Kingdom Hearts 3D Demo Impressions (3DS)
Kingdom Hearts is one of those franchises that I missed right after it launched because I didn’t own a PlayStation 2 at the time. Soon after I got my PS2 Kingdom Hearts was one of the first games I bought for the system, along with God of War. From there I immediately went into playing Kingdom Hearts II. I love the collaboration between the Square Enix characters and the Disney characters. It’s one of those combinations that when you hear about it you think it can’t possibly work, but it does and it’s a partnership that’s brought a number of good games. The newest game in the franchise is Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance for the Nintendo 3DS. The demo became available today and I instantly downloaded it and started playing.
The first thing I noticed was that the file size wasn’t very big so I knew it probably wasn’t going to be a very long demo. In fact, if you don’t play through the tutorial it would take about five minutes to play through the entire thing. The tutorial more or less doubles that by spending five minutes telling you some of the new mechanics in the game. One of those new mechanics is Flowmotion. This new mechanic is going to allow you to very quickly get around the environment. Basically it’s sort of a fast paced free running mode where you can swing on light poles or slide along rails to get from one place to another quicker than you could by simply running or walking there. It’s pretty easy to enable and I think you’ll very quickly learn which surfaces can and can’t be used for Flowmotion. It can also be used in combat on larger enemies. You’ll slide into them and enable Flowmotion which will allow you to throw them into other enemies or into terrain pieces to deal some serious damage.
Reality Shift is another new mechanic that will use both the face buttons and the touch screen. If you get close to objects and they begin to glow pink you can use a Reality Shift on them. Basically it’s going to let you launch things like a trebuchet in order to take out targets from a distance or smash them open for collectibles and HP refills.
All of the same elements you’ve come to expect from a Kingdom Hearts game appear to be present. The combat is a mix of real time action and menu based powers. The menu is all mapped to the d-pad allowing you to scroll through it while still engaging enemies in real time. If you’re a veteran of the series you know exactly what that entails.
Visually, this looks like it’s going to be one of those games that really shows off the 3D effects of the system really well. The environments are filled with long hallways, plenty of terrain pieces that stick out thanks to the 3D screen and really nice looking character models. This is, without a doubt, one of the better looking games in the series that I’ve seen. It looks to be a step up from the PS2 versions of the game which were visually stunning when they came out a decade ago. The character models all appear to be very smooth. They stand out nicely with the 3D effects. Clothing and hair all seem to move more than they ever have. It just looks beautiful.
The demo opens up with Sora looking for Riku who apparently got separated when they appeared in Traverse Town. Rather than finding Riku Sora instead runs into Neku from The World Ends With You. They talk briefly before Neku allows Sora to join him temporarily, though he’s not exactly sure why Sora would be so friendly to someone he’s never met.
From there you’re dropped into the actual demo of the game play, which like previously mentioned lasts about five minutes. There are a couple of small mobs of enemies that you can dispatch pretty quickly. Locking on to enemies will definitely be a must in this game as there is no second analog stick to use to control the camera. That functionality is mapped to the L and R buttons, which also work to lock on to enemies. After that first fight you’ll wander down to another smaller part of the town where a slightly bigger group of enemies jumps you. It all culminates with a boss fight against a rather large looking baddie whom you shouldn’t have too much trouble dispatching.
The demo does a decent job of showing off some of the new mechanics of the game. It gives you a quick sample of the combat, which appears that it will be as fun as it ever has and it shows off a quick boss fight. If you’re a fan of the franchise you’ll enjoy seeing the game running on the 3DS. I don’t know if it will really sell anyone on the game. I’m already a fan so I’m going to be getting the game. The demo certainly didn’t do anything to turn me away from the game. Something a little bit longer with some more exploration and a little more of the dialogue might have been a better seller. Regardless I’m looking forward to the game and if this brief taste is anything to judge by I’m going to like the final product.