Kingdome Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS) Box Art(http://na.square-enix.com/kh3d)  Rated E 10+ by ESRB.  Kingdom Hearts has always been a beautiful series. Square Enix’s talent for showing off cutting edge graphics paired with Disney’s unrivaled aesthetic genius is a visual juggernaut.  KH3D fulfils the status quo without much fuss, and given the technical advantages of the hardware, it is by far the best looking in the series since Kingdom hearts 2. Each of the 7 worlds do a phenomenal job of representing the visual styles of the Disney movies, and despite the limitations of the hardware, unseen areas of the worlds are well fleshed out and feel alive. 

Kingdome Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS) Box ArtKingdome Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS) Logo(http://na.square-enix.com/kh3d) Rated E 10+ by ESRB.  Kingdom Hearts has always been a beautiful series. Square Enix’s talent for showing off cutting edge graphics paired with Disney’s unrivaled aesthetic genius is a visual juggernaut.  KH3D fulfils the status quo without much fuss, and given the technical advantages of the hardware, it is by far the best looking in the series since Kingdom hearts 2. Each of the 7 worlds do a phenomenal job of representing the visual styles of the Disney movies, and despite the limitations of the hardware, unseen areas of the worlds are well fleshed out and feel alive. 



Unfortunately, like the other Kingdom hearts games, Dream Drop Distance suffers from an unintelligible and nauseously corny storyline. Building on the cluttered mess of a plot that the previous entries have created, KH3D manages to make itself ever more convoluted. Frequent time skips and flashbacks, allusions to plot hole filled devices from previous games, and all around faulty storytelling make paying attention to the narrative an absolute headache for those who do not eat and breath the lore of the series. Also, Final Fantasy fans will find much to be disappointed with at the complete lack of cameos by series favorites like Cloud and Squall.

Graphics:
The world of Kingdom Hearts has rarely looked better. Fantastic texture work and a brilliant use of stylism over graphical prowess make KH3D one of the better looking handheld games ever, and absolutely the best on the 3ds; a standout part of the game being Tron’s “The Grid” in which the avatars of the real life actors in fact look better than they did in the 2010 video game Tron Evolution. Likewise, every detail of each world is presented beautifully, be it the Notre Dame Cathedral or the belly of Monstro the whale.

Kingdome Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS) Screenshots Kingdome Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS) Screenshots Kingdome Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS) Screenshots

The details however are hard to observe due to the obnoxious camera controls. Unless you own and use a circle pad pro, your shoulder buttons controls the camera clumsily. This presents a problem during combat, as dream eater combos are linked to the same buttons. Quickly pressing the R button jerks the camera a full 45 degrees, holding the button is much slower, but accidentally double tap the button and undo all your effort to place it perfectly. Most of the game squeezes bye without much of a problem where the camera is concerned, but later battles and boss fights can prove to be very frustrating due to the numbers or overwhelming speed of each enemy. To avoid the issue entirely, drop the 20 bucks and get yourself the circle pad.

Kingdome Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS) Screenshots Kingdome Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS) Screenshots Kingdome Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS) Screenshots

Sounds:
Dream Drop distance both flourishes and falters in the sound department. Starting the game off perfectly with an orchestral version of Utada Hikaru’s “Simple and Clean”, and leading straight into classic tunes from the KH jukebox was a smart move on Square Enix’s part. As most agree that KH has always had a fantastic soundtrack, however, some very popular themes are nowhere to be found, and instead have been replaced with less likeable bits that just feel too cutesy or out of place. That said, many of the new songs provide enough foot tapping to keep you zoned during combat.

Voice acting seems to have taken a step down from previous iterations. Though the talents from the series like Haley Joel Osment, David Gallagher and Leonard Nimoy return to lend their silky pipes to the characters, the acting just feels hollow and phoned in. Still, despite the emptiness, the characters would be hard to like without the actors that gave them life.

Kingdome Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS) Screenshots Kingdome Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS) Screenshots Kingdome Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (3DS) Screenshots

Gameplay:
Gameplay is where KH3D really shines. The combat in Kingdom Hearts has always been easy to learn, hard to master, and unmistakably entertaining. Dream Drop Distance capitalizes on this hallmark and manages to at the very least maintain it. Fans of the series will find few new elements at the core, but those who are new to the series will find it very easy to pick up and play. More versed hack and slash gamers, however, may be frustrated by relatively sluggish controls hindering more advanced defense and recovery. For example, the X button is linked to your special commands, in combat a very long delay between pressing the button and the action is present, this delay causes a HUGE problem in later battles when every millisecond that the computer waits to heal you can mean death by insta-kill; which leads me to the next issue.

Dream Drop Distance is terribly balanced. Early on the game pits you against wave after wave of enemy that, despite the cutesy looks, will tear you in half in a blink. Problematically unless you spend hours re-clearing rooms in order to power level early you will be embarrassed by a quick painful death quite often, usually because of some ridiculously over powered magic attack or juggle happy spamming.  While the game remains insanely addicting and entertaining, these frustrating flaws can easily put a damper on the fun of a less skilled player.

Conclusion:
Over all Dream Drop Distance is a must have for every fan of the series, and should be on the shelf of every 3ds owner. Every bit as polished as its console precursors, any complaints that can be mounted against it are drowned out by countless praises. Though some frustrating design flaws exist, the entertainment value of the game is bar none. Kingdom Hearts 3d should be the measurement for 3ds titles at this point, and any gamer should reward themselves with the experience.

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