Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories is one of the most mechanically misunderstood titles in the franchise. While the ignorance and general confusion are generally understandable given how drastically different this title plays from every other in the series, it is far simpler to comprehend than most give it credit for. With that said, here are some tips any beginner can benefit from when starting this game.
Do Not Mindlessly Spam Stacked Cards
Stacking cards is done by pressing either Triangle or L1 and R1 simultaneously. A maximum of 3 cards can be stacked, and depending on their values and what you have unlocked, you can perform Sleights. Sleights are essentially abilities.
Many new players constantly spam stacked cards, which is a pretty dangerous mistake to make. The reason for this is because whenever you activate a set of stacked cards, whether they activate a Sleight or not, the first card of that stack will not come back after reloading. You can then see why spamming cards like this can make things unnecessarily difficult and how boss battles can be needlessly aggravating. This methodology of fighting can work if you know what Sleight(s) to use and when to use them, but as a beginner, you likely do not have that knowledge yet, so best to refrain until you do.
Rather than making this mistake, take the time to learn how the combat works. Trust me; it is not nearly as complicated as its appearance may portray.
Prioritize Your Level Up Bonuses on CP (Card Points)
Whenever you level up in this game, you get to choose between raising your maximum HP, raising your CP, or learning a new Sleight. 9 times out of 10, I recommend gunning for CP because Card Points are integral to combat. It determines how many cards you can hold in a deck and what level of quality you can tailor that deck to be like. This is not to say you should not ever raise your maximum HP, though. It always helps to have that extra insurance in case things go south in a fight. However, it is only a once-in-a-blue-moon upgrade I would actually choose.
Regarding Sleights, you can not learn a new Sleight at every level; they only appear at certain level intervals. They are relatively few in the grand scheme of bonuses compared to the consistent frequency of HP and CP choices. I would always learn a new Sleight if it is an option, but generally speaking, if that isn’t available, focus on building up Card Points.
Some Sleights are Broken
As stated in the first tip, Sleights are essentially abilities that Sora can perform. They all wildly vary in practicality and just general meaningfulness. There are some Sleights that I have legitimately rarely used in my 10+ playthroughs, and there are those that I have heavily relied upon.
For instance, a truly powerful Sleight that eradicates all manner of enemies regardless of elemental affinity is Tornado, though it is learned around the game’s climax. Some Sleights stellar for Boss Battles are Sonic Blade, Lethal Frame, Blitz, among others.
When it comes down to it, always try out a Sleight for a while when you learn one and see if it’s anything you can derive actual results from. Understanding which Sleights do and don’t work is really the key for prevailing in this game, since depending on how you use them, you can easily sweep bosses with minimal difficulty.
Do Not Worry About Understanding Keyblade Cards’ Recovery Values and Other Stats
All of the Keyblade cards have attack, element, and recovery values. Now, I’ll be honest; as someone who has achieved the Platinum Trophy on PSN, I have never considered these values when making my decks. That isn’t to say that these factors aren’t important, though.
If you dive deep into the mechanics, you will garner some well-deserved benefits. But they are honestly never necessary to truly think about beating the game with, even on Proud mode. So, don’t stress about learning about the Keyblade card stats unless you really want to.
0 Cards Are Trump Cards
The 0 cards are amongst the most unique in the game. Leon tells you how they work during his tutorial segment, but it is a large chunk of information to be parsed alongside the fundamentals of combat.
Basically, 0 cards can break every other card in play, including Sleights. However, it is also able to be broken by any card an opponent plays. The ideal way to use them is to wait until a boss activates a Sleight. This will completely cancel their actions which is a vitally helpful tool to have during particular encounters.
Don’t Forget About Enemy Cards
Enemy Cards are arguably the most overlooked mechanic of the game, and I can sort of understand why. They have their own accessible deck separate from the main one you use during combat, so it’s a bit easy to forget about them. They should be given attention, though, because some of them are rather helpful.
Enemy Cards are obtained during certain key story fights and are randomly dropped from Heartless. Not all of them are conventionally helpful, but a good chunk of the boss cards you receive are legitimately supportive when appropriately synergized with your deck.
Use the Calm Bounty Card at Least Once Per Floor
There is a map card in the game called Calm Bounty, which I recommend using at least once per floor. This room produces a small, harmless interior that houses a chest. You will pretty much always gain a brand new Sleight when using one of these cards in a new world, so try to keep that in mind.
And those are some of my beginner tips for one of the most mechanically overwhelming titles in the series. I do legitimately love Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, but I can’t deny that it has a somewhat poor tutorial, and it’s incredibly jarring when coming off of the first game. Despite that, I hope new players at least give this game a shot because it can be an addicting joyride.
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