Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance
When Kingdom Hearts first came out, I was one of many who thought the bizarre mix of the cute and cuddly Disney characters and the more mature Final Fantasy themes would fall flat. It just didn't seem like a likely pairing that would succeed. I even wondered exactly what audience was the game marketing towards. But like so many others who wrote off Kingdom Hearts without even playing it, I found that once I gave the game a chance, it became one of my favorite games. This year the Kingdom Hearts series celebrated it's 10th anniversary by launching the newest game: Kingdom Hearts 3d: Dream Drop Distance. The Kingdom Hearts series has received all kinds of praise over the years and what many are wondering is: Is Dream Drop Distance another hit? My answer is a YES for those who love Kingdom Hearts , and I mean love it as in it's in their top 10 video game list. The rest of you will probably feel the way I do about that game, impressed with what the new features do right, and incredibly disappointed with what it does wrong.
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance Trailer Youtube vid by wynters60
Dream Drop Distance Story
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance begins after the events of Kingdom Hearts Recoded. Sora and Riku have been summoned by Merlin to complete the Mark of Mastery Test to ascend to the level of a true Keyblade Master. (I know, I guess doing away with Ansem and Xemnas wasn't good enough). To complete the test, Sora and Riku must journey to Sleeping Worlds and save them from their current hibernating condition.
One of the biggest additions to the game is Flowmotion. When executing Flowmotion, Sora and Riku can use the environment to aid them in defeating the Dream Eaters. By utilizing Flowmotion, Sora and Riku can dodge enemy attacks and perform special attacks of their own to take down those cute little Dream Eaters.
The new enemies in Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance are the Dream Eaters. Dream Eaters are basically the replacement of Heartless and Nobodies you're used to taking down in most of the series' games. They have a link to the sleeping state of each of the worlds Sora and Riku journey to, and for reasons I won't talk about in this review, must be stopped.
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance Flowmotion Travel
But going back to Flowmotion, a cool thing about it is you can use the environment to get from A to B much faster than you would by simply running to your destination. By dashing, swinging, grinding gliding. It's a little thing, but something most of you will appreciate, especially in larger areas. Perhaps my favorite thing about Flowmotion is the new level of strategy geared towards taking down the Dream Eaters. Some Dream Eaters and bosses are more vulnerable to Flowmotion attacks than regular attacks and magic.
The Problem with Flowmotion
The problem with Flowmotion is that the controls can be a little sensitive. Even when you get the hang of it, there may be times when you don't perform the intended action. And this seems to happen at the most inconvenient time. You may intend to launch an attack but find yourself swinging in circles on a pole like you're in the circus.
Where are Donald and Goofy???
Now for a new twist you will either be fine with, or absolutely hate. Donald and Goofy aren't party members in Dream Drop Distance. They still show up in the game, but they can't help you throughout the story in fights. Instead, Sora and Riku will fight with the aid of Sprites. Sprites are basically good Dream Eaters who go after bad dreams. Sora and Riku and pet and play with their cute new companions and in battle, these little guys can pack a punch, especially when combining attacks with Sora and Riku. Though I will say this, all the cuddling and petting is fun for about two seconds, and them most players won't care all that much. Sprites are also customizable as you can spray paint them in different colors. Woopie.
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance Gameplay Youtube vid by Terranort9406
Putting the DROP in Dream Drop Distance
The title is derived from the game's new Drop feature. What this means is, you will fight and fill up a Drop Gauge. Once filled, if you're playing as Sora, you'll switch to Riku and his quest. If you're Riku, you'll switch to Sora's story. For most, this will bug you like it did me. It can be both annoying and tedious to suddenly Drop in the middle of a battle or even during a boss fight. Fortunatley, you can switch right back, but it's still a chore to do so. In my opinion, it breaks up the flow of the game in the worst possible way. On the other hand, since everything Sora and Riku do is intertwined; what one hero does in a level affect the other hero in his parallel level, it's still annoying nonetheless.
Dream Drop Distance Command Deck
The command Deck from Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep returns. And it's more than welcome in most respects. Just like Birth by Sleep, you can customize your favorite abilities for Sora and Riku in your Command Deck. Perform the ability, and wait for the cool down meter to refill. What may throw some of you off however, is that you must scroll through the commands using the D-Pad, just like in the very first Kingdom Hearts game. It's awkward to control and may even lead to a few unnecessary hits as you're trying to fight and Dodge all while selecting the ability you want. And in the worst case, you may even get killed by a cute little monster. That's embarrassing.
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance Final Verdict
As you can see, Kingdom Hearts 3d: Dream Drop Distance has its ups and downs. The problem is, for all the new features that work, there are some that set the game back, or, the controls get in the way of what would otherwise be a definite selling point. Before I give my verdict, I should mention one last thing. Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance assumes the player is up to speed on all the Kingdom Hearts games. There have been many since the original, and this can make the plot somewhat confusing for those new to the franchise. So for taking a few much needed steps forward, but several steps back as well, Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance earns a 6 out of 10. The really good news is, Dream Drop Distance serves as a build-up to Kingdom Hearts 3, a game many of us have been looking forward to for roughly six years now.