rallamajoop: (Aqua)
As I was saying, we recently finished playing Birth by Sleep – the latest Kingdom Hearts instalment – in Japanese, of course, as the English release isn't due out for months, but my PSP now connects up to the TV so [livejournal.com profile] pinneagig can translate as we go without one of us having to peer over the other's shoulder the whole time. This was a game with a lot of expectations riding on it. I have been looking forward to playing it ever since seeing the closed theatre preview at TGS '08 well over a year ago, and after the misery of 358/2 Days, a Kingdom Hearts game that doesn't make me fear the whole franchise has gone to hell is way overdue.

My brief summary was: the loading times suck, the story is based around some good ideas and some great moments but falls down badly in the execution in a lot of places, the characters are thoroughly likeable, and the gameplay is beyond excellent. Here's the long version, point by point. Contains spoilers, but I've tried to keep them vague where the details aren't crucial, and whited out anything important. Highlight the text to read it.

Loading Times )

Battle System )

Story - The introduction )

Characters: Terra )

Characters: Ven )

Characters: Aqua )

Final story thoughts and conclusion )
rallamajoop: (Aqua)
Our copy of BBS finally came in a couple of weeks ago, so you can maybe guess how we did at getting anything else constructive done in the evenings of that fortnight. Going to be posting one of my usual lengthy reviews as soon as I finish getting all my thoughts in order, but to give you the short version: the loading times suck, the story is based around some good ideas and some great moments but falls down in the execution in a lot of places, the characters are thoroughly likeable, and the gameplay is beyond excellent. On the balance of it, we had a lot of fun with it, despite several niggling issues that I can only hope are among the things to be tackled in the changes for the English version. Not on par with KH2 for shear satisfaction and fangirl glee, but well and truly clear of the mess that was Days. (Of course, the same is true of a lot of really bad fanfiction, but this is still a relief.)

A couple of points that probably aren't going to fit into a proper review anywhere, for one, this game is so very Star Wars. Mostly in a fun kind of way - it's not like it feels too rip-off-y or anything, but the keyblade users are totally Disneyverse Jedi, with their magic swords and their masters-and-students, and all the flying around world to world to fight evil and lots of talk about sensing good or evil in people and wrestling with the Dark Side Of The Force-Slash-Heart, and that one creepy looking guy in their ranks who is so obviously evil that it's a bit embarrassing how no-one notices. And you've got their Obi-Wan-type Master guy, who's trying to keep Terra from going the way of Anakin while Xehanort-Palpatine messes with his head to drag him to the Dark Side while claiming he's totally got nothing to do with the mysterious Darth-Vanitas who's running around being evil, and I think this means Yen Sid is Yoda, and maybe Ven doesn't quite discover Darth-Vanitas is his father but it comes pretty close. Not quite sure where Aqua fits in. I guess she'd be Amidala, except Amidala was never a Jedi, let alone a Jedi who outranks Anakin and never falls hopelessly in love with anyone. Somehow despite all that familiarity and connections to really bad SW-prequels there was very little in the Star Wars stuff that I didn't enjoy. Maybe it's the complete absence of bad romance or Jar Jar Binks.

On a similar note, compared to KH1 and 2, it's amazing just how un-shippy this game is. In the main KH games you've got the fairly unambiguous 'official' ship in Sora/Kairi, the perhaps even less ambiguous slash alternative in Sora/Riku, the special-bonus slash ship in Axel/Roxas, a big chunk of conflict coming out of Sora and Riku being manipulated into fighting over Namine in CoM – and they're just the most obvious options. So in BBS, I was thinking they'd likely be pushing Terra/Aqua, and some of those early scans looked very Terra/Ven, and when you play the game it is abundantly obvious the trio would all go to the ends of the earth for each other at the drop of a hat. But if you put that aside, the vibe you're left with is so very sibling-y that I came out with very little desire to ship anyone. You can probably find evidence for any combination if you want to see it (and people will, let's be honest) – but Ven still comes across more like the kid brother than anything else, and Aqua has no overt romantic interest in either of the boys. Honestly, it makes a nice change.

Though I will be just a little disappointed if the game doesn't inspire a whole lot of OT3 fic.

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March 2017

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