What is Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue?
Kingdom Hearts is a distinctly Disney-themed role playing game, which sees players step into the shoes of a Keyblade Wielder - a powerful warrior charged with protecting the world from darkness. With many Disney worlds having been overcome by shadowy enemies, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves to The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pinnochio and many more besides, it falls to you to save them, in Kingdom Hearts' signature fast-paced, button-mashing battles.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is a collection of two Kingdom Hearts games and one extended cutscene, all bundled together into one big package. Continuing the story from previous collections, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix, it includes a remake of 3DS adventure Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, a brand new, never before seen short adventure named Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage-, and an hour long cinematic (with no game to play), Kingdom Hearts X: Back Cover.
With the story always playing such a huge role in the Kingdom Hearts games, new players will find this much easier going if they've played the earlier games - especially as the new Birth By Sleep - A fragmentary Passage adventure contains some pretty big spoilers for several Kingdom Hearts games.
How do you play Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue?
In Dream Drop Distance, you get to play as both Sora and Riku, two young keyblade wielders who set out to take on their Mark of Mastery exams - a test that essentially proves they know how to handle themselves in a fight. To do this, they'll need to travel into sleeping Disney worlds, and take out the enemies that dwell inside them in order to wake them up. What follows is a fairly standard Kingdom Hearts-style adventure, full of exploration, light puzzle solving and fast-paced battles. Battles generally involve a mix of mashing the attack button to whack enemies with your Keyblade 'sword', interspersed with well-timed dodges and the occasional spell. To help you in your quest, you're also able to recruit friendly versions of the 'dream eater' enemies to fight alongside you, training and raising them as you go in a vague Pokemon-esque way.
The all-new adventure, A Fragmentary Passage, follows a keyblade wielder named Aqua, who's found herself trapped in the dark and twisted Realm of Darkness, following the events of the Playstation Portable's Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep. As you make your way through the dilapidated towns, crumbling mines and mirrored hallways, you'll again spend your time exploring, solving simple puzzles and fighting with bad guys, in much the same button-mashing battles - whacking enemies with her keyblade, casting the odd spell and dodging the worst of their attacks. Puzzle-wise, you'll find yourself collecting up clock cogs to rewind time, navigating a seemingly endless staircase, and leaping your way through the floating platforms of the Seven Dwarves' Mine, as you try to find a way out. A kind of prologue/tech demo for Kingdom Hearts III, this is one of the highlights of the package.
Kingdom Hearts X: Back Cover meanwhile, is an hour long cinematic, with nothing in the way of game to play - it's simply something you sit back and watch for the story, as it fills in the blanks.
How easy is Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue to pick up and play?
In general, Kingdom Hearts 2.8 is fairly easy to get to grips with. For starters, both games have three difficulties to choose from, with Beginner putting you up against much weaker enemies, making it perfectly suited to newcomers who may be a bit bamboozled at the fast-paced nature of the battles. However, once you get up to speed, Kingdom Hearts is actually fairly forgiving, no matter what difficulty you're playing on. Sora, Riku and Aqua all lock on to nearby enemies, and simply mashing the attack button should be sufficient to take out most groups of bad guys, with the occasional stop to heal yourself with a spell or potion. Boss fights can be a little more tricky, but still mostly revolve around whacking it until it stops moving.
Dream Drop Distance HD is probably the most challenging of the three games to get to grips with, because of its unusual structure. Each of the worlds Sora and Riku take on during their Mark of Mastery exams are split in two, with Sora going to one and Riku to the other - and each half of the world has its own independent story, quests and structure to it. As you play as one of the characters a timer will count down with everything you do, and once it reaches zero you'll be automatically switched to the other character, irrespective of what you're doing - pulling you out of boss fights, puzzles and exploring midway through. Sometimes, the two characters will even be in totally separate worlds, should you have finished one as Sora but not Riku, meaning you'll need to keep a close eye on the timer at all times!
For the youngest of players, the bulk of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is fully voiced - all cutscenes and important story segments have voice acting, and the only real reading you need to do is for the odd prompt, shopkeeper interaction or menu navigation. As such, its the kind of game you could get by with with very little reading.
- "Check in right here for Flick Rush, kupo!"
- "A Training Toy that lets you play with spirits in an underwater prize playground!"
- "Track down Quasimodo in the cathedral!"
Given its family friendly, Disney-centric roots, it should come as little surprise that Kingdom Hearts is a fairly tame adventure, with little in the way of mature content.
Players battle with fantastical creatures (dragons, imps, slimes etc) and classic Disney villains in melee combat, whacking enemies with a giant key-shaped sword, accompanied by bright lights, impact sounds and the occasional cry of pain. When defeated, enemies simply disappear in a flash of light, dropping coloured orbs on the ground, while the occasional cutscene depicts human characters struck or wounded by magical swords and explosions. There's no gore or sex scenes to speak of either, and the closet Kingdom Hearts comes to bad language is the rare utterance of the word 'hell'.