Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep - PSP

  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Genre:Action, RPG
  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Release Date:Sep 7, 2010
  • # of Players:1 player
  • ESRB:E10+ - Everyone 10+ (Fantasy Violence,Mild Suggestive Themes)
  • Platforms:
Game Description: In this prequel to the original Kingdom Hearts, players assume the role of three new heroes, as they venture forth to locate the missing Keyblade master Xehanort and his apprentice. Fans of the series will be right at home with the game's controls and visual style, however the game promises to deliver plenty of new features as well.
G4TV Rating
4 / 5
  • Avg User Rating
    (31 Ratings)
    4.7 / 5
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Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep Preview

Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep Preview

By Nikole Zivalich - Posted Aug 11, 2010

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep is an action-role-playing game exclusively for the PSP. The game follows the story of the keyblades and those who wield them, the Keyblade Masters. Keyblade Masters are tasked with balancing the light and darkness in their worlds. Birth by Sleep takes place ten years before the events of the original Kingdom Hearts.

Whether you're a fan of the Kingdom Hearts series or not, you probably don't know much about those who wield keyblades. Keyblades, the main weapons in the series, are swords shaped like keys that unlock new power-ups and have unique looks and skills.

How does one become a keyblade master, you might ask. Birth by Sleep starts off with three youths, Terra, Aqua and Ventus, Ven for short, preparing to become masters themselves. They are training under Master Eraqus when the state of the worlds go awry.

This game doesn't just allow you to play through as one of the three main characters, but you actually have to beat all three characters’ unique stories in order to get the game's full story. Each character has unique strengths and weaknesses. Terra is big, strong and his moves are primarily strength based. Ven is small, young and fast. His combat style relies heavily on his speed. Aqua is calm and wise. She's the mage of the group and has magic based attacks.

Along with their own strengths comes their own save files. Each story can be completed in any order you want and whenever you want. The game does however strongly hint that it wants you to play as Terra, Ven and then Aqua and as I am never one to fight The Man, I did just that.

D-Link is an important feature in the game. In the first few minutes it is established how important the characters are to each other, and not just in a “friends forever” kind of way. Dimension Linking, or D-Linking allows the character you are playing as to link with another character and use their powers for an allotted amount of time along with restoring your HP.

Once you chose your character you must travel from different worlds, each based on established Disney properties, most likely dealing with a Princess, or "Princess of Light" as they are known in the series. Each world has been over-run with dark creatures called the Unversed.

I got some hands-on time with the game over the weekend and was immediately impressed by how crisp the graphics are, which isn't a surprise considering it's made by Square Enix. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the the game's look think Final Fantasy at Disneyland. The game mixes realistic graphics and an all-star cast of voice actors with polygonal, squeaky voiced Mickey Mouse.

Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep - Battle System

But don't let the Mouse and other Disney characters make you think that this game is childish. This game relies heavily on real-time combat. So much so that they they've allowed you to customize your move deck. You can play through the game hacking and slashing but you won't be taking full advantage of its potential until you begin to customize your moves. You can earn or buy these special moves.

I know it's not uncommon to complain that the PSP needs another thumbstick, but Birth By Sleep's combat worked for me. The up and down on the D-pad lets you cycle through custom attacks while the left and right on the D-pad lets you choose who you want to D-link with.  In the heat of a boss battle it might be easy to switch the two up, but overall it flows really well. While another joystick to control the camera would have been nice, using L and R lets you lock onto an enemy so a separate camera isn't necessary. Using the targeting system also makes sure that respawning Verseless don't become repetitive.

Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep - Cutscenes

Levels are a bit short for what a Kingdom Hearts fan might expect, but this isn't a console game. Levels do have hordes of Verseless that keep respawning. Of course there is a boss battle and a nifty new keyblade at the end of each world. There are familiar levels if you've played the prior games, but there are new elements as well. I won't spoil it, but the first level after you leave your home world was that of my favorite Disney princess, that gave it plus points for me. If you're not into princesses like I am, there are plenty of other Disney and original characters to keep you entertained.

