Long pretty cut scenes and guys with spiky hair

What else could I be describing but J-RPGs.

I have to be honest, I’m not a fan. Again, it’s possibly due to my relatively short attention span, but I have never gotten more than four hours in to any J-RPG I’ve ever attempted to play. I used to own Final Fantasy VII and IX but (somewhat stupidly) got rid of them because I just couldn’t get on with them.

But for some reason today I bought a preowned copy of Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. I briefly remember playing Kingdom Hearts 2 at some point in my first year of university (in fact I borrowed the game from a friend and I believe I still have it. Oops…) but, again, didn’t get very far. For once my DS was actually with me and I found myself with an hour to kill, so I found a shady spot beneath a tree in Birmingham city centre and switched Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for my new acquisition.

I managed to catch up with almost two hours worth of Twitter feed on my mobile while the opening cutscene played out.

I liked the fact that the tutorial was broken down into separate missions for different skills- and that what you were doing on the missions actually counts for something in the game as a whole. What I didn’t like was the controls.

Using the stylus to move the camera was horrendous at best. Whether it was me, the game or the stylus, the world would suddenly spin until I was completely disorientated. I tried slowly moving the stylus across the screen, and got very little difference. I managed to blunder my way through that mission and the two after that- and was relieved when suddenly Control Set B was unlocked, allowing me to use the L and R buttons to move the camera. This, I found, is FAR more intuitive and means you don’t suddenly have a stylus in the way while trying to beat up a gang of Heartless.

I was surprised that the game doesn’t make more use of the touch screen, but on reflection I guess it would have made the combat a little clunkier. In games like Phantom Hourglass it works due to the top-down perspective; 358/2 Days has a floating camera, so requires manual control.

I’m still only about an hour and a half into the game, and at the moment I’m still keen to see the world beyond Twilight Town. How long this feeling will last, however, is anyone’s guess.

Interestingly, I’ve just bought a copy of Final Fantasy XIII. My reasoning, given my past experience with the series? I want to be better informed about the latest addition before I write an article using it as an example to prove a point. If what I’ve heard is true than it can take about 25 hours just to get into the ‘story proper’. If that really is the case, then I will never get further than a quarter of the way through the tutorial.

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~ by Tegan on July 9, 2010.

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