|Kingdom Hearts 3D Review
So, I've played through Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, and am here to share my feelings on it. I've given it pretty good scores (8.4 overall), so if that's what you're after, read no further. But if you want more on the nitty-gritty details of it, continue reading!
This game is—as most of you know—a continuation of the Xehanort Saga of the Kingdom Hearts series. The story is very well-set-up, and the player must explore seven worlds—Worlds of Sleep—and lock their Keyholes. You play as both Sora and Riku in two connected storylines, making your way through the Realm of Sleep in order to restore those seven worlds to their original state. The worlds' stories are well-done and very in-depth, and I thoroughly enjoyed playing each world. They were all connected to the main story very well, so no disappointment there; and the ending is pretty darn good... a great lead-in to Kingdom Hearts III.
However, what kept the story from getting a 9 or 10 is that I feel it faltered in several places. A few of the components of the worlds I felt were rather thin (a few aspects of The Grid, for example, seemed like they had no real purpose to the story and were just filler). Additionally, because of the complex KH series storyline, it's hard for new players to start in this game. They'd have to play, at the very least, KHII before even touching this game. Lastly, there are a lot of characters brought back from previous installments, which felt a bit cheap and, well, a bit like a cop-out. I know it's the Xehanort Saga, but some refreshing new villains would have been a nice change of pace!
No real complaints about the gameplay except for the learning curve. The Flowmotion system that the combat engine uses has an incredibly intuitive and natural feel to it, but still takes a bit to get the hang of consistently. However, I feel the combat system does a good job of leading you into learning Flowmotion well, and after a while it just becomes second nature.
The other components of gameplay are innovative and intuitive. The game does a good job of progressing both Sora's and Riku's separate storylines, and making the player feel involved in advancing both individual plots, as well as the main game plot.
Here I want to cover something a little more broad: the Dream Eaters. These are your party members—seriously. No Donald and Goofy here; your Dream Eaters are the ones who protect you, aid you, and so on. You can create, train, and design your own Dream Eaters (some others have compared it a bit to Pokémon), and gain them abilities. It's basically like leveling up a character, but as a separate entity of your own character. It's a bit neat, but seems a tad unnecessary; it reminded me a tad of the Sphere Grid in FFX.
I also felt the "pet" aspect of the game, where you take care of Dream Eaters, was a bit silly. But hey, we all need a break from saving the worlds now and then, hm?
Not a lot to say here; while I feel this game is no competitor for Kingdom Hearts II or even the original Kingdom Hearts, its graphics beat out most of the other games in the series. The cutscenes are fluid, the effects are grand, and the colors are vibrant on the 3DS system. While I'd love to comment on the effectiveness of the 3D components, I really avoid using the 3D system at all costs. While I feel the graphics could be better for the system, and should be better for Kingdom Hearts III, these graphics were still enough to score an 8.
While there's a lot of sound effects (a LOT) which I feel dilute the gameplay a tad more than other games in the series, the effects are high quality and are integrated very well into the system. The music, Kingdom Hearts's strong point, is incredibly well done, as usual. The songs are great, and unlike what I expected, the 3DS system does not botch the sound quality of them. So for audio, music gets a 10, SFX gets an 8, for an average of 9.
The game is good, well-executed, and a great lead-in to Kingdom Hearts III. While I felt a lot of the points of the game could have been improved upon, many of the aspects of the game are better than I had hoped. I'm not sure the game has a lot of replay value for most people, but when I muster up the time, I intend to play it through once more. I think anyone who has enjoyed the KH series up to now will not be disappointed, and anyone new to the series will be eager to play more KH games after they've sampled this one.