A very very VERY late review of Re:Coded



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Grono

KH ☼ D&D ☼ Music ☼ Wack.
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  • Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX
  • Dandelion
  • Dandelion
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • The Foreteller
Don't get me wrong, I do see the flaws in this story that the fan base has mocked since its initial canonization. I get it; it's relatively inconsequential, confusing, backtracking, and all of the bad things other people have said it was. But, despite the glaring story errors I witnessed in the movie itself, it still didn't stop me from picking up my copy I owned at my house and having a play through of the game on standard mode.

I felt like the greatest sin of the remasters was not waiting it out longer and remaking the games that were made into movies. The problems with the gameplay in 358/2 Days could have been wonderfully cleaned up if it was slightly altered to be nearer to Kingdom Hearts II with a drastic improvement in graphics. Seeing a remastered RTC portal or being able to control Xion on my TV would have been a dream for me (if I enjoyed the gameplay, which I don't so far). Instead, we got a bland, thoroughly forgettable, action-free movie that took up three hours of our time and showed no battle sequences (Hell, I'm crossing my fingers for the remasters of those full games to be announced for 1.5 + 2.5 even though that'll never happen).

That's where the Re: Coded movie does so well; it keeps the action in and makes it exciting, it fully voices the character of Data Sora to maximize his personality, and it adds extra scenes that connect to a further plot. Despite that, everyone's criticisms of the story is right: it is absolutely inconsequential to the main plot. If this game didn't come out, we would have just assumed that Mickey knew TAV were in trouble after meeting Aqua in the RoD or something. We didn't need a Data-Namine telling a Data-Sora and regular Mickey that these people can be saved, that could have also be solved by Ansem the Wise at the end of Dread Drop Distance.

No, the reason why I liked Re: Coded was the characters. Like it or not, the characters just put such a big smile on my face. Until the last hour of the movie (where I was really super bored), I was supremely entertained and joyous, and Data Sora (this is going to sound super weird) is actually one of my top ten favorite characters from the kingdom hearts series because of his charm and his drive to do what is right even without much direction in doing so.

Now, there is one thing I'd like to address: the bugs make more sense then people give them credit for. It's clear from Maleficent's extra cut scene in the movie that the Journal and the Book of Prophecies aren't just regular old books; rather, they're books that contain that sort of information, that can create worlds and scenarios and people. The datascape machine simply took advantage of Jiminy's Journals properties and digitalized it, and, as far as I'm concerned, it makes perfect sense as to why the journal would be able to do all of this crazy stuff.

Overall, story is a 6.5/10. It's hardly substantial and does little to advance a narrative, but what it lacks in a contribution to the overarching plot it makes up for in likable characters, such as Data Sora and his unique bond with Donald and Goofy.

Now, onto the gameplay. I like everything about the regular gameplay of this game, and this is why I was drawn into getting a copy to begin with; I heard from everyone that the gameplay is awesome. And it really, really is. The graphics are stunning (for the DS) and really feel like a KH game this time around (unlike the terrible graphics for 358/2 Days), the number of commands and the command system this time around is stunning (although less streamlined that BbS's version of command melding), and the stat matrix is an interesting concept introduced into the series that fit the theme of the game very well and overall turned into a mechanic that I very much enjoyed using throughout the game (seriously, I'd jump for joy every time I got to a system sector because I wanted more chips to fill up my matrix and link my tiles!). The cheats options were unique and well balanced, giving you a high risk high reward style of gameplay that appeals to more hardcore, completionist, or grinding type players such as myself, and the battling itself was an absolute joy that really brought forward my love for the gameplay of the series yet again. Some of the few criticisms I have are the camera angles being too close to the player, the camera being designated to only the R button so it feels stiff and hard to utilize on occasion, the lack of clear direction on how to get new commands out of command melding (come on, cura + SLOW for Curaga?!). Also, there is the minigame sections, which I'll get to next.

Now, the thing that drags this thing into the dirt gameplay wise is the minigame sections. The minigame boss sections introduce brand new concepts to the player right before they got used to the controls and, barring the side-scrollers, required you to god damn memorize the boss' movements and locations of certain powerups to save your ass later. If I had a nickel for every single time I died during the trickster fight I'd be sleeping in a gold plated mansion right now sipping $5000 whiskey from a diamond flask. The thought of introducing a gameplay element that's world exclusive or even, hell, BOSS exclusive seems needlessly shoved in and gimmicky, and it doesn't work for this game at all, especially in the wonderland world and the entirety of the Olympus Coliseum with the shitty smartphone-esque tap-a-to-win rip-off rpg controls.

Overall, I'll give the gameplay an 8/10, because, while it does have quite a few good things going for it, it suffers from a slightly lackluster camera and horrible unnecessary minigame segments that feel unrewarding and tedious. One other note, some of the boss battles go on for far too long and seem needlessly unfair and stretched out for lengthening game time. Sometimes they'll make you fight a boss up to four times in a row without being able to heal in between or replenish your potions AT ALL. Just a not to keep in your mind if you decide to play this game.

Overall, Re:Coded gets a solid 7/10 from me overall. While certainly not wonderfully charming and innovative like Kingdom Hearts one and (in my humble opinion) Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, it's definitely the better of the two DS sequels to pick up and play. I'd recommend starting on beginner or standard mode and then completing the other worlds in different difficulties later, since this game allows that, and I'd recommend finishing this game and maybe even sticking around for some endgame quests, but the completion of this game is not necessary and you can just watch the secret movie on 2.5 anyways.

P.S. Playing through 358/2 Days right now, and while I love Xion's stupid smile and Roxas' general awkwardness, this gameplay is a DUMPSTER FIRE. I'll get back to the internet on that after I beat it (I'm on day 25, so this ought a take a while).
 
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