Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep
Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep is an action role-playing video game for the PlayStation Portable developed and published by Square Enix in collaboration with The Walt Disney Company. It was released in Japan on January 9, 2010 and in America on September 7, 2010.
There is also an updated version of the game known as Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix, which adds additional content which was only released in Japan on the PSP and wouldn't see a release in the West until it was included in Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix for the PlayStation 3 along with the Final Mix version of Kingdom Hearts 2 on October 2, 2014 in Japan and December 2, 2014 in America.
The Final Mix version of the game was later rereleased along with the Final Mix versions of Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts 2, and Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, and Kingdom Hearts: Re:Chain of Memories in the PlayStation 4 game Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix.
In the Land of Departure, Terra and Aqua take an exam to achieve the Mark of Mastery. Master Xehanort manipulates the test so only Aqua passes and Terra fails, lessening Terra's control of the darkness in his heart. Shortly after the test, Xehanort disappears and a horde of mysterious creatures called the Unversed begin to appear throughout the worlds in pursuit of the Princesses of Heart. Learning about these developments from Yen Sid, Master Eraqus sends Terra and Aqua to destroy the Unversed and find Xehanort throughout the countless worlds.Later, Xehanort's apprentice Vanitas convinces Ventus to follow Terra against Eraqus' wishes, while Eraqus orders Aqua to watch over Terra and bring Ventus back to the Land of Departure.
Why It Rocks
- The first portable Kingdom Hearts game with the same graphical and gameplay fidelity of the PS2 games.
- Play as three different characters, such as Ventus, Aqua, and Terra, each with different stories, and the stories combine into one Final Story. Terra focuses more on the darker elements and more on the villains of each story, while Aqua gets more focus on the heroes of the story, and Ventus has more younger aspects such as being shrunk down to a mouse's size for a level.
- Characters from classic Disney movies and franchises crossover with characters from the Final Fantasy franchise.
- Amazing soundtrack, courtesy of Yoko Shimomura (who had also composed for games like Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Street Fighter 2, and the Mario and Luigi series, and has composed for every game in this series since).
- Combines hack and slash with RPG elements.
- Many Disney characters have their voice actors reprise their roles.
- Fight against various Disney Villains, such as Maleficent.
- Command system allows you to customize your attack layout and strategy, and the commands can be leveled up, and when leveled up enough can be used to craft even stronger versions of the command, for example two fully leveled Cure commands can be melded into a powerful Cura command, and one high leveled Cura and one Cure command, or two Cura commands, can be merged into a Curaga command.
- Dimenson Links allow you to use the power of some characters you encounter in the game to switch your Command Deck and Finisher attack with a completely different set and restore your HP to the maximum.
- Abilities can be learned by melded two commands with an additional synthesis item. Using the command until it reaches its maximum level will convert it into an "Auto-Ability" which allows the character to use the ability even without it being equipped.
- You can now finally retry challenges such as boss battles without having to return to the area of the boss and watch the cutscene again, also reducing loading times.
- Worlds generally take one hour to complete, making it unlikely that you'll be burned out on a world.
- Great story and characters.
- The CGI opening cutscene is great for the time and it still looks nice today.
- The gameplay and story based on the three different characters adds a great replay value.
- The ice cream minigame allows you to listen to songs from Kingdom Hearts (e.g.:Blast Away! And Destiny Islands)
- The PS3 and PS4 versions allow the player to choose betwhen three different control systems: The one from Kingdom Hearts II (You use the D-Pad to cycle between commands and the right analog to move the camera), the one from Kingdom Hearts 1 (the face buttons to move the camera; the right analog stick to cycle between commands) and the one from Kingdom Hearts Re: Coded (the R1 button for the first person view, L1 and R1 simoultaneously to lock on).
- The Final Mix releases introduce Unversed Missions. These are special minigames where you fight a particular kind of Unversed and you need to win in a certain time by exploiting its weaknesses and you get a rating on the mission based on your performance. Clearing a mission with the highest rating will give you a special "Illusion" command, which allows you to D-Link with the Unversed you defeated. Also, while the game tells you the target's weakpoint, the former will do everything he can to defend himself.
