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PAX East - Square Enix Line-Up


Square Enix

Kingdom Hearts 3D

The demo of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Square Enix was showing off featured areas based on the recent Tron: Legacy film. The demo was in Japanese, but I was informed players would get to experience the storyline from the film. The overall story follows both Sora and Riku as they work to become keyblade masters. What's interesting is the way in which the game will have players switching between the two characters. A gauge will slowly decrease as the player goes along with one character, and when it is fully depleted the current character will "sleep" and the perspective will change to the other. Though it is possible to manually switch between the two, there will be incentives such as character upgrades for sticking with one character for the duration of the gauge.

The gameplay itself will feel immediately familiar to those who have played the PSP's Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. Players get to create a deck of abilities that can be scrolled through using the d-pad and activated with a quick button press. There is again no MP system, with each ability instead having a cooldown time before they can be used again. Movement is controlled using the circle pad, and the circle pad pro can even be used to control the camera. Kingdom Hearts 3D includes additional combat features as well, such as a button for bouncing between walls and other environmental attacks, and special attacks which utilize the touch screen. For companions in the game, Sora and Riku can collect creatures called Dream Eaters. These serve as their battle companions, and collecting and improving them will also provide Sora and Riku with improvements.

The game made good use of the system's 3D effect, and is visually impressive, without any slowdown in frame-rate. Square Enix was not yet ready to announce the voice cast, so its unclear who will be voicing the characters from the new Disney worlds. Kingdom Hearts 3D is currently scheduled to launch on July 31st in North America.

Heroes of Ruin

The second game I was able to demo is the upcoming dungeon crawler from veteran DS developer n-Space, Heroes of Ruin. The game boasts four different classes, each with three separate skill trees to choose from, providing a good amount of customization. Shown off in the demo I was able to play were a gun slinger and a typical warrior class. The gun slinger was the more interesting of the two, able to attack from afar and inflict status ailments on monsters. The warrior was a typical close range tank, with the main ability featured in the demo being a charge to quickly close range on enemies.

The game features drop-in/drop-out multiplayer, both offline and online for up to four players. The game is very much geared towards this, with many niceties implemented to keep the flow of the action moving. When discovering new gear, its effects on character stats are immediately shown, and it can be equipped immediately or sold at the press of a button, reducing inventory clutter and time spent in menus. The game didn't have much of a distinct look, looking similar to recent titles such as Dungeon Siege 3 and Torchlight.

I was able to play the demo with another person, which showed off some of the aspects of multiplayer. Characters will resurrect after a wait, so long as the whole party doesn't wipe, preventing needless backtracking. Completed quests will be marked so for all players, not just the host. The game is balanced based on the number of players, so there will be no penalty for those that choose to do their adventuring alone. The demo ended with a long and challenging boss encounter that forced the full use of characters' abilities. Though nothing about the game appears especially unique, fans of lootfests should keep an eye on this portable title. Heroes of Ruin is slated to be released on June 26th.

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