Day 1 With Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days

By Jenni . June 9, 2009 . 3:33pm

kingdom-hearts-358-2-daysKingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days arrived a few days ago, and I was beyond excited. After all, the released screenshots have all been absolutely gorgeous, and I loved the direction Kingdom Hearts 2 took. So, I was very pleased to have the chance to play the game.


First of all, I have to say, that the boxart is stunning. I have never been so fascinated by a game box. It’s pretty as it is, but when you look at it in person and hold it up to the light, you’ll see tons of little holographic stars. Yes, I’m the kind of person who can be amused for about 10 minutes, starring at the holographic stars on game packaging. The image at the right doesn’t do it justice. And yes, I am easily amused.


Since I’ve just started playing, I thought I’d share my initial impressions of my first moments playing the game.


It begins in that huge white chamber with all the chairs, and Roxas learning the purpose of Organization XIII, which we know from Kingdom Hearts 2 is (spoiler alert) become whole again. Then there’s a shot of Roxas and Axel on Twilight Town’s clock tower, eating the sea salt ice cream. Hikaru Utada’s “Passion” starts up then, and we go through all 13 members of Organization XIII in order, seeing little FMV sequences for each of them.


Let me say here and now, I was amazed by the video and audio quality during the introduction. I had to pull a friend over and say, “Look at this!” She was equally amazed, especially since it’s on the DS. Marluxia is a lot pinker than I remembered.


Then we see the locked mansion’s gates in Twilight Town, with Roxas in his Twilight Town attire in front of it. Xemnas is in front of him, and we see the name Sora transform into Roxas. I guess Square Enix wanted to remind people, in case they’d forgotten who Roxas was.


The next screen is black, and says Day 255.


kingdom-hearts-358-2-days-1aRoxas and Axel are hanging out on the clock tower, enjoying themselves. They’re laughing and such, but suddenly the mood turns somber as the memory of Xion comes up. Axel leans back, and Roxas looks like he’s reminiscing. Bear in mind, this is all still video footage. We haven’t gotten into the actual game yet.


The game then flashes back, and we see the black screen with a date again. We’re now looking at Day 7.


Roxas wakes up in a dormitory in shades of gray in The World that Never Was. I’m guessing it’s in the Organization’s huge skyscraper. At first I thought this was the start of another video, since the graphics looked pretty good, but it marked the beginning of Roxas’ adventure.


Day 7 is the first day of tutorials. First, we learn how to talk to people. Roxas is in a lounge area with the same gray/white color scheme. Larxene’s lounging on a couch on the right side of the room, and Xigbar’s on a couch on the left. Saix and Axel are also there, against the windowed wall. You can talk to everyone, but talking to Axel triggers another video cutscene. Roxas is very quiet and despondent.


The video shows us another meeting in that white Organization XIII room with all the chairs. The 14th member, with her cowl pulled over her head, makes her debut here. When Roxas sees her, he’s visibly shocked/shaken.


kingdom-hearts-358-2-days-2aNext, Day 8. Roxas is in the entryway of that lounge again. Another tutorial screen comes up, teaching the player how to save.


I’d like to interject again and say that a nice feature is that all the tutorial messages are saved, and you can access them from the main menu.


Zexion, Axel, Saix and Xion are in the lounge this time. This time, talking to Saix triggers the action. Roxas is being sent out on a mission, accompanied by Axel, to retrieve something. Axel then teleports Roxas and himself to Twilight Town. More specifically, the underground area of Twilight Town. You’re in an enclosed area to learn how to move around Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days’ environment.


You basically learn how to jump, move the camera, how certain areas are blocked by black lines and inaccessible and how to open treasure chests. Once you retrieve the item from the chest, you also learn how to use items. With that, the mission’s done. Axel applauds, and the two return to the portal to complete the mission. Day 8 ends with Axel and Roxas going to Twilight Town’s clock tower to begin the tradition of relaxing after a mission.


And that’s as far as I’ve gotten, for now. It’s a very easy to play and beautiful game so far. There’s some minor loading when entering mission areas and shifting from videos to gameplay, but it only last a few seconds, tops.


