In every World and destiny too but thankfully there’s (almost) always someone to give a little push in the right direction.. or three. Being a fan of the series and having the third main game on the horizon it felt the right time to get my hands dirty with Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD remix but starting with the Birth by Sleep part of the “package”. I’ve never played it before, mainly due to a lack of a psp console (XP) and so I was very curious.
From the very start this game sets itself apart from the rest of the series with an interesting detail that I really enjoyed. Instead of just one, we’re presented with 3 playable characters (and bonus, no annoying side kicks!) – Aqua, Ventus and Terra – that differ in combat style, abilities, themes and perspective on what is going on that overall results in a much more complex and in-depth experience. Although chronologically close each one moves in a different time set and story line between the several worlds, occasionally intertwining in one part or another before joining at the very end. Either way you’ll have to play and complete everyone’s story line to fully complete (and understand) the game.
I’ve read somewhere that supposedly there’s a chronological correct way to play Birth by Sleep but I just learned that later and at the time I started the game (roughly two days) my approach was a little different. I picked the one that seemed to be more interesting and alternative from the usual.. that and the help from our older geek in the nearby couch who randomly gave an approval nudge on Aqua.Although such thing as a “chronological correct way” exists I don’t think that the order matters that much, ok, if you like to play by the book and stuff it might matter but one can as simply put together the pieces after going along with whatever order they like best.
And so Aqua it was! And at this point it’s the only character I can speak knowingly about because it’s the only story line finished (in just under 9 hours) XP Well, I think she’s the trio’s voice of reason and a truly good willed person, ready to help everyone whenever she’s able to. To her, friendships and bonds are truly important, a thing to be treasured and throughout the game we witness her wage battle to keep new and old friends alike out of harm and darkness way. With a strong will and true Light in her, Aqua is a newly appointed keyblade master trying to both live up to the title, and its duties, and to keep her convictions. Her combat style requires a more refined and strategic approach – lacking high amounts of hp, defense and being something like a combat mage one must do more than just button mashing, every battle must be studied and faced with a cool head if you’re to be successful – something I took a while to learn and I had the chance to test after losing three times to the same boss before Mekime told me I was going too hot-headed.. after cooling down and setting a strategy the boss went down in no time within one try.
This time around the main antagonists are the unversed – creatures spawned from negative emotions, created from Venitas and being an extension of himself, his power and influence – , Vanitas and master Xehanort (the latter being obvious! Come on, yellow eyes, clad in black and with that voice and attitude? Bad guy all the way) and you’ll be visiting a series of worlds trying to uncover their plan and undue the wrong that’s been done. But truth be told that all together there aren’t many worlds to visit and they don’t really take long to clear although considering you’ll be visiting each in a different time, under a different perspective and with different missions their “life cycle” gets somewhat extended. Besides Radiant Garden, Neverland, Yen Sid’s tower and Olympus Colosseum (and Destiny Islands but you can’t play in those) all worlds were new to me which was a pleasant surprise – I really like to explore and visit new places – and there’s even an arena (Mirage Arena) for those who are seeking to prove themselves in combat or to play some mini games.
Bad Guy alert!!
At first I had some difficulty on getting used to in-battle skill managing system – in which you must wait for skills to recharge instead of spending mp and having to mix cure spells and potions in the mix (which was a pain in the ass because from time to time I would take potions by accident) – although after getting used to it it’s not that big of a challenge. Considering that originally Birth By Sleep was a 2010’s psp game one must say that the remaster and port to the ps3 system was beautifully done! It’s true that from time to time some objects, from certain angles, look flat and the textures seem a little pixelated but it’s easy to overlook those tiny details. As for the soundtrack this one is no exception from the quality that KH has got us used by now, a masterpiece from start to finnish that takes your emotions on one heck of a rollercoaster! XD
There is a secret ending to unlock wich is more or less difficult to unlock depending on the difficulty setting you choose to play on right at the beginning (but that you can get if you try hard enough on the easier ones.. or just go to youtube! XPP). Well, Birth By Sleep gives as many answers as it raises questions – you know, the usual for any Kingdom Hearts game – but that for any fan is a must play – both for story a solid gameplay. I surely don’t regret it and am anxious to get on with the other two story lines!