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'Kingdom Hearts' makes a mystical comeback

Michael Escañuelas, Editorial Cartoonist

Michael Escañuelas, Editorial Cartoonist

Sometimes it feels so good to be a kid. Whenever I’m reading, watching, or listening to something that conjures up memoires of my childhood makes me feel so good inside. To be honest a long time ago, when “Kingdom Hearts” for Playstation 2 was announced, I was more ecstatic then anyone I knew. I love Disney cartoons and I love Square Enix; so the combination of the two was the one of the greatest unexpected surprises of 2002.

Now it has been seven years, three games into the series, and “Kingdom Hearts” is back yet again. This time I’m taking my over sized Keyblade made out of card board for the most recent “Kingdom Hearts” game, “Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days” for the Nintendo DS. First I must admit that this is column is not a review of this game. Although I’m about six or so hours into the game, I have not completed it and cannot make a final judgment.

With that said, I must also stress that what I have played of this game is quite pleasant and very pleasing to my fanboy eyes. From what I gathered of the story, this “lost” chapter of the series stars Roxas, the blonde haired Nobody from the “Kingdom Hearts II” and his adventures within the group Organization XIII. It takes place after “Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories” and before “Kingdom Hearts II.” If any of these words made any sense to you, then you’ve probably played this series before. If not, this game is not an open invitation to newcomers.

One of “Kingdom Heart’s” faults lies in its over complicated plot that excluded anyone who has yet to play the previous games. This is not a bad thing for fans who have long loved the series, but it is bad for anyone who picks this game up because Mickey Mouse is on the cover without actually playing the first three games.

Aside from the story line, the game’s core game play follows the same patterns as its console counterparts. Players must wield their keyblade against hundred of “Heartless” by pressing the A button several times in small battle fields. The experience is given some variety with the use of magic and abilities that are unlocked throughout the game.

The structure of the game is different from previous “Kingdom Hearts” games. Your character, Roxas, must embark on several mission through many of the Disney inspired worlds and collect the hearts of the darn “Heartless.” The game stresses this mission based style and stays persistent throughout. The missions range from various tasks that include many different playing styles. The structure is interesting, but feels limited.

The real selling point of the series is the variety of worlds that you are able to explore. Agrabah from “Aladdin,” Beast’s Castle from “Beauty and the Beast,” and Neverland from “Peter Pan” are just a few of the worlds that you get to explore. For someone who has never played the series before, these worlds sound new and exciting, but for people who have played the series from the very beginning might be disappointed to notice that these stages are the same from previous “Kingdom Hearts” games. I guess Square Enix is saving the new worlds for “Kingdom Hearts III” on Playstation 3 rather than use them on less powerful system like the Nintendo DS, but it is awkward to visit Wonderland with Alice for like the twenty time. I’m pretty sure we’ve over stayed our welcome like two games ago.

It’s tough to really place a solid judgment on this game because I have not finished it yet, but in reality, aside from a couple more worlds, more unlockable moves, and rather more expectedly a exceedingly long final boss battle, the experience will probably not change much. “Kingdom Hearts” is an amazing series and 358/2 is another fun chapter in that series. It’s perfect for the Nintendo DS and it will quench my thirst until Birth by Sleep comes out on PSP next year and “Kingdom Hearts III” on Playstation 3 someday in the far future.

Michael Escañuelas, a senior English major, is editorial cartoonist for the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at michael.escanuelas@laverne.edu.

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