Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD is a full HD remaster of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance designed for the PlayStation 4. It was released as part of a package of three games entitled Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue.
The game is largely the same as its Nintendo 3DS counterpart, but includes some additional features as well as alterations designed to adapt the game to the PS4. The conversion from two screens to one is the most notable of the changes seen. Little has changed in terms of gameplay. However, three new Dream Eaters have been introduced and minor game features have been altered to adapt to the PS4.
Reviews View More
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance does a lot to improve on the flaws of Birth By Sleep, but it also takes steps backwards on other areas, resulting in a game that is on par with Birth By Sleep, albeit for different reasons. Let’s get started!
On the positive side of things, the gameplay has seen some improvements. The combat still sticks to the command deck formula of its predecessor, but with improvements.The attacks this time around are faster and more fluid and keyblade attacks are made more useful now. The balancing is also much better done here, although it immediately vanishes once the balloon spell enters the mix, so it is still not quite there yet. Separate command levelling and synthesis for abilities are also gone, which are good changes in my eyes. Flowmotion is an excellent addition, both in combat and outside of it for exploration. It’s basically superpowered parkour and i love parkour so yea. The boss fights are a massive improvement over birth by sleep, with almost all of them being great, except for 2-3 bosses at the end being extremely cheap and terribly designed. It still has flaws though. “Enemies stunlocking you “is at its worst in this game and it can become frustrating in encounters with multiple enemies at once who can combo you to death simply by continuous stunlock. Even after all that, the combat is a big step-up from Birth By Sleep and it is more fun this time around, but it still doesn’t reach kh2 levels. The presentation is pretty great. If birth by sleep looked like a portable kh1, then dream drop distance looks like a portable kh2, with the character models, animations, graphics and texture quality being on-par with that game. The cutscenes are great looking too, with png faces being almost non-existent. The world design has seen tremendous improvement as well. Not only is the world selection far more interesting, but the worlds themselves are also some of the best designed in the series. They’re bigger and more packed with platforming and treasures to take full advantage of flowmotion and it is extremely fun to explore them and get rewarded for it. My only gripe is that the selection is short, but is fairly excusable because of the sheer size of these worlds. I found the music to be more memorable as well. The world themes are all great and the battle themes are bangers, with boss themes being exceptional. Highlights include Calling Kingdom Mix, Twister Kingdom Mix, L’Impeto Oscuro, Access The Grid, Night On Bald Mountain and the more jazzy remix of Traverse Town. Side content is also there, but not to the degree of its predecessors. There is only one single optional boss this time, which is tough as shit, but well designed this time around. You can also revisit previously defeated story bosses, which are now much tougher, defeat them again for a special powerful keyblade. Each world has different portals, where you can either partake in battle challenges to be rewarded with different items or call on the help of dream eaters (more on that later) as reinforcement. One world…ok fine it’s Tron Legacy’s world has a really fun Light Cycle minigame. The main attractions are definitely the Flick Rush minigame and Dive mechanic, which i’ll explain more below.
Now for the mixed bags and negatives, which oh boy. The story is one of the weaker ones in the series. This is the point where kingdom hearts got complex for the sake of complexity and not for an actually deep and engaging plot. It delves into overcomplicated with how many terms, retcons and concepts it introduces, all the while it does so with a terrible pacing, multiple plotholes and a villain that has all the potential to be good, but quickly gets shelved or its spotlight stolen by far better villains of the past that suddenly return here. Sora is at his worst here writing wise, acting far dumber than he ever has with seemingly no good excuses as to why. It removes him of any depth he previously had. This is in direct contrast to Riku, who is at his best writing wise, being given even more depth and seemingly turning into the true protag of the game, instead of Sora. Dialogue and voice acting is also fairly hit and miss. If it’s not compelling or funny, it is cringeworthy or unintentionally comedic.
Overall, just not a good story.
The three new gameplay mechanics that this game introduces are dream eaters, dive mode and drop mechanic. The dream eaters are basically chao garden, with abilities and commands being locked behind caring for them and getting link points by playing with them or having them in your party. The execution is extremely hit and miss. Not only are they not good as party members, but the actual chao garden portion is either boring as fuck or just meh. It is a better method over the command board of birth by sleep, but it’s now even more mandatory which can be a dealbreaker for those who don’t like pet simulators. I personally didn’t mind these, so i was fine, but it’s a warning. They are also used for the flick rush minigame, which is like the chao tournaments WTF IS WITH THESE SONIC ADVENTURE INFLUENCES????? Anyways, these tournaments consist of essentially rechain of memories-like card games with dream eaters, where you win by eliminating the other team. Thanks to how reliant on RNG it is, it can be either boring or frustrating thanks to the AI of the opponents. Dive mode replaces gummi ships and it now revolves around characters “diving” into worlds and completing certain objectives to be granted access to that world and it is…eh? It’s fairly mindless and not even a challenge (seriously i got A ranks on my first go in pretty much all of them). Not sure why they bothered, since Birth By Sleep did perfectly well not having any world accessing minigames at all. And then the drop mechanic…who the hell thought of this???? Basically, there is a timer between Sora and Riku that automatically puts them to sleep, forcing you to switch to the other characters and stopping progression of that character dead on its tracks. Wh…huh…uhh…???????? WHAT IS THIS SHIT?!?! THIS IS A GLORIFIED TIMER THAT MAKES YOU RUSH YOUR SHIT INSTEAD OF TAKING YOUR TIME! This aspect can be completely nullified if you purchase potions that extend the gauge, which are dirt cheap. In that case, WTF WAS EVEN THE POINT WHEN YOU CAN JUST IGNORE IT ALL TOGETHER FOR A COUPLE OF MUNNY?! Seriously, this is dumb! Character switching plays a big role in the game, but there is also no point in them, since outside of different usage of dream eater links (which i never used in the first place), Sora and Riku play almost the exact same. It just serves to pad out the game and make the pacing worse at this point.
Overall, despite the complaints, i still had fun with the game. If it weren’t for the far more fun combat, great boss design, memorable music and amazing world exploration, this game would have been significantly lower in terms of rating, thanks due to the many dumb design choices (drop and dive mechanics), the bad story and writing, dream eater chao garden fuckery, poor pacing and padding. This game really is a dream and a nightmare combined at once.
I personally don't know why people called this one a bad entry for the series. The story may not have been great but the gameplay is honestly one of my favorites from the series. The Flowmotion system was great and I loved using it throughout the game