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Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Review

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Review

Kingdom Hearts fans have waited so long for the arrival of Kingdom Hearts 3. They have waited through 358/2, Coded, Re:Coded, and, of course, Birth By Sleep. When Kingdom Hearts fans felt that Square Enix had finally reached the end of its massive string of handheld games, the Nintendo 3DS was announced and thus Kingdom Hearts 3D was born - the wait for Kingdom Hearts 3 wouldn't be over quite yet.

This time around, Sora and Riku are both protagonists, their stories intertwined with the "Drop" system. As a gameplay mechanic, it works fine, but Square Enix didn't do a whole lot to keep the stories from being a bit confusing.

Basically, Sora will play through one bit of one world and go through some story sequences, but then Riku will step in, and you're introduced to the same world pretty much all over again. The reason why the game plays this way is because Sora and Riku's worlds are running together almost simultaneously in alternate universes. It's a plausible reason for the mechanic's existence, but that doesn't necessarily mean it works.

Riku and Sora frequently encourage each other to finish worlds and even at times receive help from the other in completing a world. But one character might not have finished that world yet, so the dialogue just feels a bit strange. Also if you finish a whole section and the other character hasn't, there's no real guidance on what to do next. In those instances you're forced to either grind a ton or drop to continue the story.

One of the things that originally made Kingdom Hearts so interesting was the incorporation of Disney characters and Final Fantasy characters. Although the Final Fantasy characters didn't nearly enough screen time, fans of the game were willing to put that aside for most of the Disney worlds offered just the right amount of fan service. In Dream Drop Distance, it's just a further departure away from the original game as the Final Fantasy characters are completely missing. Instead they are replaced with characters from The World Ends With You, another of Square Enix's properties.

Not only are there no Final Fantasy characters (except the Moogle), the Disney worlds offer very little magic. The dialogue is pretty poorly written in these instances - the characters seem to spell out everything they're doing as if to suggest we don't have the capability to figure something out for ourselves. Considering most of the original Kingdom Hearts audience has now reached either late teens or early twenties, it seems a bit odd that they'd try to lessen the dialogue to attract younger ones. And even if that's what they are doing, teenagers aren't that stupid.

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