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Nintendo DS
GENRE
Action/RPG
DEVELOPER
Hand
PUBLISHER
Square-Enix
LOCAL WIRELESS
MULTI-PLAY
No
Wi-Fi/GLOBAL ONLINE
MULTI-PLAY
Yes
MICROPHONE
No
EXPECTED RELEASE DATE
September 2009
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Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Hands-On

The only things that are really missing are Goofy and Donald.

The E3 build of Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days featured some impressive movies, but pretty much everyone already knew that it sported amazingly high resolution (for a DS game) video and involved cinematics. By this point, what most players were worried about was how the game played.

Unsurprisingly, the E3 build of Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days plays a great deal like the first game in the series, particularly evidenced by the camera controls -- bereft of an analog stick, the L and R triggers are relegated to camera duty. Also a bit of a switch is how the A button function as the "select" button or to attack, slightly off from how Kingdom Hearts functions on the PS2 controller.

The graphics, while not as impressive as the movies themselves, nonetheless acquit themselves well on the handheld. Series anti-hero Roxas is accompanied by his Organization XIII companion, Axel, who is AI-controlled in the demo. The pair runs through Twilight Town searching for a mysterious goal. The Twilght Town environments are very true to the originals from Kingdom Hearts 2, albeit with a lower polygon count, and a map is displayed on the bottom screen for those who easily lose their way.

Combat also feels very familiar, despite using the Control Pad for directional input. The game's auto-lock feature keeps one particular enemy in view at all times, and Roxas can break free and lock on to another foe easily. If a locked-on enemy is in mid-air, Roxas will automatically jump to attack when the A button is pressed, and he will likewise dash in to a foe that is farther away when attacking. Despite the menu present in the game, combat can still quickly revert to button-mashing, again like previous efforts.

The title's touted multiplayer features, which allows for up to four players to team up as the members of Organization XIII, was not on display at the E3 show floor, but the single player mode definitely seems to capture the particular Kingdom Hearts flavor. While few Disney characters were in the demo, it's certain that several fan favorites will show up as the game progresses -- although, again, likely not including Donald Duck and Goofy, as the two are theoretically in suspended animation during the time that Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days takes place. The game is currently on track for a September release.







WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Aaron Roberts
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"HISSHO! BURAIKEN!!!!!"


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