As expected, Square Enix are giving Kingdom Hearts II the HD treatment, bringing the inexplicable yet brilliant crossover epic to PS3 next year. Better yet, the rebuilt package includes the utterly exceptional PSP prequel Birth By Sleep, which is easily one of the strongest and most enjoyable games in the entire series.Click here to read more...
Two quid cheaper at ShopTo than anywhere else, unlike Re:coded, Birth By Sleep is actually worth your time and money. Boasting a three-pronged narrative that twists and turns gloriously, not to mention the excellent D-Link battle system, this is a must for any fan of the series. In fact, it might actually be the best one. Yes, we went there. Cheers Kudoku.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep is more than just a spinoff. It's an engrossing, exciting and thoroughly rewarding adventure in its own right, with an innovative triple storyline that tells its tale through three seperate points of view. It's visually impeccable (especially the particle effects) and the new D-Link system makes for some impressive and unpredictable attacks. In fact, the only bad thing is that the "true" ending is hidden away on the hardest difficulty behind some barefaced luck. If you love KH, go ahead and buy this game immediately.
Carl posted about Play's excellent price for the normal version of Squeenix and Disney's newest love child earlier today but I thought it was worth mentioning that they are also selling the Collectors' Edition with a massive saving; asking less than most retailers are asking for the bog standard one. It's not the most exciting of special editions, but for only three pounds more you can get a pair of nice art prints and a high quality 48 page hardbound book, "The Art of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep" in addition to the excellent game.
Making the jump to the PSP for its latest outing, the Action-JRPG series Kingdom Hearts returns in prequel form. Birth By Sleep tells the tale of three young keyblade masters, traveling to different Disney worlds (and meeting familiar faces) as they march towards their ultimate fate. Featuring three different stories lines (that take about 12 hours each to complete), new gameplay mechanics such as the Command Board and multiplayer modes of both verses and co-op flavours, this is definitely worth the money if you have yet to purchase this enjoyable title.
Who wants a Half Life movie? Anyone? No? Of course not. A mute protagonist and two dozen hours of physics-based puzzles wouldn't work as a film... and yet plenty of studio offers and wild rumours have been flying around over the years. Buffy creator Joss Whedon was erroneously rumoured to be slated for the directorship earlier this year... but Valve boss Gabe Newell has now stated that a Half Life film could only be produced in-house or not at all.
"There was a whole bunch of meetings with people from Hollywood. Directors down there wanted to make a Half-Life movie and stuff, so they'd bring in [writers who] would pitch us on their story. And their stories were just so bad. I mean, brutally, the worst. Not understanding what made the game a good game, or what made the property an interesting thing for people to be a fan of."
"That's when we started saying: 'Wow, the best thing we could ever do is to just not do this as a movie, or we'd have to make it ourselves."
Personally I'm a fan of the first option... but considering that hilarious and successful 'Meet The Team' shorts, Valve might have what it takes to pen a worthwhile script. [PC Gamer]
Would you watch a Half Life film? Want to pitch an idea? Should directors just stay the hell away from our beloved games... or am I being too harsh on the concept? Have your say in the comments!
In case you still were clinging to the sad delusiuon that the PSP Go is anything other than a miserably failed experiment into the future of downloadable digital media, Square Enix has delivered the final piece of evidence. Sorry.
We recently reviewed Square's upcoming Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep as the finest spinoff to date and a "fitting swan song for the PSP"... but PSP Go owners simply won't be able to play it. Square have confirmed that there are no plans for a downloadable release in the forseeable future- so sorry, Kingdom Hearts fans, but it's UMD or bust. [Kotaku]
Awww. A long slow bank holiday Sunday occasionally calls for a soft story, and luckily the Ithica University 'Tots On Bots' project has provided us with an absolute doozy. The aim of the research is to provide babies that suffer from physical disabilities with a means of getting around, using a Wii Fit Balance Board as the input mechanism for a motorised chair. Apparently even disabled children have an innate desire to move towards their intended objective, and the weight shift is picked up by the peripheral and allows them to explore their surroundings. Heartwarming, yes, but it's also great to see videogame tech powering an invention that could potentially revolutionise special needs education (if the study proves successful). Naturally a sonar system defends from untoward crashes, and a remote control allows parents to take over in a pinch.
Here's some robot-powered baby footage for your perusal.
The next time someone idiotically states that videogames are harmful, be sure to point them in this direction. And then ironically act out your favourite scene from Manhunt while they're vulnerable. [Engadget via GoNintendo]
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!
It's not long now until the next instalment in the Disney/Squeenix crossover series is finally released over here. I've already posted the best deal for the normal edition but there's also a Special Edition available too. If you are after this fancy schmancy version of the game and want to be sure that you get it as soon as possible then the best place to head to is The Hut who are currently offering it for just £28.93.
As well as a copy of the game itself, the Special Edition also includes two art prints of scenes from the game and a 48 page hardback book: "The Art of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep". Nice extras for sure but I will leave it up to you whether it's worth spending an extra £10 for them.
Birth by Sleep is a prequel to the adventures of Sora, Kairi and Roxas etc which made up the existing titles in the Kingdom Hearts series. It tells the story of a young boy named Ventus who lives in the Land of Departure with his two close friends Aqua and Terra. The three of them all train with the Keyblade together and dream of becoming Keyblade Masters. However when it comes to the day of the Mark of Mastery exam which will determine their futures, things go disastrously awry and each of them finds themselves flung into a journey that will change each of their lives and the fate of their world.
In typical Square fashion, the story is more than a tad impenetrable and for those who have not played other games in the series potentially quite baffling. I've played some of the previous titles but not all but managed to work out what was going on after some consultation with other players. The narrative spans three separate stories, one for each playable character, which combine to create the complete tale. It's a daft but entertaining enough story, brought to life by some great voice acting (bar the unfortunately monotone Aqua), provided by some surprisingly famous faces. The score helps to set the tone, recreating famous locations with classic Disney songs.
While it's lovely that the Birth By Sleep has great graphics and an entertaining story, what is really great is the quality of the combat. It is instantly accessible and the basics are very easy to pick up but to master it is pleasingly challenging. If you pick the Easy difficulty setting then you can probably cruise through the game with some clever button bashing but I have seen friends nearly tearing their hair out trying to complete it on the hardest setting.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is a very good looking game that has clearly received a lot of care and attention in production. If you are a fan of the series you will be pleased to find that it answers a number of questions from the Kingdom Hearts universe, but in typical fashion it also poses some of its own. Whether you are a fan of the series or a newcomer who just wants an enjoyable romp on their PSP, this title is well worth investigating.
Look out for our review later this afternoon!