There’s been a lot of sequels to the Kingdom Hearts franchise ever since the first game hit the Playstation 2 in 2002, and while Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep won’t be the last, it certainly looks to be the best Kingdom Hearts game we’ve seen in awhile. I fought the crowds and cosplayers at San Diego Comic-Con and made my way to the Square Enix booth, where I was able to play a few short (but very sweet) minutes of Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep.
Firstly, I couldn’t help but notice how vibrant the graphics were in Birth By Sleep. Maybe I’ve been playing too much of Kingdom Hearts: 356/2 Days on my Nintendo DS and I’m just used to lower resolution, but the PSP is definitely one powerful portable and Birth By Sleep looks great. I demoed the Lilo and Stitch level, Deep Space, and the backgrounds and characters were super detailed and vibrant.
In Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, you play through three different scenarios as characters Terra, Aqua, and Ventus. While playing, I found that the standard hack and slash gameplay was pretty standard and I was finding everything unfamiliar. But a huge problem I had with the gameplay was using the analog stick instead of the D-pad.
While this sounds like a simple change, it won’t be easy for someone like me who’s played a ton of similar RPGs like Final Fantasy on the PSP and is used to using the D-pad. I was constantly accidentally using the D-pad to run around and as a result selecting things I didn’t mean to, which was wasting some of the short time I had to play. This isn’t something that is going to deter me from playing the game straight through, it’s just something annoying that needs some getting used to.
Since I didn’t get a ton of time with the game, I didn’t get to fully grasp the new battle system. But there’s something new in Birth By Sleep, a D-Link or Dimension Link system. This allows players to summon allies to fight by their side, such as Snow White, Mickey Mouse, or Peter Pan, who get their own menu and abilities. I was able to try out a few of these and they definitely looked cool.
In the short time I had to play Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, I was definitely impressed with what I saw. The changes definitely threw me for a loop, but it’s unrealistic to expect that a game will keep the same formula from sequel to sequel. This franchise has consistently delivered excellent, enjoyable games, so I’m very excited for this game to be released this fall.
You’ll be able to pick up Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep on September 7th, exclusively on Playstation Portable.