Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is a bizarre game. It has one of the best narratives within the overall story within the Kingdom Hearts series, yet it is also one of the worst games to play in the series. Logically, this is why in the big collections, 358/2 Days was adapted as a whole lot of cutscenes instead of the game itself.
However, not all of it was adapted. Thus, leading to some dedicated players suffering through simple and repetitive combat for the authentic story experience. And that’s where I come in. To make this journey as simple as possible.
Play the game on the 3DS
Now you may question this at first glance, but once you compare the Nintendo DS, and its successor, the Nintendo 3DS, the reason will make itself abundantly clear.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is a 3D action RPG. On the Nintendo DS, you are limited to using the d-pad for control. To save yourself the thumb pain, simply use a 3DS for its bigger screen, as well as the all-important circle nub. Fight the camera with ease, gliding your thumb across the angelic nub instead of impaling it against a dastardly d-pad.
Fill up your panels with Multipliers first and foremost
This may be common knowledge to any players, but I’ll quickly explain the panel system to newcomers.
Instead of the ability points present in the main-numbered titles, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days uses a panel system. Each of your abilities, magic, items, accessories, etc, takes the form of panels that requires placing them within your panel setup. You don’t have many slots to start, but unlock more through completing missions. It’s still not a whole lot overall.
To really make the most of it, you’ll want to put as many things as you can in multiplier panels. These little panel groups will double, or even triple, certain abilities put inside them, increasing your levels or amount of magic spell uses dramatically. Make sure you arrange these first for maximum effect.
Fire spell – If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
In most appearances, the magic spell lines (Fire, Fira, Firaga, Thunder, Thundara, Thundaga, etc.) are flat upgrades. However, in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, each spell is, in fact, a separate kind of ability.
Fire has a homing effect, Fira does more damage but goes in a straight line, and Firaga is a powerful area of effect attack that travels a set distance.
In a game where the camera itself is a fight and two of the most infamous battles in the game like to move around a lot, there’s no real reason to move on from using the Fire spell. And it’s still decently powerful too.
Make the Most of Mission Mode
When you complete quests in the story, you can replay them in mission mode. This is a local multiplayer mode that you can play solo, allowing you to play as any of the Organization XIII members.
Using this mode will net you all the regular items you’d get as if you were playing the game in its default story mode, but it will also net you crowns.
For just 10 crowns, you can get yourself the Abyssal Tide+, a mid-game Keyblade with one of the coolest combos in the game. For 60 crowns, you can get the Aubade, which is even more powerful. For 110 crowns, approximately 35 missions replayed, you can get one of the most powerful and cool weapons in the game, as well as all the XP and other items that come with it.
You are free to turn back at any time.
If the game becomes too hard, irritating, or repetitive, you can just stop. The collection of cutscenes is a perfectly viable solution. After all, that’s what it was made for. You could even watch someone else play it on youtube or the like if you wanted. No person of sane mind is going to judge you dramatically for it.
These are some of my tips for making playing through Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days as simplistic as possible. It was one of my favorite games as a kid, and I still adore it to this day because of my associated memories. I put way too much time into this (more than 275 hours). So I hope that anyone who dares to approach this has a good time. Oh, and I have a bonus tip, just in case.
Make sure to have some tissues handy. You might need them.
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