Drive Forms (ドライヴフォーム Doraivu Fōmu?) are special abilities that were introduced in Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. They are used to allow Sora to transform into a more powerful form using the aid of Sora's partners. They are first learned at the beginning of the game at the Mysterious Tower when Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather give Sora his new outfit, telling him that the Forms are tied to the clothes.
A Drive Form is a special ability that Sora is granted near the beginning of Kingdom Hearts II after getting a wardrobe change from the three fairies. They allow Sora to transform into stronger forms by using Donald, Goofy, or both in his party. Drive Forms also allow Sora to use different, more powerful attacks and combos, wield dual Keyblades, or use abilities that couldn't normally be used before. Sora's support abilities pass on to his Forms.
Like Sora, the Drive Forms can level up as well, capping at LV7 (with the exception of Anti Form.) Each Form gains experience differently (e.g. Valor Form gaining experience with every hit, Wisdom Form with every defeated Heartless.) Certain abilities from the Forms can also be used in Sora's normal state after certain levels are reached, such as the Final Form allowing Sora to glide at LV3. Activating any Drive Form will also fully restore Sora's HP and MP, which is very useful if the player is at critical health and/or has little-to-no MP to spare.
Some consider Riku's Dark Mode in Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories a kind of Drive Form. Similar to Sora's drives, Dark Mode changes Riku's clothes and grants him enhanced abilities and new attacks. However, it is only a temporary change, which is triggered by filling up a Dark Point meter, and is reverted by running out of Dark Points. For all intents and purposes, Dark Mode functions identically to Drive Form, and the Dark Point meter even resembles the Drive Gauge.
A gameplay system similar to Drive Forms appears in Kingdom Hearts III, called Formchange. However, Formchanges are designed much differently compared to KHII's Forms. They act as a type of Situation Command/Command Style hybrid that will depend on the Keyblade equipped. Filling up the command meter with physical attacks allow Sora to enter his Formchanges. Once activated, most of Sora's Keyblades will transform into a new weapon that will change his fighting style (both physical attacks and magic spells), along with his clothing's color and patterns. After Sora has refilled the Situation Command meter, the Keyblade can undergo a second transformation, changing gameplay once again. Once the meter is filled a third time, he can perform a powerful finisher that reverts him back to normal afterward.
Kingdom Hearts II grants Sora the Drive Gauge. Located above the Magic Points Gauge, it displays how many Drive Points Sora currently has available, and his progression to obtaining another. Starting the game with 3 Drive Points, the Drive Gauge is measured by different levels whose maximum amount can be increased by beating bosses or performing certain events. In the original version of Kingdom Hearts II, seven was the maximum level that the Drive Gauge could fill. In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, however, the Gauge can be raised to nine.
There are several ways to fill the Drive Gauge. The most common way is by attacking enemies, scenario objects, and bosses (with the latter filling up the gauge faster than the rest). It can also be filled by grabbing Drive Orbs (which come in two sizes) dropped by certain objects and enemies, or by being attacked with the "Damage Drive" ability equipped. Drive is gained faster when you have no magic, indicated by energy effects being absorbed into the Drive Gauge. This makes Cure valuable when grinding Drive, as it uses up all of Sora's MP.
When a Drive Form is activated, the Drive Gauge changes into the Form Gauge and starts draining away depending on the level of the Form that the player uses. After the Drive Gauge uses up all of its levels and empties, Sora will immediately revert back into his normal form unless he is in a state where the reversion cannot happen, such as being in the middle of an attack, performing a Reaction Command, riding on a skateboard, etc. Dealing damage while a form is active depletes the Form Gauge faster than normal.
Kingdom Hearts II / Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
There are five Drive Forms in total (six including the Final Mix-exclusive Limit Form). The first five of them can be triggered from the Command Menu, while the sixth is random. The Drive Forms are:
Sora gains this form when he obtains his new clothes from the fairies at Yen Sid's Tower (making it the first Drive Form he ever obtains), and requires 3 bars of the Drive Gauge to activate. Valor Form allows Sora to wield two Keyblades of the player's choosing at the same time, with red electricity flowing through them. It specializes in physical combat, having extended, faster combos, but is unable to cast spells or use any kind of MP-consuming ability, contrasting Wisdom Form. It is useful for quickly dealing a lot of damage or hits from attacking, but is the weakest Form in terms of defense, owing to Sora's inability to Guard or use Magic. Its special ability is the High Jump, which heightens Sora's normal jump, and can also be obtained for normal Sora at higher levels. Sora wears red clothes with a red fleur-de-lis symbol. In Halloween Town, it's represented by a red, werewolf-type creature. It uses Goofy's power and is based on him. Sora's running speed is noticeably enhanced in this form. As mentioned, this form gains experience with each successful hit on an enemy, making it the easiest form to level up.
Wisdom Form is obtained after Timeless River and by extension, Disney Castle, is beaten, and requires 3 bars of the Drive Gauge to activate. It lets Sora glide across the ground as if he were skating, and uses a single Keyblade to shoot enemies with strings of magical bullets whose damage is tied to his Magic stat, rather than Strength-based physical attacks. It is a Magic-centered form, granting Sora the ability to cast spells at a faster rate, while powering up said spells during combo finishers, in contrast to Valor Form's close-ranged physical combat, and is useful for attacking at long range. Its special ability is Quick Run, which is a fast dashing technique to move quickly through areas or dodge attacks. Sora wears blue clothes with flame symbols on it. In Halloween Town, it's represented by the face of a Black Mage. It uses Donald Duck's power and is based on him. This form gains experience with every Heartless slain.
