For this review, I will be addressing Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance as ‘3D’ (to separate it from Kingdom Hearts 3), Kingdom Hearts 0.8: Birth By Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage as ‘0.2’, and lastly, Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover as just ‘Back Cover’ or ‘BC’. Let us begin.
Would I recommend Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue? If you are playing the Kingdom Hearts games, they are essential to help figure out what is happening – especially if you want Kingdom Hearts 3 to make sense. ‘This doesn’t mean that everything was world-class.
The graphics in 0.2 are the best, as they were a demo for Kingdom Hearts 3, scheduled a year later when this came out. The textures belong on the PS4, and it shows. 3D was originally a Nintendo 3DS game, so the graphics are an HD upscale from that game. It looks good and appears as good as or better than Kingdom Hearts 2. Back Cover is a great looking 3D movie that replicates the graphical style of Kingdom Hearts 3.
The Art style in all three stays within the character of the franchise, with 3D being the most colourful, 0.2 being the darkest and Back Cover being a change in direction in terms of design. The multi-coloured Dreamcatchers in 3D would catch players off-guard at first, but gradually you will come to enjoy them.
The level design can only apply to 3D and 0.2. 3D could be subjected to the reality that there are not as many worlds as Kingdom Hearts 2, but it is still well put together. Also, the areas in that game feel huge. 0.2 was a demo, but the level design, though linear, gave us great beauty and a sense of exploration. ‘Especially in puzzle solving and item collecting to advance.
0.2 feels complete in its gameplay experience, but 3D very much experimented with what we could call Guardian Force or Pokemon mechanics. I grew particularly fond of the cat and penguin Dreamcatchers throughout my playthrough.
The characters in 3D and 0.2 are established while Back Cover gives us new characters. I’m already giving 3D and 0.2 high scores, but it is hard to get into Back Cover’s characters the same way – the fact that they all wear masks and hoods doesn’t help (which, if you are fan of Lucha Libre, is a terrible thing to say). The character known simply as The Master Of Masters is a hoot though.
The story in all of the adventures are a step back from Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2, but this doesn’t stop them from being essential. 3D is the bridge that Sora and Riku take to get to 3. 0.2 is the road that Aqua takes to get to 3. And Back Cover will feel the most alien, as it is a prologue before Birth By Sleep and chronicles how the Keyblade War began. Also, every main character is wearing an animal mask or a black hood. However, one thing it does have is a lot of humour. Humour enjoyed in Kingdom Hearts 3.
The voice acting, like usual, can be a little hammy outside of the Disney character voices. But still characterised and enjoyable.
Lastly, Yoko Shimomura’s music remains magical and characteristic – and the featuring of the music from Fantasia immediately gives 3D an extra star.
2.8 as a whole is a lot shorter than 1.5 and 2.5, as 3D can clock in at 25 hours long and 0.2 in 3 hours. Back Cover is a one-hour movie and is best experienced when you also play Kingdom Hearts χ as a free game on IOS and Android devices. If you are looking to play Kingdom Hearts 3, as I said, this is needed.
Graphics: **** (3D) ****1/2 (0.2) ****1/2 (BC)
Art Style: ****3/4 (all 3)
Level Design: **** (3D) ****1/2 (0.2)
Gameplay: ****1/4 (3D) ****3/4 (0.2)
Characters: ***** (3D) ****1/2 (0.2) *** (BC)
Story: **** (3D)****1/4 (0.2) *** (BC)
Voice Acting: ***3/4 (3D) **** (0.2) ***3/4 (BC)
Music: ***** (all 3)
Overall: ****1/4 (3D) ****1/2 (0.2) **** (BC) **** (Overall)