Thursday, November 16, 2000

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep | 9.5

The guys from Square Enix had a few years back suddenly as strange as a brilliant inspiration. Because they threw some of their famous characters from Final Fantasy franchise with characters and environments from the wonderful worlds of the films of Walt Disney made a smashing success. At first sight you might not think that this bizarre cross-over success can bring, on the contrary. But what the developer back-channel mixer, proved a great action RPG, all major features of the typical Final Fantasy title successfully relocated them to the bright colors of Disney. A sequel and a spin-off series on Nintendo handhelds later it is time for a prequel to Sony's smallest. Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core Square Enix has already proved that the PSP is perfect for their epic stories on console very nice way to expand. Or Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep follows the same path, you can read in the review below.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Seep behaves in every way as a full-fledged prequel. Thus, at any time by the time made errors in relation to the big brothers on the PlayStation 2. Everything you do in this game, helps achieve or triggers, to get back nicely to the threshold of the first Kingdom Hearts, and thus provides additional information for the curious fan. Characters in Kingdom Hearts a major role as Hercules or Cloud, in this part or a lot younger in some cases replaced by a predecessor. And of course you will, as always after a good prequel, when the credits roll on the small screen, meaning get to the original Kingdom Hearts from the dust to get back into your PS2 and stabbing. So how it works and Square Enix knows all too well.
To get the most out of this title and really every aspect of the story to understand it, you play three times but should play. You get in the beginning of the game: the choice between three playable characters, each from a different angle illuminate the story. Terra is the tough fighter who has trouble darkness himself under control. Ventus is the brash, lightning-quick young man who tries to understand what friendship is all about. And Aqua is the handsome Keyblade master that well versed in magic and basically the whole game long after the other two characters Aanholt. The story begins with an examination, where both Terra and Aqua try Keyblade Master title to win. This seemingly innocuous test drives the girlfriends forcibly apart.

When the darkness in Terra inadvertently predominating during the exam, decided to promote Aqua Master Eraqus only. At Terra's doubts mercilessly to the more mysterious when the master Xehanort tells him that the use of dark forces is not as negative as everyone thinks. When the same Xehanort later go missing in all the worlds and alien monsters - the 'Unversed' - appearing to sow unrest, Terra and Aqua get the assignment to both Xehanort to detect if the threat Unversed a halt. Meanwhile Ventus plagued by the appearance of a masked guy who tells him that he will leave Terra and never be the same again. Fearing for their friendship despite the prohibition of travel Ventus Master Eraqus Terra behind, and throws himself into such a battle in which all worlds on their foundations shake will do.

The three Keyblade students take part in so interesting a cat and mouse game that the whole playing time (about 15 to 20 hours per person) takes. During the game, do they meet several times against, but they also regulated their own way. Do not get us wrong, you will visit exactly the same worlds as Aqua, Terra and Ventus, but each of them will discover other areas. Thus, for example, in the world of Cinderella Ventus notice that the mouse Jaq helped Cinderella's dress in time, while at Terra accompanied her to the ball and there was literally Unversed her turn. You can therefore choose to only as one of the characters the game to the other and although you still have an enjoyable gaming experience with ditto verhaal on your plate, you will only able to identify the motivations, choices and actions of all characters to understand when the game three times you play it.

Fortunately, the different worlds and the many areas by world enough variety to a triple turn to justify. We visit include the wooded hills in the tale of Snow White, lost almost the witching maze in the world of Sleeping Beauty and end up in the spaceship where Stitch with difficulty escaped. In each area during the same enemies you bump again, and these witnesses of an original design with sufficient variety. All you have to end now and the feeling that certain basic enemies a little too often you come back toward the goal to block. Aqua, Terra and Ventus also have some exclusive all bosses and they are now and really worthwhile. We found the essence of the bewitching musical that tried the peace of Cinderella at the ball to disrupt very impressive.
It's amazing how Square Enix on the UMD disc and has managed to squeeze it all looks very good. But this graphical splendor and diversity of worlds, characters and enemies has its price tag. Environments that sometimes the empty side and are also often lack the necessary detail to be really interesting and something we still understandable. You can not same splendor expect the PS2 version on Sony's handheld. The loading times are a different story. These are extremely frequent and in addition, each lasting a bit too long. You are in the transition from gameplay to cutscene and from world to world, each removed from the game and that is unfortunate. At first we thought Square Enix was able to remedy this shortcoming by choosing to offer the game data on the memory stick to save your PSP. Fifteen minutes later and about 700 MB of memory less we found to our surprise, however, that nothing really had changed.

