Kingdom Hearts Re: coded Hands-On Preview

Sora, Mickey, Goofy, and Donald. The gang's all here.

One of the biggest complaints coming from Kingdom Hearts fans has been that recent portable editions to the series such as 358/2 Days and Birth by Sleep have not progressed the main storyline beyond Kingdom Hearts 2. They have not built up to a Kingdom Hearts 3 and are not Kingdom Hearts 3. Well, those fans will finally get what they are asking for in the series’ newest upcoming portable installment for the Nintendo DS, Kingdom Hearts Re: coded.

Indeed, Re: coded will pick up right from where Kingdom Hearts 2 left off. Jiminy Cricket, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck are investigating Jiminy’s Journals from Kingdom Hearts following the events of Kingdom Hearts 2 and discover a mysterious message. To discover its meaning, Mickey creates a data version of Sora in the book and tasks him to figure out just why this message so important. The game will eventually lead out into the Kingdom Hearts universe and, to many fans’ delight, will have a hidden cutscene heavily teasing the possible Kingdom Hearts 3.

The game itself has actually already been released in Japan, multiple times. It is a compilation of six mobile games that never made it to the West. These games have been strung together into a single narrative with different and varied gameplay. Players can expect their traditional Kingdom Hearts third-person action RPG combat, but will also get 2D sidescroller sections and more.

The traditional combat feels just like a Kingdom Hearts game should. The action is quick and fun, with abilities now mapped to the DS’s X button for easy access and for players to pull off multiple special attacks in a chain. The 2D sidescrolling feels just like a classic session of Super Mario Brothers. Players will jump and slash their way over and through obstacles as the screen slides across the map. It’s a great break from the traditional gameplay and gives the series a sense of refreshment.

Leveling in Re: coded is done via computer chips laid out on a circuit board, known as the Matrix System. Players will be given a certain number of points that they can use to unlock chips on the board and get to choose in which branching direction they can level up their character based on health, strength, abilities, and other stats. It’s extremely similar to that of Final Fantasy X‘s Sphere Grid, arguably one of the best leveling systems in J-RPG history.

While in the journal, parts of the digital worlds will break open to reveal Tron-like computer innards; these must be entered and all enemies inside must be eradicated in order for Sora to continue. The sections bring some platforming into the game, as players will have to guide Sora up and across certain areas filled with baddies that at first glance may appear unreachable. It’s another bit of variety that has Re: coded looking good.

With a vast variety of gameplay options, classic Kingdom Hearts combat, promising leveling system, and an intriguing new plot that will lead into a highly teased Kingdom Hearts 3, it will be hard to overlook Kingdom Hearts Re: coded when it releases on January 11 in the North America. Series fans will finally be getting the forward plot development they have so desperately desired.


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Author: Mike Murphy View all posts by
Mike has been playing games for over two decades. His earliest memories are of shooting ducks and stomping goombas on NES, and over the years, the hobby became one of his biggest passions. Mike has worked with GamerNode as a writer and editor since 2009, giving you news, reviews, previews, a voice on the VS Node Podcast, and much more.

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