Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
|Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days|
North American boxart of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
|Developer(s)||Square Enix Product Development Division 1
Disney Interactive Studios
|Distributor(s)||Disney Interactive Studios|
|Genre(s)||Action roleplaying game|
|Media/distribution||Nintendo DS Game Card|
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (Japanese: キングダム ハーツ 358/2 Days Hepburn: Kingudamu Hātsu Surī Faibu Eito Deizu Ōbā Tsū , subtitle read as "Three Five Eight Days Over Two") is an action roleplaying game developed and published by Square Enix for the Nintendo DS with assistance from h.a.n.d. It is the fourth installment in the best-selling Kingdom Hearts series, and serves as an interquel beginning near the end of the first game, Kingdom Hearts, after Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and before Kingdom Hearts II. The story is told from the perspective of Roxas whose daily life in Organization XIII and his relationship with fellow Organization members Axel and Xion.
It features 3D graphics, and single- and multiplayer modes of play. The game was announced at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show to be released in Japan; a North American release as well as a European release were later confirmed. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days had a special edition of the Nintendo DSi when it launched in Japan. The game launched in Japan on May 30, 2009, in North America on September 29, 2009 and in Europe on October 9, 2009.
A cinematic retelling of the game was released on March 14, 2013 in Japan as a part of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX.
358/2 Days features the action role-playing game style of the previous games in the series. To accomplish this, the game makes minimal use of the system's touch screen functionality, and it is possible to play and complete the game without using it at all. The game includes single player and multiplayer modes of play. The single player mode is story-based, focused on Disney worlds from past games, and progresses in days. In single player mode, the player controls Roxas, the game's main protagonist, who is accompanied by other Organization XIII members. The two modes are linked in that character growth is shared between them.
358/2 Days features a new gameplay mechanic known as the panel system which involves the customization of the character's levels, items, equipment, and abilities. For example, certain magic spells cannot be used if their corresponding panels aren't equipped, but can be used consecutively if multiple are attached. Weapons are also equipped using panels. There are also "Link Panels", which occupy multiple slots, but can be combined with other panels to form new or stronger abilities.
Limit Breaks, which previously featured in Square's Final Fantasy series, can be activated once the character's health drops below a certain level, indicated by a yellow health bar. Each character has his own unique abilities during Limit Breaks which are usually more powerful than normal attacks, and can attack more enemies at the same time. For example, Roxas has a rampage with his Keyblade during his Limit Break. The second stage of a Final Limit is normally a different or powered-up version of the first and begins at the point where the white line (starting at the high end of the yellow portion of the HP bar) meets top dead center. For example, Roxas shoots out pillars of light once the line begins to rebound.
Cooperative multiplayer was one feature on display at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show demonstrating that players can work together, in addition to the traditional use of AI-controlled partners. This is the first Kingdom Hearts game to feature cooperative multiplayer. The multiplayer gameplay is separate from the single player story and is mission-based, including cooperative and competitive player battles. Up to four players can play as one of the fourteen members of Organization XIII, with each member having different weapons, skills, and stats. Sora, Donald, Goofy, King Mickey, and Riku are featured as secret characters in the multiplayer who are unlockable while playing through the main story. 358/2 Days' multiplayer also features a chat system for communication between players, but differs from PictoChat in that everyone will draw on the same screen.
|Kingdom Hearts series chronology|
Like the other games in the series, the player progresses through a collection of various worlds, based on various locales from the Disney animated features canon: Agrabah from Aladdin; the Beast's Castle from Beauty and the Beast; Olympus Coliseum from Hercules; Halloween Town from The Nightmare Before Christmas; Wonderland from Alice in Wonderland; and Never Land from Peter Pan (featuring a string of islands new to the series rather than Captain Hook's pirate ship and Big Ben from the first game). The game also features worlds created specifically for the series by Square Enix. The most prominent world is The World That Never Was, which first appeared in the secret ending of Kingdom Hearts and serves as the game's main hub, followed by Twilight Town, a frequently-explored locale. Castle Oblivion and Destiny Islands also appear in cutscenes.
The game revolves around Roxas, who was first featured at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts II. Roxas is the Nobody of Sora, the series' main protagonist, born when Sora's body vanished as he briefly lost his heart and became a Heartless, and joining Organization XIII, a group of powerful Nobodies who serve as the main antagonists of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II. Like Sora, Roxas has the power to wield the Keyblade, a weapon normally used for battling darkness. The other members of Organization XIII play a prominent role as well, particularly Axel, Roxas's best friend who debuted in Chain of Memories. The game also introduces a new member: Xion, a girl who resembles Sora's friend Kairi and, like Roxas, can wield the Keyblade.
Other characters who are featured include Naminé, a girl with the power to manipulate memories; DiZ, an enigmatic man wrapped in bandages; Riku, Sora's best friend; and King Mickey, Riku's ally and ruler of Disney Castle. Sora, the main character of the previous games, is featured prominently in the plot, along with his allies Donald Duck and Goofy, though they appear infrequently in the form of several flashbacks and memory-induced scenarios. Also appearing are Pete, a persistent villain who first appears in Kingdom Hearts II, and Hayner, Pence, and Olette, a trio of friends living in Twilight Town who also debuted in Kingdom Hearts II. As with the other games in the series, each Disney world features several characters who appear in the films their worlds are based on; on the other hand, no Final Fantasy characters are featured apart from a Moogle managing a shop for the Organization.
Xemnas (leader of Organization XIII) finds the newly born Roxas in Twilight Town and recruits him as its thirteenth member. Unlike other Nobodies, Roxas lacks memories of his original self, Sora, but develops a personality of his own as time passes. Each day, Roxas is sent on missions to other worlds, either alone or accompanied by a fellow member, to destroy vast quantities of Heartless with his Keyblade and release stolen hearts, which furthers the Organization's goal of creating Kingdom Hearts and becoming complete beings. Roxas is placed under the mentorship of fellow member Axel, who he becomes close friends with. One day, Axel is stationed at Castle Oblivion along with a group of other members—thus setting the stage for Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories—leaving Roxas to be partnered with a girl named Xion, the Organization's 14th member inducted shortly after Roxas. Roxas and Xion bond over their similarities, including Xion's ability to wield a Keyblade and lack of memories of her past. Some time later, Roxas falls into a coma caused by the alteration of Sora's memories (in Chain of Memories), and does not revive until several weeks later, when Axel returns from Castle Oblivion with other members stationed there are eliminated. Over time, Xion had a friendship with Roxas and Axel, eating sea-salt ice cream with them after missions at the Twilight Town clock tower. Xion soon falls into a coma after failing to eliminate Riku. In time, Xion questions her own existence, distancing herself from Roxas and Axel to find out about herself. She eventually discovers that she is a replica created by Xemnas from Sora's memories as a fail-safe for Roxas, and her existence prevents Sora from regaining his lost memories. Xion is torn between staying with her friends and merging with Sora as per Riku's advice, but ultimately decides to escape from the Organization after her powers begin to increase dramatically while Roxas inversely grows weaker.
Understanding his friends' situation, Axel allows Xion to escape, but loses Roxas' trust. Upon learning about Xion's identity from Xemnas, Roxas is left questioning if he's a replica as well; he confronts Axel about his identity, but receives no answer. This makes Roxas defect for the Organization, to search for someone who knows the truth about him. At Twilight Town, Roxas confronts Xion, who has been altered by Xemnas to act on her purpose of absorbing Roxas and becoming Sora, but Roxas defeats Xion who requests him to stop Xemnas's plan before dissipating and merging with Sora, causing everyone's memories of her to gradually vanish. Back at the World That Never Was, Riku attempts to capture Roxas for DiZ. When Roxas defeats him, Riku releases the suppressed darkness in his heart, giving him the power necessary to subdue Roxas, but also giving him the physical form of "Ansem", who resides in his heart. Following Roxas' defeat and capture, DiZ inserts him into Twilight Town's virtual simulation without any of his memories of the Organization so that Roxas may eventually merge with Sora and complete the restoration of his memories. As Roxas races to the Usual Spot (setting the beginning of Kingom Hearts II), the clock tower is seen one more time. 
358/2 Days was developed by h.a.n.d. with Square Enix employees overseeing the process. The game was directed by Tetsuya Nomura and co-directed by Tomohiro Hasegawa. In 2007, Nomura mentioned he wanted to do a spin-off Kingdom Hearts game on a mobile platform and wanted the game to play slightly different than the other titles already in the series. 358/2 Days was announced alongside Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts coded at the Tokyo Game Show on September 20, 2007, where a trailer was shown in a photo-prohibited theater. New trailers were shown and a playable demo was available at the 2008 Jump Festa in December 2007 and the DKΣ3713 Private party in August 2008. Both single player and multiplayer demos were featured. Xion was also shown in the new trailer and in the multiplayer demo.
