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Kingdom Hearts Re:coded
Nintendo DS

Reviewed on: Nintendo DS
Square Enix, h.a.n.d. Inc.
Publisher: Square Enix
Rated: "E10+" for Everyone 10+

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

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User Rating:        6
Presentation: 6

The game opens with a pretty well done, fully voiced cinematic, then for some reason we get floating heads and written text. In-game visuals are somewhere between mobile phone and DS.

Gameplay: 5

Take the classic Kingdom Hearts gameplay you know and then throw a ton of weird complicated gimmicks into it.

Lasting Appeal:

There's a lot to do here, especially if you're a big fan of the series, but still you've done most of this before.

Overall: 6

Kingdom Hearts fans may like the opportunity to return to the world of the original game, but at this point, it's getting kind of old.

CHEATfactor: 6

You know how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich: slather one piece of bread with peanut butter, another with jelly, combine and eat. It's simple, easy and has worked well for years. Now imagine if someone changed these simple steps and added a ton of really complicated and unnecessary steps to make said sandwich. Doesn't seem worth it does it?

That's kind of how you feel playing through Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. Somewhere down the line, someone thought it was a good idea to take the action RPG style gameplay of the original Kingdom Hearts game and throw in a ton of unnecessary and complicated additions that don't do much to enhance anything in the game. If you really love the Kingdom Hearts series you may find some nostalgic fun here, but even the most diehards can't help but be thinking that it's all getting old at this point.

Try to stick with me on this one. Kingdom Hearts Re:coded is actually a re-make of a de-make. It's the Nintendo DS port of a Japanese mobile game that all but relived the events of the first game but with a twist. With me so far? Basically, Jiminy Cricket and Mickey Mouse notice that they don't remember a mysterious line in the journal that collects the events of the first game. Mickey digitizes the data and sends Sora to find out exactly what's going on. What results is an alternate take on the original Kingdom Hearts. Yes it's a bit hokey, but if you grin and bear it, it's actually quite enjoyable.

" can't help but get the feeling that you've done all this before."


Re: coded is at its best when it's doing what the series does best, blending the two franchise's worlds to create a pretty fun experience. The majority of gameplay is as you'd remember; you go hacking and slashing through Disney and Final Fantasy worlds in an effort to uncover the truth of what happened to the journal. It's really a bit disappointing that the game sticks to closely to the worlds from the first Kingdom Hearts game, why not find a way to incorporate some of the worlds from Kingdom Hearts 2 like those of Pirate's of the Caribbean and Steamboat Willie. Since these worlds have been done in multiple games before, you can't help but get the feeling that you've done all this before.

Re:coded features the command deck system (which allows players to stack attacks in mid battle) introduced in Chain of Memories, and while it may be a bit off-putting to those who haven't experienced it yet, it's easy to get used to. What doesn't fit is the new stat matrix feature. Imagine leveling up as you're used to in RPGs, but here you'll have to go through the fun step of collecting computer chips and connecting them to get the results you want. In truth, there are some great results that can come from fully using the stat matrix, like the ability to gain multiple levels at once, or even enter cheats (sort of), the only problem is that the system is so complicated that unless you read the pages upon pages of text used to explain the system, odds are you're going to be a bit lost.

"'re going to enter into more battles than you planned."


Throughout a few levels of the game, take for instance the Hercules inspired Coliseum level, you're told to pick your fights carefully, as some enemies are more powerful than others, but the camera makes this almost impossible as you'll run into enemies you didn't plan on because the camera is showing you the worst possible angle. There's a section of the Coliseum where you have to smash blocks to find a hidden warp point, but because the game randomly decides to lock on to the closest enemy you're going to enter into more battles than you planned.

When Kingdom Hearts Re:coded opens, you're treated to a wonderfully animated and voiced introduction, then suddenly in the game you're left with talking heads and written dialogue that looks like it's straight out of a mobile phone game (go figure). This uneven presentation is seen throughout Re:coded, as the visuals of the game are pretty cutting edge for the DS, but there's a bit of slowdown that can be found in the game, as well as a few jagged textures.

As a kid, I watched as new editions of Street Fighter II kept coming out, and all I wanted was for Capcom to finally announce Street Fighter III. I imagine that fans of the Kingdom Hearts series are feeling quite similar here. Re:coded is a predominantly faithful recreation of the first game, with enough variance thrown in to keep series diehards satisfied. Unfortunately though, the new additions to the formula have made the game over complicated and confusing. If you're desperately looking for a new(ish) Kingdom Hearts adventure, check out Re:coded, otherwise, avoid buying the same game twice. 



There are a number of cheats and tweaks available for Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, but unfortunately you're going to have to go through the mundane and complicated stat matrix to get them. By doing this, you'll be able to unlock a ton of cool options like doubling the worth of your money, raising your attack level and even unlocking magic spells more often. I just wish there was an easier way of doing it.

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