Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep Review

The Kingdom Hearts universe was never supposed to work. The mixing of Disney’s and Square Enix’s respective worlds made absolutely no sense. But after the success of the first entry and the expansion through the PlayStation 3 sequel, the merging has proven to be a great experiment.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep is a prequel to the first title on the PlayStation 2. Taking placing ten years before Sora’s story, it was originally hinted at during a secret video at the end of Kingdom Hearts 2 showing three Keyblade users against a man and one other.

For a release on the PlayStation Portable, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep commands a lot of respect for its visuals, still proving that the system has a lot of power. The title also has settings that can use the later PSP’s additional processing power along with an optional install function to help keep the experience moving.

The story of the prequel covers three separate, but interweaving stories of three characters which setup the universe that is recognized in the later Kingdom Hearts titles. Like the previously released games, Birth By Sleep contains the same gameplay style.

Visiting Disney worlds and meeting characters from those worlds to expand the story is used again, but Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep features worlds not that had not been seen before.

On the audio side, Square Enix and Disney once again brought back an immense amount of voice-overs and dialogue for the title as well as the signature and recognizable sound effects that have been a part of the series for so long.

If there are any issues with the title, it is that it feels like the same title over again. Simply considering the PlayStation 2 releases to the PlayStation Portable title, the gameplay is generally the same with a different skin of a story and experience. A little bit more variety would have been nice, integrating some new elements into the title.

Though even with the same gameplay, Square Enix did a great job creating a gameplay scheme that worked with the PlayStation Portable. All complaints about how the PlayStation Portable’s lack of a second analog stick should be long buried because developers have found great ways to get by this “problem.” Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep takes a little time to adjust for the control scheme, but it takes little time for using all the abilities and commands to be second nature.

Square Enix has found another universe to keep expanding the story upon, especially with Disney being a great source of for gameplay elements that can’t be found necessarily in Square Enix titles. Though it would be interesting to see Disney characters visit the world of Square Enix, those titles might be a little darker than what Disney would be comfortable with.

It’s another great addition to the Kingdom Hearts universe, but it is more of the same experience. Though there are three stories to work through to see the whole plot.

Review Copy Provided By Publisher