Now I’m wondering, exactly how many days of Roxas’ life are going to be shown in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days?


Five things I learned during my first few minutes playing Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days:

  • The camera’s a bit sensitive, but simple to control with the touch pad. It felt very natural to me, and it was really easy to get accustomed to it. I found that my right thumb would often quickly drag to change perspectives, without me even realizing it.
  • You can save anywhere.
  • There are three difficulty levels: easy, normal and hard.
  • Mission Mode uses a game save to play. You can log on as a guest, if you want. You characters to use in missions as you play the game, and initially only the first 13 members of Organization XIII are available. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses, which you can see at a glance.
  • Roxas is very contemplative. After each day he’ll think about what he’s done, and he keeps a journal you can access and read from the game menu.


There’ll be a more complete playtest, another impressions piece and a menu guide soon, so be sure to stop by Siliconera for more coverage of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days!

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  • Masengan

    Thanks for the preview, I can’t wait to get my hands on it myself and to find out the mystery behind Xion.

  • It sounds like you use your left hand to move the characters and the right hand to move the camera? This will sound dumb, but I’m left-handed and the stylus is like a pen to me, so it’s going in my left hand. Will this totally ruin things for me or will I just have to work on my precision motor skills with my right hand?

    • Kaoro

      I’m a lefty too. Most DS software I’ve used that has the potential to be difficult for lefties always has an option to switch the controls, so I would assume (hope) this game is no different.

      • There’s multiple controls schemes for the camera. (I typed up a response to NickyD that details all the ones I’ve run across so far, and it’s right below your comment.)

    • Nope, no worries. You can also switch the control scheme so the L and R buttons control the camera. You can also tap R during normal play to make the camera center behind Roxas.

      If you’re stationary and need to scope out a level for hidden items or chests, then you can press select and use the directional pad to look around.

      Also, quick tapping R can make the camera lock on to an enemy, if you have the correct panel equipped.

      • Cool. I’m impressed at the array of control options you just mentioned. Sounds like they really put some thought into it!

        • Yup, seems that way. I tend to reply just on the R button now for camera control. If I need to check a level for the hidden extra icon items, then I go with select+D-pad. The Lock On panel is one of my favorite pieces to equip.

  • QBasic

    I dunno…Jenni. =/ This game’s “day system” isn’t like WEWY’s… The days here are bite sized.

    If you wanna do a playthrough report….do it by weeks. :3 A week in Days is the equivalent of a day in WEWY.

    Yep. That how messed up da undeground really is…

    • That is true. But you can’t expect agents of a mysterious organization to go out and work “every” day. :P

      • QBasic

        You don’t even realize how true that really is… ;-)

  • Aoshi00

    You know A.S.H. has the same kind of halographic imprints on its cover too, so I understand what you mean by wanting to stare at it and savor the design :) Jpn Lost Odyssey has this leather-like pattern on its jacket, I really appreciate special little touches like these.

    I’m lost on the story though since I only played the first game and only the Mulan stage in KH2. I think I have a whole lot of catching up to do w/ the whole KH universe. Chains of Memories PS2 just wasn’t very fun for me..

    • Shuyin

      Chain of Memories was very fun for me. It’s the only game in the series where u have to use your brain, not only your fingers.

      KH and KH2 can be beaten without any strategy..just button mash and lvl-up; almost every battle in CoM requires some strategy… best card battle system ever :)

      • … I kind of button-mashed my way through some parts of Chains of Memories. XD

        Not boss battles, of course, but the general battles were a flurry of button presses.

        It did have a very good card battle system.

    • Knowing what happened in Chains of Memories is “somewhat” helpful here, since that game and this game take place at the same time and have some of the characters cross over. It isn’t absolutely necessary – I’d say Kingdom Hearts 2 is the only required playing for Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.

      • QBasic

        All the more proof that Nomura is full of crap. D: Every time he releases a new KH game, he states “it’s created so new players can jump in.”

        …=_= Bullshit…

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