[Games] Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep

For Christmas, my husband bought me Kingdom Hearts 2.5 ReMix. I have been so excited for this game having loved the originals for a long time and was eager to play through the game again.

For those who don’t know Kingdom Hearts is the story about a young boy named Sora, his best friends Riku and Kairi, and how their destinies swirl together while involving some of your favorite Disney characters and worlds. Kingdom Hearts 2.5 ReMIX features three games: Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Final Mix, and Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded. I had already played and beaten the original Kingdom Hearts II. However, I had never played Birth by Sleep or Re:Coded. Shortly after Christmas I decided that I would give one of the games I hadn’t played before a try.

I had heard a lot about Birth By Sleep, it was the one that interested me the most. How Roxas (or Ventus) weaved into Sora’s story line always interested me. I was not disappointed. It’s been a long time since I’ve become so attached to characters in such a short time.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep takes place ten years before Kingdom Hearts. It follows the stories of briefly featured characters in Kingdom Hearts II, Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, as they go in search of Master Xehanort and defend worlds from the Unversed.

The most interesting thing about this game, was that you play the same levels and roughly the same storyline with all three characters. You play through with Ventus (the damage dealer), Aqua (the mage) and with Terra (the tank). Unlike the previous games, you’re soloing these levels without the added help of Donald and Goofy like in the previous games.

That was the hardest part for me. In KH & KHII you have the added backup of Goofy and Donald for spells or potions while you are the main damage dealer. Understanding how to create a balance between hits so that you stay alive (especially on the big boss battles) was an interesting skill to learn.

I really enjoyed playing the different aspects that I hadn’t really ever been able to delve into. In the original games since you’re following Sora and his story, you’re forced into the damage dealer position, and rarely get to try out the others. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE playing damage dealers, in almost every game I play, those are what I choose to play, but it was nice to play a tank for a change.

Terra’s Storyline

Terra is the tank. He hits slow, but hard. As he jumps from world to world he gets more and more angsty. Additonally, since he’s voiced by Jason Dohring, Logan Echolls from Veronica Mars, that angst was twofold in my head. He’s fighting a darkness in his heart that he’d not sure he’s going to win against. Ultimately, he realizes he has to depend on his friends to find the strength to keep going.

Ventus’ Storyline

Ventus is the baby, he’s new to keyblade mastering but thinks he is the shit. But ultimately he just wants to be like Aqua and Terra. He is striving to be the best keyblade master he can. As he is courted by Xehenort you grow more and more protective of him, so does Aqua and Terra. In the end, you discover how his story ends and how it becomes entangled with Soras.

Aqua’s Storyline

To say that her storyline was the most interesting and surprising is an understatement. She spends most of the game beating down Unversed and primarily searching for Terra to bring him home. She’s always just a little behind, but seems to catch up when he needs it most. How her storyline ends is both heart-crushing and badass at the same time.

You play through each storyline separately, meeting different Disney characters along the way. Characters like: Snow White, Stitch, Young Hercules (sorry, not Ryan Gosling), Peter Pan, CInderella, Maleficent, and a good handful more. One thing that the Kingdom Hearts game designers have done well is find fairly organic ways to merge these characters into the story and the levels. Sometimes they’re a little strange, but for the most part it’s completely understandable why Sora would be teaming up with Beast to defeat Heartless in his castle.

Not only do you meet Disney characters along the way on your journeys, you also run into some Final Fantasy characters as well as some characters from KH & KHII. You meet younger versions of those characters and begin to understand how they all weave into the overall storyline.

Zack Fair is from Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core
Zack Fair is from Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core

While Birth By Sleep was released in 2010 (eight years after the original), in the chronology, should be played first. Which makes sense because all the villains that you encounter band together to create the Heartless of the rest of the Kingdom Hearts series.

Ultimately, I am COMPLETELY obsessed with this series, and very emotionally attached to these characters. I can’t wait until Kingdom Hearts III is released and I can jump into this world once again.

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Find Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
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Find Kingdom Hearts 2.5 ReMIX
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