoa 4th Dec 10
Very little in the way of new questions are raised compared to how many are answered or given implied answers, a relief to many who feared the game would complicate an already over-complicated verse.

I actually think it does still greatly complicate things if one looks at it in connection with the other games, but yes, standing on it's own, it's surprisingly simple. I mean, it's complicated due to being divided into three characters' stories, but complicated in a good way that does eventually get sorted out once all three stories are played.
comment #7631 ManwiththePlan 9th May 11 (edited by: ManwiththePlan)
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