User:EternalNothingnessXIII/Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Walkthrough/Game Basics

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You have successfully reached the Game Basics section of this Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep walkthrough. Read the information below to learn basic facts necessary to successfully play through the game.

Getting Started

Choosing a Difficulty Level

As soon as you select "New Game" on the start menu, you will be asked to choose a difficulty level on which to play. It is important to note that regardless of your decision, you will NOT be able to change difficulty settings later. Depending on which difficulty you select, more or less will be required from you before you can unlock the game's secret movie. A list of difficulty levels, combat differences for each level, and obtainment methods for the secret movie in each level can be found below:


Difficulty Level Combat Differences How to Unlock the Secret Movie
Beginner You deal 50% more damage. All damage received is halved. Not unlockable.
Standard You deal and receive normal damage. Clear the Final Episode and complete each character's Reports section.
Proud You deal normal damage, but all damage dealt to you is doubled. Clear Terra, Ventus, and Aqua's scenarios, as well as the Final Episode.
Critical You deal half the usual damage and all damage you receive is doubled. The game begins with extra slots in your Command Deck. Clear Terra, Ventus, and Aqua's scenarios, as well as the Final Episode.

Choosing a Character

Before Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep truly begins, you must first select a character whose scenario you would like to play through. Note that you can always start another character's scenario mid-way through another character's by returning to the start menu. Your choices in terms of playable characters (as well as brief overviews of their stats) are as follows:

Character Pros Cons
Terra High physical attack power
High HP
High Defense stat
Slow movement and attack speed
Low blocking ability
Low magical power
Commands obtained lack variety (mainly physical techniques)
Ventus Even stats
Fast movement and attack speed
Obtains wide range of Commands
Low HP
Low blocking ability
Aqua Average stats
Average movement and attack speed
Strong blocking ability
High Magic stat
Low physical attack power
Commands obtained lack variety (mainly magic-based)

Storyline Basics

Navigating the Worlds

Regardless of who you play as in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and what worlds you visit in these characters' scenarios, the pattern each character's story follows in each world is the same:

1) Travel to a world via the Lanes Between and select "Visit World"
2) Explore the world in search of treasure and Crown Stickers and defeat Unversed
3) Defeat a boss
4) Proceed to the next world

Each character begins with three worlds accessible to him or her at the beginning of his or her scenario. By clearing these three worlds' storylines, three more are unlocked, and so on. Some worlds may become temporarily inaccessible until later in the game to match what transpires during the game's custscenes. Regardless of this fact, any world can be revisited after its story is cleared, and all worlds are 100% accessible at the end of the game.

Cutscenes

One of the most enjoyable things about Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep is its amazingly designed cutscenes and the epic story told through them. Since the game is over 90% voiced, you'll be seeing a lot of these beautiful pieces of CG animation as you play through each character's scenario.

There are times when cutscenes are simply an annoyance, however, particularly when you find yourself losing to the same boss over and over again and do not wish to have to rewatch the cutscenes preceding the battle every time you reattempt it. It is for this reason that all voiced cutscenes can be skipped by pressing Start and then selecting "Skip Scene". For cutscenes that are not voiced and simply involve characters speaking via speech bubbles, rapidly tap X to breeze through the sometimes lengthy dialogue. Like in past games, all voiced cutscenes in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep also come with subtitles.

Side-Quests and the Final Episode

The adventure continues after all three characters' scenarios have been completed for the first time thanks to the Final Episode, which includes a boss fight specific only to this mode. You will assume the role of Aqua, picking up the story where her scenario concluded, as well as maintaining her Command Deck, Keyblade, and stats. All worlds save for the Land of Departure and the Keyblade Graveyard will be accessible to you. For Proud and Critical Mode players, clearing the Final Episode is the only way to unlock the secret movie.

Like past games, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep also has several side-quests, two of the most notable being facing the challenges of two nearly impossible-to-defeat bosses. The rewards for beating these enemies are unobtainable through other means, so if your characters are at a high level, it is recommended that you make an attempt to beat these foes. Another side-quest which offers less valuable rewards is Crown Sticker collection, something that is best done in each character's scenario as you play through his or her story. Regardless of the side-quest you take, each has no outcome on the story whatsoever.

