Drive Forms (ドライヴフォーム Doraivu Fōmu?) are special abilities that were introduced in Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. They are used to make Sora transform into a more powerful form using the aid of Sora's partners. They are first learned at the beginning of the game at the Mysterious Tower when the three fairies give Sora a new outfit with these abilities installed.
A Drive Form is a special ability that Sora is granted near the beginning of his adventure in Kingdom Hearts II once he is granted a much-needed new wardrobe. They allow Sora to transform into stronger forms by using Donald, Goofy, or both in his party. Drive Forms also allow Sora to use different, more powerful attacks and combos, dual Keyblade wielding, gliding, or use abilities that couldn't normally be used before. Sora's support abilities pass on to his Forms.
Like Sora, the Drive Forms can level up as well, but unlike Sora (who can level up to level 99) the Forms other than Anti Form can only be leveled up to level 7. Each Form requires a different method of leveling up, such as Valor Form requiring a certain number of times that Sora must hit the enemies in order to level up the Form. Some of the abilities from the Forms can also be used in Sora's normal state if the levels are high enough, such as the Final Form allowing Sora to glide at higher levels. Activating any Drive Form will also fully restore Sora's HP and MP, which is very useful if the player is running out of these two.
Some consider Riku's Dark Mode in Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories a kind of Drive Form. Similar to Sora's drives, Dark Mode changes Riku's clothes and grants him enhanced abilities and new attacks. However, it is only a temporary change, which is triggered by filling up a Dark Point meter, and is reverted by running out of Dark Points or being subject to a card break. For all intents and purposes, Dark Mode functions identically to Drive Form, and the Dark Point meter even resembles the Drive Gauge.
The Drive Gauge, located above the Magic Points Gauge, limits the Drive Forms from being used infinitely, like waiting for magic to recharge. The Drive Gauge is measured by different levels that can be gained by beating bosses or performing certain events. In the original version of Kingdom Hearts II, seven was the maximum level that the Drive Gauge could fill.
In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, however, the Gauge is maxed out to nine. There are several ways to fill the Drive Gauge. The most common way is by attacking enemies, scenario objects, and bosses (with the latter filling up the gauge faster than the rest). It can also be filled by grabbing Drive Orbs (which come in two sizes) that certain enemies and objects drop, or by being attacked when a certain ability is equipped.
When a Drive Form is triggered, the Drive Gauge starts draining away depending on the level of the Form that the player uses. After the Drive Gauge becomes completely empty and uses up all of its levels, Sora will revert back into his normal form unless he is riding something like a skateboard. Using specific skills and combos during the Forms will also proceed to make the Drive Gauge deplete faster than it normally would.
Leveling Drive Forms
Let me start by saying that leveling Drive Forms is super grindy, you need patience to level each form as there will be a lot of exiting and rentering worlds as you try to level each form. The methods for how to level each form are listed below in the descriptions as well as on each individual page with the best locations to level each form.
There are six Drive Forms in total. Five can be triggered from the Command Menu, but the last one is random. The Drive Forms are:
Valor Form allows Sora to wield two Keyblades of the player's choosing at the same time, with red electricity flowing through them. It specializes in physical combat, having extended, faster combos, but is unable to cast spells or generally use any kind of MP consuming ability, contrasting Wisdom Form. It is useful for dealing a lot of damage from physical attacks. Its special ability is the High Jump, which heightens Sora's normal jump, and can also be obtained for normal Sora at higher levels. Sora wears red clothes with a red fleur-de-lis symbol. In Halloween Town, it's represented by a red, werewolf-type creature. It uses Goofy's power and is based on him. Sora's running speed is noticeably enhanced in this form. As mentioned, this form gains experience with each successful hit on an enemy, making it the easiest form to level up. Sora gains this form when he obtains his new clothes from the fairies at Yen Sid's Tower, and requires 3 bars of the Drive Gauge to activate.
