With our press-exclusive VIP stickers on our media badges at the Square Enix booth we were ready to… wait in line behind other people with stickers. There were, however, several games of a more line-free persuasion and one of them was the upcoming Kingdom Hearts title for the 3DS, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (KH3D). We were going to record a nice gameplay video, but were stopped by one of the booth employees after only getting around 30 seconds of footage of the demo’s opening cutscene.
For a game that has been out in Japan since March, I was actually a little disappointed with what was on show for KH3D at E3. While my previous experience with Kingdom Hearts has been fairly limited, I always appreciate it when companies go the action RPG route as opposed to the (in almost every case) archaic and out-dated turn-based route. What I played of KH3D didn’t seem to stray too far from the classic Kingdom Hearts formula, but during the battle I did encounter something of concern. The graphics were naturally quite superb and crisp, but even with only a mild amount of action happening on screen there was a noticeable drop in frame-rate. Any lag of any description in a game on a system as capable as the 3DS is unacceptable, especially in games from respected publishers like Square Enix. Normally, I would say that there was still hope for the game to be streamlined and mended before its release date, but seeing as how it’s basically only being localized before its July 31st North American release that would be wishful thinking indeed. If you’re an avid follower of the Kingdom Hearts series, I’m sure you’ll still have a great time with this portable entry, but for people new to the series, I have a slight feeling that KH3D may end up being a less-than-superb introduction to the series if the lag I experienced is more than just a freak occurrence. The good thing is that we only have around a month to wait to see just how good (or otherwise) the localized KH3D will be, and whether or not its warm reception in Japan translates into success across the pond.