Kingdom Hearts Coded

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Kingdom Hearts coded
Kingdom Hearts coded logo.png
The logo of Kingdom Hearts coded.
Developer(s) Square Enix
h.a.n.d. (Nintendo DS)
Publisher(s) Square Enix
Distributor(s) Disney Interactive Studios
Director(s) Tetsuya Nomura
Hajime Tabata
Producer(s) Patrick Chen
Designer(s) Tetsuya Nomura
Writer(s) Daisuke Watanabe
Tetsuya Nomura
Composer(s) Yoko Shimomura
Series Kingdom Hearts
Platform(s) NTT docomo
Nintendo DS (Re:coded)
PlayStation 3 (HD)
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Puzzle
Mode(s) Single-player

Kingdom Hearts coded (キングダム ハーツ コーデッド?) is an episodic puzzle video game developed and published by Square Enix, in collaboration with Disney Interactive Studios, for mobile phones. The game was announced at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show. Coded was only a Japanese release, but when its remake was released, entitled Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, it was released in Japan, North America, Europe, and Australia on the Nintendo DS as was its second remake as part of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix for the PlayStation 3.

It is the fourth installment in the Kingdom Hearts series and takes place after the events of Kingdom Hearts II. Jiminy Cricket's journal chronicling Sora's fight against the Heartless and Organization XIII is found to have two secret messages written by persons unknown, and after the journal is digitized for further analysis, the contents become corrupted. This leads Sora and others to make digital avatars of themselves to enter and repair the journal so that the meaning of the hidden messages can be deciphered. The game received mixed reviews, with reviewers praising the graphics and story, but panning various camera and control issues.

Gameplay[edit]

Sora fighting Heartless in Traverse Town in Kingdom Hearts coded

Kingdom Hearts coded is a puzzle game with action elements mixed into the gameplay.[14] The action gameplay is similar to the action-RPG style of the previous games in the series and features a similar basic interface,[15][16] however, coded also includes minigame and platforming elements.[17] The game features a mix of graphics, with three-dimensional backgrounds and two-dimensional characters.[14] The initial trailer showcased the main character, Sora, in dungeons with floating red and black blocks. Battles feature a "debugging" mode to remove the blocks in order to progress towards enemies.[15][16] Blocks are also used to solve puzzles or reach higher ground.[16]

Plot[edit]

Setting[edit]

Kingdom Hearts series
chronology
Further information: Universe of Kingdom Hearts

The game takes place after the events of Kingdom Hearts II and follows the story of Jiminy Cricket, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy in Disney Castle.[14][18] In the game, players progress through a series of levels which are virtual representations of worlds contained within the digitized version of Jiminy's journal from the first Kingdom Hearts game, and are arranged according to the order in which Sora visited the worlds originally in Kingdom Hearts.[19] These virtual worlds are based on various locales from many Disney animated films as well as original worlds seen in the first game of the series, including Destiny Islands, Traverse Town, Wonderland from Alice in Wonderland, Olympus Coliseum from Hercules, Agrabah from Aladdin; and Hollow Bastion. Castle Oblivion from Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories also returns as the game's final level.[5]

Characters[edit]

Artwork of the cast of Kingdom Hearts coded. (From left to right)
(Bottom Row) Donald Duck, King Mickey, Jiminy Cricket, Goofy
(Middle Row) Kairi, Sora, Riku
(Top Row) An Organization XIII Member (Roxas)
Further information: Characters of Kingdom Hearts

The main protagonist and sole player character of the game is an artificially intelligent virtual avatar of Sora, occasionally referred to in-game as "Data-Sora", created from the data from Jiminy's journal entries. Because the game's setting is based on the first game, Data-Sora resembles the original Sora in his attire from the same game.[20] Three other original Kingdom Hearts characters—Riku, Naminé, and Roxas—similarly appear as virtual avatars of themselves. Like previous Kingdom Hearts titles, coded features numerous Disney and Final Fantasy characters who have appeared in the first game.[15] Some characters include King Mickey, Pluto, and Jiminy Cricket,[21] as well as Donald Duck and Goofy,[16] who briefly reprise their roles as computer-controlled partners of Sora in one of the game's levels. The main antagonists of the game are software bugs that corrupt the data of Jiminy's journal, which take the form of red-and-black blocks and Heartless that Sora had encountered in the first game.[20] Other antagonists include Maleficent and Pete, who return in a continuation of their roles from previous games.[22]

Story[edit]

Jiminy Cricket organizes his two journals chronicling Sora's journeys—one of which contains the "Thank Naminé" line he had written at the end of Chain of Memories—when he discovers a second line he doesn't remember writing: "We must return to free them from their torment" (rewritten as "Their hurting will be mended when you return to end it" in Re:coded). King Mickey has the contents of the journal digitized to investigate this second message, only to find the datascape has been corrupted with bugs, which take the form of red-and-black blocks and Heartless. Mickey thus guides a virtual Sora named "Data-Sora" through multiple worlds in the datascape to debug the journal by destroying the blocks and digitized Heartless that appear.[2][19][21]

