Hello! So, Kingdom Hearts 2.8 has been out for a little bit now and I’ve finally finished 0.2 Birth by Sleep. Out of the three things we received from the game, I was most excited about this one. I went in knowing that I would be getting some new info and I wasn’t disappointed! Let’s jump into it.
They kept the game play that we’ve gotten used to from a Kingdom Hearts game, but enhanced it a bit. Aerial combat is much easier to accomplish because Aqua automatically targets and approaches the nearest enemy even while in the air. If you time your button presses correctly you can finish a battle (with airborne enemies) without ever touching the ground.
Magic has been beefed up as well. Not only does it look cooler (which it totally does) but we are level 3 spells from the beginning. This is due to Aqua starting out on level 50 since this follows directly after the events of Birth by Sleep. A chunk of enemies have obvious elemental weaknesses making magic feel necessary rather than just available.
Command Styles appear again but are limited. Aqua only has one she can go into and you have access to another once a certain character joins your group. You can gain access to level 4 spells by casting magic and then filling up the drive gauge. Instead of going into a form you’ll get the option to release a much more powerful spell at your enemies.
The scrolling abilities from Birth by Sleep are gone, replaced instead by the normal battle menu (Attack, magic and items). While I did enjoy the multiple abilities you had access to, I very much prefer this simplistic menu more.
A lot of fans were excited for this game because it’s the first in the series to be made with the Unreal Engine 4. As expected, everything looks beautiful. Aqua looks the best she has yet, and the worlds you explore are the most life like they’ve been.
It still looks very much like a fantasy game. Square isn’t trying to make everything look super realistic and I appreciate that. I feel like part of the magic is that we can see the Disney flair throughout the game, and changing that would ruin it.
Character customization is a thing now. I don’t think it was needed and I personally don’t really care that it’s there, but those of you who are super into that will be happy. You can add headpieces (ears, crowns), Arm guards, wings and clothing patterns to Aqua from the menu screen. These unlock when you accomplish certain objectives within the game. These objectives appear when you get to certain places or upon encountering new enemies. The clothing doesn’t affect Aqua in any way as far as stats are concerned, they are solely for appearances.
This is an incredibly important aspect when it comes to the Kingdom Hearts franchise. This particular game was rumored to be the bridge between Dream Drop Distance and Kingdom Hearts 3, and it is. But it’s so much more than that. What I really enjoyed about Aqua’s journey is that it spans a couple of different games. The majority of it takes place during Kingdom Hearts 1, something we didn’t know until meeting with and talking to a certain character that pops up at the end of the game.
A brief ending scene shows Aqua approaching a black hooded figure sitting on the shore within the Realm of Darkness. Those of you who have played Birth by Sleep know what scene would come next, and it was a nice little reminder of where Aqua currently is within the games lore.
At the end we are brought up to speed with our trio and we get a good bit of info that leads us directly into Kingdom Hearts 3. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here!
We don’t really get too much of this with Aqua since she was already established within Birth by Sleep. I’m not the biggest Aqua fan, and hearing her monologues got boring for me, but she is a very important character in the lore, so it’s acceptable. We do see her grow a bit in her determination to help her friends, and this is also important for the role she will be playing in the future.
There is only one extra within this game, and that is the optional objectives you find throughout the game. You can find the list in the menu, and finishing every single one will net you a trophy. Upon completing each objective you are rewarded with a new piece of wardrobe you can put on Aqua. The objectives range from defeating a certain number of enemies to finding random items hidden throughout the levels. While they don’t affect the main game, they are fun and give you some more playable hours if you wanted them.
I enjoyed 0.2 for what it was, a bridge between games. I will replay it for the trophies and objectives, but that’s about it. I don’t like Aqua’s character enough to give it more than one more run through, and really, playing it more than twice isn’t necessary.
If you’re a fan of the series then definitely jump in. The story bits alone are enough to warrant a play through and seeing what we can expect from Kingdom Hearts 3 graphics wise is pretty cool.
Let me know what you guys think about it! Have you played? Are you excited for the next chapter in Sora’s adventure?
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you later!