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Graphics: This in my opinion is the strongest part of the game. The 3D graphics I believe are mindblowing and I really enjoyed playing a game which not only was enjoyable to play but enjoyable to watch. The cut scenes were almost like watching scenes of a movie jammed inside of a portable video game and sometimes, I actually forgot that I was playing the game on a Nintendo 3DS. It was like a portable version of a full-sized console game. The only difference is the discrepancy between the cut scenes and the general game play. I was hoping for some amazing graphics on the general gameplay after watching the eye-popping cut scenes and then was very disappointed to experience the difference. The graphics are actually a little rudimentary for such an advanced system, and honestly I thought that they could have been a little better. The backgrounds and surrounding scenary is top-notch but then it’s like the designers scrimped a little on the characters. The rendering could be better and the pixelation is a little off-putting at times.
Audio: Listening through the audio on the system and through the various worlds in game, it’s quite obvious how much work was put into the sound quality of the game. I’m not sure whether that’s the improved speaker system on the 3DS XL though. There’s no hint of an 8-bit quality sound, the music is crisp and clear and fitting with the various scenes in game. Square Enix have never really been bad for the music in their games though and this is always a good thing whether you’re playing Final Fantasy or Kingdom Hearts. It’s pretty standard fare though for SE, nothing really special about it but that doesn’t mean that it’s terrible either.
Fun Factor: This game is only fun if you know the series and you can get past the whole Drop system. If you like continuous battles with the Dream Eaters and the jumping from world to world only to constantly have your game interrupted having to switch characters constantly- then I really believe that you will enjoy this game. The Sprites are quite cute and collecting the various materials to make them is actually quite a nice touch to the game. Collecting and making the various Sprites is a fun element to the game, especially with the different abilities they have. It’s a little like collecting Pokemon, only they’re not the ones doing the fighting for you.
Replay Value: Sadly quite low for an RPG game like this. There’s not really any levels of difficulty to the game and there’s not a whole lot to collect other than the Sprites. So unfortunately, once you’ve completed the game then you’ve pretty much finished it all. It does take quite a while to finish though with the multiple worlds- so you’ve at least got a month’s playtime in the game until it becomes a bit stale and grey.
Gameplay: For me, I found the game actually quite enjoyable. In the beginning, I remember seeing the Disney characters and thinking that the game may be a bit juvenile, a bit immature for me. But settling into the game and figuring out how it worked proved to be worth my time. The different worlds all have something fresh and new to offer, and in each one you meet different characters who had colour and life to the game. Even with the somewhat jarring Drop feature, it had a good flow and rhythm to it. The trick is to just not get too attached to one character, as it’s not possible to play neither Riku nor Sora for lengthy periods of time. I was a little put off by this, as I preferred Riku’s method of battle to Sora’s. The controls also get a little confusing with the many buttons on the 3DS, and so sometimes you find yourself hitting the wrong button to perform a function. Talking about buttons, that’s the other gripe of mine with this game. Combat (especially those of the World Bosses) is basically just a contest to see how hard you can mash the buttons on your console- there’s no real skill or tactics needed. Which I find to be a bit of a shame.
Overall: Taking all these negatives and positives into consideration, it is still a very enjoyable game and if you are already a fan of the Kingdom Hearts series- you will love this. I enjoyed it but I just found that it was a little bit young for me, it might suit someone who is either a fan of cutesy games or ones that don’t really require much gaming ability. Great graphics and gameplay, great sound- just not really my cup of tea.