Thanks to Fader209 at HUKD for the heads up.
If you've yet to experience the Kingdom Hearts series, or are looking for an excuse to remember the story, this deal from Base might be of interest. Coming in at just over a tenner, it's the best price we've seen for the re-release on PS3 and will save you a few pounds in the process. As well as the main game you'll also get Re: Chain of Memories and a cinematic retelling of 358/2 Days, ensuring you have plenty to get through for the price. Thanks to FantasyDeals @ HUKD!
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Square Enix currently have a sale on at their store, with all of their soundtrack collections currently dscounted by 20%. Click here to buy >>
There are some really quite rare OSTs to be had, and though the price might eem steep in comparison to regular CDs, many of these are pretty difficult to get hold of elsewhere and fetch a high price on marketplaces.
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Kingdom Hearts doesn't really need another spinoff. It needs a reboot.
Having played the original, its sequel and every handheld diversion since Chain Of Memories, I've watched the series thrive in spite of one of the most needlessly convoluted storylines in the business. It's the laziest kind of bullsh*t, disguising a lack of meaningful depth behind mountains of jargon and nonsensical diatribes designed to sound profound and intelligent. Instead of helping to straighten out the balloon animal, Kingdom Hearts' portable tie-ins have twisted it into extra knots; introducing so many unnecessary kinks that the whole canon is set to pop under the pressure of its own pretentiousness. Not unlike that analogy.
But despite all that, Kingdom Hearts 3D is more accessible than most of the intimidating storyline. Protagonists Sora and Riku are undergoing an exam of sorts in order to become a fully-fledged Keyblade Master, and therefore have to delve into the sleeping worlds to unlock their sleeping keyholes blah blah die. Essentially, all you need to know is that you'll journey through a number of Disney-themed worlds, meet some classic characters and engage in some brilliantly designed RPG systems. Square Enix has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Kingdom Hearts 3D, resulting in one of the most fully-featured games on the 3DS so far. We've got grind rails, augmented reality Nintendogs/Pokemon, new upgrade systems, a real-time card battle minigame, hair-raising plummets through dimensional vortices and a new mechanic so divisive that many players will be tempted to snap their cartridges in half.Click here to read more...
To outsiders, the world of Kingdom Hearts can be an entirely baffling and inaccessible one, made all the more jarring by its bright and cheery graphics and welcoming Disney worlds. However for those invested in the series, every instalment is an essential piece of the puzzle and, therefore this little DS game is an essential purchase. For those not in the KH loop, the story may be more than a little confusing but at this teeny tiny price it's still worth a go as it's a fun and good looking game (at least by DS standards). However it's definitely advisable to at least give one other Kingdom Hearts title a whirl before jumping into this one. Thanks to 3Sixty at HUKD!
Kingdom Hearts is a truly beloved series that, on paper, really shouldn't work as well as it does. The franchise started to spawn handheld spinoffs after the runaway success of the original... and by offering fast, slick and deep gameplay, Birth By Sleep is probably the best of the bunch.
Birth By sleep tells the intertwined stories of three Keyblade masters: the youthful Ventus, stoic Terra and female mage Aqua. In terms of gameplay, you'll still visit various Disney-themed worlds to rid them of an infestation of monsters and meet classic characters along the way. However, the typically-strict mechanics have been replaced by a fast and fluid system that takes KH2's framework and improves upon it exponentially. Proceedings seem disarmingly simple at the start of the game. When attacked, hammering X allows attack combos to be slung together, but a Command Deck allows abilities to be stored and used on the fly. This system seems a little restrictive at first, it'll soon expand enough to contain a range of battlefield styles. As players use combat abilities (which include the standard range of melee skills, magic spells and items), they'll occasionally enter a combat stance that provides increased attack damage and status effects. The stance depends on the type and order of special attacks used- and brings a massive amount of experimentation and depth to the combat.
Read on for twisted storylines and eyepopping PSP graphics!
The year is absolutely zooming past and it is now just over a month until Kingdom Hearts fans can get their hands on the excellent new instalment, Birth by Sleep so I decided to have a hunt for the best preorder deal for those itching to catch up with the bizarre Squeenix/Disney mash up.
The Hut are offering the best deal by quite a decent margin, with a price of just £17.93; this compares very favourably, to the tune of nearly £5, to the next best offer of £22.85 from Shop To.
BBS is the tale of Ventus and his two pals, Aqua and Terra who live in the Land of Departure and all share the dream of becoming Keyblade Masters. On the day that Aqua and Terra take their Mark of Mastery exams and the mysterious Master Xehanort visits the land to appraise them, their Master is warned of strange happenings across the Lanes Between and in the other Worlds that surround their own. As usual with Kingdom Hearts games, the story is surprisingly complex (at odd with the cartoony presentation) and occasionally baffling, but told well enough to keep your interest and attention.
This new Kingdom Hearts title is a beautiful and bright game, boasting some of the best and most charming graphics on the handheld console, with the Disney characters in particular brought to life beautifully. The sound is of similarly high quality with some fantastic voice acting (bar Aqua's appalling wooden monotone) from a host of famous faces and an excellent score that may well transport you straight back to a Disney loving childhood.
