Go back to read all the previous parts to understand what’s going on in this final part of the review! And even then, nothing says you’ll understand much… Alright, so Castle Oblivion was a major trial of memories and emotions for Data-Sora, his mind, heart and athletic capabilities put to the test over vague remembrances of his journey. All this under the eye on a mysterious hooded figure wiho's trying to make Data-Sora realize how unimportant he is. And yet, Data-Sora’s spirits aren’t weakened! He chooses to accept the pain of all these souvenirs! This enrages the hooded figure, who provokes him to a fight.
|How convenient that Castle Oblivion was transformed into a circular|
area for this final battle.
They go together through the door, using the last World Card… and meet a blonde-haired young girl on the other side.
|And I probably never will.|
|Adjust the blur on the damned camera! ...Oh. It's voluntary. My bad.|
|Shhh, I'm looking for the X on this treasure map!|
What do you mean, it's not a treasure map??
This can be considered a filler arc in the franchise, although outside of its sequel hook ending it does raise a number of interesting questions. What’s the value of a being created artificially? Data-Sora gains his own value through the game, eventually losing the preprogrammed Keyblade and earning an actual, honest-to-God Keyblade from the heart he grew through his interactions with Donald, Goofy and Mickey. This game basically says that anyone who doesn’t start off with a “heart” in this series CAN grow one, given the time and effort. A much interesting info, considering the villains are called Heartless and the members of the main group of villains, Organization XIII, is a whole bunch of Nobodies (like Data-Roxas) who aren’t supposed to have hearts… therefore, such a revelation is actually a pretty big deal. I won’t get to see what happens afterwards in the series, but I hope it makes good use of this revelation.
|The wizard from Sorcerer's Apprentice still looks|
menacing... but that hat still looks better on Mickey.
Alright, that was the plot. Now that the story has been covered, explained, scrutinized in utmost detail – screw me and my ambitions of always writing lengthy descriptions – what else is there to do in this game?
|Completing challenges? Sure!|
-When you revisit a world (not replaying through its story, mind you), one character in it will have multiple requests for Data-Sora, asking him to retrieve something they lost. Selphie, Cid, Alice, Philoctetes and Aladdin are the characters with requests, three requests each. The items they ask for are usually the most SP-expensive item in the System Sectors (through Story Mode or in postgame), which means you need to ace that System Sector in order to buy the item with SP and bring it back to the person who requested it. A nice reward awaits Data-Sora when he does. Mostly new, very powerful Action Commands and Finishing Moves.
|Beating the Ice Titan?|
-Bringing all the Keyblades to their final level and finding all the accessories through the game is also a neat challenge.
NO NO NO NO NO!
-Last but not least, there was a multiplayer mode called Avatar Sector, a special System Sector with 100 Floors that you could unlock by playing online through the wireless Wi-Fi connection, but since the connection was terminated in 2014 – and it’s almost impossible to get new floors for the Avatar Sector without it or anything similar – then this mode is almost useless. Originally, the idea of this mode was to unlock numerous avatars and costumes to use during multiplayer play.
I guess that’s all there is to this game. I don’t think I’m forgetting anything… So, what’s my final verdict on Kingdom Hearts re:coded?
I like it!
|I nwas floating in a void when I landed on a giant|
circular platform representing Snow White and
the Seven Dwarves. Make sense of that!
Sure, it may be underwhelming compared to the other entries in the franchise, but it’s still more interesting than a lot of stories we see in other games… Instead of keeping it to a basic excuse plot, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded furthers the mythos. That’s more than we could say of other games out there…
The frequent changes in gameplay, from a world to the other, and the multiple mechanics one needs to master to enjoy this game to its fullest extent, don’t make this a game very simple to learn. The short explanation you get in the Menu is insufficient and you pretty much need to learn, through trial and error, to use all the features. In fact, you’ll spend quite a bit of time adding chips to the Stat Matrix, leveling up Action Commands, and picking new Keyblades and paths of abilities to use. In a way, all of these features are meant to let Data-Sora adapt to any situation. This comes in handy to complete the challenges on the floors of most System Sectors. Need a Data-Sora versed in Fire-type magic? Equip Fire-based Action Commands, and there’s also a Keyblade to help for that. Need to send enemies flying? There’s a Keyblade for that. Need to hit back after you block? There’s a Keyblade for that. Need to earn more money when you defeat enemies? There’s. A. Keyblade. For. That. Darned Keyblades, they’re just like apps!
|Stupid yellow cubes.|
One of the things that annoy me about this game is the “Virus” mechanic in the System Sectors. Sometimes, completely at random, a floor on a System Sector may gain a virus that forces you to bet 100% of all the SP you collected thus far. No skipping it. If you lose that challenge, you lose all the SP you collected thus far. Sure, you get a GIGANTIC reward if you succeed, but if you don’t? You’ll never go back to the amount you had. In fact, when you enter a System Sector with challenges on each floor, you already have to bet at least 10% of the amount you collected thus far. What’s more, the virus makes all the glitch enemies even stronger than they were, and spawns more of them.
|Freaking Eliminators, if only I could eliminate you all!|
Another slight issue I have with the Story Mode is that the large presence of cutscenes, most of which consist of characters talking with limited animation, means you’ll spend a lot of time mashing the A button to get past what they’re saying – and that’s even worse if you get into a discussion with a section where you have to choose between multiple options. Sure, once you’ve seen all the cutscenes you can skip them by pressing Start, but that’s still a lot of cutscenes to skip, especially when you’re re-playing through a world’s story. At one point, you get so quick that you spend more time skipping cutscenes than actually playing.
Next issue I have is the often random change of gameplay; going through a 2D section in Traverse Town, a shoot’em-up in Wonderland, it’s all fine and good, but those parts are a little too long in my opinion; two entire levels in Traverse Town (when one could have been enough), almost ten minutes of shoot’em-up in Wonderland – with the boss and its gigantic amount of HP, which is a pain to deplete when you first encounter it.
This game has pretty good graphics for a Nintendo DS game, and the actual, animated cutscenes are as beautiful as the ones in Kingdom Hearts games on home consoles. It also has some excellent musical pieces.
Now, I’ll be completely honest and say that, despite my praise of it, the story is probably the weaker aspect of this game. It doesn’t hold a candle to the gameplay, that’s for sure. Yeah, it takes a while getting used to this fully-customizable Sora and the Stat Matrix, the Actions Matrix and the Equipment, but ultimately it leads to what’s probably one of the best examples of gameplay in the entire franchise. Add to this an incredible replayability, what with all the bonus dungeons (unlockable System Sectors) and all the side-quests you can play through, and you get a game you’ll be going back to.
I’m still in an action RPG mood, so I might look for an action RPG I own on the Wii… Oh, there it is! Damn, this is a long name… Come back next Friday for the next review: Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen And The Tower Of Mirrors! ...I'll probably shorten that title.