Over the weekend, another demo version appeared on the Nintendo eShop – Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. Seeing this one on the eShop at 3AM on Saturday caused me to become admittedly the most excited about a playable demo since the Resident Evil: Revelations trial went online earlier this year.
I’ve been absolutely thrilled about the upcoming action/RPG for a very long time, and it is easily one of my most-anticipated titles of 2012. I’ve even got the fancy $55 collector’s edition pre-ordered at GameStop – going against my usually-strict “no Collector’s Edition” policy.
[Side-rant; I really wasn’t thrilled about being forced to throw down $25 rather than the usual five bucks just to reserve a copy – some new GameStop policy for all special edition pre-orders, total shenanigans if you ask me…]
Nonetheless, my worries were completely wiped away after I ran through this new demo almost half a dozen times. Over the last few days, I’ve gotten comfortable with the new mechanics, explored every inch of the demo, and come to this conclusion: KH3D is definitely the game that fans have been waiting for.
What I liked:
In general, I don’t want to ruin too much about the demo for any of the hardcore fans out there, but I will say this – Dream Drop Distance feels like Kingdom Hearts, and it looks better than the series has ever looked before. Most screenshots and YouTube trailers really don’t do the game any justice; you simply have to play it yourself to see just how well-animated and colorful the visuals really look. The 3D effect is used very well, particularly in the CG cut-scenes…but those really aren’t in the demo as much, just the E3 trailer on the eShop. Anyway, I loved seeing the protagonist from The World Ends With You in the demo – he’s the guy seen with Sora in the image below – and I hope to see more from the cast of that cult classic from the original DS.
The gameplay was incredibly smooth, from what I played in the demo – though I definitely felt a lot more comfortable with the game and the controls after playing the quick tutorial, which explained the basic mechanics as well as the newer ones. For example, Sora’s basic combat strikes and special abilities work the same as usual, but with the added benefit of the slick “FlowMotion” mechanics and the nifty “Reality Shift” attacks he’s able to pull off under certain conditions. Ultimately this is a Kingdom Hearts game that feels faster, smoother and looks far more flashy than anything else in the franchise. This is saying a lot, considering I have the highest level of respect for the original games on the PlayStation 2.
Check out the trailer below for some footage of the “FlowMotion” concept in action:
There wasn’t anything in the demo that I particularly disliked, but I was actually surprised that the trial version didn’t support the use of the Circle Pad Pro. Though I actually don’t own one of them myself, I was visiting a friend who did have the “CPP” after playing the demo, and realized that I couldn’t even use the add-on to enjoy two circle pads and easier camera control. This might be the only small issue I had with my experience; the camera isn’t really hard to control by any means, but you definitely need to get used to using the trigger buttons to turn left and right, in addition to holding them both whenever you want to “lock-on” to your enemies. Some of this hassle could have been avoided if the Circle Pad Pro was supported; I am really hoping that you can use it in the final version.
All of that being said, I really don’t want to spoil too much about the demo, but it also isn’t very long by any means. I enjoyed my quick look at the new FlowMotion concept, as well as the 3D effect and visuals from Dream Drop Distance – but I was mostly glad that the game felt and looked so much like the Kingdom Hearts that I’ve loved since the original (which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year) came out on the PS2. As I said before, I’ve got the game pre-ordered at the local GameStop – so in just over a month, I’ll be picking up and playing the full version of Kingdom Hearts 3D, and more than likely I’ll be loving every second of it.
What do you think? Have you gotten a chance to play the demo yourself? What do you think about the controls, the combat system, the 3D effects, the graphics, the FlowMotion and Reality Shift mechanics? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!