Gameplay Basics

Controls

Button Function in Battle Function Outside of Battle Function in Menus Miscellaneous Functions
X Perform normal attacks
Execute Shotlock
Attack foes during Keyblade Glider battles
May be involved in some on-screen prompts
Swing the Keyblade
Open treasure chests
Interact with objects
Speak with NPC's
Select an option Increase movement speed in the Lanes Between
Select options on the Command Board
Increase movement speed during Rumble Racing
Shoot during Fruit Ball
Triangle Use a Command in your Command Deck
Summon a Dimension Link
Attack foes during Keyblade Glider battles
May be involved in some on-screen prompts
Use a Command in your Command Deck
Summon a Dimension Link
Equip/Unequip abilities in the Abilities menu
Rename Finish Commands
View a larger image of a character or enemy in the Reports section
Opens the "Visit/Leave World" menu in the Lanes Between
View spaces of the Command Board
Put up a barrier in Rumble Racing
Bump during Fruit Ball
Square Perform a dodging technique in combination with the analog stick
Use Guard or Barrier
Use Barrier during Keyblade Glider battles
May be involved in some on-screen prompts
Perform a dodging technique in combination with the analog stick
Use Guard or Barrier
Reset Finish Command names Zoom out on the Command Board
Use brakes during Rumble Racing
Curve during Fruit Ball
Circle Jump (hold to glide as Ventus or press again to double-jump as Aqua)
Jump during Keyblade Glider battles
May be involved in some on-screen prompts
Jump (hold to glide as Ventus or press again to double-jump as Aqua) Exit menus Exit Command Board
Skid Charge during Rumble Racing
L1R1 Adjust camera positioning
Press both to Lock-On/disengage Lock-On/Shift opponent you are Locked-On to
Hold both to target foes for Shotlock
Adjust camera position
Hold down both to target foes for Shotlock
Shift between menus and options Adjust camera angle during Mini-Games
UpDown Cycle through the Command Deck and list of available Dimension Links Cycle through the Command Deck and list of available Dimension Links Cycle through menu options Navigate the Command Board
Left
Right
Press Right to enter the Dimension Link menu and Left to exit it Press Right to enter the Dimension Link menu and Left to exit it Cycle through menu options Navigate the Command Board
Shift between Command Board options
Analog Stick Controls character movement (can be combined with Square to execute dodging techniques or Circle to jump in a particular direction) Controls character movement (can be combined with Square to execute dodging techniques or Circle to jump in a particular direction) Cycle through menu options Controls character movement in the Lanes Between and during Mini-Games
Start Pause the game (press again to unpause) Enter the Camp Menu
Pause cutscenes (press again to unpause)
N/A Pause the game during Mini-Games or while in the Lanes Between (press again to unpause)
Select N/A Enter first-person view (press again to exit) N/A N/A

Saving

Throughout your journey, you will encounter glowing pools of light known as Save Points. These can be approached at any time to instantly replenish your character's HP, and you can also access the save menu and "World Map" option by pressing X. Save Points often appear before important story events unfold or a boss fight takes place, so use this to your advantage.

Defeat

If you are defeated in battle at any time in the game, you will be taken to a black menu screen that presents you with three options:

  • Continue
  • Retry (only available after loss in a boss fight or event battle)
  • Load Game

The first option, "Continue," revives your character at a location near your place of defeat. It allows for you to change any necessary equipment before you reattempt the battle that caused your defeat, but you may have to rewatch or skip a few cutscenes before it begins.

The second option, "Retry," revives your character and allows you to try the battle you lost as if you were never defeated. While this option is less time-consuming than "Continue," you cannot change equipment or perform any other functions until the battle has ended. It is recommended that you retry a battle a few times before selecting "Continue," as you will be able to determine what parts of your strategy, if any, need to be changed.

The last option, "Load Game," allows you to, as its name implies, open the save menu and select a different saved game to load. This should only be used as a last resort, as you will lose any unsaved progress from before the battle you were defeated in and will force you to play from where you last saved your game in the newly loaded save file.