The Kingdom Hearts franchise is not really unscathed from the often painful conversion from console to handheld, but this is not to say that this is a bad game. On the contrary. Square Enix offers fans of the franchise the deepest combat system so far and that invites frequent experimentation. You can give yourself a road cut and slash through the Unversed the whole time cross to ram, but you get as usual a set of special moves available to you in real time left corner of the screen with a menu and select the D-Pad and then activate by pressing triangle. These special moves include the ability to check your Keyblade to a distant enemy to swinging or standing offer you the chance to traditional Final Fantasy magic attacks to perform, such as Fira, and Blizzara Thundara. These attacks are logically stronger if you use them more.
Depending on the moves you choose to use, you measure yourself to one style. Square Enix takes this quite literally. Bottom left of the screen fills up steadily because during a bar fight. When the bar is full, the game will automatically determine which fighting style you use and your using this information to offer a new set of special moves. Do you find it such fun to bombard the opposition with fireballs, you'll quickly notice that you are fighting under the Firestorm style. Put some more enemies on fire and the game will reward you with a special move that all around your character set ablaze. There are a lot of different styles and vengeance just by experimenting with the special moves you gradually unlock, you can find out what style you which moves and thus activates the style you prefer. Please trust us that this is very addictive.

Transferred directly from Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core is the possibility of special moves and items to combine, thus creating completely new skills. This aspect of the game invites you to experiment and we can only be pleased about that. New in this game, the D-Link, the traditional summons from Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 unit. Gradually forge you into Birth By Sleep namely friendships with various characters. These characters will then appear in the D-Link, which means you can select them and then their moves under consideration. They no longer appear next to you to join the enemy to stab, but you get their special abilities for a short time gift. It goes without saying that you will first need to fill a meter and that the D-Link will not work forever. It's a nice system, but we missed the traditional summons.

So it is often the case that moves you from a D-Link character itself have available and then we have no immediate utility in order to resort to this option. All in all offers Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep is a very deep and satisfying combat system that unfortunately is counteracted in two ways. First, the system is never fully explained. Agreed, you get the tutorial texts necessary for you to choose, but often the game just throws you into the deep. Convenient hard learning may sometimes be the best method, like we had seen a little more accessible. Second, did the camera during battles often heavy on our nerves. The thing which is hyperactive to your character dances around and loses often the essence of the eye where you are with all his might to the slashing was. An auto-aim system that prefer the small, harmless ugly character select rather than the huge monster that tries to crush, not much help either.

Anyway, all in all to yourself if some of these flaws will go up and then you get as we said a beauty of an action RPG on your plate. Birth By Sleep contains the combat-driven storyline also nice bonus. This is a mode called Command Board, an alternative way to do special moves and passive skills upgrading.

Command Board is a board game where you and your character sits on a board game based on one of the many worlds you visit, then to fight against various characters from the Disney universe. It's a mix between Goose (as soon as possible reach the end) and Monopoly (you can play cards on the boxes impose your opponents money trick out when they should get it) and offers occasional welcome change from all the confrontations with The Unversed. Very deep or addictive is never, but, as we have said, a nice extra.

To summarize it is Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep a beauty of an RPG that has had to contend with some annoying flaws. The combat system is wonderfully deep and invites frequent experimentation, but suffers from an annoying camera, a poor auto-aim system and a relatively high entry threshold. Graphic is for the most part already splendor, the clock strikes. Square Enix offers a wealth of fantasy worlds full of characters and story lines down, but occasionally something hollow with it, partly due to a lack of details. The frequent, long load times do not lie. The sound we sleep above reproach. The English voice actors are convincing and for once the great tunes made us open the volume control turned on. An example to other RPG's!

Graphics 9 / 10
Sound 9/10
Gameplay 9.3/10
Overall 9/10

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