DescriptionTen years before the events in Kingdom Hearts, the universe is still how one remembers it. Maleficent from the Disney-movie Sleeping Beauty is only a threat to Princess Aurora, Peter Pan is still fighting Captain Hook and Experiment 626 has yet to escape the clutches of the Universal Police - all enclosed in their own little worlds with no contact to the outside. In-between on the Isle of Departure are Terra, Ventus and Aqua - a trio of friends and Keyblade wielders who want to become masters. While Terra and Aqua are already ready to take the exam of mastery, Ventus still has a long way ahead of himself. During the exam however it turns out that even Terra isn't ready yet, unable to control the darkness within his heart. At the same time the universe is suddenly threatened by the Unversed - creatures of pure darkness who appeared on the different worlds and wreck havoc under the Disney-characters. To make things worse, Master Xehanort disappears. So Terra and Aqua are tasked with destroying the Unversed and finding the missing Master. Unknown to Terra however, Aqua has a secret mission: watching Terra in order to find out if he can control the darkness within him. Ventus on the other hand is goaded into following Terra by a mysterious other character...and so the adventure begins.
In its core Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep follows the same principles as the other iterations of the series. The game still mixes gameplay-elements from the Final Fantasy series with characters and locations from Disney-properties like Mickey Mouse. To that end the player visits the Dwarf Woodlands to help Snow White escape the evil Queen, fights in the Olympus Coliseum with Hercules and helps Element 626 (Stich) flee from Deep Space while always being confronted with the forces of darkness including boss fights against formerly inanimated and now possessed objects, other Keyblade warriors and even Disney-characters like the already mentioned Maleficent. The story however is told from the three different viewpoints of the main characters. So to fully understand everything, the player will need to play through the game with all three (he makes his selection at the start). Each character will also see and experience different parts of the levels. While Terra will be send out by the Queen to kill Snow White, Aqua will actually be the one who has to protect her from the evil queen after Terra has already left the world. In addition each of the characters is specialised in different commands at the start of the game with Aqua being more of a mage and Terra more of a warrior.
As opposed to the previous installments of the series, the player now travels the land mostly by himself. Only during a few boss-fights he will join forces with his friends or when he needs to protect another character. He is however not really alone out there in the vast universe thanks to a new mechanic in the overhauled combat system called "Dimension Link". If enough energy is available, the player can activate the D-Link to a friendly character, giving him full access to that characters command deck basically trading the current character for the other one. Additional D-Links are automatically unlocked by successfully completing the different worlds. And while the player can't choose the contents of the other characters deck or level those commands up, killed enemies will occasionally drop, in addition to money, crafting crystals and health- and D-Link-energy bubbles, an effect when a D-Link is active. Up to two can be collected for each character which will not only increase the deck size but also if both are collected give the player access to an additional form allowing him to use Maleficent's Dragon Breath for example.
The command deck contains up to eight techniques, abilities and spells - all simply called commands - which allows the character e.g. to heal himself or throw his keyblade at the enemy. After the current command is used, the deck automatically switches to the next one while the previous one regenerates until it can be used again. So instead of mana, the only resource is time. Each of the commands will automatically level up just by using it up to five times depending on the command increasing the damage it deals and unlocking additional command styles and finishing commands. The character itself also earns experience points and gains levels making him stronger and increasing his survivability. In addition successfully hitting an enemy fills up the command gauge, changing the Command Style of the character and making him more powerful. If the player keeps hitting the enemy, this bar will also fill up and unleash a devastating attack at the end (or unlock an even higher level Command Style if available). The last way to unleash hell upon enemies is the ShotLock Mode with which the player can aim at multiple enemies in first person mode and then start a series of attacks during which he's invulnerable.
New Commands can either be bought at shops, created through crafting or by playing some of the five included mini-games. Crafting involves merging two higher level commands using a crystal into a new command. One of the mini-games, simply called Command Board, is a Monopoly-knock-off in which the players place commands on a bought field instead of buying streets and planting hotels. Each time an enemy player hits the field, the owner earns points as well as the command on the field itself. Buying fields from other players or landing on a bonus field will earn the player the chance to earn a new command. The winner of the mini-game is the one who first hits the points limit.
The game features a multiplayer-mode for up to six players via ad-hoc-wifi allowing them to play "Command Board", fight each other in death match, play the mini-game "Rumble Racing" (a Mario Kart-clone) or fight side by side in Survival Modes against hordes and hordes of enemies including boss fights. Multiplayer even features additional commands not available in the normal game.
- "キングダム ハーツ バース バイ スリープ" -- Japanese spelling
Part of the Following Groups
|A fascinating game that I had to stop playing because of the PSP||Pixelspeech (1006)|
|Gaming Age||Sep 28, 2010||A-||91|
|411mania.com||Sep 21, 2010||9 out of 10||90|
|PlayStation Lifestyle||Sep 14, 2010||9 out of 10||90|
|Hasta los Juegos||Sep 16, 2010||8.8 out of 10||88|
|GamersGlobal||Sep 15, 2010||8.5 out of 10||85|
|IGN||Sep 02, 2010||8.5 out of 10||85|
|Worth Playing||Sep 20, 2010||8.3 out of 10||83|
|4Players.de||Sep 14, 2010||80 out of 100||80|
|Defunct Games||Nov 17, 2010||B||75|
|Eurogamer.net (UK)||Sep 06, 2010||7 out of 10||70|
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