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10th Anniversary Blog- Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

It really doesn't feel like 10 years when it comes to thinking about games that were released over 10 years ago like Uncharted 2, Batman Arkham Asylum, Infamous, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. There's one game that was released ten years ago and doesn't get mentioned very often as it did now and was only released on the Nintendo DS.

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Titled as "Three Five Eight Days Over Two" Kingdom Hearts fans, including myself were very curious about this title in particular wanting know more about Roxas during the events between Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days was announced back at Tokyo Game Show 2007 along with Birth by Sleep for the PSP and Coded for mobile phones which would later be re-titled as Re Coded for the Nintendo DS.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days was first released in Japan on May 30th 2009, September 29th in North America and October 9th for UK/Europe during that year. The main story might be a bit confusing for new gamers, but fans will know the main plot and story. You play the role of Roxas, who just recently joined Organization XIII as its thirteenth member. After wondering who he is and wondering why he is there, Axel who is Roxas's best friend they both hang out at the Twilight Town clock tower eating Sea-Salt Ice cream and having a laugh. A few days later, another member joins named Xion, but she too can use the Keyblade just like Roxas and she becomes friends Roxas and Axel.

If you've played through the series before on PS2 and GBA, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is pretty much the same as you would in the series. You'll be using the D-pad to move around, A to attack, B to jump and Y to Dodge Roll and use Guard. X is used for scrolling down your commands when you're out exploring worlds you can use Magic on enemies such as Fire, Thunder, Blizzard and Cure. If your HP is low you can use Limit Break where you can do some critical damage on all enemies on the battlefield. Most of the worlds in the Kingdom Hearts series has mainly been Disney worlds such as Wonderland, Halloween Town and Beasts Castle. Fans of the series would know straight away to know where they need to go if they're on a mission or hunting down Heartless. There's a good variety of Missions and Bosses in 358/2 Days some will keep you busy for a couple of hours.

The clever thing about 358/2 Days is Panel System where you can put in and take out abilities, weapons, magic spells, items and Levels for your character. The more you install in the panels the more likely you'll take down Heartless and Bosses easily. You can buy and synthesize Panels and you can link them together say if you have a Level 2 Panel that has 4 slots in them you can put a few level 1 panels in and your levels will increase. You will be swapping around panels a lot sort of feels like a jigsaw mixed with Tetris. There is Multiplayer if you want to play with your friends; you can play up to 4 players if they have a DS and a copy of the game. You can play as your favourite Organization XIII character such as Roxas, Axel, and Vexen, most of the multiplayer missions are the same as the ones you've been playing through on Story but it can be more fun playing with friends. So it's one of those Co-Op type games where you and your friends and work together to take down foes.

There was one thing I found annoying in 358/2 Days pretty much the same you've seen in other games is the camera control, making it hard to see where your enemies are, you can use the Touch screen to move the camera around or hold down the select button and using the directional pad to move around. You can target lock enemies if you just want to focus your attacks on making it easier for you to attack. Looking back at the graphics from now and back to when it was released it still holds up on the Nintendo DS when it comes to gameplay and cutscenes, some of the visuals kind of remind me of the classic Final Fantasy games like VII, VIII and IX when it comes to the textures on the characters and worlds you travel in 358/2 Days. The game looks more impressive when you look at both Twilight Town and Neverland, which felt more detailed when you look at other worlds like Halloween Town, Wonderland and Agrabah just look identical to what I've seen from the first game.

A Pinocchio world was meant to be added in 358/2 Days originally files were found online with character portraits on Pinocchio, Honest John, Gideon and Gepetto it was scrapped due to space restrictions; the world was later used for Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. In an interview with Nomura after the game was released the original idea used for it if the Pinocchio world was added in 358/2 Days was set in a circus likely set on Pleasure Island and playing off the story of Pinocchio, a puppet with a heart, and the Nobodies who possess no heart, we planned for a sad episode with Roxas and Xion looking for hope for themselves; this concept would have been a perfect fit for the story based around Roxas and Xion. Another thing that would have made 358/2 Days perfect if they changed the Theme Song because almost everyone was suspecting a new theme song for 358/2 Days but instead they've used "Sanctuary by Utada Hikaru" her theme music has also been with the KH series but it would have been nice if there was a new theme song based on the events of 358/2 Days.

The voicing does a well done job for a DS game if you're a fan of the KH series you've still got the main voice actors for most of the characters that were played in 358/2 Days. Music was all composed by Yoko Shimomura where most of her music has always been in the KH series, there is some new music added in 358/2 Days making you having mixed emotions when listening but very well done. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days would later be used again in Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix for both PS3 and PS4 used as a 3 hour long cinematic retelling of the game story. It would have been nice if it was used as the entire game and not just for the cutscenes of the main story I would have been sold on re-playing the game again with that HD treatment at the time when it was first released on the PS3 back in 2013, it was also the same with Kingdom Hearts Re Coded just using a 3 hour long cinematic retelling the main story for 2.5 Remix.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days would also get a soundtrack, various light novels and a manga series with five volumes on the main story. Overall 358/2 Days still holds up to many Kingdom Hearts fans, especially on if they wanted more story based around Roxas and the main key elements that would later be connected for Kingdom Hearts III. The reviews were positive with a score of at least a 7 - 8/10; speaking of the franchise I've even met the voice actor Quinton Flynn a few times in the past who voices Axel at both SunnyCon and KupoCon and you would be amazed how much he loved playing the role of Axel along with Raiden from Metal Gear Solid and Reno from Final Fantasy VII, I even got my copy of 358/2 Days signed by Quinton Flynn back in 2014 and met him again a year later at Chibi Sunny 2015 and just this year at KupoCon: The Wee Pom back in January.

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Have any favourite moments from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days?

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