ILR – Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Box Art

Welcome to the first installment of the Incredibly Late Review! Here we’re going to discuss an older game or movie that we haven’t quite completed in the proper time for a normal review.

Today we’re going to take a look at Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. I just finished playing through the game about a month or so ago. I started playing about 2 years ago. . . Why’d it take me so long? Ugh. . . That’s my answer. Really. I’m a HUGE fan of the Kingdom Hearts franchise. I played through the first game in a couple weeks. I nearly passed out while picking up the second game due to some insane illness that kept me bed ridden or 3 days, but that didn’t stop me from driving to the mall! I also have a combo Heartless/Nobodies tattoo! Like I said, I love the series, but I hate, HATE, this game.


First an explanation of the title: 358/2 Days. The game takes place immediately after Sora become Heartless in KH1, and ends right as Roxas wakes up in KH2. The total time is 358 days. You play, or watch cut scenes, on half of those days(/2). It’s stupid. They could have called it Organization XIII, Roxas Revenge, or the Return of the Lost Heart and they all would have been better titles! Want to hear something scary? The director wanted you to play a mission on every day within that time frame. EVERY DAY! The executives convinced him to cut it down in half to make the game more accessible. Thank them, now, because there’s no way they could stretch this story out more then it already had been.

Axel and Roxas fighting

Here’s the rundown. You play as Roxas, who is the Nobody of Sora. Roxas joins up with Organization XIII, who’s goal is to open Kingdom Hearts. They need Roxas’ help because he wields the Keyblade, which collects hearts, which are needed to unlock Kingdom Hearts. You know all of this from playing KH1, KH2, and KH Chain of Memories. What you don’t know is that Organization XIII had a “mysterious” XIVth member! OOOOOoooooOOooOoOOoO! Her name is Xion, and by the end of the game the entirety of the cast has forgotten about her which makes this whole story pointless! I’m not kidding! Memories are lost ala Sora and Castle Oblivion, which causes everyone to forget she existed. It also turns out that she was a clone of Roxas, and their life energy or some shit was linked together, so as one got stronger the other got weaker. The idea was for here to become stronger and consume Roxas energies to break the connection with Sora so he would never recover from the white room and fuck up Xemnas’ day! Unfortunately, the story was completely forgettable even before I knew about those “surprise twists” at the end. Roxas was completely one dimensional, Axel had the lamest catch phrase I’ve ever read(“Got it memorized?”), and Xion was either comatose or missing for 80% of the game!

I don’t think the games mission based structure helped much either. You had the main hub, and you talked to blue haired Organization Member #X who then teams you up with crazy color haired Organization Member #Y for a mission at {Insert Previously Explored Disney World Here}. Missions take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. The inconsistencies here lead to me being forced to shut down and start missions over again multiple times. The Disney Worlds were primarily uninteresting versions of Worlds explored in previous games. Luckily The Little Mermaid wasn’t included or I’d have had to throw my DS across the room. The story in each world was irrelevant because the Organization works in the shadows. You were supposed to avoid all contact with locals. So when you see Aladdin chasing after Jasmine to save her you have to ignore the situation entirely and run the other way just so you can grind away at the standard heartless foes until you’re told you can exit the mission. The structure left a lot to be desired. The only interesting thing about the mechanics was the Panel System.

Axel, Xion, and Roxas at the Beach

The Panel System is Roxas’ version of leveling up. You get a grid of panels, that grows after each mission. You can place abilities, items, weapons, and even level ups on the grid. Any block in the Panel Grid grants you those bonuses during missions. You get bonuses like new weapons with different attack strengths, magic spells, or items. The only down side is that it felt limited. You were forced to play through side missions to gain more panel slots to put more abilities on Roxas in order to be successful in future missions. You also need to be pretty good at Tetris to make all of your wanted skills and abilities fit on the grid. The biggest negative about the system: It could only be accessed when in the HUB. If you realized you should have brought more fire then ice spells on a mission and wanted to change the skills out then the only thing you could do was quit, and start over from scratch. Very poor design implementation.

On the plus side the Mission Structure and Panel system really shine in Multi-player. You and your friends can load up an Organization Member with the Panels being used by their single player game and tackle some tough monsters and missions together. Team work was key, and the rewards are pretty significant. If you have friends who are also playing the game then definitely check this feature out. If you don’t. . . then you have to suffer through the poor design decisions made for the single player campaign. YAY!

Axel, Roxas, and Xion on the clock tower

I’d say the game would be a small recommendation for fans of the series. While the bulk of the story can be thrown away, it’s nice to see things in the Kingdom Hearts universe from someone else’s perspective. Despite having terrible dialogue Roxas and Axel have some pretty fun interactions, and you get a chance to see why Axel’s so upset in Kingdom Hearts 2. Otherwise, I won’t suggest you pick this game up. Repetitive structure, uninteresting/nonsensical story, and poor implementation for level ups/abilities leave a lot to be desired. On the Plus side the multi-player was pretty good, but not worth it as a stand alone reason to buy the game.

Tell us what you thought of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days in the comments below! Keep on the look out for future installments of ILR! Coming soon: Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, which I can already tell you is worlds better then this crap! Got it memorized?

is not a boss.

You can Email Eric or follow Eric on Twitter @EricSweeten or Facebook

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