While this happens, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Jiminy are imported into the datascape by an avatar of the journal's uncorrupted data, which takes the form of a virtual Riku, to better assist Data-Sora in debugging the journal. However, they discover that Pete and Maleficent have also entered the Datascape to use it in their latest attempt at world domination. Maleficent destroys Data-Sora's Keyblade and kidnaps Data-Riku,[5] but Data-Sora continues through the datascape with the help of Donald and Goofy until he regains the ability to conjure the Keyblade. Pete pits him against a bug-infected Data-Riku, who Data-Sora defeats and debugs, only to discover that having done so will reset everything in the Datascape, including Data-Sora's memories, to their original state prior to the journal's corruption. The debugging process also activates the bug responsible for the data's corruption, which takes the form of Sora's Heartless. Data-Sora destroys the bug before losing his memories while Mickey and the others—including Maleficent and Pete—are returned to their world by Data-Riku.[7] In a scene exclusive to HD 2.5 ReMix, after Maleficent and Pete take their leave, Maleficent speaks with Pete about the Book of Prophecies, an ancient artifact capable of transcribing events that have yet to take place and even conjuring them, including entire worlds, and resolves to find it, believing it may hold a connection with the Datascape and the journal.

With the journal completely debugged, Data-Riku uncovers extra data modeled after Castle Oblivion, which contains the secret to the journal's second message. Mickey guides the reset Data-Sora to the extra world where he is tested by a virtual Roxas to endure the pain of having forgotten his friends as a result of being reset. Data-Sora defeats Data-Roxas and is allowed access to the deepest portion of Castle Oblivion. There he and Mickey encounter a virtual Naminé, who reveals the real Naminé as the one who left the message after discovering a set of memories relating to three people tied to the real Sora's heart—who Mickey recognizes as Terra, Aqua, and Ventus—while restoring his lost memories; the bugs are also revealed to have been an unintentional side effect of her message. Before disappearing, Data-Naminé explains that it is the real Sora's duty to save the three people, which Mickey then relays to Sora through the bottled letter shown at the end of Kingdom Hearts II that details the story of the three people.

In a secret ending exclusive to Re:coded, Mickey and Yen Sid discuss the location of Terra, Aqua, and Ventus.[23] During their conversation, however, Yen Sid reveals that the destruction of Xehanort's Heartless and Nobody has brought about the eventual return of Master Xehanort.[24] To prepare for this new threat, Yen Sid orders Mickey to bring Sora and Riku to him, intending to examine them for the Mark of Mastery.[25]

In a second secret ending exclusive to Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix, a resurrected Braig meets with the time-traveling Young Xehanort. With the plot to summon the thirteen incarnations of Xehanort to gather for Master Xehanort's own reconstruction already underway, Braig and Young Xehanort discuss the latter's eventual inheritance of a Keyblade from his elder self. Braig surmises the entire plan relates to the Keyblade War, and debates which of the reconstructed members of Organization XIII will be the "poor soul" he chooses for his own unknown agenda.

Episodes[edit]

Kingdom Hearts coded consists of eight episodes, released monthly between June 2009 and January 2010, as well as a preview episode released November 2008.

Episode Date Ref.
Preview episode November 18, 2008
1. Destiny Islands June 3, 2009 [1]
2. Traverse Town July 8, 2009 [2]
3. Wonderland August 5, 2009 [3]
4. Olympus Coliseum September 17, 2009 [4]
5. Agrabah October 15, 2009 [5]
6. Hollow Bastion - Former November 26, 2009
7. Hollow Bastion - Latter December 26, 2009
8. Castle Oblivion January 28, 2010

Development[edit]

It was announced alongside Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days at the Tokyo Game Show on September 20, 2007, where a trailer was shown in a photo-prohibited theater.[26] New trailers were shown at the 2008 Jump Festa in December 2007 and the DKΣ3713 Private party in August 2008.[17][27] Playable demonstrations, as well as new trailers, were available at the 2008 Tokyo Game Show in October 2008 and the 2009 Jump Festa in December 2008.[28][29] Early trailers highlighted coded‍ '​s gameplay, while later ones focused more on the game's story, which would reveal some plotholes behind the first Kingdom Hearts game.[28]

