Kingdom Hearts Re:coded is an optimized DS remake of what was originally an episodic game series for Japanese cell phones. Thankfully, instead of paying per stage, you get the whole game in one nice little package, with numerous enhancements (and better controls) to boot. The game serves as a bridge between Kingdom Hearts 2 and the still-mysterious Kingdom Hearts 3.
KH Re:coded was ported by h.a.n.d., the same developer that did 2009’s well-regarded 368/2 Days. The resulting game looks and plays spot-on with what you’d expect from a KH title. The “Deck” system, which allows you access to multiple special attacks, also makes the move over from Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. But Re:Coded also features some new gameplay twists. Sora gains additional abilities in combat with the “Overclock” system – by using and leveling up different Keyblades, he gains access to a customizable set of different combat benefits. By defeating enemies, Sora’s Overclock gauge increases, with each level gained granting a new benefit. At the max Overclock level, he can unleash a mega-damaging special attack which resets the gauge to zero. Also, instead of traditional level/stat boosts, Sora earns special “chips” that can be placed on a sort of “power grid” like field. By placing chips strategically, players can direct energy to devices that can be used to alter game elements like difficulty level and item drops.
As it stands, Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded is looking to be another fine installment in the storied franchise. Various gameplay tweaks, new interpretations on familiar characters and settings, and a variety of different gameplay styles make this one to look forward to for any KH fan – or action-RPG fan in general. With Kingdom Hearts 3D already announced, it seems like this may be the last KH game for this generation of portables - and thus far, it’s looking like a stellar send-off.