Kingdom Hearts Re:coded
Kingdom Hearts Re:coded review: It's essentially a retread of various Kingdom Hearts worlds you've seen multiple times already but it at least tries new gameplay styles in a few boss battles and missions
- Decent graphics, interesting levelling system, plenty of extra challenges and quests, the unique "Matrix System" can actually make several missions legitimately difficult
- Terrible camera, irritating platforming sections, awkward learning curve, too much content recycled from previous titles, don't bother trying to make any sense of the unnecessarily convoluted story.
Although the Keyblade-swinging action is easily on par with 358/2 Days, the awkward plot, increasingly stale locations, and recycled game scenarios make Re:coded the weakest Kingdom Hearts title yet.
Price$ 69.95 (AUD)
In a nutshell, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded is a remake of the 2008 Japan-exclusive episodic mobile title "Kingdom Hearts coded," albeit rebuilt from the ground up for the Nintendo DS. While both games cover the same narrative threads, Re:coded benefits from a lot of new additions indicative to the DS hardware: better graphics, dual-screen content, and a significantly retouched combat system.
If you haven't been following the Kingdom Hearts saga throughout the five games that have been released so far, Re:coded isn't where you should introduce yourself to the series. Don't get me wrong -- it's a solid entry in a great franchise that successfully mixes the talents of Square Enix with the star power of several iconic Disney characters, but I'm not going to pretend the story makes any sense. It just doesn't. Heck -- to be fair, the entire Kingdom Hearts plot train fell off the rails and over a bridge about halfway through Kingdom Hearts II.
Taking place shortly after Kingdom Hearts II, Re:coded's story begins when mysterious messages and pleas for help start appearing in Jiminy Cricket's journal. Mickey, Donald, and Goofy digitise the journal to analyse the corrupted pages, creating a "Data Sora" to debug the entries within the book's contents. What follows is a strange and baffling adventure that involves the Darkness in the "Data World" interfering with the real world, with the final events having no clear influence on anything occurring in the series' arc. Of course, this is a side-game, so it's not supposed to have much sway on the events in the "core" Kingdom Hearts titles, but at this point it feels like series creator Tetsuya Nomura is making this stuff up as he goes along.
From beginning to end, every sequence of events in Re:coded is one poorly explained plot twist after another. At the very least, previous series spin-off 358/2 Days tied up some dangling threads and character origins that fleshed out things in the time-skip between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. No such thing is done in Re:coded, due in large part to storytelling that somehow feels both rushed and strangely light on details.
While the convoluted narrative leaves much to be desired, the action is nonetheless at its best in Re:coded. Some of the combat mechanics feature elements borrowed from the far superior Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, and advanced players can make things legitimately challenging thanks to the various tweaks the game allows you to make. Data Sora's stats, items, and abilities are all managed via the "Matrix System," which also allows players to tweak in-game factors like enemy strength, drop rates of loot, experience rates, and so on. In addition to that, skills can be collected, levelled up, and merged to create all-new abilities, which helps stave off boredom after mowing down hundreds of old Heartless enemies.
It's almost diabolical how addictive the "Stat Matrix" and "Command Matrix" can become later in the game. Of the two, the former is represented as a large circuit board (keeping with the digital theme of the game), where installing certain chips yields a calculated boost in Data Sora's abilities. For example, you can install "Level Up" chips anywhere in the Stat Matrix, but if you can line them up between two adjacent "CPU" chips, the computing power will double your level gain. Careful character management like this makes a huge difference in the long run -- I spent more than half of the game 10 levels lower than I should've been, all because I wasn't paying attention to the arrangement of my Stat Matrix. Once I knew what I was doing, the game opened up dramatically.
Although Re:coded is essentially a retread of various Kingdom Hearts worlds you've seen multiple times already (Wonderland, Agrabah, Hollow Bastion), the game at least tries new gameplay styles in a few boss battles and missions. One of these levels even includes turn-based combat, while another tries its best to mimic Space Harrier. However, most worlds are focused around the same third-person perspective from the original Kingdom Hearts, complete with the usual drunken camera angles and stiff, imprecise platforming. For the most part, it's nothing that we haven't seen before, and for anyone who's faithfully played all the other games in the series, this will seem like tired shtick.
Overall, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded has a decent amount of polish, and should be interesting for series fans who have managed to keep the story straight so far. If you tackle the handful of side-quests and extra missions, you'll even net a good 15 to 30 hours out of the game -- just don't expect much clarity out of the narrative.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 2 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 3 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 4 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 5 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Watch us play Vanquish on PC
- Tannenberg expands Verdun's World War I horrors to the Eastern front
- MSI Wins Computex Best Choice Award 2017 for a Record-Breaking 5 Products
- Destiny 2: The 5 key things PC gamers need to know
- The Windows 10 Game Bar: What PC gamers need to know
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- FTSenior Java DeveloperVIC
- FTNetwork EngineerSA
- CCSolution ArchitectQLD
- CCSolution ArchitectNSW
- FTSharepoint DeveloperQLD
- FTTelecommunications Provisioning LeadQLD
- FTState IT Systems EngineerTAS
- FTDigital Developer | LAMP Stack | Digital AgencyNSW
- FTIT Support EngineerNSW
- CCProject Manager - Salesforce ImplementationVIC
- CCPega DeveloperACT
- FTMobile Apps TesterWA
- FTSecurity ConsultantACT
- FTData Analyst - BIQLD
- TPBusiness Analyst - Change and Process ImprovementQLD
- FTFrontend DeveloperNSW
- FTWeb Content WriterACT
- TPDigital Business Analyst - AgileQLD
- FTApplication Support Lead l Experience with health applicationsNSW
- CCTechnical Support EngineerNSW
- FTSharepoint AdministratorQLD
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Solution Designer, Investment and Trading PlatformNSW
- FTTRIM TrainersACT