Update 2: 11 hours, 42 minutes
We are back, once again, with more Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. This game seems to be a lot shorter than I remember, because I’m pretty sure I’m nearly finished with it at this point with only 3 or so worlds left to go. Given that, this is going to be the final update for this Progressive Looks series, with the next thing you see about Dream Drop Distance being the review. Let’s get into it.
Last time I asked the question if this game was just a worse version of Birth by Sleep, and as of right now I have to say both yes and no. Let’s start with the good. The combat itself feels slightly tighter than it did in BBS, as you’re able to string together physical attacks and commands more easily. A lot of the character exclusive commands are cool too, like Sora’s Sonic Blade and Riku’s Dark Firaga. There’s also the biggest new game mechanic that was added in DDD: Flowmotion. Flowmotion is a movement mechanic that allows you to traverse areas quickly and stylishly, with maneuvers such as wall kicks and rail grinds. You’re also able to attack out of these maneuvers with Flowmotion specific attacks. Traversing the environments with Flowmotion feels really good, but the attacks are just so easy to spam against regular enemies because they’re so low-risk to use. This means that between your commands and your Flowmotion attacks, there’s really no reason to use your basic physical attack at all. There’s also the Reality Shift, a sort of combat mini-game you can perform to give you an advantage. The mini-games and effects differ per world, but the way to activate them is always the same: beat up the bad guy and hit Triangle and X at the same time when the prompt comes up. This is a really bad way to do it compared to the 3DS touch screen, as half the time when I activate Reality Shift on the PS4 I accidentally use whatever command I have selected and put it on cooldown. That sucks for harder fights.
The other issue that I have with the battle system is that while the combat itself feels slightly better compared to BBS, character progression has been changed for the worse. Instead of levelling up your commands and fusing them together to make new commands and abilities, which was my absolute favourite part of BBS, DDD has you learn your commands and abilities from your Dream Eaters. Every Dream Eater in DDD has their own Link Board, which functions very similarly to Final Fantasy X’s Sphere Grid (for those familiar with FFX), with abilities and commands on nodes which cost Link Points to unlock. Messing with my Dream Eaters hasn’t given me anywhere close to the same satisfaction I got from command melding in BBS, which is a huge letdown for me.
A very interesting thing I’ve noticed in Dream Drop Distance is the level design. Theres little difference between Sora’s and Riku’s runs through worlds, but the thing that matters to me here is how each area is laid out. Everywhere seems to have been designed to take advantage of Flowmotion, as there’s a certain verticality to areas that isn’t in other games. I’ve really enjoyed traversing the areas and looking in high-up nooks and crannies for treasure, secrets, and new paths. There are also countless objects that you can play off of with Flowmotion, such as walls, railings, poles, and even certain large enemies. That’s right, you’re able to use Flowmotion to swing around a bigger enemy and either catapult yourself off of them or kick them away from you. I’ve personally enjoyed Flowmotion so far, and I hope the game builds on it towards the end.
Dream Drop Distance has been an interesting adventure so far, especially since the game seems to be a lot different than I remember it to be. I’m give my final thoughts on the game when the review goes live. Thanks for reading this Al Unlocked Progressive Looks Series on Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, and stay tuned!
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance