SquareEnix and Disney's latest collaboration and their first joint foray onto the DS, is due in shops on the 9th of October so the preorder deal frenzy has begun! I was directed towards Amazon, who are currently selling for £23.96, in my hunt for the best price but I actually discovered that Coolshop have knocked a quid and a bit off this and have the best deal at £22.49
You play as Roxas, the thirteenth member of "Organisation XIII" who was introduced in Kingdom Hearts II, the “Nobody” that was created when Sora briefly became a “Heartless”. As you may be able to guess already, if you want to play 358/2 Days (which should be said as "358 over 2 days" apparently) then you will really be doing yourself a big favour if you play the previous Kingdom Hearts titles first, at least if you want a decent chance of following the storyline.
The game is broken up into a selection of short missions, some of which are essential to progression in the story and some of which are optional. You will be equipped with a gauge to show you how far you have progressed in your mission and if you go beyond the call of duty then you will be awarded with bonus treats. Unfortunately however you cannot save during a mission, only while in the hub of your home world. Locations featured include: Agrabah from Aladdin, Halloween Town from The Nightmare Before Christmas, the Beast's castle from Beauty and the Beast, Wonderland and Neverland from Peter Pan as well as Twilight Town and the World That Never Was from the secret ending of the original Kingdom Hearts.
The gamplay and combat mechanics are very similar to those of the previous instalments in the series, with plenty of heartless to hack through with your trusty keyblade as ever. You can customise your character's individual skills and talents using the panel system, to improve your battle prowess and there is plenty of loot to scout for to help you out.
There is a very welcome new option for multiplayer play, both in co-op and competitive modes as well as a chat system via which players can communicate with one another. Multiplayer is available through the separate Mission Mode. Up to four players can take on the role of one of the fourteen members of Organisation XIII (meaning that you can play as a female for the first time) to play through cooperative missions or battle against one another. There are also some pretty special secret playable characters to unlock in this mode.
The game was released in Japan earlier this year where it was generally very well received. Add to this the fact that all the previews for the English language version have suggested that this is a highly promising game and it seems that Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is a title well worth getting excited about. If Disneyfied roleplaying is your cup of tea, that is.