Simple and Clean:The Kingdom Hearts Retrospective part 4

Tokyo Game Show,an annual event that happens on September every year showcasing some of the latest games from Japanese developers and publishers. Previous Kingdom Hearts games had been announced at the show (Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts:COM),so naturally gamers were eagerly anticipating this event for a possible announcement of new games for the franchise. And boy,they were not expecting the surprise that Square-Enix has in store for them.

It was on September 21st, 2007 at the Tokyo Game Show held in Makuhari Messe. On that day, Square-Enix announced not one,but three new Kingdom Hearts titles for three different handheld systems. Nomura was already hinted the possible spin-offs of the franchise on the mobile platforms during an interview with Famitsu earlier that year. He wanted the spin-offs played sligthly different than the main game in the series.

The three new KH games

Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days for the Nintendo DS,  Kingdom Hearts:coded for the Japanese cellphones and Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep for the Sony Playstation Portable. These three games would tell a different story for the franchise, and gamers were gleefully surprised with the announcement for 3 new Kingdom Hearts games.

Kingdom Hearts:358/2 Days was developed by h.a.n.d with Square-Enix overseeing the project  for the Nintendo DS. The team  decided to make a new Kingdom Hearts game for the system, while still retaining the core gameplay of the Kingdom Hearts series. Nomura was the director for the game, with

As usual,concept art for KH:358/2 Days

Tomoshiro Hasegawa acting as co-director. Nomura hinted that the players would understand the meaning of 358/2 Days when they finished the game. One interesting feature that has been introduced in the game was the cooperative multiplayer system. This was the first Kingdom Hearts game that has a multiplayer component implemented in it.  The demo of the multiplayer and single player components of the game were playable during Jump Fiesta in December 2007 and the DKΣ3713 Private party event on August the following year.

The game was an intersequel to the franchise, spanning the story from the end of the first game to the beginning of  the  Kingdom Hearts II. It tells the story of Roxas, during the days when he was a member of Organization XIII. It details the relationship of Roxas with the Organization XIII members, especially with his best friends, Axel and Xion. The multiplayer components of the game allows up to 4 players takes part in  Monster Hunter-esque style of missions. Players can choose to play as the numerous Organization XIII members, as well as some hidden characters that can be unlocked in the game.

The game was finally released in Japan on May 30th, 2009 and in North America on September 29th the same year. A special Kingdom Hearts themed Nintendo DSi was released in Japan to celebrate the release of the game.

The KH themed DSi

The game received mixed responses from the critics. They praised the visual fidelity of the game on Nintendo DS, but complained about the repetitive nature of the game, the camera controls and the lack of depth of the battle system due to the system limitations. The multiplayer aspects of the game were generally being complimented by the critics, as well as the A.I partners. Overall the game gained an aggregate of 75%, still a favorable review  at metacritic. As expected, the game sold reasonably well, with up to 1.2 millions units sold worldwide by the end of November 2009.

Kingdom Hearts:358/2 Days box art

To be continued to part 5…

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