RECENT DISCUSSION TOPICS

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT

Elsa, Anna, Rapunzel, and Kairi make up four of the new Princesses of Heart. Come theorise who the last three Princesses will be!

NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to Kingdom Hearts News!

Enter your email address:

   

POLL

Who do you prefer to play as in Kingdom Hearts 3D?

Sora - 100%
Riku - 0%

Total votes: 1, but the poll doesn't work yet

Gameplay

~♥~Kingdom Hearts II~♥~

After the title's debate on a non-Playstation platform in Chain of MemoriesKingdom Hearts II brings the series back to its original home of the Playstation 2. As to be expected the basic controls are similar to the original's for the most past, providing a familiar if renovated feel compared with the first installment. That is hardly to say the two systems are the same or even all that similar in what they offer, as Kingdom Hearts IImade a noticeable effort of raising the number of ways in which a player can fight through the game.

The basic controls seem to follow the design of Kingdom Hearts. The left analog stick is reserved for movement. The D-Pad is in charge of the command menu while X is for attacking and selecting, O is for jumping and cancelling a selection, and ■ is used for different menu operations as well as special mid-combat abilities. The first difference is with the right analog stick. While in Kingdom Hearts the right analog stick copied the D-Pad's functionality, in Kingdom Hearts II is used to control the camera, giving better control over the view point in more dimensions.

The most noticeable difference from Kingdom Hearts remains with the ▲ button receiving quite a bit of importance both in-battle and during regular play. Starting in Kingdom Hearts II is a system called the Reaction Commands, a set of "pop-up" commands that become available at different times in the game. For instance, talking to an NPC or opening a chest no longer replace the menu's "Attack" command like it did in the first game, but instead those commands appear above the menu when the player approaches the chest or person he wishes to talk to.

The Reaction Commands also appear in the midst of battle and often save the player from what otherwise would've been deadly situations. Almost all the enemies in the game have unique Reaction Commands exclusive to them, and some bosses can only be beaten by properly activating their Reaction Commands.

Beyond the "how", the gameplay's "what" was expanded in this installment. The command menu has doubled in size and now consists of two four-slot lists, offering various new combat methods along with the familiar ones.

The attack command and magic sub-menu remained, along with the Summon option which now has a new rooster Sora can call upon for help. How the Summoned ally behaves in combat changed, however, and is closer in nature to the newly introduced Limit system.

The Limit system utilizes the basic party structure and lets Sora use powerful combo attacks with a specific party member. Each party member as well as the Summoned allies has their own unique Limit ability; the only exception is the Trinity Limit technique Sora can use on his own for the not-so-rare occasion in which he needs to fight on his lonesome.

Limit techniques replace the Attack command at times and offer a Reaction command. When the Limit gauge fills up an ultimate finishing move is unleashed, dealing heavy damage before ending the Limit. Regular Limits can only be used when Sora has remaining MP, but Summon Limits can be used more freely so long as the Summoned ally is still present.

The party is not the only place Sora receives help from. More than once an "independent" character joins the fight, separate from the playable party. Depending on who joins they might hurt the party as well, but will always help them at least somewhat by attacking their enemies.

The most unique and notice-worthy of this bunch is Mickey, who appears during selected boss fights should the party fall. A choice is presented to the player and should he choose to Not Give Up, Mickey appears as a playable party-replacement. While he is able to deal damage he is incapable of dealing finishing blows. The only way to end a fight is for Mickey to use a special Reaction command to fill up a gauge. Once three bars are filled, Mickey revives the party and then takes his leave. The chance of being saved by Mickey lowers each time he appears in battle, though it starts with a reassuring 100% on the first defeat.

On the matter of defeat there is another thing to note, being that Sora's HP depleting isn't the only way in which a Game Over occurs. Certain missions and conditions are set on various occasions, such as protecting an 'independent' party member or defeating a given group of enemies within a limited timeframe. Should the time run out before the enemies do, or if the protected character runs out of HP, it's Game Over.

About the biggest difference in gameplay from Kingdom Hearts is the Drive system. Given new, magical clothes, Sora gains the ability to tap into his full potential. Depending on which form he transforms into using the clothes his stats and abilities change, giving focus to one or more aspects such as his physical or magical abilities.

In order to change into a Form, Sora must "sacrifice" one or more party members during gameplay (they appear in any scene Sora enters while in a Form). Most forms are obtained as the game progresses, but two special forms are obtained randomly and only once certain plot events took place.

Overall, it's hard to say the gameplay remained too close to the original system introduced in Kingdom Hearts. However, it still retains much of its original charm and fluidity and seems to have simply grown up along with its main character, and is true to his growth as a warrior and a friend.

