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A Look at Kingdom Hearts 3D

For a decade, the Kingdom Hearts franchise, developed and owned by Square Enix with Disney Interactive Studios’ participation, has been published to several different consoles and handhelds, with the results usually being  financial success and positive reception by critics.  This year, the former, a proud Japanese developer, is taking its franchise to the 3DS with Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.

Sources claim that the story of Dream Drop Distance takes place after Kingdom Hearts: coded, will feature Sora and Riku, long time heroes of the series, as playable characters, and is thematically set around trust and friendship (although I believed that was the case for every game in the series).

Direct from Square Enix’s PR department, I have gained screenshots and concept art from this upcoming title.  It would appear, as confirmed from various sources, that one of the worlds featured in 3D is based on Tron: Legacy.  Here is the proof of concept:

Also on hand, I have screenshots of the gameplay in action.  From the look of it, there appears to be missions akin to “Time Attack” challenges, with time limits and a set objective.  I don’t know what this means about the combat or RPG elements, but take a look for yourself:

So far, this game appears sleek and energetic.  Its graphics are largely impressive, and the art design is phenomenal, if one is to examine the Tron: Legacy level screenshots.  I’ve only played the original and 358/2 Days, not having completed either, so I can only speak from research and a small amount of experience, but there’s a fair amount to be excited about.

From what I have heard, the Command Deck from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is returning, though to what degree is unknown.  In combat, there is now a “free flow” system, allowing combatants to use the surroundings for movement and attack with the Y-Button.  Worlds from the series’ past, like Traverse Town, The World That Never Was, and Destiny Islands, will be returning, though new worlds based on famous Disney properties are to be expected.

On the story side of things, expect connections to past games and to the illusive Kingdom Hearts III, says director Tetsuya Nomura.  The tale is set to center around Sora and Riku receiving training to become full-fledged Keyblade Masters, in preparation for the coming battle against Master Xehanort, past villain of the series.  Their quest takes them to worlds invaded by the Heartless, but which have since gone silent and are now controlled by “Dream Eaters”, which come in friend and foe varieties.

For 3DS owners, this could be one to watch for.  Stay tuned in the coming months as Kingdom Hearts 3D approaches its Summer 2012 release date.  Keep reading, gamers.

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