Author: Liam Riker
As alluded to in my last post, I was able to pick up my pre-ordered copy of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue this past Tuesday. Even though this week’s been a busier one for me, I’ve still managed to set aside some time to open up and start playing the newest edition in the Kingdom Hearts franchise. It’s been quite some time, since I last reunited with Sora and the crew and returned to the first ARPG universe I ever fell in love with. And god it’s sure great to be back!
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue, like it’s predecessors, Kingdom Hearts HD: 1.5 Remix and Kingdom Hearts HD: 2.5 Remix, comes with 2 games and 1 “movie” (a collection of cutscenes and dialogue from a previous entry in the Kingdom Hearts game franchise). With 2.8 you get Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD, Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep, and Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover. While 0.2 Birth By Sleep is the most anticipated game amongst this new collection for me, along with millions of other Kingdom Hearts fans out there, I will be saving it for last, since I’ve yet to play Dream Drop Distance, which was originally released for the Nintendo 3DS and which precedes 0.2 Birth By Sleep chronologically in terms of story.
Even though I’ve only put in a few hours into Dream Drop Distance, I’ve already found loads of material to talk about, ranging from story to the unique game systems that set Dream Drop aside from other Kingdom Hearts entries. Out of everything that I’ve discovered thus far, the element that’s made the strongest impact on me, besides the game’s gorgeously animated and edited opening cinematic (which I’ll undoubtedly talk about in posts to come), is Dream Drop’s “Flowmotion” game system.
The Flowmotion game system is what initially made the original Dream Drop Distance, released in March of 2012, stand out from its predecessors so much. Through Flowmotion, the player is now able to utilize the object’s in the game’s environment, from the walls of the various buildings in the game world to lampposts and guardrails, to quickly and effortlessly navigate the worlds in the game. A friend of mine, who’s always enjoyed the story and design elements of the Kingdom Hearts games, but has never been fond of the pace of the gameplay, was completely sucked in by the mesmerizing pace of the Flowmotion movement and combat system. So much so, that he immediately asked me if he could play my new Kingdom Hearts game as soon as I was finished.
In the three images above, you can see the three most commonly used mechanics of the Flowmotion movement system: vaulting off of walls, sliding along rails, and looping around cylindrical objects. Each one of these mechanics has the potential to greatly amplify the player’s movement capacity, and with the player’s ability to effortlessly transition from one Flowmotion mechanic to another, based on the layout of the environment around them, the movement possibilities are nearly endless. The player can now reach portions of the game world, that would’ve been impossible to reach using previous Kingdom Hearts games’ movement systems. The only constraints to the player now, are the actual boundaries in each world’s 3D environment and, of course, those annoying invisible walls.
Describing Dream Drop’s Flowmotion movement system with words and still images alone, just wouldn’t do the system justice. So here’s a quick video showing some of the possibilities that the Flowmotion system allows the player, that were used to sell the 3Ds version of the game in 2012.
As showcased in this promotional trailer, the Dream Drop Distance Flowmotion system, is also a valuable asset to the combat throughout the game. The player can easily transition from a wall vault, rail grind, or any of the other Flowmotion movement enhancement mechanics available, to an attack. The attack the player executes varies, depending on which Flowmotion movement mechanic the player is currently using. While looping around a lamppost the player will transition into a powerful multi-hitting spin attack, but if the player is currently surfing down a rail they’ll teleport on top of the currently targeted enemy and unleash a devastating melee slash attack. Using the allotted combat mechanics in conjunction with the Flowmotion movement system they’re integrated into, puts every enemy in Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD at the player’s mercy.
Overall, the Flowmotion system is a very powerful asset to the player in Dream Drop, but most of all, it’s just a hell of a lot of fun! This movement system has quickly become a fan favorite, and with it allegedly being incorporated into 0.2 Birth By Sleep and even the massively anticipated Kingdom Hearts 3, it’s clear the developers at Square Enix have been listening.