The Command System

The Command Deck

The conerstone of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep is ultimately acquiring, melding, and mastering Commands. Aside from basic combos, Command Styles, and Finish Commands (which are detailed below), everyone of your character's Commands can be found in his or her Command Deck. These techniques include anything from the ability to jump and block to the usage of Potions and other items, let alone casting spells like Firaga and Thundaga or unleashing special physical attacks such as Ars Solum or Blitz. You can prepare up to three different Command Decks that can be switched at any time for use in battle in the Command Decks section of the Camp Menu. Each Command Deck consists of three different sections:

  • Battle Commands
  • Action Commands
  • Shotlock Commands

Battle Commands are special attacks, spells, and items your characters can execute via Triangle. Your characters acquire these Commands throughout their quest, and they can be equipped to the Command Deck in the Camp Menu. Those Commands in the Command Deck are always visible on the bottom left-hand corner of the screen, where you can shift through them by pressing Up and Down on the D-pad. The game begins with only three available slots in which to place Commands, but your characters will gain a grand total of eight over the course of their journey. While a majority of Commands take up only one slot each, more powerful ones take up two spaces with Friend Commands such as Trinity Limit taking up three. Battle Commands become sealed off temporarily and need to reload for varying periods of time after usage before they can be utilized again.

Action Commands are your character's innate abilities, which they can execute at any time you like. Action Commands include basic functions such as jumping and blocking, but they also have more advanced versions such as gliding or counterattacking. These techniques are learned as the game progresses. There are enough slots in your character's Command Deck to equip one of each type of Action Command, thus you do not have to choose between them, but it is recommended that you replace basic abilities such as Block with more advanced versions once you obtain them such as Renewal Block, as these upgraded Commands often have additional beneficial effects when used.

Shotlock Commands are your character's main method of attacking enemies at long range. Each character learns several Shotlock Commands over the course of his or her journey, but only one can be equipped at a time. As some Shotlocks possess special properties such as the ability to deal elemental damage, their strength will vary depending on the situation. It is for this reason you may wish to try varying which Shotlocks you use rather than relying on a single favorite.

Acquiring New Commands

Each character begins the game only with a small selection of Commands suited for his or her basic skills, but hundreds more can be earned on each of their quests. The several different ways to earn commands are as follows:

  • Treasure Chests - Many treasure chests dot the worlds in which your character visits. The location of these chests vary by character, but Commands are a common reward for finding them.
  • Drop Prizes - There is a chance when battling opponents that a small box with a lightning bolt on the side will be dropped along with the usual Munny and HP balls. These boxes contain rather basic and cheap Commands, often items such as Potions.
  • Mini-Game Rewards - Your character can obtain rare and unique Commands by completing mini-games such as Rumble Racing and Fruitball. The best Commands, however, can be obtained on the Command Board, a board game-like mini-game in which you can purchase the Commands your character lands on with an in-game currency. Collecting Crown Stickers also can yield valuable Commands.
  • Melding - When Commands have collected enough CP and have reached their maximum level (denoted by a crown symbol), they can be melded with other Commands depending on their level to forge new ones that are often rarer and much more powerful than the two Commands that made them. A majority of the game's most powerful and rare Commands can only be obtained through this method.
  • Moogle Shop - The Moogle Shop appears in every world and gains new stock frequently. Whenever you complete a world, a new batch of Commands becomes available within every shop. Commands are also added to the shop's stock when you acquire them through other means, such as Command melding. The Moogle Shop is unique in the fact that once you meld Commands into a stronger form, you can always go back and purchase a duplicate of the two original Commands. The Moogle Shop in the Mirage Arena, however, is the only exception to this. Here only certain types of Commands can be obtained in a stock that only increases as your Arena Level does. Medals earned through the completion of events are spent in this Moogle Shop rather than Munny.

