Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Video GamesRole Playing
Release Date: 07/31/2012
Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS
Online Enabled: No
ESRB Rating: E10+
ESRB Explanation: For Fantasy Violence
Common Sense Says: Disney characters star in fight-filled role-playing game.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is a cartoon-like fantasy role-playing game, but there is a heavy emphasis on violence. It's not graphic or bloody, but third-person combat makes up the bulk of the gameplay. Don't be fooled by the cute Disney characters as there is sword (Keyblade) slashing and magic attacks used to defeat enemies.
- Families can talk about Square Enix using Disney characters, villains, and locations in the Kingdom Hearts games and if it adds anything to them? Is it just a marketing ploy to expand the appeal of these fantasy role-playing adventures? Does it seem like a disconnect in the game world, or does the integration contribute to the overall experience?
- How do you feel about playing games on the Nintendo 3DS? Do you use the 3D often?
What's the story?
KINGDOM HEARTS 3D: DREAM DROP DISTANCE is an action-heavy role-playing game (RPG) that fuses third-person combat with imaginative worlds and familiar faces, including many Disney characters and villains. Depending on the task at hand, you'll play as two different spiky-haired teenagers, Sora and Riku, in their quest to become masters of the Keyblade, a magical key-shaped weapon wielded like a sword. The story can get quite convoluted, but the duo team up to take on the malevolent Master Xehanort, voiced by Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek fame. Other celebrities to lend their voices to characters include Haley Joel Osment (as Sora), David Gallagher (Riku), Hayden Panetierre (Xion) and Jesse McCartney (both Roxas and Ven). The orchestral music, including timeless Disney melodies, is also exceptional. You'll also interact with the likes of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and many other Disney mainstays, in detailed worlds based on classic Disney films ranging from Fantasia and Pinocchio to more modern movies like Tron and its computerized grid world.
Is it any good?
It's not a flawless fantasy, but it should entertain both fans of the franchise and those new to Kingdom Hearts games, too. Combat is the name of the game, with countless enemies to battle. Referred to as Dream Eaters, these colorful creatures come in all shapes and sizes, and you must attack, block, dodge, and jump to take them down. You'll also use the environment to swing, dash, and perform fast acrobatic moves, perform magic spells and combo chains, and recruit more than 50 different kinds of spirits to fight alongside you. Visually speaking, the three-dimensional environments are stunning and well-designed; both Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS XL machines let you see the game in 3D without requiring any glasses.As with other role-playing games, you'll "level up" over time and experience, and grow stronger throughout the single-player adventure. But unlike many other RPGs, there's little in the way of side missions to keep the player engaged -- but at least there are a couple of mini-games, such as riding light-cycles in the Tron world or collecting stars while flying through vortexes. Overall, fans of past Kingdom Hearts games and Disney characters should get a lot out of the fast-paced Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Between the non-stop combat, beautiful environments, and stellar orchestral score, the game's charm and action outweighs the confusing story, awkward dialogue, and other minor shortcomings.
How to play
Playbility: The game is easy to control using the Nintendo 3DS buttons and bottom touch screen, but it can be a bit overwhelming when the action heats up and there are multiple enemies on screen at the same time (especially for novice or younger players). The game does have a tutorial level and a help screen, however, plus a thick booklet with information about controls.
The Good Stuff
Messages: The game is about good defeating evil, which is a positive message -- and it has some familiar Disney characters like Mickey and Donald -- but the game is rooted in fantasy violence, such as swinging a sword-like Keyblade weapon and casting damaging magic spells. As a result, parents may feel split on the game's messaging.
Role Models: Gamers alternate between Sora and Riku, two protagonists who vow to take down the evil Master Xehanort and his many minions. Not much is known about Sora and Riku, however, despite some backstory provided for gamers who want to read up on them. They are heroes, but use fantasy violence to accomplish most missions.
Ease of play: The game is easy to control using the Nintendo 3DS buttons and bottom touch screen, but it can be a bit overwhelming when the action heats up and there are multiple enemies on screen at the same time (especially for novice or younger players). The game does have a tutorial level and a help screen, however, plus a thick booklet with information about controls.
What to watch out for
Violence This single-player cartoon adventure features plenty of fast-paced fantasy violence against a wide range of enemy characters. This includes wielding a sword-like Keyblade weapon and using magic blasts to take down baddies. There is no blood or gore and the enemies don't die -- they simply disappear. Some of the boss characters are larger and more difficult to take down, but they're cartoon-like and over-the-top.
Sex: Not an issue
Language: Not an issue
Consumerism: As with past games in the Kingdom Hearts franchise, this game houses many familiar Disney characters including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and others. Many of the levels are built upon popular Disney films, including Hunchback of Notre Dame, Fantasia, Tron, Pinocchio, and so on.
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Not an issue