TGS 2008: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days - Trailer, Co-op, and Single-Player Impressions

Roxas and Axel return to guide us through another Disney-themed adventure.

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TOKYO--The Kingdom Hearts brand seems to be undergoing quite the renaissance. During our trailer-laden visit to the dark, dark heart of Square Enix's Mega Theater at the Tokyo Game Show, we saw no fewer than four Kingdom Hearts game trailers--two of them for mobile devices. One of them, however, was for the upcoming DS game, Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. It offered plenty of glimpses of our favorite Organization XIII members. There was plenty of gazing out to sea, just as you'd expect, and the oceanside sun bathed our heroes' black robes in bright light. Other quick flashes confirmed that Riku and Mickey will be returning. We also saw shots of the new character, Xion. Quick gameplay examples showed Roxas beating up on the usual assortment of heartless enemies, we saw glimpses of four-player action, and the trailer ended with a release date: February 2009.

Roxas dons his robe for his first DS adventure.

But who needs a trailer when we can get our own hands-on time? Indeed, we got up close and personal with this Disney-themed adventure, starting with some local four-player action with our fellow journalists. A character-select screen lets you choose from a variety of characters. Once we made a choice, we landed in the game armed with a giant scythe taller than our own persona. The goal for our ad-hoc group was to defeat an end boss after fighting through a series of smaller enemies. The controls were simple and should be familiar to most players. Camera control was a bit of a conundrum, though, because it was easy to get stuck in a corner while hammering on the attack button; you can reset the camera using the R button, however, or rotate it using the touch screen, though that doesn't seem to be a very viable option in the middle of combat.

Fortunately, magic skills were easily performed and healing potions were easily quaffed, thanks to the L button, which brought up shortcut menus. Soon, we were throwing fireballs in addition to swinging our gigantic scythe of death. Eventually, we met up with the giant toadlike boss, who would disappear and reappear elsewhere on the map. The game's minimap showed his location, as well as that of our comrades, so finding his new location was pretty simple. In a few short moments, our party had destroyed him, and the mission was complete. Hurrah!

The multiplayer was fun, but the meat of the experience will likely lie with the single-player game. We took a look at two single-player levels, starting with a Nightmare Before Christmas mission taking place in Halloween Town. Armed with the key blade, we maneuvered Roxas through the haunted paths and dark streets, fighting off heartless enemies frozen in cubes. These foes could actually freeze us in place if we weren't careful; other enemies could actually latch on to Roxas and lift him up for a few moments. Fortunately, we had our own offensive skills, the most helpful of which was a multifoe lightning strike, which was easily accessed from the quick menu.

Suddenly, just as Roxas was confronted with an enormous crowd of heartless enemies, Xigbar appeared, and he accompanied Roxas en route to the end boss. His ranged magic attack was helpful in battle, and the AI seemed to do a nice job of keeping up--a nice touch, considering the frozen cubed foes were out in full force. Eventually, we reached our destination where a giant, lanky suit of armor was prepared to take us down. It didn't take long, however, and soon it was a simple pile of metallic rubble.

Organization XIII is about to recruit a new member...

The other level we played apparently occurred inside the wicked queen's castle from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. This time, Xaldin joined us, wielding dual staffs. Most of the heartless enemies we fought resembled puffs of black smoke. The level was straightforward, and we climbed the steps of the castle toward our final encounter, which was a giant foe with a heart-shaped gouge in his belly. This enemy was a little tougher than the end boss in Halloween Town, and we had to be more conscious of the attack points on his limbs. However, some well placed attacks and some creative jumping brought him to his knees.

There were some definite issues we encountered during our short time with the game, mostly related to camera control and navigation. If you're a fan of stylus-controlled action, you should also note that all of the action is performed with buttons and is viewed only on the top screen. Still, it's nice to see the franchise is still going strong, and we'll bring you more information on Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days as it develops.

Discussion

157 comments
lordchauos
lordchauos

they have to put it on psp!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i miss sora but i like sora's nobady roxas i realy hope they bring it out on psp because i dont have ds i dont like it so i realy hope they bring it out on psp also or ps3 or ps2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

destroyerHHH
destroyerHHH

@colonn_r18 Don't worry, you PSP owners get Birth By Sleep.

colon_r18
colon_r18

They should make it for the PSP too!!

denicola_a_god
denicola_a_god

same here im hoping a north american release date is announced soon lol

sorakiaririku
sorakiaririku

OMG!! this looks soooooo cool i can't wait! i hope it come's out soon i heard a whole bunch of times that it was coming out on August 31 2009!!!!

