PAX East 2012: Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance hands-on

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance  - 1099781

Being a huge fan of the Kingdom Hearts series, I could not possibly pass up on getting my hands on the playable demo. Though it was fully in Japanese, I was guided through most of it, and was able to get a gist of what's happening, in this oddly titled Kingdom Hearts sequel.

The Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance demo took place in The Grid, which is the world of Tron, but this time takes place during the events of Tron Legacy. It was astounding how much the characters looked like their movie counterparts, down to Olivia Wilde as Quorra and Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn, though it was weird hearing them in Japanese, and it's not confirmed whether the real actors will be voicing their video game counterparts. I was also assured that instead of this being a side story like most of the handheld iterations of Kingdom Hearts games like Birth By Sleep, RE:Coded and 358/2 Days, Dream Drop Distance was going to be a full fledged sequel to Kingdom Hearts II, which I'm hoping means that it is the bridge that gaps a future Kingdom Hearts III title.

The one big change was how you were able to move around from place to place. Though you still were able to run around in full 360 degrees, red lines that appeared throughout the level allowed Sora to travel on them in highspeed, as if grinding on a rail. This made travel a lot more speedier, and not to mention flashy. This type of fast movement translates into the combat as well. Once again you're able to swing away with your Keyblade, as well as use a variety of equipped skills which you can scroll through with your D-Pad. Though if you press the dash button while jumping, Sora starts to zip through the sky, and if a certain object is present, it allows Sora to attach to it and launch off in high speed and slash away at his enemies in style.

Goofy and Donald are also not part of your team this time around. You have various creatures called Dream Eaters that you can take with you with different abilities that help you in battle. You're able to collect these as you go through the adventure and level them up separately which also levels up Sora, and grants him new skills.

As far as presentation goes, the game looks stunning on the 3DS and the 3D effects looked damn good as well. The frame rate did drop very slightly once the 3D effect was turned on but it was still very playable.

Make sure to stay tuned around the game's release, which is on July 31st, for our full review.

Mike Splechta GameZone's Editor-in-Chief, retro game enthusiast, savior of kittens. Follow me @Michael_GZ
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