Kingdom Hearts Coded, a game that most fans and a good chunk of the public, may deem to be a useless game and even pointless with the rehash nature of its story, being essentially a retread of the original Kingdom Hearts from the PS2, which was already done with Chain of Memories for the GameBoy Advance and PS2 itself. It seemed redundant, to say the least, and the only significant story wise is around the very end of the game, and a cutscene added into the PS4 remastered cutscenes from the DS remake of Coded, which was originally just for Japanese Mobile Phones. The game was then retitled as “Re: Coded”, and is the version most people have experienced if they talk about the actual game itself. If anyone was to share experiences from the original phone game, they are most likely fans that lived inside the Japan-exclusive market, and for those that want to even look out of curiosity, there is no way to emulate the original game either. “But why would you?” Most may ask to just a desire to play the DS game in general, well
SLIGHT spoilers for the original PS2 trilogy(if you count Re: Chain of Memories)
The “story” starts with Jiminy recollecting over the 2 main journeys Sora had embarked on, looking at the original still being blank, except for the note “Thank Naminé”. Upon inspecting the journals one last time, he then came across a new message in the journal, that surely wasn’t there before hand. So upon telling King Mickey, they decide to digitize the journal into raw data to see what is going on, discovering bugs that impedes their progress, and they decide to employ a digital Sora’s help in the world itself, to rid the worlds of their bugs, and return the journal to a more “readable” state in some sense. In the game you simply play as the digital Sora, and go through all the worlds from the original game, except Deep Jungle, Atlantica(THANK FUCK), Halloween Town, Monstro, and Neverland. The 100 Acre Woods isn’t even saying hi, so it’s safe to say there is significantly less to go through.
Leveling up is now done traditionally(thank fucking god), and ability acquiring is slightly different from the usual. In this game, you get a stat matrix, and it’s like a circuit board where you add in upgrades to certain stats and a line towards each ability you can manually turn off if desired, on top of settings to increase the challenge for better rewards or even change the game’s difficulty on the fly. Consider it similar to the sphere grid from Final Fantasy X, and you may find enjoyment out of this system, definitely miles better than what 358/2 Days did with its stats and inventory especially. It also adds to combat with an “overclocking” system, akin to Birth By Sleep and its finisher gage, but no style commands, as each keyblade simply has an ability tree you go through with each level you gain, going up to 4 as the max, and at the end able to unleash a devastating finisher, arguably more powerful than the best of them in Birth By Sleep itself. It feels refined and tweaked in a way to keep it distinct, but using the best that the PSP entry did gameplay wise, this game isn’t bad at all to play.
The one of two times this game really does get experimental is with “back door” areas you have to discover when there is essentially a glitch in the world you’re in, where you can fight heartless that are bugged out and more unpredictable due to it, and with challenges that you can wager a certain currency, that you spend at the end of your exploration into the area itself, that can be upgrades or greater. The other times will be spent on the other side of the keyhole, in each world you access to get to the boss, and most the time vastly changing up gameplay, from a side-scrolling 2D platformer and fighter, a never-ending runner with magic shooting mechanics and spell power-ups, to even calling back to Square-Enix’s roots in the Olympus Coliseum where you have Hercules and Cloud Strife in a party clearing floors of auto-generated dungeons and old school turn-based combat! FUCK YEAH!! It has so much to do gameplay wise, that if you can find that fun, then you’ll enjoy your time here. The music sadly doesn’t add much though, not like 358/2 Days added a fair amount of its own original tracks, but maybe a small handful of its own tracks, primarily being its rendition of Dearly Beloved that I REALLY love, and the themes for when you’re in the back door areas, glitched or otherwise. In the end though, it’s fine if you don’t wanna play this game, not bad if you wish to skip it, but if you’re simply looking to have fun, its harmless and can only serve to be just a fun Action JRPG for the DS, and its fairly cheap too, so pick it up if it interests you!