The combat is extremely enjoyable. Instantly accessible but hard to master and highly customisable with a huge range of abilities, both magical and physical, to collect and develop. If you play on Easy then you can happily get away with some button mashing but the higher difficulties pose a genuine challenge and require some real consideration into strategy, and skill in execution.
BBS is a game with real longevity; not only are there three separate (but interconnected) stories to tackle, each lasting around 20-30 hours but there are also a number of mini games to sink your teeth into, plenty of collectibles and secrets and a number of different multi player modes. If you get bored of grinding, you can even play a special board game style mode to level up your abilities instead, against the characters you meet in the story or online against your friends.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is a beautiful and high quality game that answers a number of questions from the KH universe, as well as posing some new ones of its own. I personally believe this is one of the best games on the PSP, if not the very best. Kingdom Hearts fans ought to be very satisfied and even those sceptical about the franchise may well find that they have a great time with this game if they give it a try.
Kingdom Hearts is Square-Enix's other big franchise in the western world, in which weird bedmates typical JRPG angsty teen protagonists and classic Disney characters work together to fight "the darkness". It's a bizarre mix but somehow it works and for less than a fiver, Days is well worth a look. It's one of Grainger's deals of the week and an awesome one at less than half the price of the next best offer (£11.02 from Tesco Entertainment and that's only with a voucher code).
358/2 Days was originally intended as a PS2 game and sadly in its transition to Nintendo's handheld, it didn't pick up any touch screen capabilities. Fortunately the game makes up for it with the usual beautiful Square presentation and some of the nicest graphics seen on the console at the time of its release.
Fans of the series will find this a valuable addition to the story arc and while it may seem entirely baffling to the uninitiated, the story is well drawn enough to hold some interest and the great gameplay is more than enough to make it worth stepping into the Kingdom Hearts world. Unlike the upcoming Birth by Sleep, voice acted sequences are few and far between with mostly text based speech and the music is fine but simply lifted from the previous games. However, the combat is a whole lot of fun with characters who are customisable thanks to the excellent "panel system" and loads of items to unlock.
If you are new to the series then I would normally suggest starting with the original PS2 games but with Days available so cheaply, it's worth confusing yourself a little to jump into the charming (and very silly) Kingdom Hearts world.
Thanks to sm182 at Hotukdeals!
The latest Kingdom Hearts adventure catches up with Sora's Nobody counterpart, Roxas in a tale that, surprisingly enough, sees him travel through a succession of Disney landscapes.
Coolshop offered a good preorder deal for the game and now that it has been released, they've snuck back into the lead in the best deal race once again. They have the game priced at £16.49, a small but worthwhile saving against the next best offer of £17.73 from The Hut.
358/2 Days started life as a PS2 game but has been squidged onto a teeny tiny DS cartridge, which sadly means that touchscreen control is out. However, it is beautifully presented and features impressive graphics for a handheld and some nice voice acting. Sadly virtually all of the game is text only though, with voices gracing only a select group of cut-scenes and the music, while perfectly suited and pleasant, is simply lifted from previous instalments of the series.
The story is interesting, or at least it is if you are a Kingdom Hearts fan; if not, it may be more fair to file it under "baffling". But so long as you are a fan, you will find this well worth delving into as it offers valuable insight into the character of Roxas and the group that he is part of: Organisation XIII. The combat offers lots of fun, with fighting that feels like something of a return to the style of the original Kingdom Hearts. The ability to customise your characters adds a welcome extra dimension to the game as does the possibility of playing with your chums online.
All in all this is a very worthwhile addition to the series and a must-have if you are a fan. If, on the other hand, you are new to the world of Kingdom Hearts then I suggest that you dip your toes in the water of the original game first!
Thanks to andywedge at Hotukdeals!
Those who are itching for the much anticipated Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days start getting excited: you now have just a couple of days left to wait!
Last month I posted about Coolshop's great preorder deal at just £22.49. However if you took my advice then I am sorry; you may want to cancel it because The Hut have now gone one better and have set their preorder price at just £17.73, undercutting Cool Shop by nearly £5!
358/2 is the first of the Disney/Square-Enix collaborative series to be released on the DS and, fortunately, it looks set to be great, having achieved very good reviews in the US and, especially, Japan. Aimed at those who are already fans of the series, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is an interquel which tells the story of what was going on between Kingdom Hearts I and II. Therefore the narrative focuses on Roxas and shows us what happened after his creation as a Nobody at the end of the first game.
Once again featuring a host of beautifully realised Disney locations as well as brand new Kingdom Hearts IP, 358/2 Days is a fantastically presented game, with fun combat and a deep customisation system using the new panel mechanic. There is also now a multiplayer option with both co-op and competitive modes of play. Sadly the game does not make use of the DS's touch screen capabilities, the camera can be a pain and the soundtrack is a bit of a cop out with recycled tunes and voiced sections kept to a minimum. But with plenty of unlockable materials and multiplayer action, if you are a Kingdom Hearts fan, this is a game that should keep you happy right up until Halloween.
Thanks to andywedge at Hotukdeals!
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.