|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: h.a.n.d. Inc.||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Square Enix||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 29, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Still, despite these minor grievances, the battle/leveling system in 358/2 days is the most solid iteration of the battle system I have seen thus far. The panel system injects some much-needed strategy into the mix, and even though prior iterations did allow for targeted leveling, this one takes that aspect to the extreme and forces you to really focus on your character development.
In addition to the regular gameplay, 358/2 Days is the fist Kingdom Hearts game to feature a multiplayer component. Although it is not part of the story, players can join up with up to three other people (over a local connection; multi-cart) and replay missions from the story with additional help. There isn't much of an overarching goal to the multiplayer mode, but it is a nice inclusion, and as long as you have friends close by to play with, then there's some decent fun to be had with the multiplayer aspect.
As for production values, 358/2 Days is quite solid. The visuals replicate the original Kingdom Hearts quite well, and many of the revisited locales in the universe look just as good as they did on the original. My only complaint with the visuals is that the environments seem a little less detailed and a lot more restrictive than they did previously. Still, given the portable format, some form of truncation is expected, and the world of Kingdom Hearts retains just as much charm and whimsy as ever.
The audio is also of very good quality. Characters are fully voiced during animated cutscenes, and the voice acting is top-notch. The music is also very good, despite being recycled from both console entries. 358/2 Days is certainly a title that is as pleasing to the ears as it is to the eyes.
I'm sure many Kingdom Hearts fans will opt to skip this title, as Roxas isn't exactly the most popular character, and many wouldn't be interested in an entire game based around him. But if you don't mind Roxas, or are curious about the inner-workings of Organization XIII, then you will certainly find the story entertaining and satisfying.
Aside from the story, 358/2 Days still has the signature Kingdom Hearts style of action RPG combat, which is a boon all by itself. The more strategic leveling system also helps keep this title feeling fresh, and the multiplayer options are just icing on the cake. As a Kingdom Hearts game, 358/2 Days does not disappoint, and fans who don't mind the focus on Roxas will find a lot to enjoy with this entry in the Kingdom Hearts franchise.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor