• Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep turns 6!

    On this day six years ago, magic happened Japan saw the release of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep on the PSP, and it has remained a much beloved entry into the franchise since. It's rare that an entry in a series delivers on all the hype, and yet it happened here. Ever since that harrowing secret ending oh Kingdom Hearts II, fans have been speculating and counting the days until this prequel to the saga revealed all. Here's six awesome things about Kingdom Hearts BbS that made fans scream with glee once they finally got to play it.

    #6 Dearly Beloved

    Starting with something simple yet iconic for the series as a whole, the Birth by Sleep rendition of Dearly Beloved is not only the longest and most complex one yet, it is also considered by many to be the version that expresses the tone of the series the best. Speaking of music...

    #5. This boss theme

    Yoko Shimomura once again proves she's the queen of blending classical music with electronica. The upbeat techno backgroud may seem a bit strange at first, but it gets your blood boiling for all those tough battles you're bound to face, and then a real violin and piano swoopi in to reassure you that yes, you are, in fact, still playing a Kingdom Hearts game.

    #4. The battle system

    After the disappointing drop in difficulty that Kingdom Hearts II graced us with, Birth by Sleep reminded us just how challenging Kingdom Hearts can be. Luckily, you are well-equipped to face all those challenges, as all three of your protagonists, though they differ in playstyle substiantially, have access to what is called a Command Deck. This system allows you to choose the special attacks your characters can use, be they spells or physical techniques, and assign them to be instantly used with the triangle button. What follows is a cool-down period after which you can use a skill again. And that's just the tip of the iceberg with D-Links, Shotlocks, Command styles and other new additions, Birth By Sleep's battle system is easily the smoothest in the series.

    #3. Luke Skywalker and Spock are in this

    The two old Keyblade Masters Eraqus and Xehanort are played by none other than Mark Hamill and Leonard Nimoy respectively, and they are both fantastic in their roles. Sadly, with the recent passing of both Nimoy and the Japanese voice for Xehanort, Chikao Ohtsuka, this will no longer be the case. Still, as one of his last voice acting roles, Master Xehanort is certainly a stellar performance to remember Nimoy by.

    #2. Vanitas

    It's very interesting to hear Haley Joel Osment playing a villain. Vanitas has a very strong presence throughout the whole game and he steals the show in every scene he appears. Not to mention the reveal of his face being one of the most shocking twists in the entire series.

    #1. Aqua (and all the other characters too, really)

    Pre-release everyone was excited to play as Terra and Ventus, since we could pretty much deduce what their roles were from the getgo (we were right), but from her very first appearance in the secret endings, Aqua's role was hard to predict. In the end, she turned out to be not only to be the best character to play as, as she was faster than Terra, but stronger than Ventus, and had the broadest range of spells available, but her role in the story is also quite amazing, cementing her as one of the most beloved characters in the series. Yet at its heart, just like all the other games in the franchise, Birth by Sleep is about friendship, and the relationship Terra, Aqua, and Ven have with each other, and the bonds they build with other characters (some of them familiar) are one of the most awesome things the game has to offer.

    What are some of your fondest memories of Birth by Sleep? What did you like about it and what do you think could be done better in future installments? Let us know in the comments!
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep turns 6! started by Fynn View original post
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. Hollycat's Avatar
      Hollycat -
      Aqua is still one of my favorite characters I've ever played as.
    1. Fynn's Avatar
      Fynn -
      Aqua and Riku are easily the best two characters in the series.
    1. Freya's Avatar
      Freya -
      6 years old. Dannnng.
    1. Wolf Kanno's Avatar
      Wolf Kanno -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fynn View Post
      Aqua and Roxas are easily the best two characters in the series.
      Fixed it for you.
    1. Fynn's Avatar
      Fynn -
      Roxas is pretty cool, I agree, but I don't think I've ever related to a character more strongly than to Riku
    1. Formalhaut's Avatar
      Formalhaut -
      I never related to Riku terribly much, to be honest. Granted, I've not played Dream Drop Distance, but still. I couldn't gel with Riku at all.
    1. Fynn's Avatar
      Fynn -
      You haven't played Chain of Memories, so THAT's why.
    1. KentaRawr!'s Avatar
      KentaRawr! -
      Playing through Birth by Sleep for the first time now, while I watch my partner play Kingdom Hearts 2. I wanted to play as Aqua first, but everyone says it's better to go Terra -> Ventus -> Aqua.
    1. Fynn's Avatar
      Fynn -
      Yeah, it makes the most sense to leave Aqua for last. That way you get to appreciate her coolness the most, plus her chapters mostly tie up all the other guys' chapters
    1. Formalhaut's Avatar
      Formalhaut -
      The combat system is good, but hampered by the character's 'floatiness' in midair. It really makes things awkward. The deck system is great, but a few commands easily outstrip others in terms of utility, like thunder surge.
    1. Skyblade's Avatar
      Skyblade -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fynn View Post
      Yeah, it makes the most sense to leave Aqua for last. That way you get to appreciate her coolness the most, plus her chapters mostly tie up all the other guys' chapters
      Indeed. I made the mistake of playing Aqua first.

      Now I'm stuck in this position of "why would I stop playing Aqua to play the less awesome side characters?". Her playstyle is great, her story is fun, and I really like her as a character. And I don't really want to play the other two routes, I just want more of Aqua's.

      Especially since all the work I did on the Command Deck and such would go bye-bye. I'd rate the battle system as a Number 2 on that list, if not the tops, personally. Aqua is great, but the battle system in this game is just sublime.
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