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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Square Enix
Developed By: Square Enix
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Rated: E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older (Fantasy Violence)
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

August 27, 2012 - While we all await Square Enixís announcement of Kingdom Hearts 3 for consoles, they give us yet another tantalizing experience; this time for the Nintendo 3DS. The game I speak of is Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, which features the paring of Sora and Riku on yet another epic adventure. While this isnít the true successor to Kingdom Hearts 2, itís an experience within the world of Disney and Final Fantasy that longtime fans and newcomers alike can all enjoy. So without further adue, to help celebrate the 10th year anniversary here is our review of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.

Dream Drop Distance marks the return of both Sora and Riku as they attempt to pass the Mark of Mastery exam, which will deem them true Keyblade Masters. In order to achieve such a feet, they must save seven different parallel worlds from the onslaught of the dream eaters. Doing so successfully will show that they have the necessary tools and knowledge in order to combat the return of evil Xehanort.

Dream Drop Distance, like a wedding bride, blends the old with the new. The old comes in the form of the Command Deck system, which was first seen in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. The Deck system allows layers the ability to collect and equip several different abilities to use in battle. With ever ability used in battle, thereís some down time before it can be used again, thus requiring a bit of strategy when in battle; especially against bosses. This was implemented in part to require the player think on their feet instead of simply spamming one abilityÖ i.e. health potion or switching attacking elements.

Next on the list is the inclusion of freeflow, which enhances the battle system within Dream Drop Distance beyond the normal parameters of real-time RPGs. You can slide, air dash and use elements of the environment in order to get around much faster. You also gain the ability to use special attacks and chain combos together all via the touch of a buttonÖ or two. While the flow of the game wouldnít have change that much with these enhancements omitted, they are indeed welcome additions and allow for more control over how the game is experienced. I will admit that utilizing freeflow isnít perfect as it can be a bit touchy at times, but once you get use to it, you will wonder who something like this wasnít implemented in games before.

The mechanic that I had the most enjoyment with was the ability to Reality Shift. With this ability, you can manipulate various objects within the world in order to attack your enemies and open up new areas. Utilizing one item can wield different resets. An example of this is when you are armed with barrel and looking for something to throw it at. By throwing it at a bunch of boxes, you can reveal a new area to explore, while throwing the same barrel at a group of enemies has the potential to kill them. While the game can certainly be played straightforward without this extra exploration, by testing the waters, you will uncover several hidden treats to expand your gaming experience.

And then there is the Drop system, which lends its name to the subtitle of the game. Itís a gameplay mechanic that puts you in control of both characters, though not at the same time. Regardless of whether you star out as Sora or Riku, during your time within Dream Drop Distance, the Drop meter will decrease. Once the meter depletes, whatever character you are controlling at the time will drop down to the ground and fall asleep. As soon as that happens, you are placed in control of the other character no matter where you are or what you are doing. As an added bonus, to prepare your main character for their awakening, you can apply buffs and items to your fallen comrade in order to enhance their abilities. You will have times throughout your journey where you will love this mechanic and also loathe it. There were several times when I was in the middle of a boss battle, only to lose my progress due to having to switch out characters.

The visuals within Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is really nice and exudes the life and excitement of both Disney movies and Final Fantasy worlds. Thanks in part the slider on the side of the Nintendo 3DS, you donít have to worry about the 3D effect being over bearing or underutilized. Both character and world designs are very detailed and mirror their original source material. The audio score within Dream Drop Distance is phenomenal and captures the essence of the characters, the worlds and the onscreen action to help carry the story along. I have to give to Yoko Shimomura for his passion for music and his love for the series as this is always the bright spot for a Kingdom Hearts title. The voice-acting is sold with majority of the cast from the original titles reprising their roles.

Expect to utilize every button and every feature of the 3DS hardware within Dream Drop Distance. The combination of the handheldís camera and AR functionality allows you to interact with your created Dream Eaters on a more personal level. If wondering what a Dream Eater is, itís a virtual creation that you can utilize in battle in order to aid in attacking your enemies or as a support system to keep you alive in the heat of the battle.

While the world over is awaiting the announcement and release of Kingdom Hearts 3, itís hard to ignore the release of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Itís a solid rendition worthy of the Kingdom Hearts name and continues to revitalize the world originally created within the first Kingdom Hearts title. While the game certainly isnít perfect, the game provides engaging characters, a intriguing storyline and a musical score that sucks you into the world that itís hard not to love Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. For those wondering if the Nintendo 3DS could muster up a console like experience, you will be happy to know that it can has done so with this release.


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