 

~♥~Birth by Sleep~♥~

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleeptakes the traditional real time tactical button mashing gameplay and adds some new twists and turns. The new command deck, inspired by Chain of Memories' card system and Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-'s materia system, has quickly become the most popular and well received methods of gameplay from the series thus far.

Upon beginning the game, you are given the option of choosing one of four levels of difficulty to play the game in: Beginner, Standard, Proud, and Critical (with Critical being exclusive to the localized version until the release of Birth by Sleep Final Mix). Beginner Mode allows you to deal 50% more damage and receive 50% less damage. In Standard Mode, you deal and receive a normal amount of damage. By choosing Proud Mode or Critical Mode, damage dealt will be halved, and damage received will be doubled. Increases in health points gained through leveling up is also halved in Critical Mode, and you start the game with a total of five command slots in your deck as opposed to the usual three. The requirements for unlocking the secret ending Blank Points also varies according to difficulty.

After deciding on your level of difficulty, you can choose which character to play as. Terra is superior in physical attacks, but his magical prowess and speed is inferior to that of Aqua and Ventus. Ven is the quickest from the trio, while his physical and magical strength is around average in consideration with his comrades. Aqua's magical expertise outshines both of her companions, though her physical strength falls flat in comparison, and has average speed. Each character has their own unique storyline, and only by playing through all three, including Final Episode, will you experience the story in its entirety.

There are a variety of gauges found in Birth by Sleep: a green gauge representing health points (HP), a blue gauge representing Dimension-Links (D-Link), and an orange gauge representing Focus, for Shotlocks. If the HP bar is depleted, a new screen appears depicting Game Over, and you must then choose to either load the game from a save data, or to continue at the beginning of the area. During boss battles, a Retry option will also become available for you to challenge the boss again from the beginning, and the Continue option will instead transport you to the beginning of the previous area. Health can be restored by collecting green HP orbs dropped by enemies, using healing items like Potions and Elixirs, the Cure spell, or returning to a save point.

Dimension-Links represent the bonds between the various characters, and when used, restores all of your health, and replaces your current command deck with one themed after the linked character, including exclusive finishers. To initiate a D-Link, the player presses the Right button on the Directional Pad to bring up the D-Link menu. To bring up the main battle menu again, press the Left button on the D-pad. Any and all D-links that have been enabled will appear there for the player to choose. The D-Link bar can be replenished by collecting the blue orbs dropped by enemies.

As long as the Focus bar is filled to a certain degree, you can use Shotlocks, powerful attacks meant to be used to defeat many enemies and to launch a safe attack if you're low in health. It can be replenished by attacking enemies, taking damage and using Ethers. To initiate a Shotlock, the player presses the L and R buttons simultaneously and aims with the analog stick, then launches the attack by pressing X. Different Shotlocks have different button combinations used in the attack. Some prompt you to mash O, spin the analog stick, and press buttons at certain intervals.

The characters are controlled with the analog stick. Pushing lightly on it will enable them to walk, and adding pressure will cause them to run instead. The player can rotate the camera left and right with the L and R shoulder buttons respectively. Pressing [SELECT] will bring the camera up to a first person view, which can be reverted by pressing any other button. The [START] button can pause battles and bring up the main menu, which will become available only when there are no enemies around.

The player can jump by pressing the X button, and attack using the O button. Guard can be used by pressing the ■ button while standing still; when moving, the character's dodge ability will be used. Special counter abilities can be obtained at designated points in the game. When you guard, an extra command will appear prompting you to press the O button to launch an quick attack back at the enemy. Pressing ▲ activates a command in the command deck, and you can use the up and down arrows on the D-Pad to scroll through your commands.

Located at the lower left corner of the screen is your command deck, where you'll find the 3-7 commands you've included through the main menu, as well as the Attack command. Again, pressing O will enable you to attack with your Keyblade. The Attack command will change to other actions when you are not in battle, like 'Examine', 'Talk', amongst other things.

There are several points through the game, primarily in Deep Space, where the player will be pitted in a battle on their Keyblade Riders, Keyblades transformed into vehicles to traverse through the Lanes Between. At this time, your customized command deck will be replaced with a preset deck, consisting of only the most basic commands. O is used to attack, ▲ is used to dash, ■ is used to guard, and X is used to jump.

©2016 KHInsider. KINGDOM HEARTS official artwork, trailers, characters, merchandise, and music is copyrighted to Square Enix and Disney.
Original material is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution.
Please read our privacy policy for more information | Legal Information