It finally happened, a game came out after Kingdom Hearts 2 that significantly advances the plot towards Kingdom Hearts 3! This game, as you can tell by the title, is Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance (hereafter referred to as KH 3D). During the coming weeks I will be playing through this game and recording my thoughts here. Before I begin though I would like to say a few things, mostly about how this LP/Liveblog will be done and a few things to keep in mind while reading.
- This is my first liveblog. I'll try to do my best but if you feel I screwed up somewhere or you have any suggestions feel free to tell me. My primary goal is providing an enjoyable and informative read and I'd like you to help with that.
- It will largely be done as I play the game so I won't adhere to some rigid structure of updating every other day or something like that. Generally I finish KH games in about 35-45 hours and within a few weeks of getting them so this will, hopefully, be done before August ends.
- I have played all the games in the series. Since this game came out after them and will likely reference all of them in some fashion do not expect spoilers to be marked. If you feel something in the story requires further explaining tell me and I will edit the post accordingly.
- For those who don't know this game introduces another Square Enix franchise to the crossover madness. This series is The World Ends With You, an Urban Fantasy RPG for the DS. Since I expect a lot of references to the plot of that game I will also leave spoilers unmarked for that title.
- A quick guide to some acronyms and terms I'll be using to save time in writing:
- BBS=Birth by Sleep, the fifth game of the series/first in chronological order.
- COM=Chain of Memories, the second game of the series/third in chronological order.
- Days=358/2 Days, fourth game made and fourth in chronological order.
- Coded=Kingdom Hearts Coded, sixth game made and in chronological order.
- MX=Master Xehanort, the big bad of the series. First seen in his human form in BBS.
- TAV=Terra, Ventus, and Aqua; the protagonists of BBS.
- TX=Terra-Xehanort/Terranort, in the end of BBS Xehanort possesses Terra and turns into this entity. His Nobody and Heartless are Xemnas and Ansem Seeker of Darkness respectively.
- ASOD=Ansem Seeker of Darkness, villain of the first game in the series.
This list is subject to updating based on my own thoughts and suggestions from readers.
Anyway enough with the boring intro! As I said, 3D is the seventh game in the series and finally advances the plot! I start up the game and am greeted with the intro movie. Intro for those that want to see it. Note that this video is not mine.
- I like how it starts out with a Fantasia homage.
- The CG looks really amazing! I actually think it's better than the console KH openings. I hope KH 3 looks like this.
- I like how Jiminy's journal winds up being a popup book for Destiny Islands.
- The final battle with Xemnas looks really cool. I also noticed that Sora is using Oblivion instead of the Kingdom Key.
- Mickey leaping up from the bottom screen and then showing up on the top to attack MX is really neat.
- I also like the way it references Coded by having Roxas and TAV pop in by exploding from the pages of the journey. Nice touch.
So after that I'm taken to the title screen, which has one of the most awesome Dearly Beloved Remixes ever! From there I see two options, continue and new game. Guess which one I pick. Anyway, I select proud mode and choose to not use the circle pad pro since I don't have it.
After that the opening cutscene starts up. It's in first person and I seem to be in some kind of lab. It appears to be a part of Hollow Bastion. I see Even/Vexen and Ienzo/Zexion, two future members of the Organization, in white lab coats lying on the floor. They have this weird dark effect around them and seem to be fading in and out of existence. This is apparently when they were first turned into Nobodies so it's about 10 years before this game. While they're turning into Nobodies Braig/Xigbar asks "Hey, is this how you wanted it? Xehanort, you wanna fill me in?" Terranort, the viewpoint character of this scene, summons his Keyblade. It's MX's keyblade by the way. Braig wonders if TX remembers his past now but then realizes he might not have lost his memory at all. TX answers him by stabbing him in the chest with his keyblade. This is apparently how Braig loses his heart and becomes Xigbar of the Organization. TX says he's no longer Xehanort, now he's Ansem.
We then transition, quite suddenly I might add, to Destiny Islands. This appears to be a flashback to KH 1 when Sora and Riku are discussing whether or not a raft could get them to another world. It's immediately obvious this isn't just a flashback since they're suddenly on an actual raft and are caught in a storm. Suddenly Ursula appears because...reasons. Curiously Ursula and Sora's dialogue indicates they remember one another so apparently Sora doesn't think this is a flashback? Yeah I'm not quite sure what to make of that.
I get a tutorial called combat basics but I ignore it. It's the same general style of BBS: A is attack, X is current deck command, Y is block/roll, B is jump, and L/R are used to rotate the camera and lock on. My starting commands are blizzard, fire, quick blitz, and potionX6. Surprisingly I almost die (likely because I'm on proud) but I manage to avoid it thanks to the potions. I should note that while I'm playing as Sora I also have Riku as a partner. For winning the fight I get an HP boost for Sora! Overall this is a much better fight than the KH 1 fight, primarily because I don't have to deal with Atlantica's stupid controls. At the end of the fight Ursula vanishes without a trace and Sora and Riku wind up in the drink.
Something pops up on screen. It says "Flashback, Mark of Mastery Exam". I'm not quite sure what that is at the moment but I'll see soon enough. I watch as Sora and Riku sink deeper and deeper into the dark water (Hmm, they fall into darkness?). Soon they drown and fail the exam, the end!
Okay that's obviously not what happens. What actually happens is that the "Key of Light" song starts up and a keyhole appears below them. Suddenly their keyblades summon themselves (Hmm, where have I seen this before?) and point towards the keyhole. Twin beams of light shoot out and seal the keyhole and Sora and Riku vanish in sparkles of light. We then see what appears to be a Tonberry (actually ASOD). It says "This world has been connected" which is clearly a callback to KH 1. I'm then presented with the option of viewing Flashback:Mark of Mastery Exam. Curious, I say yes.
The scene that follows is apparently something that occurred shortly before this game began. Master Yen Sid is explaining the history of MX to Riku and Sora while Mickey, Donald, and Goofy stand off to the side. Yen Sid says it's time to test them for the Mark of Mastery which will prove whether or not they're worthy of being Keyblade Masters. Yen Sid then tells them that while being self taught in the keyblade is impressive they have to start their training all over again to be true masters. Sora gets a little peeved and says that he already proved himself, why should he have to start over. Riku then angsts about darkness taking him over and such. He summons Soul Eater which is surprising (I thought he lost that sword). So let's see here, one's too arrogant and the other is too angsty. Brilliant! This can only go well!
The scene ends and I get three glossary entries: keyblades, Keyblade Masters, and Master Xehanort. These will probably explain some of the common terms in the game for the more recent fans. I'll be viewing them sometime in the next few parts. I'm then treated to the lovely image of Sora plunging to his death without a parachute. Oh wait...he's just falling with style. This is a dive section which is basically the replacement for Gummi Ships. The character dives down into a deeper level of their dreams and reaches a new world that way. So yeah, KH 3D is Inception! The controls for this section are pretty simple, A is attack (although if the lock on mark is red the enemy is out of range. Yellow means you can hit them), X is special abilities (you get them by picking up items. The first one I got is Mega Flare.), B is brake, and Y is dodge. I move around and grab these weird paopu fruit type objects. They apparently give me link points and if I get a certain number I get special prizes.
Unfortunately I'm not very good and I only get get a C rank (called Bronze Diver). Oh well, I'll replay it again at some point. Strangely a lot of the hazards in this section are street signs and I can see what appears to be a town a few miles down. Hmm, I wonder where I'm going. I'll cover the first world in the next part.