Commands (コマンド Komando ) are a recurring game element in the Kingdom Hearts series. They are the primary mechanic for actions in the field. The only installments in the series without a Command system are Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories and its remake, Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, which use Cards instead.
There are two Command systems that appear in the Kingdom Hearts series: the Command Menu and the Command Deck.
The Command Menu appears in Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-, and Kingdom Hearts III.
The Command Menu allows the player to execute the highlighted action, which can be chosen from the various options. In certain circumstances, some commands in the menu may be blanked out or disabled, either before certain functions are introduced to the player, during periods when certain abilities cannot be used, or when an ability or attack has disabled commands.
In Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, the Command Menu changes color, being blue in noncombat situations, yellow in regular combat, and red in scripted fights, such as against bosses. Additionally, the Command Menu in Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts III has a unique design in each world, as well as in certain areas, such as the Mysterious Tower and the White Room in the Old Mansion. In Birth By Sleep, Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- and Kingdom Hearts III, the top segment of the command bar can separately change design and names when a Command Style, Formchange, Attraction Flow,
The recurring commands that appear in the Command Menu are:
- Attack (たたかう Tatakau ): Allows the player to execute a basic attack combo with their equipped weapon. The Attack command is the default action for the player, as it will be highlighted automatically after executing other commands. In certain situations, Attack will be replaced by a secondary function, such as "Talk" or "Shoot".
- Magic (まほう Mahou ): Allows the player to select a basic magic to cast from a sub-menu. In Kingdom Hearts, the Magic sub-menu includes summons.
- Items (アイテム Aitemu ): Allows the player to use an equipped consumable item from a sub-menu.
In Kingdom Hearts II, additional commands are added to the Command Menu, along with a second page accessible by pressing on the D-pad.
- Drive (ドライヴ Doraivu ): Allows the player to activate a Drive Form.
- Summon (しょうかん Shoukan ): Allows the player to summon allies to the field.
- Party (チェンジ Chenji , lit. "Change"): Allows the player to switch out members of their party.
- Limit (れんけい Renkei , lit. "Combination"): Allows the player to select a Limit to initiate with one or more members of the party. In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, it also allows the player use Limit commands while in Limit Form.
Kingdom Hearts III removes the Limit, Drive, and Party commands, adding the Link Summon. The Player is now able to choose and switch between three different Keyblades by pressing or on the D-Pad.
In Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD, two separate sub-menus that function like the Command Menu were added to the game to use the Link System or to be able to switch Dream Eater party members as a replacement for the Nintendo 3DS's dual screen system from Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.
The bottom-most command in the Command Menu in Kingdom Hearts changes in function depending on the situation. For example, it will change to display "Open", "Save", or "Examine" when approaching a Treasure Chest, Save Point, or an object of interest, respectively. In battle, this command will also change to allow access to special abilities.
This command only appears in the original Kingdom Hearts, as it is replaced with Reaction Commands in Kingdom Hearts II and a context sensitive Attack command in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. In the Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX re-release of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, the bottom command is replaced with the "Summon" command, with Reaction Commands assuming the role of the context-sensitive command.
Reaction Commands are context-sensitive commands that can be used by pressing when the command appears above the Command Menu. The command that appears may be determined by abilities that are equipped, enemies that are being fought, or objects that are nearby.
Reaction Commands appear only in Kingdom Hearts II and the HD re-release of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix for Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX, but the button serves a similar purpose in Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, when using certain Sleights and Deck Commands, respectively.
As noted above, the HD 1.5 Remix version of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix uses Reaction Commands in place of the context-sensitive command from the previous releases, to improve ease of use in combat.
Situation Commands are context-sensitive commands similar to Reaction Commands, but can be activated through various buttons. Because of this, multiple Situation Commands can be available simultaneously.
They appear in Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- and Kingdom Hearts III.
Magic can be set to face buttons for easy access during battle. In Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts III, shortcuts are set in the main menu under "Customize". Commands set to shortcuts can be accessed by holding down the shoulder button and pressing the corresponding face buttons. In Kingdom Hearts III, shortcuts now have three separate decks for commands to be issued to instead of one, enabling players to set up different types of decks for shortcuts, rather than constantly having to modify the same deck.
In Kingdom Hearts, the button cannot be set as a shortcut, while in Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts III, equipped items can also be set to shortcuts.
In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, shortcuts are added by highlighting entries from the Magic or Item menus, then holding down and pressing the standard buttons of , , , or . Subsequently, the player can hold down while in the field, then press the face button corresponding to the desired command. However, if all the panels for that command are removed during panel management, or if the current stock of a item has been used up during a mission, a new shortcut is required to be set up for that button.
The Command Deck is a set of Deck Commands, or actions the player can equip for use in the field. Deck Commands can include weapon techniques, magic, or consumable items. After using a command, it goes through a cool-down period before it can be used again. The Command Deck is set from the main menu.
While most of these commands will cause the user to quickly drop to the ground to activate them in both Birth by Sleep and Re:coded, a larger majority of them can now be used freely in midair in Dream Drop Distance, save for item commands.
The Base Command (ベースコマンド Bēsu Komando ) is permanently mapped to a single action button, ( in Japan) for Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and for Kingdom Hearts Re:coded and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. The command is displayed immediately below the Command Deck.
Attack is mapped to the base command by default, but the base command is context sensitive, allowing the player to execute other actions in the field with the action button, including "Talk", "Open", and "Examine". Additionally, under specific circumstances, Finish commands, Reprisal commands, and Reaction commands are activated by the base command.
In Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts III, the feature to change the command menu into a world-specific design is present. This has no impact on the gameplay other than acting as a cosmetic upgrade. However, if the player finds the animated menus too intrusive the option to change to the default one in the settings menu is present at all times.
In Kingdom Hearts III, a small glitch occurs if the player changes the design while in the opening Olympus chapter that causes the "???" fourth slot to change to "Link", even without a Heartbinder in the inventory, though the command itself remains unusable.
Kingdom Hearts II
Kingdom Hearts III
Notes and references
- Famitsu Interview, pg. 65; Interviewer: "Changing Spirits and Link Attacks are now executed through changing commands with a cursor key, too. It felt a little difficult, since I wasn't used to it." / Tetsuya Nomura: "It wasn't included in the demo version, but in the full version we plan to make it possible to select Spirits with a shortcut. In battle, you don't control just one character like in Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-, you manage the Dream Eaters fighting alongside you to some extent, which can get a little complex on occasion. But that's an important part of the feel of the battle gameplay in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, and I think having it be a little tough is what makes it so exhilarating when you get the hang of it." Translation via Goldpanner
|Attack | Magic | Items | Summon | Drive | Limit | Reaction Command | Deck Command (KHBBS, KHREC, KH3D) | Finish Command (KHBBS, KHREC) | Situation Command|
|Stats | Bonus Level | Gauges | Prizes | Abilities (KH, KHCOM, KHII, KHD, KHBBS, KHREC, KH3D, KHIII) | Synthesis|
|Cards (Attack, Magic, Item, Summon, Friend, Gimmick, Enemy, Special, Reload, Map, World) | Sleight | Dark Mode|
Panel System | Limit Break | Command Meld | Dimension Link | Command Style | Shotlock | Stat Matrix | Gear Matrix | Flowmotion | Reality Shift | Link System | Ability Link | Drop System | Cards (KHχ) | Medal (KHUχ) | Special attack