You’ll be glad to know that Birth by Sleep also has four multiplayer modes, that I tragically didn’t get to play. Luckily the four modes are appropriately titled so you pretty much know what you’re getting: Versus Mode, Arena Mode, Command Board and Rumble Racing.

This game is shaping up to be everything Kingdom Hearts fans want, short of Kingdom Hearts III, but could also win over new fans with its customization, story and familiar characters. Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep will be out exclusively for the PSP on September 7th in North America.*

*It’s already out in Japan so if you Nihongo wa hanashimasu and live in Japan you can get this game now.

Comments are Closed

  • Cathartic Denoument

    Member of The Game Show army, (reporting &) representing for duty.
    Yayy, NikoleZ!! (^_^)
    Your first G4 game review, right??
    Good job!!!
    And I'm glad G4 could find someone to review a Kingdom Hearts game (especially since KH doesn't get much love from the G4 staff). LoL
    Hope you get to review more games, Nikole!

    Posted: September 17, 2010 2:42 PM
  • Protoganist_prodigy

    I know some people besides me will play it!

    Posted: August 26, 2010 12:27 PM
  • aeaehz

    this game is just what im waitin' for :)

    Posted: August 19, 2010 11:46 PM
  • Ny_JoKeR


    Posted: August 19, 2010 8:16 PM
  • tomrocketdude12

    man i get the ENTIRE story and what they mean and getting this game will help fill in some blanks , only problem is i got no psp T.T

    Posted: August 15, 2010 8:01 AM
  • DazrilCaidoz

    hopefully this one is better so far it looks better has better CG and game play than the last game you know the one for the Nin DS it was alright could have been better but im waiting for the actual KH3 like alot of people.

    Posted: August 14, 2010 11:25 PM
  • thunder horse

    that was so epic can not what

    Posted: August 14, 2010 8:28 PM
  • kimsei

    The game does not look bad at all but I am getting tire about all these side games that evade the main story. When are they going to release Kingdom Hearts 3 for the PS3 or Xbox? I haven't even heard if they are working on it. I would like to see it/play it before I die.

    Posted: August 14, 2010 9:07 AM
  • ichigo"strawberry"

    this game is so awsome i own all the games and while this one is the psp version it would be fun on the go. and it be 3 times as fun playing as all 3 characters in the game.

    Posted: August 13, 2010 10:36 AM
  • Blood_Fox

    wow, a sensible non-harsh kingdom hearts preveiw from g4
    thats a first

    Posted: August 13, 2010 9:02 AM
  • Flight_Eagle

    We don't have a psp, so we're getting the bundle.

    Posted: August 12, 2010 12:27 PM
  • ventus63

    cant wait im getting the collecters edition when it comes out

    i bought a psp just for this last christmas and its only coming out now !?

    any yeah they are called unverse

    Posted: August 12, 2010 11:35 AM
  • NeutraVega

    I thought they were called Unversed.

    Posted: August 12, 2010 4:45 AM
  • GatsuBlackSword

    I'm really stoked for this game... However there is nothing that can make me buy a PSP. I guess I'll just have to borrow my buddies again.

    Posted: August 11, 2010 9:43 PM
  • arelimoon

    Lol, You can buy this on a game site that imports game. Not that hard.

    Lol, Verseless. Next they will be called Unhearts.

    Posted: August 11, 2010 8:31 PM
  • arelimoon

    Lol, You can buy this on a game site that imports game. Not that hard.

    Lol, Verseless. Next they will be called Unhearts.

    Posted: August 11, 2010 8:28 PM
  • Djangorabbit

    YAY!!! I CAN'T WAIT!!! I'ma go Pre-order it! Which I probably should have done that already...lol

    Posted: August 11, 2010 8:25 PM
  • XwingVmanX

    Buying a new psp(used) so I can play multiplayer with this game lol

    Posted: August 11, 2010 7:19 PM
  • jkjkjkjkjk123

    I'd play it if I had a psp :(

    Posted: August 11, 2010 6:52 PM
  • Babaloo264

    awesome cant wait to play it

    Posted: August 11, 2010 5:44 PM