The Nintendo DS was chosen as the system before plans were decided. Roxas was chosen as the game's protagonist as the staff thought that having a main character besides Sora would help to introduce gamers to the series' first Nintendo DS title. The staff thought that Roxas' role as a member of Organization XIII would be a suitable theme for the plot. This was thought during Kingdom Hearts II where the staff wanted to add an influence to make Roxas leave the Organization. This resulted in the creation of Xion's character who was connected with Roxas' origins. The development team wanted to have gameplay similar to previous Kingdom Hearts titles, but stated the number of buttons on the Nintendo DS was a problem. Some of the DS's functions, like the stylus, are not used in order to retain the similar gameplay from previous titles. Roxas seeing Sora's memories is incorporated throughout the game and has different types of gameplay for each world. The game's logo uses warm colors as a reference to the sunset in Twilight Town. The title, "358/2 Days", is a code that Nomura has stated the player will understand the meaning of at the very end of the game, though hinted in a recent trailer, and the word "day" is attached to the title as a reference to the daily life of Organization XIII.
Though Birth by Sleep was the first of the three new games to begin development, 358/2 Days was released before it. The game was slated for a release at the end of 2008, but Square Enix pushed the date to February 2009. Once again the game was delayed for Japanese release until May 30, 2009. A release in North American territories was announced on December 2, 2008. The official English trailer for the title was shown at Nintendo's press conference at E3 2009, confirming a release date of September 29, 2009 for North America and October 9, 2009 for Europe.
The idea of a full remake, like Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, was considered for Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, to be included in the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix. However, it was later scrapped in favor of an almost 3 hour long cinematic retelling of the game. 
|Official Nintendo Magazine||69%|
The game's current average score on Metacritic is 75%, and is 76.74% on GameRankings. Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot praised the multiplayer mode's gameplay, calling it "fun" and citing the ease of using magic spells and items. He complimented the single-player mode as well, commenting that the artificial intelligence-controlled Organization XIII members were helpful and competent. VanOrd, however, criticized the camera controls, stating that the on-screen character ended up in one of the game field's corners often. Nintendo Power's Chris Hoffman and Steve Thomason referred to the game as highly anticipated, and considered it one of the better titles displayed at the 2008 Tokyo Game Show. They praised the graphics, calling them among the best on the system, and complimented the familiar feel of the gameplay. RPGamer was less forgiving, as it handed the game a 2.5/5 score and reviewer Alex Reimer concluded, "...many fans of the series may be turned off by the lackluster controls and odd story directions taken with this portable spin-off." The Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu gave the game 9/9/9/9 (36/40) and praised the graphical quality of the game which had not been seen on a DS before as well as the gameplay mechanics and missions. They were also particularly impressed with the new panel system which allows the player to customize their fighting techniques as well as the ability to customize the characters from the Organization. The website RPGFan gave the game an 81 out of 100, praising the visual and aural quality, though expressing disappointment at the recycling of most of the music from Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, as well as confusion about the storyline. Game Informer gave the game an 8 out of 10, praising the graphics for excellent production values and the journey of the camera controls from the PlayStation Analog Stick to the DS shoulder buttons. The Australian video game talk show Good Game's two reviewers gave the game a 7/10 and 7.5/10. However, the Official Nintendo Magazine gave the game a mediocre score of 69% praising the graphics and gameplay but criticising the backtracking and confusing plot.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days was the top-selling game during May 2009 in Japan at 291,000 copies, even though it was released during the final week of the month. The following week, it was again the top-selling game in the region at 106,000 copies. As of August 2009, the game has sold 490,000 copies in the region. It is also one of the most reserved games for the DS. By the end of 2009, the game sold a total of 571,981 copies in Japan alone making it the twelfth best-selling game in Japan of 2009. NPD Group sales data shows the game has sold over 360,000 copies in North America as of October 2009. In November 2009, Square Enix announced the game had sold 1.22 million units worldwide. The game was nominated for 7 awards on Nintendo 2009 Power awards: Nintendo DS Game of the Year, Best Sound/Voice Acting, Best Adventure Game, Best Nintendo DS Graphics, Best New Character (Xion), Best Story/Writing, and Overall Game of the Year. On February 16, 2010 it was announced that 358/2 Days won all seven of the awards that it was nominated for in the reader's vote.