Wisdom Form lets Sora glide across the ground as if he were on a skateboard, and uses a single Keyblade to shoot enemies with magical bullets, but not physically strike. It is a Magic-based form, granting Sora the ability to cast spells at a faster rate, while powering up spells during combo finishers, in contrast to Valor Form's physical combat, and is useful for attacking at long range. Its special ability is Quick Run, which is a fast dashing technique to move quickly through areas or dodge attacks. Sora wears blue clothes with flame symbols on it. In Halloween Town, it's represented by a Shadow's head wearing a wizard's hat, It uses Donald Duck's power and is based on him. This form gains experience whenever a Heartless is destroyed. It is obtained after Timeless River is beaten, and requires 3 bars of the Drive Gauge to activate.
Limit Form is a form based on Sora's old clothes, and is exclusive to Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. It uses abilities from Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts Final Mix that didn't appear in Kingdom Hearts II, particularly his Limit commands. Its special ability is Dodge Roll, a small leap forward that defends Sora from all attacks and reflects projectiles. The color scheme of Sora's clothes in this form changes to that of his original clothes from Kingdom Hearts to reflect this. In Halloween Town, it's represented by a heart with a checkered pattern. When triggered, both partners stay by Sora's side and do not disappear, making it especially useful during tough battles. This form gains experience whenever a Limit Finisher Reaction Command is used. It is obtained when Sora obtains Oathkeeper in Twilight Town. This is the only form that Sora can trigger alone, and requires 4 bars of the Drive Gauge to activate.
Master Form is considered a combination of both Valor and Wisdom forms. It utilizes two Keyblades, one controlled through telekinesis, and the other in-hand with an intense electricity flowing through it. It specializes in both Magical and Physical combat. Its special ability is Aerial Dodge, a midair jump that blocks attacks (and reflects projectiles). Sora wears yellow clothes with a sans cross motif. In Halloween Town, it's represented by Valor and Wisdom forms' emblems stitched together. It is based on King Mickey and uses both partners. This form gains experience via collecting Drive Orbs. Every small orb is worth 1 EXP while every big orb is worth 3 EXP. It is obtained in Hollow Bastion by speaking to King Mickey before the Battle of the 1000 Heartless and during the events of Space Paranoids, and requires 4 bars of the Drive Gauge to activate.
In Final Form Sora again wields two Keyblades, both through telekinesis as they float, crossed behind his back. It is equally strong in both strength and magic, and is considered the strongest amongst all the other Drive Forms. Its special ability is Glide, which allows the user to fly briefly. Sora wears silver clothes with white wisps adorned. In Halloween Town, it's represented by a golden crown. It is based on Roxas's fighting style (Final Mix) and uses both characters. This form gains experience whenever a Nobody is destroyed, possibly making it the hardest form to level up. It is obtained randomly after Sora fights Roxas in The World That Never Was; while the first occurrence of the form is random, it can be accessed at any time afterwards. However, there is a glitch where it can be obtained before the fight with Demyx by continuously going into any drive form and quitting in Hades' challenge until he randomly turns into Final Form. It requires 5 bars of the Drive Gauge to activate.
Anti Form is the only form where Sora is without his Keyblade. It specializes in blindingly fast attacks and feral combos, but lacks the ability to cast spells, shield, recover HP, or use Reaction Commands, which is sometimes required to end boss battles. It appears when one tries to activate a form, the possibility of it appearing depends on the Anti Points (a hidden counter, which increases with each Drive by one point EXCEPT by Anti and Final Forms). However, using the Final Form will reset this occurrence and lower the chance of it happening.
