Since its initial release in 2002, Kingdom Hearts has been a favorite among many video game fanatics around the globe. The bizarre, but cleverly handled mix of characters from both the Final Fantasy and Disney universes was as winning of a combination as peanut butter and jelly. In preparation for the much anticipated release of Kingdom Hearts 3, SquareEnix has ported Kingdom Hearts Re:coded to the DS for the enjoyment of Western audiences.
Kingdom Hearts Re:coded is a port (in the loosest sense of the word) for an episodically downloadable mobile phone game that was previously only released in Japan. This may have you thinking this game is styled like a high-end Flash game, but for the most part that is incorrect. You actually get a lot of the tried and true 3D hack-n-slash adventuring that this franchise is known for. The graphics look very clean and polished, and the video cutscenes are among the best I’ve seen on the DS. As of now, I would only have two complaints, the first being the poorly handled camera controls. To move the camera you must hold the R button and move the camera with the D-Pad, which means you can’t move the camera while you’re walking or fighting. This gets incredibly annoying, especially in boss fights. The second gripe is with the really weird nature of the story.
The events of this game come chronologically right after Kingdom Hearts 2, and tell the tale of Mickey and his crew working to determine the origin of a mysterious message written in Jiminy Cricket’s journal. They do this by scanning the journal into a very cute Disney-esque computer, which then renders everything visually on the computer screen. Players take charge of Sora’s digital counterpart to unravel the mystery that is happening inside of the journal. If this approach to the story sounds a little convoluted to you, you wouldn’t be the first person to think that. However, I had to ask myself if a Digital Sora was any harder to deal with than the Gummy Ship, or flying to self-contained Disney themed worlds.
In my neck of the woods, the jury is still out on the topic of the game’s wacky storyline, but I think if you can look past it and the rough camera controls, you will find a game that is sure to be regarded as a sound addition to the Kingdom Hearts franchise, and quite possibly the best of the two titles made for the DS. Also, a little birdie has told me that it is possible to unlock a video preview of Kingdom Hearts 3, which is sure to be an enticing treat for people on the fence about playing this game. If you’re currently playing Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, let us know what you think about it in the comments. You can look forward to a full review of this game in about a week, here on RoboAwesome.com!