Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, read "Kingdom Hearts Three-Five-Eight Days over Two", is the fifth game in the Kingdom Hearts series, released exclusively on the Nintendo DS. It focuses on the life of Roxas between the end of Kingdom Hearts and the beginning of Kingdom Hearts II, exploring the time from Roxas's creation until his confrontation with Riku that leads to his placement in the simulated Twilight Town.
The Ultimate Hits edition was re-released in Japan on March 29, 2012 as part of the 10th Anniversary Box.
The game was remade as an HD movie for Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX, although some content, such as cutscenes in Disney worlds, had to be summarized into short text so it would be under three hours.
After Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix wrapped development, many different projects were greenlit all at the same time, each being created with handheld devices in mind. While the main team was finishing development on Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories as well as starting development on Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep for the PlayStation 2 before transitioning to the PlayStation Portable and Kingdom Hearts coded for mobile devices, a seperate title for Nintendo DS was outsourced to game development studio h.a.n.d, with Tetsuya Nomura and Tomohiro Hasegawa stepping in as co-directors. All three games were announced on September 20, 2007 at the Tokyo Game Show behind closed doors.
During pre-production, it was decided that the game should not focus on Sora and should instead flesh out another "main character." Roxas was eventually decided on as the protagonist to both explain his backstory, connection to the organization and his ultimate fate before the events of Kingdom Hearts II. Unlike Chain of Memories before it, the increased processing power of the DS allowed the game to play much more similarly to a traditional Kingdom Hearts game, although the team ran into technical hurdles due to the lack of buttons on the system. The team opted to not use the touch screen to further complicated the controls. The logo being a warm red color was made as an allusion to the sunset of Twilight Town. The subtitle 358/2 Days was initially left unexplained until the game released, where it was revealed to refer to the 358 days Roxas spent as an organization member and how Nomura expected the average player to complete the game in 2 days.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy is severed as the basis for Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. Director Tetsuya Nomura had originally envisioned Dissidia as a Kingdom Hearts spin-off featuring various Disney characters, but felt uncomfortable with Disney characters fighting each other and opted to use Final Fantasy characters instead. 358/2 Days's multiplayer mode was later derived from Dissidia and one of the reasons Nomura chose Organization XIII as the main characters of the game.
Demos of the game were made available at Jump Festa in December 2007 and the DKΣ3713 Private party in August 2008. The game initially had a late 2008 release date, but was delayed to February 2009 and again to its Japanese release on May 30, 2009. The official trailer was released during E3 2009 and officially released on September 29, 2009 for North America and October 9, 2009 for Europe. To promote the game, a tie-in game titled Kingdom Hearts Magical Puzzle Clash was released for web browsers around the release of the main game.
This game marks Wayne Allwine's final performance as Mickey Mouse, with his lines produced from archived sound recordings. The credits contain a dedication to him: "In loving memory of Wayne Allwine."
The game covers the story of Roxas before the events of Kingdom Hearts II. On the day he is born as Sora's Nobody when Sora transforms into a Heartless in Kingdom Hearts, Roxas is found in Twilight Town by Xemnas, the leader of Organization XIII, who names him its thirteenth member. Each day he is sent on missions to other worlds, either alone or accompanied by his fellow members, to destroy Heartless with the Keyblade and release captive hearts, with which the Organization can fulfill their goal of summoning Kingdom Hearts and become complete beings. Roxas is placed under the care of Axel, whom he befriends and spends his spare time with at the end of each day, sitting atop the clock tower in Twilight Town, speaking what's on their minds and eating sea salt ice cream together.
Shortly after Roxas's induction, the Organization sees the arrival of a mysterious fourteenth member, Xion. Her appearance changes from person to person, depending on their relationship with her. Later, when Axel and several other members are assigned to Castle Oblivion (setting the stage for Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories), Roxas is paired with Xion. The two begin to bond, and the reclusive Xion begins opening up to Roxas, revealing her resemblance to Sora's friend Kairi, and her ability to wield the Keyblade.
A few days later, Roxas falls into a coma for several weeks, around the same time Sora is put to sleep to regain the memories he lost in Castle Oblivion. Roxas finally awakens and finds that all the members dispatched to Castle Oblivion, except Axel, have been eliminated. Feeling lonely, Roxas suggests that he, Axel and Xion all spend time together, and the three become close friends, eventually including Xion on their trips to the clock tower. However, Roxas begins experiencing Sora's memories and grows frustrated when his questions about them go unanswered, becoming increasingly curious about why he wields the Keyblade and doubtful of the Organization's motives.
Meanwhile, Sora, who is still sleeping, is moved from Castle Oblivion to Twilight Town by DiZ and Naminé, who are overseeing the restoration of his memories. Xion also has a confrontation with Riku, who brings her identity and the authenticity of her Keyblade into question and suggests she leave the Organization to merge with her original self. Xion, however, is torn between doing so and staying with Roxas and Axel.
Eventually Xion discovers that she is an imperfect replica of Sora created by Xemnas from Sora's leaking memories should Sora, who Xemnas intends to use as part of the Organization's plans, turn out to be of no use. Her resemblance to Kairi is a result of Sora's strong memories of her; however, as Naminé attempts to restore Sora's memories, they affect Xion instead to the point where she begins to physically resemble Sora. Upon learning this, Xion becomes deeply confused and lost and leaves Organization XIII, desiring to become a true person, but also having a falling out with Roxas and Axel.
