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Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance was first announced during the original unveiling of the Nintendo 3DS during E3 2010 as one of the eventual titles for the system. Released in 2012, Kingdom Hearts 3D is yet another welcome title to the series.

Taking place after the events of Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded, Sora and Riku have been called to Yen Sid’s tower to take their Mark of Mastery Exams to become true Keyblade Masters. The two heroes are tasked with entering the World of Sleep and unlocking the seven Keyholes of Sleep, reviving these sleeping worlds from their slumber. Along their travels, Sora and Riku encounter a mysterious figure with power over time, who seems to have the strange ability to conjure past incarnations of Master Xehanort, such as Ansem and Xemnas. What starts as a rather simple journey has now become something much bigger than Sora, Riku, or even Master Yen Sid could have ever predicted.

Kingdom Hearts 3D has so many features that are completely new to the series, the most obvious one being that it is completely in 3D. In addition, the touch screen on the 3DS comes into play during several different battle scenarios. A new battle system called “Flowmotion” has been introduced, allowing Sora and Riku to use the momentum they gain from utilizing their surroundings to boost their already impressive attacks. The Command Deck introduced in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep has been altered and reimplemented in Kingdom Hearts 3D. The new Drop Gauge slowly depletes during the game, forcing players to switch between playing as Sora and playing as Riku without a moment’s notice. This new system allows players to experience new scenarios and events depending on which character they are playing as during certain points in the game.

Replacing the Gummi Ship missions available in past installments of the series is the new Dive Minigame. Players can control either Sora or Riku through a series of Gummi-Ship-like challenges as they progress to new worlds. The game also utilizes the Nintendo 3DS Augmented Reality system in several Minigames, as well as the Street Pass system for collecting new and more powerful Dream Eaters.

The new enemies in the game come in two forms: Spirits and Nightmares. The Spirits are helpful Dream Eaters that can be recruited to the player’s party, giving them new strategies to consider and new abilities to use in battle. The Nintendo 3DS Augmented Reality system can be used to care for Spirits that the player has collected, boosting their stats. In addition, the new Ability Link system allows players to spend points they’ve accumulated during their battles to level up their Spirits and teach them new abilities in a similar fashion to the License Board featured in Final Fantasy XII.

Without a doubt, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is an important addition to the Kingdom Hearts franchise. Its release also marks the 10th Anniversary of the Kingdom Hearts series as a whole.

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