- Long Loading Times, especially on the PS3 version. Also, the problem of the Drive Forms taking too much time to load in the PS3 version of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix affects the D-Links and the Fighting Styles in this game, too.
- Many of the worlds feel hallow and limited.
- All of the Disney worlds except Neverland have plots that look like rehash of the movies with Terra, Aqua and Ven shoehorned in, and have hardly any connection to the main plot except Enchanted Dominion, Castle of Dreams, and Dwarf Woodlands.
- Aqua's English voice actor Willa Holland didn't really put in much effort compared to Terra's and Ven's, one reviewer remarked that she sounded like someone reading off the script with no emotion. This was improved in Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep-A Fragmentary Passage.
- Speaking of the voice acting, Susanne Blakeslee, most known for her voice as Maleficent, voices three of the Disney worlds main antagonists, and see doesn't put much effort into making them sound different from one another.
- No Gummi Ship stages. This could be a result of the poor reception of the Gummi Ship stages in Kingdom Hearts, despite this issue being fixed in Kingdom Hearts 2.
- Some areas can be accessed only by specific characters, and thus the worlds are smaller than the other Kingdom Hearts games, most likely due to the PlayStation Portable's limited hardware.
- While the Unversed missions are fun, as Terra and Aqua it's possible to cheese through most of them with Ventus' D-Link at level 1, except for three of them (the ones in Olympus Coliseum, Disney Town and Neverland), which ironically you can cheese through as Ventus.
- While most of the characters are great, a few of them tend to have some major flaws that tend to cause problems.
- While Terra is a cool and friendly character who has an understanding personality, he can come off as way too dense and trusting that it can be easy for him to be tricked by villains, even when its fairly obvious that they're evil. In fact, Terra gets tricked by every villain in the game.
- Master Eraqus is a great true keyblade master and has a very touching view of his students as he sees them as his own children, but he tends to have a very shallow view of light and darkness that it has caused him to make some rash decisions like not name Terra a true keyblade master because he accidentally let his darkness flare-up during the Mark of Mastery exam, and he decides to kill Ventus to avoid the X-Blade from forging. He also can be way too trusting and forgiving of Master Xehanort.
- Like Eraqus, Aqua tends to have a similar view of light and darkness that it has caused some problems with her friendship with Terra when his darkness flared-up. She tends to come off as a hypocrite as she frequently tells Terra and Ventus about friendship and trust, but yet she took Maleficent's word over her trust for Terra when Maleficent lies to her that Terra stole Aurora's heart. She also at times underestimates Terra and Ventus's skills and treats them like children.
- Many of the bosses feel incredibly cheap, If you don't have the right commands, you will struggle with a lot of them. Especially with the secret bosses, where the only good way to win is to spam thunder surge.
- While Command Melding can get you powerful abilities, you don't get any aid on how to get the best abilities, resulting in you needing to go to the internet and look them up.
The game sold very well during its first two days of release with over 500,000 copies of the game sold in JapancBy February 14, just over a month later, the game had sold a total of 800,551 copies.Sales in North America and Europe have also been good, with the game taking high places in various categories. After its release in the United States, it was listed as the sixth bestselling video game there in September 2010 by the NPD Group. By November 2010, the game had sold 1.27 million units worldwide with 310,000 and 190,000 copies coming from North America and Europe, respectively, and the rest from Japan. In November 2011, Sony announced Birth by Sleep would receive the "Gold Prize" for selling over 500,000 units in Japan.
- To meld defensive and movement commands, you need more than one of the kind of command you want to meld. For example you need two Block commands to be able to meld Block commands. You can get abilities from melded defensive and movement commands just like offensive commands.
- When you are playing in Critical Mode, be sure to meld Leaf Bracer, Second Chance and Once More as fast as possible to prevent yourself from dying and survive against otherwise insta-kill attacks. Also, buy three or four Cure commands to meld in order to make the Cura and Curaga spells and/or Renewal Block to heal yourself.