Diving deep into the realm of sleep, the protagonists go through a dream within a dream to..wait wrong dream related media. After 6 long years of Kingdom Hearts side-stories and prequels, the beloved Kingdom Hearts series finally moves forward in the series as the eventual Kingdom Hearts III (yes it's in production) awaits release.
After defeating the Nobodies of Organization XIII, Yen Sid decides to test Sora and Riku in the Mark of Mastery exam to become Keyblade Masters. In order to do so, they must awaken 7 keyholes in 7 worlds that are deep in Slumber. Along the way through the exam Sora and Riku are constantly met by a man in an Organization XIII coat. Who is this young man? Will Sora and Riku pass the Mark of Mastery? Or will they remain trapped in the world of dreams?
Kingdom Hearts is known for it's Final Fantasy and Disney mash ups but much like 358/2 Days, other than moogles, no Final Fantasy will appear in the story. However an unexpected cast from another Square Enix game make a guest appearance in the main story line. Square Enix's DS smash hit The World Ends With You makes a welcoming addition to the world of Kingdom Hearts. All of the protagonists from TWEWY will meet Sora and Riku in Traverse Town. New Disney worlds appears such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame in La Cité des Cloches and The Three Musketeers in the Country of Musketeers. Even the live action Tron: Legacy in The Grid makes an appearance. Needless to say the worlds are well integrated into the storyline and Personally I love the Sorcerer's Apprentice based level of Symphony of Sorcery. Also expect to see some past Kingdom Hearts characters like Ven and Xion
Like all Kingdom Hearts games you'll play as Sora as well as Riku, both of which play pretty similarly though some stat differences will change how you play. Sora is rather balanced so it's easy for him to mix melee and magic. Riku is more physical heavy but can still keep up with some magic. In order to use Keyblade skills or magic, they must be equipped. Up to about 8 commands can be set on both by the end of the game.
New features added to the game include Flowmotion which allows Riku and Sora to use their terrain to their advantage. They can leap off of walls to climb to new places and grind on rails to travel faster, not to mention start off devastating special moves. Next is the Reality Shift which allows you to not only solve numerous puzzles in the game but also attack enemies though it's like critical hits so it's not activated on enemies on your own free will. And lastly, the biggest feature of the game, are the Dream Eaters who serve as your allies in the form of Spirits and as your foes known as Nightmares. You must collect recipes of the Dream Eaters you'd like to make from chests or by storyline as well as gather proper materials to synthesize them. You can link with your Dream Eater allies special properties depending on who you are playing as. Sora will use his Dream Eater's natural abilities but with much more power. Riku absorbs his Dream Eaters to imbue his Keyblade and himself with special properties. Lastly is the Drop feature. Sora and Riku have a Drop gauge. It attributes nothing toward their combat. However it slowly depletes itself and once it runs out, Sora and Riku will Drop, they will fall asleep, freezing the entire scene (the Drop Gauge will not deplete during a Cutscene) and then automatically switch to the other character. It can happen anytime, including during a boss battle. But fret not, during each play session, Sora and Riku can earn Drop Points which can give the opposite temporary boost such as a magic boost to slowing the drop gauge. Of course you can forcibly drop if you feel like it too. With that said, yes you will be playing as both Sora and Riku SIMULTANEOUSLY, playing back and forth between them but it all good and helps to tie together their stories.
Needless to say that the music is great for each and every world. Not to mention remixes for 3 TWEWY songs. The game is completely voiced leaving the only text as subtitles during conversations. And I must give a special props to the spectacular opening cinematic which does a nice job summarizing the Kingdom Hearts saga in a matter of 3 minutes or so.
Nonny's Rating: 8.5. Needless to say I enjoyed the game and the Flowmotion and Dream Eaters are great features to the game. Also with many unexpected twists and a fantastic secret ending look forward to a great hand held Kingdom Hearts game.
Nonny's tips: Though Sora has cemented himself as the main protagonist of the Kingdom Hearts series, invest more time into Riku. Riku will be at a higher level than Sora since he is used extensively especially in the end game.
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