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PAX East 2012: Hands On: Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]

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Having been lured back into the Kingdom Hearts franchise by the PSP title Birth By Sleep, I was naturally curious to see what the 3DS sequel Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] would play like. And wouldn't you know, they play pretty much the same. Although I will admit that because the demo I was playing was still in Japanese, I didn't know what powers were selected, so pressing the corresponding buttons just kind of had random effects. I was just winging it.

Dream Drop Distance actually falls in the series chronology as the sequel to Kingdom Hearts 2. Sora and Riku just kind of stumbled into being Keyblade wielders, so now they must train to be real Keyblade masters. And they'll do that over the course of multiple worlds that feature the traditional merging of Square Enix and Disney. There are seven keyholes to unlock, and the world that the demo was set in was based on the recent TRON: Legacy film.

The game plays pretty much as you'd expect, although the addition of a special move where you can run up and jump off of a wall kind of threw me. It's nice to use during combat because it will enhance your attack. And it looks cool when you do a wall run, spin and jump off to deal extra damage. But being a demo, I was unused to the controls, so I struggled with it. The graphics look great, and the 3D is nicely immersive. Although I will say that towards the end of the demo when characters from the film showed up, it was a little disconcerting to see a realistically-rendered Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde and Garrett Hedlund interacting with the cartoony Sora. But it totally works with the whole mash-up concept of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, so it's kind of fun.

Oh, and one other thing I learned while playing the game for a bit was that one of the Squeenix properties that is being included this time around is The World Ends With You. So you can enjoy that as well as the rest of the Squeenix/Disney mash-ups when Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] is released for the Nintendo DS on July 31.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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