Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (Nintendo DS)

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 is the latest in the Kingdom Hearts series and focuses in on Roxas, giving players the opportunity to take on different RPG elements through both single and multi-player modes. The panel system is the most interesting element here, in that players are given the ability to customize different item sets, magic, and weaponry. Adding more to the customization that one can have, the multiplayer mode allows the party present in the single-player mode to be filled out with human components. Thus, players can finally feel what it is like to play as Xion and Larxene. Whether in single or multi-player mode, the inclusion of limit breaks (insanely powerful attacks that each of the characters have) gives players a final line of defense should the enemies prove too challenging.

The locales this time are as vibrant and as compelling as other titles in the line, meaning that players interact with Neverland, Wonderland, the Coliseum from Herceles, and even Agrabah (Aladdin) and the Beast’s Castle (Beauty and the Beast). The game itself has enough legs by this point that aside from the Moogles, no Final Fantasy characters are present. This means that players are immersed more fully in the Disney landscape, which means that Roxas’s duty is that much more compelling. 358/2 Days fills out the holes present before the opening of Kingdom Hearts II, and makes the Sora / Roxas dichotomy all the more manageable for future games in the line.

When one plays the title, one is brought into the Kingdom Hearts mythos through the inclusion of bits and pieces of the scores from the previous titles. Players will be enticed further to keep with the game with the vibrant graphics and deft animations that pushes the Nintendo DS to its very limits.

There seems to be enough here in the way of different game play options, approaches, and twists and turns that even players that had no experience with the line or were not a fan of the prior efforts will be able to dive in head-first. Now, how about a new Kingdom Hearts game for the next-gen consoles?

Ratings: 9.2/10

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (Nintendo DS) / 2009 Square Enix / http://www.square-enix.com

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