Mastering Commands

With the exception of items and a small selection of spells such as Esuna, virtually all Commands are strengthened by leveling up in a similar fashion to your character. Whenever an enemy is defeated in battle, Commands in your Command Deck gain a CP amount equivalent to the amount of EXP your character earns. These Commands level up at set intervals, causing the strength of the Commands' effects to increase slightly. This applies to all Commands, be they Shotlocks, Action, or Battle Commands. When a Command reaches maximum level, it is considered "mastered" and a gold crown appears next to its level on the Commmand Deck screen. Any Commands granted abilities through Command melding also permanently transfer those abilities to your character. While you may seek to level up only one predetermined Command Deck, it is recommended you switch new Commands in for those that reach maximum level so that all CP you gain can be put to good use.

Melding Commands

The easiest way to obtain the game's rarer and more powerful Commands is to make them yourself. This is done through Command melding. Whenever a Command hits maximum level, it has the ability to fuse with any other Command you've obtained, granted it is at a certain level. The various crystals you gain throughout your character's journey also can be added to the mixture, allowing the Command that results from whatever fusion you attempt to possess an ability. Regardless of what Commands are combined and whether crystals are used or not, the resulting Command is often very powerful and cannot be obtained through other means.

There are over 500 different recipes for new Commands within the game. You need not memorize them yourself, however, as the game tells you once you select the Meld Command option from the Command Decks menu which Commands are eligible to be used as melding ingredients. Note that if a particular Command is dimmed out when you wish to use it as an ingredient, it does not mean that it cannot be used; You simply do not have any Commands capable of fusing with it.

There are a couple twists to the melding system, however. One is that exclusive recipes exist for each character, thus a recipe that works for one character may not work for another. It is also possible to make a rare Command unintentionally, which happens at random. An example of this is the combination of Thunder and Confusion Strike to make Thunder Surge. For Terra, there is a 5% chance this combination will instead result in the powerful Ars Solum Command.

Collecting Recipe Books

Your character will find Recipe Books within certain treasure chests across the worlds they visit. These allow you to see for yourself the resulting Command a particular combination would make before the fusion actually takes place. If you have not obtained the required recipe for a certain Command combination, the name of the new Command a fusion produces will simply appear as "???" until you do so.

Creating and Mastering Abilities

Through the usage of the various crystals you obtain throughout your character's journey, the new Commands that result from Command melding can be granted special abilities. These abilities are given to your character while the Command possessing the ability is in his or her Command Deck, and once that Command has reached maximum level, your character learns the ability permanently (the ability is removed otherwise as soon as the underleveled Command leaves your character's Command Deck).

There are 30 possible abilities that can be learned in the entire game, all of which are only obtainable through Command melding. Abilities make vital contributions to character growth, providing increases in HP, increasing resistance to certain elements, et cetera. Which ability is granted to a new Command depends on which crystals were used to make it. For example, the Abounding Crystal attaches abilities which increase the number of prizes or EXP your character receives for defeating enemies. Using this crystal when fusing Zero Gravira and Magnet would yield the Link Prize Plus ability, which increases the number of D-Link prizes dropped in combat. If a Shimmering Crystal is used on that same combination of Commands, however, the resulting ability is Thunder Boost, which increases the damage dealt by your character's Thunder-based Commands.

As mentioned above, your character gains the benefits of an ability for as long as the Command possessing it is in his or her Command Deck. As soon as this Command is removed, the effects of its ability are removed unless the Command has been mastered. If this is the case, the ability becomes a permanent asset to your character. Some abilities, such as Once More, can only be learned a single time. Other abilities, such as Thunder Screen, can be learned multiple times and have cumulative effects.

All your character has learned, is capable of learning again, or has equipped via a Command can be viewed in the Abilities section of the Camp Menu. Each ability has to be created at least once to appear on this list, however. Otherwise, it appears as "???" until you have done so.

Using the Command Gauge

The Command Gauge, which sits atop your Command Deck in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen, is the key to unleashing some of the game's most powerful attacks. As you strike opponents with the Keyblade or execute offensive Commands, the gauge will fill by a certain amount, which varies depending on the technique used. If you allow time to pass between periods of offense, the Command Gauge will begin to drain. Thus it is necessary to fight aggressively in order to make the most of this gameplay element.

Depending on your actions in battle, you will be able to do one of two things upon the successful filling of the Command Gauge:

  • Execute a character's Finish Command.
  • Activate a Command Style by quickly tapping X.

