Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, lives up to all the hype!! It's an amazing action - RPG and a must have for all PSP owners!? The latest installment in this successful franchise is ,in my opinion, the best so far other than the original PS2 game.? Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (KH:BBS) is actually a prequel to the original game that takes place 10 years before Sora's original adventures on the PS2.? In KH:BBS you play as 3 different characters, Terra, Ventus, and Aqua, each with a unique storyline and perspective on the events that take place in the game.? I don't want to spoil the story for anyone, but basically, Terra, Aqua, and Ventus are Keyblade warriors that kind of act as police for all the different worlds.? Events take place that send the 3 Keyblade warriors on separate tasks throughout various Disney themed worlds.? Each individual character encounters different Disney characters and their stories only slightly overlap except for at the beginning and the end.? Without spoiling anything, I just want to say that the story for this game is pretty amazing.? Lots of twists and good plot points along with "geek-out" throwback moments for us Kingdom Hearts fans.
A great story would be pointless if a game didn't play well.? I'm glad to say that the gameplay elements in Kingdom Hearts : Birth By Sleep are fun and very addicting!? KH:BBS is an action-RPG, so all battles take place in real time with "unverse" goons spawning at just about every corner.? Now this may sound kind of annoying and it would be if the combat system wasn't just so icredibly fluid, simple, and most importantly fun!? You have your basic face button commands, jump, attack , block, and special attack.? All your moves are organized onto a command deck that comprises of battle commands (which are your special attacks), action commands (which are special movements like jumps, dodges and counter attacks), shot lock commands (which are a different kind of special attack where you slow time down and lock on a certain number of enemies and unleash direct attacks on them) and last but not least your "finisher" moves (these moves are powerful attacks, some of them have special effects like yielding more munnies from enemies, these finisher moves are available after you've strung together enough normal attacks).? Your battle commands can be magic attacks like thundaga, or physical attacks like aerial slam.? Unlike some other action-rpgs Kingdom Hearts:BBS doesn't have a meter for magic, instead magic attacks and special physical attacks have a charging time after use, varying depending on the type of skill.? Another new edition to the battle mechanics is the Focus Meter which fills up through battling and is used to execute your shot lock commands.? And that's not all!! In addition there's also a Dimensional Link or D.Link meter.? Activating a D.Link will temporarily grant you the battle commands of other characters you meet during the story, like Peter Pan, Cinderella, Experiment 626, etc.? There's also a skill creation option in the menu where you can combine different skills and items to create new skills and abilities like hp boosts and skill boosts, etc.? In other words there are limitless possibilities in battle, making each battle unique and entertaining.? Personally I?had a lot of fun?just murunning around and grinding, simply because fighting was so much fun!?
Speaking of grinding, let's get to the other RPG elements of Kingdom Hearts:Birth by Sleep. Let's not forget that this game is still mainly an RPG, so there is the usual exp leveling formula ,and although you can play through the game pretty easily, some grinding helps alot to make your battles go more smoothly later on in the game, particularly the last boss battle.? Dispatching foes grants you exp as you'd expect, but also levels up your skills making them more powerful and decreasing their reload time.? Other changes as you level up are as one would expect, increased HP and Focus meters as well as increases in overall strength and defense.
Graphically this is one of the best looking titles on the PSP.? Just as you'd expect from a Square Enix game,? Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep is on par with Dissidia and Crisis Core with just a little more cartoony feel to it, just as expected from a game that's half Disney.? The only problem I have with the graphics, and consequently the game as a whole, was that there are no pre-rendered cut scenes during the game.? All the pre-rendered scenes are in the intro to the game, at least in the Japanese vesion. Other than that, most cutscenes are made with the in-game engine, which kept me thinking "why didn't they just put the beautiful CG in the game?". That's?not a deal breaker by any means?but it would've been a nice little treat to see the story progress with sleek CG cutscenes, maybe this will be fixed with the U.S. release? One can only hope.
The soundtrack of the game is a mix of original Kingdom Hearts music and new takes on classic Disney theme songs.? In other words the soundtrack is solid and nostalgic.? The sound effects to the game are awesome as well, hopefully this translates to the U.S. release.
So in case you couldn't catch my drift, this game rocks!? Amazing story, ranks right up there with the original Kingdom Hearts title and other flagship?Square Enix?RPGs like Final Fantasy series.? The game is jampacked with action that is intuitive, fluid and never repetative due to all the options you have in combat, not to mention that it all looks beautiful!? So to all PSP owners out there, mark September 7th on your calendar and be prepared to take a sick day!!
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