HenNut
HenNut

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

HenNut
HenNut

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Gammet25
Gammet25

Kingdom hearts will finally make an appeal on ds and psp! Finally. So looking forward to playing it as the ps2 ones were great.

canx12
canx12

cant w8 for it to come out but .... i follow the story so im gonna play jap. version and w8 for the amirac one :S lame hope in the jap. version it has english subtitles or in language that u can pick english well game looks great though. Can't w8 to play with larxene punch punch kick kick hahahahah or axel or xigbar(pieuw,pieuw,pieuw) xD:D

Ly_neku_ly
Ly_neku_ly

hopefully its 3d so the popsicles dont look like crud

Bigcol1611
Bigcol1611

Get this game out now, i need my kingdom hearts fix!!!

FaBolOuS-KiDD
FaBolOuS-KiDD

The cut scenes look amazing gameplay looks pretty good but is the game continuing kingdom hearts 2 or iz it continuing kingdom hearts chain of memories am guessing the game is showing roxas story line after he became a nobody and how he and axel became best friends

falco65456
falco65456

this game is great but i have terriable news there thinking of postpowning the realease date until the DSI or someother time damn it NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 :'(

Wiidude16
Wiidude16

looks cool, but the graphics kinda suck

magepowaftw
magepowaftw

KH 1 was ok cause it was the samething like the GBA one and i played both of them. KH 2 was amazing i played that game so dam long lol. And now a portable KH, this game looks awesome i cant wait to get it. Also multiplayer mode is gonna be a blast :)

SmartGhost
SmartGhost

is this a new stroyline or what i mean are you roxas or what or sora...but whatever cant wait

leafninja-roxas
leafninja-roxas

i was reading something in wikipedia and it said expected due date is February 2009 ... don't know if this is true or not but thats what i read xD

speed_sceptile
speed_sceptile

Dammit, I can't wait for this to come out on the US! It's too awesome!

Hell-Fire21
Hell-Fire21

Wow both Birth by sleep and 358/2 days have better potential than KH2 did.

Ultima_X_
Ultima_X_

seriously, the title of the game is KH: 358/2 days? wtf are they serious or did someone get seriously drunk and say "hey, this is a good title!"

MasterC5
MasterC5

Kingdom Hearts is one of the most overrated RPG'S of all time, the only thing decent about the series is the combat system, otherwise it has a generic plot with completely one dimensional characters.

canx12
canx12

can't wiat much longer ...... must.... play......kh 385/2.......da..y....s i thinkthat those days mean the uuu days that sorra was in that capsule and uuuu this game is that part just after chain of memoryss they should've released this game before they did kh2 for the ps2 :d:d:d:d:d:d

Ardus
Ardus

Wow this game actually sounds pretty cool for having such a dumb name.

sora-tan
sora-tan

OMG........want 2 play this game loh!!!

Rain_Dragoon
Rain_Dragoon

AHH HHHHHHHOOOOLLLLYYY CANT WAIT FOR THIS GAMEEEEE DOJNT BE LIKE CoM!!! PLZ!!

super_gamer_bro
super_gamer_bro

for some reason i have a feeling this is gonna be crap... maybe ill be wrong:)

Flaon
Flaon

man this is gonna be awesome can't wait for this, it better not be as crap as Chain of Memories

lionheart234
lionheart234

stop teasing us square...!!! and hurry up and release the game already...lol

TeenGamer92
TeenGamer92

I remember the cutscenes at the beginning and end of CoM, and the pictures or Roxas and Xion look even better! I'm betting that these grahpics are for the more important scenes. I hope I can get the DSi when this comes out.

Roxas122
Roxas122

fluffman there is a game coming out for ps3 its called keyblade wars

Roxas122
Roxas122

i love kingdom hearts:hope its good

Arceus14
Arceus14

Great !!!!! Can't Wait :S

Sunrie
Sunrie

This game does look to be coming along very nicely

Tailscoolio
Tailscoolio

scooter_6_7: It'd be best just to buy a game like this, they're very hard to put into words because so many people like them for different reasons. Nobody will be able to explain it without missing something important...

IXIWhistIXI
IXIWhistIXI

Sevey13 you don't need to write your posts on a GAMING SITE for GAMERS and talk like you're explaining it to somebody who knows almost nothing of games. Not to mention most people clicking on this game knows what kingdom HEARTS (not harts) is or has played at least one of the games before.