Once you perform either of these options, the Command Gauge will deplete to zero. Luckily, you are immediately able to return to the offensive to begin building it back up again.

Command Styles

As you fill your Command Gauge, the game keeps track of what actions you take to do so. If you use enough Commands of a certain type to trigger a Command Style, your character will switch to that style when the Command Gauge is full. For example, the Thunderbolt Command Style will activate whenever you favor the usage of Thunder-attributed spells and attacks to fill the Command Gauge. If you vary the Commands used while filling the Command Gauge, your character will switch to the Command Style you've triggered most.

When triggered, Command Styles change a character's attack style and include many bonuses such as an increase in attack power and a unique combo. Every Command Style also has a powerful Finish Command that can be executed when the Command Gauge is filled. The effects of Command Styles are not everlasting, however, as the Command Style ends as soon as your character executes its Finisher, you open the Camp Menu, your character leaves an area, or you allow the Command Gauge to fully deplete.

Your character learns new Command Styles throughout his or her journey. These can be viewed in the Stats section of the Camp Menu and do not need to be equipped or managed in any way.

Advanced Command Styles

There are two tiers of Command Styles, denoted by the number of stars next to a Command Style's name on the Stats menu. Only tier one Command Styles can be activated through filling the Command Gauge, but if you fill it once it transforms in to the Style gauge using a particular type of Command, there is a chance a tier two Command Style will be triggered rather than the tier one Command Style's Finisher (an example of how this works is using Aero-related Commands, strike attacks like Fira Strike, or raid attacks like Strike Raid to trigger Ventus's tier two Cyclone Command Style while in his tier one Fever Pitch Command Style). Tier two Command Styles feature more powerful attacks and stronger Finishers than those from tier one, and they end the same ways.

Finish Commands

If you haven't met the conditions to trigger a Command Style and you have filled the Command Gauge, you will instead be able to trigger a powerful Finish Command. Finish Commands deal heavy damage and sometimes have additional effects, such as replenishing HP or generating extra drop prizes.

You can set your character's Finisher on the Command menu's Command Deck screen. Notice that all possible Finish Commands are listed in flowchart form with the level one Finish Command branching off into several level two Finish Commands, and so on. You must unlock each new Finish Command by meeting certain conditions, such as collecting a set amount of CP or using a particular Command Style a certain number of times. You can only unlock Finish Commands that follow the same path as the one that is currently equipped.

Offense - Not Always the Best Defense

While the Command Gauge encourages an aggressive playing style, you cannot remain on the offensive all the time. You begin the game with several defensive Commands preinstalled in your Action Command Deck, and your character will learn more over the course of his or her journey.

Defense

If you tap Square while your character stands still, he or she will create a barrier around him or herself that lasts for roughly two thirds of a second. To block successfully, you must anticipate enemy attacks and press Square roughly one second in advance. If an enemy strikes this protective barrier, it is knocked back and often stunned for a short period of time instead of attacking and dealing damage to your character. While Terra and Ventus are only capable of defending themselves against frontal assaults with a simple Guard technique, Aqua can block attacks from all directions with Barrier. Various forms of defensive Commands exist, some of which restore your character's HP or dish out status ailments when enemies attempt to attack.

Movement

Your character can evade most enemy attacks simply by pressing Square in combination with the analog stick. Your character will then execute their unique dodging technique in the direction specified. You can do this several times in a row simply by repeatedly pressing Square and holding the analog stick in the direction you wish to travel. You also can upgrade your evasive Commands so that they have additional effects, such as dealing damage to those who come into contact with your character while he or she dodges. Evasive Commands can take the place of defensive ones, as while Terra is limited to Slide and its upgrades, Ventus can use Reversal through the quick tapping of Square seconds before an enemy attacks to roll behind the foe instead of blocking, and Aqua can use Teleport to warp behind an enemy instead of casting Barrier.

Reprisals

The last method of defense offers the option to counterattack foes. These Commands are known as Reprisals. If an enemy attempts to harm your character while he or she is blocking, a powerful Counter move can be used by quickly tapping X when prompted. The other type of Reprisals are Payback techniques, which allow your character to strike the opponent by pressing Square if, and only if, an enemy attack has knocked your character of his or her feet and has sent them flying backwards.

