Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep

09/14/2010 at 6:42 PM | Posted in PlayStation Portable | 2 Comments
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Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Review

At long last, the full Kingdom Hearts experience finally goes portable on the PSP. Sure there was Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories and even Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days which was even more like its console predecessors, but Birth by Sleep really manages to capture everything that made Kingdom Hearts great on consoles, on a portable system. I’ve been waiting so long and have been so excited for this game and I’m thrilled to have finally been able to play it.

For those of you who don’t know, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep is of course an Action RPG for the PlayStation Portable, developed and published by Square Enix.

Story

The main thing about Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (henceforth abbreviated “Birth by Sleep” or “BbS”) is that it is a prequel, set 10 years before the events of the original Kingdom Hearts. As series Director Tetsuya Nomura has said, it acts as an “Episode 0” if you will, having as much importance to the story as Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II did.

3 Keyblade apprentices; Terra, Ventus, and Aqua live and train with their Master, Master Eraqus. Terra and Aqua are up to become Master Keyblade wielders. On the day of their test, and after the test, Master Eraqus receives word that strange and evil creatures called “Unversed” have showed up in numerous worlds, and another Keyblade Master, Master Xehanort has disappeared and can no longer be reached. Eraqus sends Terra and Aqua out to investigate. Ventus, or Ven for short, being worried about Terra, ends up following him.

The main characters; Terra, Ven, and Aqua.

Score – 9.5

Gameplay

In Birth by Sleep, you start the game as either Terra, the big strong guy, Ventus, the speedy kid, or Aqua, the magic user. You can choose who you want to play as in the beginning and their is no real order, although it is hinted that Terra, Ven, and then Aqua would be best. Beating the game as all three characters is the real goal here, as all 3 go their separate ways, see different things, meet different people, and have different abilities and play styles. Occasionally they will cross paths, and it’s cool, for example, to see what happened say, if you’re playing as Ven, and Ven meets Aqua somewhere, and then leaves her. Upon playing Aqua’s story, you can see what happened afterwards, it’s a nice payoff for having to watch a bit of the same scene again. Even scenes that are the same are sometimes shown from different angles

-Combat-

As in past Kingdom Hearts games, you fight off enemies with a keyblade and various skills, and there are of course some platforming elements as well, you’ll run around with the analog stick and jump using the O button. In particular though, is the battle system, which differs from past games. You attack with the X button, but then you can use the Triangle button to use various skill that you put into a “deck” of commands. You can sort through the deck using the directional up and down buttons and then press triangle to execute the chosen command. After you’ve used it, the command enters a cooldown period, after this period is over, you can use the command again, meaning MP is gone. Shotlocks are activated by holding L and R and locking on to multiple enemies and are quite useful for a crowd. Dimension Link, or D-Link for short, is similar to summoning, only much more useful, allowing you access to a completely new set of commands depending on which character you link up with. It still feels like Kingdom Hearts, which is good, but these new systems and innovations made combat refreshing.

Score – 10

Graphics

Square Enix always manages to amaze on any platform graphically, and Birth by Sleep is no exception. It maintains the style of past games and looks just about as close to PS2 Kingdom Hearts as you could get. When I imagined Kingdom Hearts on the PSP, this is exactly what I dreamed of, it’s one of the best looking PSP titles to date. There is a bit of lag occasionally if too many things are happening on screen, but honestly, it won’t happen too often, only twice for a short time in my full play through of the game. There’s an option in the config menu to increase the range and make things look even better, at a small or even unnoticeable cost.

Score – 9.5

LAST NOTE

I’ve been trying to think of something I didn’t like about this game, but I honestly can’t think of anything. Many people have said that load times are atrocious, but with a full data install they didn’t bother me at all especially for a PSP game of it’s magnitude. You can even speed up the processing in the config at the cost of lower battery life. This game is packed with so many extras. Command Meld, allows you to combine your commands in order to make newer stronger ones. There’s also the Mirage Arena with 4 multi player modes which allows for local play or even online thanks to PS3’s Ad-Hoc Party. The hidden bosses should keep you busy for a while as well, they are an amazing challenge. All in all, this game is a full on Kingdom Hearts experience and is well worth the price. I’d go so far as to say it’s even worth paying for a PSP even.

OVERALL RATING

FullFullFullFullFull

*EDIT*

Just realized my only gripe. The cover wasn’t shiny like the Japanese version xD

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2 Comments »

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  1. ‘Just realized my only gripe. The cover wasn’t shiny like the Japanese version xD’

    Lol, I have the UK version and it’s shiny 😀

    • I know, I’m so jealous, almost all other regions were shiny with the exception of the US :/


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