The main plot behind this game is King Mickey and Sid preparing for the impending Keyblade war by putting Sora and Riku through what is known as the Mark of Mastery Exam where they will prove themselves as true Keyblade Masters. To undergo this examination of their skills, they are sent to the Sleeping Worlds where they will face enemies and allies that we have never seen in any previous games. Due to the nature of the story, players will be able to fight as both major protagonists, Sora and Riku, as they progress through the story. With this in mind, I sincerely hope we’ll be seeing use of Riku’s Keyblade, the Way to Dawn; I’ve been looking for an opportunity like this since the very first game. We will also be seeing the return of familiar worlds and the debut of new ones, such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Although very little has been revealed on the plot insofar, it has been made clear that this game will be a huge step forward in the series, so for those who are story buffs on this series, you will be pleasantly rewarded.As I mentioned before, Square Enix will be using the potential of the 3DS by incorporating an new “Reality Shift.” Reality shifts are different for Sora and Riku, both allowing them to take advantage of enemies in new, creative ways that are only made possible by use of the 3DS’s touch screen. Sora’s is called Slingshot which allows him to launch enemies across distances of terrain. When activated, the top screen moves to the touch screen and your targeted enemy becomes encased in a glowing sphere of energy. From this point, you drag the enemy across the screen like pulling on a rubber band and long the enemy in the direction you are aiming. One promising use of this will be to take enemies and effectively use them as projectile to kill other enemies in the vicinity. Riku’s reality shift, Holy Rope, is quite different from Sora’s, allowing him to string together multiple combos as he leaps from enemy to enemy. Like Sora’s the top screen moves to the touch screen and becomes overlayed with a connect-the-dots minigame where you can draw a path for Riku to dash between enemies. In retrospect, these Reality Shifts seem very reminiscent of how Command Styles worked between the three main characters in Birth By Sleep (yet another way that Square Enix is building on gameplay that worked fantastically in previous games).
There’s a lot to look forward to in this game for both new and returning Kingdom Hearts fans. Kingdom Hearts 3DS: Dream Drop Distance is slated to come out on July 31st, so get ready by playing some of the previous games to get up to speed on what’s going on in the Kingdom Hearts universe right now.