At the moment, only the Japanese version of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is available. That means, of course, that the game is entirely in Japanese. If you can’t wait until the fall North American or European release dates, don’t despair. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is completely playable if you’ve played a Kingdom Hearts game before.
Navigating the main menu is no problem, since it’s completely in English. It offers the choice of the Story Mode or the Mission Mode. If you choose the main story, you’ll be given the choice to start a new game or continue an old one. If you choose Mission Mode, you’ll be able to choose an existing Story Mode save file to load (for characters) or the guest option.
There are multiple camera control options. You can use the touch screen to move the camera and show what you want. Or, you can tap the R button quickly to move the camera behind Roxas. If you’ve equipped a lock-on tile, pressing R twice quickly will make the camera follow the selected enemy. If you’re on a platform and want to investigate an area, you can press select, then move the camera with the directional pad. There’s also the option to change the control scheme so the L and R buttons control the camera. It’s all very intuitive and easy to control.
The in-game menu’s standard Kingdom Hearts and RPG fare. From top to bottom, it goes equipment, mission select, a section devoted to Roxas’ diary and a bestiary, a tutorial section, a configuration menu, the save menu and an option that returns you to the title screen. The equipment screen is very well organized, as you can see everything all together or organize them into separate categories. Each category is represented by icons, so you can view items, armor, magic, abilities, keyblade ores, rings and key items separately if you so desire.
The menu you always see in the lower left corner is identical to the menu found in all Kingdom Hearts games. The first option is all purpose, allowing Roxas or your character to attack, investigate, open or talk to individuals. The second option is magic and the third is item. If you go into the magic or item sub menus and press L, you can add a magic or item to the shortcut menu. Press L alone allows you to instantly press X, Y, A or B to use an item or use magic.
The Mission Mode main menu is very similar to the Story Mode main menu. In order, it goes through mission select, equipment, the Moogle shop, character select screen, configuration options, the save menu and the option to return to the main menu.
For those familiar with Kingdom Hearts games, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is incredibly easy to navigate and play. There are a few menu titles in English, which helps a bit as well. If you absolutely can’t wait until September, you should have no problem playing. Unfortunately, understanding the story will be incredibly difficult, as all sorts of kanji are littered throughout the game and the only voiced sections take part during videos.