Yeah, I kinda forgot to cover this game; which is a little Ironic given one of its major plot points. I remember very little about this game, so this isn't going to be a very long review...
This game mostly takes place after Kingdom Hearts, and revolves around Roxas and his time with Organization XIII before the events of the second game. Without spoiling too much, Roxas goes on missions set by Saix pretty much every morning, eats ice cream on top of a clock tower, then heads back to the castle. That's... most of the game unfortunately.
Over time, Roxas grows close to the 8th and 14th members of Organisation XIII, Axel and Xion. Due to some tragically forced circumstances, the trio are torn apart as the game crawls to a climax, but I never really cared. The plot of Days is character-based, but the scenes that are designed to make you care about the characters are mostly just the trio sitting on the clock tower eating ice cream. Sometimes they don't even say anything. There is no real attempt to make the audience care about the relationship between Axel, Roxas and Xion; it's almost as if the writers just assumed that the audience already cared, which is a pretty stupid thing to do given we've never seen one of them before. The game obviously wants to make the player feel bad for what Roxas is forced to at the end of the game, but the friendship between the characters was never developed enough for me to care.
One of the others reasons I didn't really like Days plot is because it didn't feel like there was an active effort to tell a story. The few strands of plot only really exist to explain certain points of Kingdom Hearts II or to otherwise fill in the gaps between the two game... rather vaguely. There are also lots of references and plot elements which refer to other games in the series, particularly Chain of Memories. The lack of it's own story and the lack of any explanation within the game as to what these references actually are is what really put's me off the plot.
Unlike every other game in the series, Days is mission based. Understandable, given what I could make out from the minimal plot and the portable nature of the DS. That's not an excuse for the missions being unbearably repetitive. Most of them are just slay a couple of heartless, a slightly more threatening heartless, or maybe even an actual boss! Unfortunately, not even this is particularly enjoyable. Unlike Chain of Memories, the last portable title, Days set out to replicate the proper Kingdom Hearts gameplay on a far inferior system, and the results are anywhere from stiff to embarrassing. Controlling Roxas in 3D with a D-Pad is absolutely horrible. The button-mashing style of the first two games are made much worse by the clunky controls and lack of any decent abilities. The magic sucks, so the only real option is to keep hitting. The combat is certainly repetitive, but it's so bland that it was never really enjoyable anyway. The camera is controlled with the touch screen, so I'm not even going to bother explaining the things that can go wrong there.
I should probably explain the panel system... Basically, instead of just levelling up, you have to put the level up into a slot for it to have any effect. You also have to equip anything else you might want to use. Magic, items, weapon upgrades; they're all equipped through the slot system. You have to install multiple magic panels if you intend on using a spell more than once, by the way. You can't just have fire in a slot and you can cast fire all you want, oh no! You have to get a whole lot of slots and waste them on magic panels you probably wont even use. I HATE that. What kind of awful system forces you to ration your abilities and even levels like that? Ridiculous.
The few worlds featured are bland, empty and uninteresting. The only thing you can ever do in them is your current mission, but the environments are so unpolished and lacking that I can't see what else you might want to do. I'd like to give a special mention to Agrabah, which is much emptier than one would expect from a busy market.
|It's so... There.|
The music is almost entirely copied directly from previous games in the series. The only good new tracks (In fact, they might be the only new tracks) introduced in the game are Xion's Theme and the final boss theme, Vector to the Heavens. Both are pretty cool, I'll admit, though I prefer this arrangement of Xion's theme than the actual version present in the game. There is voice acting, but only during certain cut scenes which are few and far between. Instead you're treated to lots of grunts and sighs. Lucky you.
I don't really like this game, but unlike Chain of Memories, I have more a passive disdain for it than an active hatred. Unlike Chain of Memories, Days didn't fuck up a good idea, it just didn't do anything at all. It's just sort of... there. Thanks to the bland, repetitive combat, playing this game isn't that much fun compared to the rest of the series. It's a bit like eating a cabbage when you have a cake staring you in the face. A cake with no calories. A game-like Cake. A game-like cake with no calories made of the discs of other Kingdom Hearts games. If you're playing for the plot instead... Don't bother.
I'm giving Days a 3/10. Maybe a 4. In a word? This game is unpolished. There are just so many things missing from it which keep it from being anything more than mediocre. What a disappointment.