Update 1 – Time Played: 8 hours, 40 minutes
It is time, once again, for a Progressive Looks update. I’ve spent more than enough time with Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep to give my first thoughts on it. With the nature of how the game lays its narrative out with three separate character stories, I figured it would make sense to do one update for each character, starting with Terra.
Terra is meant to function as a big bruiser-type character, forgoing magical aptitude in favour of brute strength. This shows in his basic attacks and movements, which are slow and deliberate. When it comes to the new Command Deck system introduced in Birth by Sleep, Terra does best with a load of physical attack based commands such as Sonic Blade or any Surge commands. How does the Command Deck work? You load your deck with a set number of commands, each command taking up a slot in your deck. You have your basic physical attack with X, and you cycle through your commands with either the directional pad or trigger buttons and activate your command with Triangle. It takes some getting used to at the start, especially if you’re coming straight from Kingdom Hearts 2.
Unfortunately, I noticed a big problem with this new battle system almost immediately. I don’t know if this is a problem with just Terra, but your basic options like attack, dash, and jump, all seem slow. Now I know I just said that Terra has these slow and deliberate animations to suit his archetype as the big bruiser, but this all seems too slow to me. Your basic Keyblade attacks are slow to start up, and just leave you vulnerable, and even jumping is slow. Jumps are slow to leave the ground, and you’re slow to touch back down on the ground. It almost feels like the worst parts of playing Bowser in Super Smash Bros., and it’s not as clean as Kingdom Hearts 2 was. It almost seems like the game punishes you using anything except for the Command Deck, and the game felt immediately easier once I resigned myself to just spamming commands instead of trying to do physical combos.
The Command Deck system is really cool in its own right however. Each command can be levelled up, and once they’re at a high enough level you can meld them together to create new commands. These commands can also be melded with certain items at the same time to create passive abilities that you can learn though levelling up that command, such as HP Boost. Most of the fun I’ve had so far with Birth by Sleep has been through just messing around with different commands and making new ones. I just hope that levelling and melding commands isn’t the most fun I have in this game. Next time I’ll talk more about the worlds and enemy encounters. Stay tuned!
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep