By Jenni . June 9, 2009 . 3:33pm
Kingdom 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.
Roxas 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.
Next, 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:
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!