Here's how the Anti Points change:
|Most scripted battles||x2|
|Battles against Organization XIII||x4|
|Battle against Armored Xemnas||x10|
|Battles with non-party cooperative characters||x0|
|Change to Valor, Wisdom, Master||+1|
|Change Form when ally is unconscious||+0|
|Change to Anti Form||-4|
|Change to Final Form||-10|
|Obtain new Form||x0|
Here's the chances of Anti Form happening:
It has no special ability, is a form that can only be triggered in Final Mix by equipping Two Become One, and Sora loses the ability to perform Reaction Commands, which can be especially troubling when certain enemies can only be defeated through them. In this form, Sora becomes completely black with yellow eyes, as well as having a dark mist rise from his body, and he moves like a Shadow Heartless, resembling the AntiSora boss from the original Kingdom Hearts. It uses both partners and consumes all of the Drive Gauge. This is the only form that cannot level up, and the only one that Sora cannot change back from it at will unless Two become One is equipped; once this form is activated, Sora is stuck in it until the Drive Gauge runs out, until he exits the battlefield, or until the battle is over. It should also be noted that if Sora dies in this form, he dies as his normal self.
The Anti Form can be considered a double-edged sword; while Sora is very fast, his attacks are significantly weaker, he takes more damage than usual when struck, and his movement and fighting style become more feral and less human, running around on all fours and attacking with his hands as though they were claws. Many fans have speculated that this form exists due to Sora's brief transformation into a Heartless, and Tetsuya Nomura has confirmed this: essentially, the Anti Form is the closest that Sora ever comes to becoming a Heartless once again. It is also worth noting that in Halloween Town, the pumpkin on Sora's face turns into the face of a Shadow Heartless, with two yellow eyes on it.
Building Forms provides useful abilities, but it is difficult to build up thanks to the extremely slow time it takes to fill up the Drive Gauge. To quickly refill the Drive Gauge, enter a tournament in the Underworld. Now you're ready to build your forms. Find a Save Point near where the enemies that will best build up your Form. Go there and fight the enemies, and when your Gauge is about to run out, go to the save point, exit the world, and the Drive Gauge will be refilled! This also works with indoor world gates, like the door to the Timeless River or the Hundred Acre Wood book in Merlin's house.
Some optimal Form building places are:
Valor: Any final boss. If your form is still running when the boss is defeated, after the cutscene, you will be returned to the map and the gauge refilled. The Castle area in The World That Never Was is also good for the durable Nobodies in abundance.
Wisdom: The Chasm of Challenges in Agrabah, which has tons of heartless, especially the easy to beat Fiery Globes and Icy Cubes and there is a Save Point at the end of the Mini-game. The Dark City in The World That Never Was is also useful for it's multitude of easy to beat Shadows and Neoshadows and Save Points being only a room away.
Master: The Waterway and Wharf in the Timeless River are full of Drive Orb abundant Hot Rods and Large Bodies, and has the indoor world gate fairly close. Another great place to level up is in the Land of Dragons which has tons of Assult Riders. Outside Merlin's House in Hollow Bastion (Radiant Garden) also works quite well.
- If Sora is in a Drive Form before a cutscene, with the exception of Anti Form , he will appear in the cutscene in that Drive Form, although the actions in the cutscene are not changed in any significant way. He will also handle his main-handed Keyblade as he normally would, whether he has dual-wield capabilities with the form in question or not.
- In the room where Sora receives his new clothes, hints to future Drive Forms that he will receive later on can be found by examining the mirrors - each of the five mirrors around the room describes the abilities of one of Sora's original five Drive Forms, including his Anti Form. It should be noted that in Final Mix, an extra mirror is added for Limit Form.
- Interestingly enough, some of Sora's Drives seem to be reminiscent of Ventus's Command Styles: Valor Form and Fever Pitch share a connection in what comes to high-speed physical combos; Master Form's aerial capabilities - especially the spinning finisher, Disaster - resemble the wind-wielding Cyclone Command Style; while Final Form is a combination of Wingblade's non-stop multi-blade strikes and Sky Climber's mid-air attack posture:
|Valor | Wisdom | Limit | Master | Final | Anti|
|Sora's Other Forms and Costumes|
|Merman | Vampire | Data | Retro | Lion | Card | Die | Santa|
|Donald's Forms and Costumes|
|Squid | Mummy | Data | Retro | Bird | Snowman|
|Goofy's Forms and Costumes|
|Turtle | Frankenstein | Data | Retro | Tortoise | Reindeer|
|Dark Mode | Ansem | Halloween|
|Lion | Retro|