In mid-2007, Nomura mentioned a desire to create a spin-off Kingdom Hearts game on a mobile platform and wanted it to play slightly different than other titles in the series.[30] The game's concept was devised by Nomura who wanted to make the game like a playground for fans. Tabata originally thought the initial plan was terrible, but still interesting. The development team plans to make use of phone technology to facilitate interaction between players.[20] coded was developed with 3D and 2D graphics to have the game available on a range of cellphones for distribution overseas.[14] Early screenshots showed the game in a wide screen format, based on the idea that more future models will feature a swivel screen.[16]

coded was first released pre-installed on the Docomo PRIME Series "P-01A" mobile phone.[31][32] Because many mobile games offer free content, Nomura planned to try a new business model from Square Enix's usual practice in order to lower barriers to entry.[16] Included in the model is an online cell phone portal called Kingdom Hearts Mobile which will allow users to create avatars and play minigames.[19][33]

Kingdom Hearts Re:coded[edit]

Kingdom Hearts coded was remade for the Nintendo DS under the title Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, and is developed by h.a.n.d. in conjunction with Square Enix. The game was originally to be released on the new system without changes, but decided to have h.a.n.d. convert the game after their excellent conversion work on Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.[34] Unlike its original, the game was released overseas and contains all the episodes in one game rather than being periodically released like its predecessor. The game was released in Japan on October 7, 2010,[8] in North America on January 11, 2011[35] and Europe on January 14, 2011.[10] The gameplay mechanics of the game are completely revamped from its original. However, the story of the game has not changed, although more scenes have been added, including a new secret movie, and a few hints at Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.[36] Tetsuya Nomura commented that the lack of an analog control stick on the Nintendo DS was a challenge, so the combat system had to be simplified.[37]

In May 2010, the new English voice actor for Jiminy Cricket, Phil Snyder, who took over the role after the death of Jiminy's former voice actor Eddie Carroll, wrote on his official website that he was recording his first voice work for the game Kingdom Hearts Re:coded; it was speculated to be a remake of the game in the same way Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories brought Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories to the PlayStation 2.[38] However, it remained unconfirmed until Re:coded was presented at E3 2010.[39] Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, has different gameplay from the original. It combines gameplay elements from other titles in the series including the combat system from Birth by Sleep, the leveling system from 358/2 Days, and the random encounter system from Kingdom Hearts Mobile.[34]

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix[edit]

In the credits of HD 1.5 Remix, clips of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded were shown, hinting at its inclusion in another collection.[40] On October 14, 2013, Square Enix announced that Re:coded would be part of the Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix collection, released exclusively on the PlayStation 3. Due to the games touch screen use on the Nintendo DS, console conversion was ruled out as it would necessitate a full remake.[41] Two additional hours of cinematics were created for the game to cover the entire story and make show the games connections to other Kingdom Hearts titles.[42] The collection features the game as HD cinematics, much like 358/2 Days was in the HD 1.5 Remix collection. The collection also includes both Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix in HD and trophy support.[40] Additional events occur in the cinematic scenes not seen in the original, with new voice acting, orchestrated audio, and including new battle scenes and a scene that ties Re:coded and Dream Drop Distance together.[43][44] The collection was released in Japan on October 2, 2014,[11] North America on December 2, 2014,[12] Australia on December 4, 2014,[13] and Europe on December 5, 2014.[12]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 70.18%[45]
Metacritic 66/100[46]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com B+
Famitsu 36/40
Game Informer 6.75/10[47]
GameSpot 6.5/10[48]
IGN 8.0/10[21]
Nintendo Power 8/10
ONM 79%

Prior to coded‍ '​s release, Jeremy Parish of 1UP.com praised the game's graphics and scope. He stated the graphics were comparable to those of the PlayStation Portable and commented that coded was a sign of mobile games turning into "full-fledged" games.[49] 1UP.com's Vernon Hastings commented that the game deserved the attention of video game enthusiasts, and praised its features: the themes and the online cell phone portal.[33]

Kingdom Hearts Re:coded has a rating on GameRankings of 70.18% based on 42 reviews while Metacritic rates it as 66/100 based on 58 reviews.[45][46] IGN gave the game an 8/10, praising the gameplay variety and graphics, but criticizing the story and platforming.[21] GameSpot gave the game a 6.5 out of 10 saying that "Frustrating platforming and a tepid narrative mar this journey into classic Kingdom Hearts realms."[48] Game Informer gave Re:coded a 6.75/10, calling it "The most skip-worthy entry in the series".[47] 1UP.com gave it a B+ calling it, "one of the best remakes yet". Nintendo Power gave the game a 8/10, calling it "the best Kingdom Hearts game to yet grace a Nintendo platform." Official Nintendo Magazine gave the game a 79% saying, "While it may suffer from some unforgivable camera problems, it is a decent game for Kingdom Hearts fans and will keep them entertained until Dream Drop Distance comes out".

VentureBeat reviewed the HD 2.5 Remix, and called the Re:coded part of the game collection as a long and not particularly interesting retread of plot points from the original Kingdom Hearts, further complicated by elements added of other games and containing many complex subplots.[50] Game Revolution called the movie "boring", as the cut scenes were intended to fill in between sections of gameplay and never as a film unto itself.[51]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]