The latest iteration brings rail shooter action to the Kingdom Hearts world.
Square Enix brought their collection of Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts sequels to TGS again this year. This time they bring a new game in the Kingdom Hearts franchise to the DS - Kingdom Hearts Re:coded.
Kingdom Hearts Re:coded features the same action-oriented RPG-influenced gameplay the franchise is known for, only this time it's in full 3D on the DS. That being the case, it plays like any other Kingdom Hearts game, but with a couple of twists. The two areas I had a chance to play took place in the Alice in Wonderland universe - the first was your basic hack and slash action gameplay, but the second was a break from tradition in that it was a Z-axis forced scroller similar to games such as Sin & Punishment and Panzer Dragoon.
This second part of gameplay was the meat of what I played during the short demo. In it, Sora proceeds forward on a set path with the camera behind him, and the player controls his movement side-to-side and up-and-down by jumping. True to the genre this mode was modeled from, Sora's attack involves shooting at his targets as opposed to slashing. He can shoot one attack straight forward, or by holding the button can charge up and shoot up to 5 lock on shots at once. This proved quite effective against the hordes of impish Black Mage characters I had to take down on my way to the area boss.
The area boss was a lanky paper-like being who could shoot Sora with columns of fire, which could mainly be dodged with well-timed jumps. Not particularly challenging, but then that wouldn't be surprising since that was the only area we were allowed to play during the demo.
The game seems to sidestep the DS's space limitations by illustrating story progression with 2D artwork that shows the characters in various poses while conversing. Pretty standard stuff, but it gets the job done. While I didn't get a chance to see any of the game's FMV, what I saw of it in a promotional video for the game seemed to indicate the game's FMV was made using in game models from its counterparts on the more powerful systems, as opposed to computer rendered models like those seen in Square Enix's other franchises.
I only had a very short amount of time with Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, though fans of the series should enjoy getting another portable fix, this time in 3D.