During a 'seek-and-capture' mission, Xigbar and Axel find Xion in Wonderland. As Xigbar prepares to fight her, he sees the appearance of Ventus. Suddenly, while Xigbar is distracted, Xion disappears and takes down Xigbar easily. Axel questions what has just happened before his eyes. Later, Roxas defects from Organization XIII to find himself, much to Axel's chagrin.
Xion is captured unconscious by Axel and dragged away by Xemnas. The next day, she confronts Roxas on the clock tower, where she reveals she has Sora's face. Knowing that Roxas will disappear if she continues to exist, she attacks Roxas to have him destroy her, saving himself and thwarting Xemnas's plan. Roxas battles and defeats Xion, whose body begins to crystallize, and he begins to forget who she is. Xion pleads for Roxas to set Kingdom Hearts free and stop Xemnas's plans. Just before she dies, Roxas is able to remember how they always ate ice cream together, a symbol of their friendship. Xion then dies peacefully in Roxas's arms. She completely crystallizes and turns into a blinding light, as the memories she has absorbed go back to Sora. She leaves nothing but a single thalassa shell behind, as tears run down Roxas's face. Roxas inherits Xion's Keyblade, allowing him to use two Keyblades at once (Oblivion and Oathkeeper).
Soon afterward, he encounters and battles Riku, who had been dispatched by DiZ to capture him so that he may merge with Sora and complete the restoration of his memories. When Riku is nearly defeated, he taps into the growing darkness in his heart, granting him the power necessary to subdue Roxas, but also giving him the appearance of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, who resides in his heart. Riku subsequently brings the unconscious Roxas to DiZ, who digitizes and places him into a virtual Twilight Town.
Roxas wakes up in his bed in the virtual town after having another dream about Sora, his memories altered by DiZ to forget his time with Organization XIII. He changes clothes and runs outside to the Usual Spot, wondering if he, Hayner, Pence, and Olette will finally go to the beach, leading to the beginning of Kingdom Hearts II. After the credits, a brief scene of Roxas encountering Sora is shown.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days's gameplay is similar to the action-RPG style of the previous games in the series, and takes place in a 3D environment. As the title of the game implies, the game is set over the course of 358 days, although the game often fast forwards through weeks at once. Roxas is given a series of missions, such as defeating Heartless or investigating a world. If the player exceeds the expectation for the mission, such as defeating more Heartless than usual, the player will receive more rewards.
There originally were three status bars, HP, MP and a new one labeled LM, but the LM and MP bars have been removed. The familiar command menu from past installments of the game has returned, this time with only three visible commands. Instead of using MP for magic, players can equip the spells they want for each mission using the Panel System. Magic has also been altered in that various forms of the same spell, such as Fire and Firaga, are actually physically different spells instead of the same attack with a different level power.
A camera control scheme that allowed players to move the camera with the touch screen, and to move, jump, and attack using the control pad and face buttons is also present. Some names of Heartless have been changed too (e.g.: Rabid Dog has become Bad Dog).
Another interesting point is the height of the chairs at Where Nothing Gathers. While playing in multiplayer mode, the chairs' heights do not relate to their own preferences, but rather their rank during the missions. The members who come in lower places, out of all four members participating in the challenge, will receive lower chairs than the members who scored higher. When missions are completed, the height of the chairs will either move up or down in accordance to their previous position.
Gears allowed character to access different weapons . Additionally, each individual weapon has its own attack combo, with many of them having secondary combos, called Y-Combos, activated by pressing when prompted in mid-attack.
All of the enemies have base stats for HP, Attack, and Defense that scale according to their level, which is, in turn, determined by the Mission in which they appear.
The game also has a feature called a Bonus Gauge and it's only available to a few missions. The purpose of the Bonus Gauge is to multiply a mission's rewards when it gets to a certain mark.
This game contains the most playable characters ever in the series, with a total of nineteen characters: all of Organization XIII, Sora, Riku, Donald, Goofy, and King Mickey.
Limit Breaks are a new addition to the series. When the player's HP drops into a low yellow section of their HP bar, a Limit Break can be initiated by holding down the A button for a few seconds. Depending on which character the player is controlling, a powerful, element based attack will be performed (e.g. Roxas goes into a frenzy, shooting around in an aura of light while hurling light crosses on every finishing attack, whereas Demyx rocks out on his sitar, sending pillars of water out of the ground). A second stage of Limit Break called "Final Limit" can also be used, which increases the character's attacking power (e.g. Roxas sends pillars of Light out, and Demyx's water blasts are accompanied by a watery explosion). Unlike Limits from Kingdom Hearts II, players can take damage when attacked while performing their Limit Break.
This is the second game in the series to feature multiplayer following Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories which featured the ability to fight others one on one with a feature called "Link Mode". There is a four-player non-canonical multiplayer mode, where players can play as 19 characters and go on missions. Initially, the first thirteen members of Organization XIII are available, with Xion, Riku, Donald, and Goofy unlocked by progressing through the story. The King and Sora can be unlocked after completing the story and purchasing certain items at the Moogle Shop. Dual-Wielding Roxas can be playable by equipping Roxas with the Zero Gear and 3 Ability Units.
Worlds and characters
Preordering through Amazon.com in North American came with a slipcover that has Roxas standing in a background of Hidden Mickey, Hearts, Roxas's symbol, Crown, and Nobody insignias.
Preordering through GameStop in North American came with a set of postcards featuring various characters that appear in the game.
In Japan, a limited edition black Nintendo DSi console adorn with Hidden Mickey, Hearts, Roxas's symbol, Crown, and Nobody insignias was released with the game.
Notes and references