Related media 
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days was re-released as part of the "Kingdom Hearts 10th Anniversary Box" package made in commemoration of the franchise's 10th anniversary on March 29, 2012 alongside Kingdom Hearts Re:coded and the debuting Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. In September 2012, Square Enix announced that HD cinematic scenes from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days would be included in Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX, a compilation for the PlayStation 3 including HD versions of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix and Re:Chain of Memories. It was initially only announced for a release in Japan for 2013, but was later announced for release in Australia, Europe and North America. New voice work is being done for 358/Days and the HD collection will have "70% of the main plot." The musical themes introduced in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days were included in a CD that collected tracks from Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded and 358/2 Days released on February 2, 2012. An Ultimania guidebook of the game was released by Square on June 25, 2009.
Square Enix published a series light novels based on the title written by Tomoko Kanemaki and illustrated by Shiro Amano. The first volume, The 14th, was released on July 30, 2009 and the second, Go to the Sea, on January 28, 2010, and the third and last volume, Xion-Seven Days, in May 2010. A manga adaptation by Amano has been serialized in Square's Monthly Shōnen Gangan from August 2009 to August 2012. A total of five tankōbon volumes were released between June 22, 2010, and April 21, 2012.
See also 
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- Square Enix, h.a.n.d.. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. (Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios). Nintendo DS. (2009-09-29) "Xemnas: Good tidings, friends. Today is a momentous day. I am pleased to announce that a new comrade has been chosen to wear the coat. Number XIV. Let us all welcome one of the Keyblade's chosen."
- Square Enix, h.a.n.d.. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. (Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios). Nintendo DS. (2009-09-29) "Riku: Find a new crowd. Trust me. Those guys are bad news. / Xion: Why? You're the real sham! / Riku: Fair enough. You could say I am...the biggest nobody of them all."
- Square Enix, h.a.n.d.. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. (Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios). Nintendo DS. (2009-09-29) "Xion: Who am I? What am I...here for?"
- Square Enix, h.a.n.d.. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. (Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios). Nintendo DS. (2009-09-29) "Riku: Xion...your memories...they really belong to Sora. / Xion: So you mean...I'm like a part of him? / Riku: When his memories were scattered, some of them...found their way inside you. Now, Sora has been put to sleep so that we can piece together his memory. Except... / Xion: You can't, because part of it is inside of me. That means...he can't wake up. / Riku: Yeah. You got it."
- Square Enix, h.a.n.d.. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. (Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios). Nintendo DS. (2009-09-29) "Xion: Is it that I'm not supposed to exist? / Axel: Well, what do you want to do, Xion? / Xion: I want...I want to be with you two. / Roxas: Then come back with us. / Xion: I can't... Not the way I am now. But...what would it take for me to be like you?"
- Square Enix, h.a.n.d.. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. (Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios). Nintendo DS. (2009-09-29) "Axel: Xion...what are you gonna do? / Xion: I've decided that I have to go back to where I belong."
- Square Enix, h.a.n.d.. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. (Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios). Nintendo DS. (2009-09-29) "Axel: Your mind's made up? / Roxas: Why did the Keyblade choose me? I have to know. / Axel: You can't turn on the Organization! You get on their bad side, and they'll destroy you! / Roxas: No one would miss me. / Axel: That's not true. I would."
- Square Enix, h.a.n.d.. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. (Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios). Nintendo DS. (2009-09-29) "Xion: You're next, Roxas. I have to make you a part of me, too. Don't you see? This is why I was created."
- Square Enix, h.a.n.d.. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. (Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios). Nintendo DS. (2009-09-29) "DiZ: It appears we've come to a standstill. / Naminé: Yes. / DiZ: This has gone on long enough. Riku...I think you know what needs to be done. / Riku: Right."
- Square Enix, h.a.n.d.. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. (Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios). Nintendo DS. (2009-09-29) "Roxas: How many times do I have to beat you? / Riku: All right. You've left me with no other choice. / Roxas: What? / Riku: I have to release the power in my heart—the dark power that I've been holding back. Even...if it changes me forever."
- Square Enix, h.a.n.d.. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. (Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios). Nintendo DS. (2009-09-29) "Riku: DiZ...he could feel Sora. / DiZ: Oh, he told you how he "felt," did he? Ridiculous. A Nobody cannot feel anything. / Riku: If he had met Sora, things might have been different."
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