We’ve all heard stories about how people don’t like a certain title in the Kingdom Hearts series. Most of these stories about Re:coded are from people who have never played the game.
As someone who has played it, my only complaint about the game is that it’s too short. I would have enjoyed it more if it was longer so I could have more fun on the go with a portable Kingdom Hearts game, but alas.
The game has so many unique points to it such as reliving the first game and Castle Oblivion, a battle with Roxas, and each world having its own end level stage. There are so many reasons why you should play this game and not skip it, but I’ll give you a few so you don’t suffocate. Also, don’t worry about big spoils about this title throughout this article. (Well, except for the Roxas battle…) But shouldn’t they excite you even more?
It’s a Kingdom Hearts game
No, I’m not saying that you should play it simply due to the fanboy reasoning that expects you to play every single Kingdom Hearts game to be a “real” fan. Rather, what I want to convey is that since the story of the Kingdom Hearts series is so convoluted, almost every game in the series is to be played to fully understand it. If you skip one of the titles in this series of twists, you might find yourself confused or not fully knowledgeable when faced with newer twists that may relate to that game. In fact, the new cutscene in the Re:coded cinematics in Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX points to a connection between Jiminy’s Journal and the Tome of Prophecy mentioned in Kingdom Hearts Union χ, and stresses on the importance of “Data” to Maleficient’s future plans.
Sure, you can always watch the cut scenes that were released in the Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX, but wouldn’t it feel different if you were playing it instead of just being in the audience?
The deck system
Another reason to play Re:coded is that it follows a similar deck system that Birth by Sleep had, if you enjoyed that. It was relatively easy to use and made Sora, or Data Sora, fight differently than the way he usually does. Just busting out big moves to defeat all your foes is so satisfying. It’s like playing Birth by Sleep but having the look and feel of the original Kingdom Hearts. You are also alone throughout the majority of the game, so there are no Donald’s mistimed heals to bother you after you use your own.
Challenging boss battles
The boss stages are also quite unique in this game. You have the side scrolling, platform fighting stage in Traverse Town, a Gummi Ship type stage (where you shoot projectiles from your Keyblade, also similar to Wisdom Form’s attacks) in Wonderland, Olympus’ turn based strategy stage (which was my absolute favourite thing in the game, mind you), and so on. With each stage’s uniqueness, it doesn’t feel like you’re going to just be doing some fight that felt like the last. And another battle with Roxas is just something that adds bonus points in my book. They can be challenging at times, but it can also be a blast to battle Sora’s Nobody (who is clearly stronger than him), with Roxas’ beautiful theme playing in the background as the icing on the cake.
Each world in Re:coded had extra missions to complete to get better rewards throughout the game. As you progress through the game, they do get slightly harder to complete but nothing too difficult to overcome. It’s also a little fun challenge for those who like to beat the game with 100% completion. (Although I did have some trouble with one of the Castle Oblivion challenges…)
We also can’t forget about the Matrix system that Re:coded introduced. For those that don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, just think of the Final Fantasy X Sphere Grid system, but a little more complicated. The Matrix System levels up Sora’s stats as you fill out what you want to increase. You could acquire skills and also ways to make the game more challenging yet rewarding. Other uses for this system include unlocking abilities by fusing other abilities together, or just levelling up some of your gear or skills. The customisation with this system is bountiful.
There are also the plot twists and what not in this game that Kingdom Hearts is famous for. The story also overdoses you with a massive feels trip as you progress. As much as I want to explain what happens, I want to be nice and not spoil it for others.
If I have convinced you to play this game, get your hands on Re:coded in any way you can (except robbing a store, because that’s illegal). For those who are still not convinced, definitely watch the cutscenes, or the cinematics Square Enix so thoughtfully put together in Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX. With elements from other Kingdom Hearts games and the original feel from the game that started it all, it really was a work of art. Feels, Keyblade whacking, unique game play, and nostalgia; what’s not to love?
Did you enjoy Re:coded, and do you think its story will play a key part in the future of the series?
This article was written by Ryan Young, a nerd at heart with love for many genres of games. Kingdom Hearts and many other RPGs have shaped his love for world building and storytelling. He loves Final Fantasy any day of the week with some D&D on the side.