From Square-Enix and Disney, comes a new title for one of the most best-acclaimed franchises, this time, exclusively for the Playstation Portable. As a prequel, Birth by Sleep is another thrilling Final Fantasy and Disney mash-up experience that will unsolve lots of puzzles that it has been casting upon us for a long time. Introducing three new best friends to the franchise, who will fight their way individually through darkness as they travell around the universe of Disney’s tales and destroy a new menacing creature known as Unversed.
Under tutelage of Master Eraqus, Terra, Ventus and Aqua will learn how to become keyblade masters and protect the light from darkness, but, within every heart, there is always a stray of darkness and there is always someone looking and bestowing upon them.
The Kingdom Hearts franchise was always well-known for its surprisingly good and impressive plotline, which keeps the “twist and turn-esque” indulging the player into the game, and this time around it is more interesting as you roleplay with three different individuals, experiencing different moments while following the main story as whole. Picking any character as a first start is fine as all of them have a different normal ending but it is between the lines that most revelations will occur.
Unlocking the secret ending is also important and will drown you even more into the game. Playing the easiest settings will make it hard to unlock the secret ending while playing in higher settings makes it more easy. This time around, the secret ending is really playable, opposed to previous titles which only added a secret video.
This three-in-one story package makes it more interested and not just that but the whole plotline turns a lot of heat for those who actually followed the complete franchise so far. It explains a lot of questions, even as a prequel to the original title, but, it also adds a lot more rethoric questions, which will probably be unfold on upcoming titles, or so we hope…
Graphically talking, the game ain’t so bad. Actually it is not that far from being perfect on a handled console. Full-Motion-Video keep impressive as ever and Tetsuya Nomura impressed everyone as ever with his awesome talents. The characters are simply gorgeous and all the lightning and colour keeps the game eye-friendly. You can even improve its refresh rate to, making it run more smoothly but it will consume a lot of energy. AC Power required for this.
Controlling the camera view can also be hard and terrible whenever fighting. The lock-on system has its flaws and it can take a lot of action and even making it more difficult to view and understand your enemy’s position or hard-to-reach places.
The gameplay whatsoever, hasn’t failed to the franchise, instead, it got a little more better and addictive a couple times. I found myself grinding over and over again for three hours to get my characters maxed out and didn’t got bored at all. The Deck Command system now adds a Finisher to whenever you successfuly hit an opponent and fills a bar which will devestate and deal a lot of damage to a single enemy or area of damage in higher levels. It also adds Command Styles which are unlocked in battle and activate depending on the magic style you use the most beforehand. If you use Magic Spells you most likely unlock the Diamond Dust style specialized in crowd-control dealing with multiple enemies which also has its particular finisher surrounding the caster with ice and shatters around dealing heavy ice damage.
The soundtrack also keeps its original setting and rule. The quality of the sound is highly enjoyable and clear, specially with headphones. Even the character’s footsteps add a little more presence to the game, solidifying it even more in terms of speech. Some background songs are recycled such as Radiant Garden and Olympus, and even the opening movie keeps the same song from the very first Kingdom Hearts. Nonetheless, manly tears will drop with all the nostalgy.
Multiplayer is also available, exclusively for the first time in the franchise. By accessing the arena through the World Map, you can customize your character and join a room with your friends and battle together hordes of unversed creatures or even play puzzle board games. You can also gather up to six players and fight against each other in an intense mini-Keyblade War.
In short, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is reccommend for any PSP owner and necessary for any franchise fan who wants to keep track of the plotline. Unlocking the secret ending might require some effort, but you’ll definately like the gameplay, so much you’ll probably want to get even further and uncover every last detail of the game.
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Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep was developed and published by Square ENix for Playstation Portable, released on January 9, 2010 in Japan, September 7, 2010 in North America and September 10, 2010 in Europe.