Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days is the first entry in the Kingdom Hearts series for the Nintendo DS. Eschewing the main narrative for a side story, the game's focus is put on Roxas during the year between the events of the original Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, when he was still a member of Organization XIII. The game adopts a mission-based structure to depict Roxas's daily work in the Organization, and the narrative is unraveled over the course of the 358 days that he is a member of their ranks. 358/2 Days was released in North America on September 29, 2009.
The gameplay in Kingdom Hearts DS is similar to the action-RPG style of the previous games in the series, as the game does not use the touch screen like other action/adventure games such as The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass, but rather uses the DS' buttons. Once again, the player will travel through similar Disney World's found in the PS2 iterations of the series with some worlds containing entirely new expanded areas. Unlike the previous games, however, the game features mission-based gameplay, rather than complete freedom of exploration. These missions are comprised of both mandatory missions which advance the story forward, as well as optional missions which are not required but sometimes allow the player to get new items or panels to use. For the first time in Kingdom Hearts' history, co-operative multiplayer is being introduced with both Multi-card and Wi-Fi support. While playing multiplayer (dubbed Mission Mode in game) the player has access to all members of Organization XIII, along with additional bonus characters. The majority of missions also feature challenges which can bestow additional benefits. After a mission has been completed, the player can go back and attempt to complete the challenges associated with it at any time.
The familiar command menu from previous Kingdom Hearts games returns for this game, although with only three visible commands. Instead of refillable magic bar like in Kingdom Hearts I and II, 358/2 Days utilizes a stock system, similar to Final Fantasy III's magic charges. A new Limit Break system is also implemented, which can be activated by the player whenever a character's health falls below a certain yellow portion of the health bar. In this state, the character would perform special combos and devastating moves for a short period of time. After which, the yellow portion would shrink, and the character's health would have to fall lower if he/she wishes to use the Limit Break once more.
All equipment and ability organization in 358/2 Days is done via a Panel system, which resembles a simple puzzle grid. Each item, ability, magic, weapon, and armor takes up a certain amount of spaces in the grid in Tetris-like blocks. It's then up to the player to arrange what they want to take into battle depending on their mission. Any panels can be removed or repositioned at any time, so the player is never forced to commit to a single path.
The basic controls in the game work as follows:
D-Pad: character movement
A: confirm / use command
X: change command
L: shortcuts / camera movement
R: camera movement
As one progress through the game, additional abilities would be gained and are mapped accordingly to each button.
Worlds and Characters
During the game, the player will revisit world's from previous Kingdom Hearts titles. These worlds are:
Playable characters are:
(Xion, Sora, Riku, Mickey Mouse, Donald, and Goofy are all unlockable characters that can be used in "Mission Mode", the multiplayer cooperative mode.)
As shown in the Tokyo Game Show, the gamers will have to work together and with the help (if necessary) of the AI characters to overcome their enemies. Unlike Chain of Memories' multiplayer, this one won't be 1v1 but all the players facing monsters or bosses, that's why cooperation is needed. The multiplayer experience will have mission based objectives to accomplish and you will be able to control one of the 13 Organization members with each one having different weapons and attacks. The game will also have online communication by drawing symbols on your screen. At this stage, no voice chat was confirmed.
When Sora turns himself into a Heartless to free Kairi's heart in Kingdom Hearts, his Nobody, Roxas, is created; however, unlike most Nobodies, Roxas lacks memories of his past life as Sora. Soon Roxas is found by Xemnas, the leader of Organization XIII, and recruited as its thirteenth member. Each day he is sent to other worlds, either alone or accompanied by his fellow members, to destroy vast quantities of Heartless, releasing stolen hearts and furthering the Organization's goal to summon Kingdom Hearts and become complete beings. During his time in the Organization, Roxas is placed under the mentorship of Axel, whom he quickly befriends. Shortly after Roxas's induction, the Organization sees the arrival of a fourteenth member named Xion who, like Roxas, has no recollection of her past and can also wield the Keyblade. Xion grows close to Roxas, and forms a friendly trio with her and Axel.
As DiZ and Naminé watch over Sora while he sleeps to regain the memories he lost at the end of Chain of Memories, Roxas begins to experience the process for himself, 'growing' increasingly curious about why he can wield the Keyblade and doubtful of the Organization's motives. Xion, meanwhile, is thrown into disarray over the nature of her existence after an encounter with Riku, discovering that she is an imperfect replica of Sora created by Xemnas from Sora's memories in the event that Sora
turned out to be useless to the Organization's plans; in addition, Naminé's attempts to restore Sora's memories not only affect Roxas, but Xion as well, preventing Sora from awakening. Torn between staying with her friends and merging with Sora as per Riku's advice, Xion eventually decides to make the decision best for everyone and attempts to escape from the Organization. However, she is forced to fight off her friends, who are ordered to track her down every time she escapes, which leaves Axel disillusioned. Finally, Roxas grows frustrated with his unanswered questions and defects from Organization XIII, leaving Axel dejected.
At Twilight Town, Roxas encounters Xion, who has been reprogrammed by Xemnas to fulfill her original purpose of absorbing Roxas and becoming the "real" Sora. After a grueling battle, Roxas defeats Xion, who exposes the Organization's true intentions and tells Roxas to stop Xemnas at all costs before fading away, returning to Sora and awakening a new power in Roxas. While heading back to confront Xemnas, Roxas encounters and battles Riku, who was dispatched by DiZ to capture him.When Riku is nearly defeated, he taps into the supressed darkness in his heart, granting him the power necessary to subdue Roxas, but also giving him the appearance of Xehanort's Heartless, who resides in his heart. Riku subsequently brings Roxas to DiZ, who inserts Roxas into a virtual simulation of Twilight Town so that he may eventually merge with Sora and complete the restoration of his memories, setting the stage for Kingdom Hearts II.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is notable in Disney history for having the final performance of Mickey Mouse by Wayne Allwine. Allwine had been doing Mickey since 1976 in various Disney projects including installments of the Kingdom Hearts series. In May of 2009, Allwine passed away due to complications of diabetes at the age of 62. The western version of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is dedicated to his memory.
Music created specifically for 358/2 Days was part of the 3rd disc of the Birth by Sleep soundtrack along with original music from Re: Coded and the Final Mix of Birth by Sleep. The music appears in full orchestrated versions as opposed to the digitized versions in the original DS cart. The following is only original music from 358/2 Days:
|2.||Results and Rewards||0:56|
|6.||Musique pour la tristesse de Xion||3:59|
|8.||Secret of Neverland||1:54|
|9.||Crossing to Neverland||2:18|
|10.||At Dusk, I Will Think of You...||4:00|
|11.||Fight and Away||2:17|
|12.||Vector to the Heavens||3:51|
|13.||Another Side -Battle Ver.-||3:02|
Use in HD 1.5 Remix
358/2 Days is part of the Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix (along with Kingdom Hearts Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories) for Playstation 3. However, since the game was originally on the Nintendo DS and would require a substantial remake in order for it to look presentable in HD, the game itself is not playable in the collection. Instead, HD versions of cutscenes from the game are viewable and this includes cutscenes that were text only in the original game remade as voiced cutscenes. Series head Tetsuya Nomura has said 70% of the cutscenes from the game will be included amounting to almost 3 hours of footage. This version will maintain Roxas' Diary, Secret Reports, and Character Descriptions from the game which will also be available for viewing.