Shotlocks

Shotlocks are powerful techniques that allow your character to easily target distant foes and devastate even those that are closer to his or her location. When you press and hold down L1 at the same time as R1, a large green crosshairs will appear on the screen. Use the analog stick to sweep the crosshairs around the battlefield as you lock onto every enemy in the area, or simply focus it on a single target to lock onto it multiple times (note that you only have a certain period of time in which to do this). When you are ready to fire your character's Shotlock or you've locked onto the maximum number of targets, press X and release L1 and R1. Your character will then proceed to launch a barrage of projectiles or zip around the battlefield from enemy to enemy as he or she deals elemental damage.

Shotlocks are equipped via the Command Menu, where they level up in the Shotlock deck through the collection of CP just as a Command does. At level two, your character's Shotlock gains an additional attack that can be used when you lock onto the maximum number of targets and fire. These extra attacks vary by Shotlock and often require the pressing of on-screen prompts in various ways such as pressing X rapidly or at set intervals to fire the additional shots.

The execution of Shotlocks consumes Focus, which is a resource measured in the yellow-to-orange gauge next to your character's HP bar in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. Focus depletes as you lock onto enemies, but it can be replenished by attacking foes or even in larger amounts through the use of items such as Ethers. Regardless, your character's Focus Gauge is completely refilled when they exit a world or are defeated in battle and revived through the selection of "Continue" or "Retry."

Dimension Links

While your character will fight by him or herself for a majority of his or her journey. the friends he or she makes along the way are closer than they appear. Through the Dimension Link system, your character is able to call on the spirits of his or her allies to aid him or her in battle whenever necessary. When a Dimension Link (also known as a "D-Link") is used, your character will gain an assortment of his or her comrade's abilities to utilize in battle.

You can only summon a D-Link if you have a full D-Link Gauge. The gauge will continue to drain so long as a D-Link is present in battle, and it can only be filled again by picking up the D-Link prizes enemies drop when defeated. You can also refill the D-Link Gauge by visiting the World Map or by selecting "Continue" or "Retry" after falling in battle. D-Links also end when your character leaves an area, when you open the Camp Menu, or when you abort the link by pressing Right on the D-pad and selecting "Revert," which replaces the name the character you initated a link with on the list of available D-Links.

To summon a D-Link, press Right on the D-pad and select a D-Link from the list that appears in place of the Command Deck by pressing Triangle. Upon the link's initiation, your character's HP is instantly replenished and his or her Command Deck is replaced with a set of Commands available to the D-Link. Your character cannot use Command Styles or Finish Commands while a D-Link is present, but he or she can utilize the D-Link's exclusive Finisher.

Managing Dimension Links

The D-Links section of your Camp Menu offers many useful tools with which you can manage your obtained Dimension Links. For instance, you can view the Command Deck each D-Link will grant you the usage of. You also can select whether a particular Dimension Link will use its basic or advanced Finisher (granted you've unlocked it by obtaining emblems) with L1 and R1 or turn a D-Link off entirely so its name doesn't appear in your list of available links during combat with Triangle.

Collecting Emblems

Your character's available Dimension Links can be strengthend from their base level by defeating the various Unversed he or she comes across while trekking across the worlds. At times when a D-Link is present, enemies will drop star-shaped emblems that, when collected, change your D-Link's Command Deck and add a new ability to it, such as the ability to automatically deflect some magic attacks. Your D-Link also may obtain a stronger Finisher. You can only collect two emblems for each Dimension Link before they reach maximum level. Note that chances of an emblem being dropped the first time is higher than the drop rate of the second.

Friend Links

In addition to the D-Links your character forges during his or her journey, you can also do this with the characters of other players you meet in the Mirage Arena. The basic parameters of these Friend Links are based on that of other players' chosen characters (either Terra, Ventus, or Aqua), and they feature the Command Deck and Finisher of that character. Some abilities, however, will be sealed until you collect emblems for the Friend Link, as with the D-Links present in the game. You can have up to eight Friend Links available for use at a single time. Deleting them in the D-Link section of the Camp Menu is the only way to obtain room for others.

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