Limit Form is obtained when Sora seals the Keyhole in Twilight Town. This is the only form that Sora can trigger alone, and requires 4 bars of the Drive Gauge to activate. It is a form based on Sora's old clothes, and is exclusive to Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. It uses abilities from Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts Final Mix that didn't appear in Kingdom Hearts II, particularly his powerful Limit commands. Its special ability is Dodge Roll, a small leap forward that defends Sora from all attacks. The color scheme of Sora's clothes in this form changes to that of his original clothes from Kingdom Hearts to reflect this. In Halloween Town, it's represented by the series' stylized heart with a red and black checkered pattern. When triggered, both partners stay by Sora's side and do not disappear, making it especially useful during tough battles and the only Form that can be used when Sora is alone. This form gains experience whenever a Limit Finisher Reaction Command is used.
Master Form is obtained in the second episode of Hollow Bastion after Sora and crew speak with King Mickey before the Battle of the 1000 Heartless and during the events of Space Paranoids. It requires 4 bars of the Drive Gauge to activate, and is considered a combination of both Valor and Wisdom forms. Master Form utilizes two Keyblades, one levitating through telekinesis, and the other in-hand with an intense electricity flowing through it. It specializes in both Magical and Physical combat, and performs strong and wide-ranged aerial combos exclusively. Its special ability is Aerial Dodge, a midair jump that blocks attacks (and reflects projectiles). Sora wears yellow clothes with a sans cross motif. In Halloween Town, it's represented by two halves of Valor and Wisdom Forms' emblems stitched together. It is based on King Mickey and uses both partners. This form gains experience via collecting Drive Orbs: Every small orb is worth 1 EXP while every big orb is worth 3 EXP.
Final Form, as its name suggests, is the last Form that Sora can obtain in the game. It is obtained randomly after Sora fights Roxas in The World That Never Was; while the first occurrence of the form is random, it can be accessed at any time afterwards. It also requires 5 bars of the Drive Gauge to activate. Sora again wields two Keyblades, both through telekinesis as they float crossed behind his back. It is equally strong in both strength and magic, and is considered the most powerful among all the Drive Forms. Its special ability is Glide, which allows Sora to "ride the wind" and fly briefly. Sora wears silver clothes with white wisps adorned. In Halloween Town, it's represented by a gold-colored stylized crown. It is based on Roxas's fighting style (Final Mix) and Sora's combat when he temporarily steals Roxas' Keyblades during their fight, and uses both characters. This form gains experience with every Nobody slain, which also includes Nobody bosses such as Organization XIII and variations of them such as Absent Silhouettes and Data, possibly making it the hardest form to level up.
Anti Form appears when one tries to activate a Form, the possibility of it appearing depends on the Anti Points (a hidden counter, which increases with each Drive by one point except by Anti and Final Forms). It is the only form where Sora is without his Keyblade. It specializes in blindingly fast and feral attacks and intense combos, but lacks the ability to cast spells, protect against attacks, recover HP, or use Reaction Commands.
Here's how the Anti Points change:
|Most scripted battles||x2|
|Battles against Organization XIII||x4|
|Battle against Armored Xemnas||x10|
|Battles with non-party cooperative characters||x0|
|Change to Valor, Wisdom, Master||+1|
|Change Form when one ally is unconscious||+0|
|Change to Anti Form||-4[KH2]|
|Change to Final Form||-10|
|Obtain new Form||x0|
Chances of Anti Form happening:
It has no growth ability for Sora to use outside of the Form, and he loses the ability to perform Reaction Commands, which can be especially troubling when certain enemies can only be defeated through them. In this Form, Sora's clothes, skin, and hair becomes completely black with blueish highlighting, and his eyes become round and yellow. He constantly emits a dark mist rise from his body, and moves like a Shadow or Neoshadow Heartless, resembling the AntiSora boss from the original Kingdom Hearts. His movement and fighting style become more feral and less human, running around on all fours and attacking with his hands as though they were claws. It uses both partners and consumes all of the Drive Gauge. This is the only form that cannot level up, and the only one that Sora cannot manually change back from; Once this form is activated, Sora is stuck in it until the Drive Gauge runs out, until he exits the battlefield, or until the battle is over. It should also be noted that Sora is able to manually enter Anti Form if he has the Two Become One Keyblade equipped, and enters any Form that isn't Final (given that Final Form is already unlocked).
The Anti Form can be considered a double-edged sword; while Sora is very fast, his attacks are significantly weaker, and he takes more damage than usual when struck. Initially very powerful, its strength remains stagnant throughout the game, becoming less effective against enemies as the player progresses. Many fans have speculated that this form exists due to Sora's brief transformation into a Heartless, and Tetsuya Nomura has confirmed this: essentially, the Anti Form is the closest that Sora ever comes to becoming a Heartless once again. It is also worth noting that in Halloween Town, the pumpkin on Sora's face turns into the face of a Shadow Heartless with tears in its eyes.
Kingdom Hearts II / Final Mix
Building Forms provides very useful movement-based "Growth Abilities", but can be difficult to do due to the tediousness of filling the Drive Gauge. There are, however, a few easy ways to restore the Drive to MAX. One such method is to enter a tournament in the Underworld and then quit. Another is to find a Save Point and then travel to the World Map while transformed. This also works when traveling through indoor world gates, like the door to the Timeless River or the Hundred Acre Wood book in Merlin's house.
As each Form has a different leveling requirement, form building can be done in various places. When grinding Form EXP, the Oathkeeper is a useful Keyblade across all Drive Forms, as its Form Boost ability extends the length of the Form's stay.
- If Sora is in a Drive Form before a cutscene, with the exception of Anti Form, he will appear in the cutscene in that Drive Form, although the actions in the cutscene are not changed in any significant way. He will also handle his main-handed Keyblade as he normally would, whether he has dual-wield capabilities with the form in question or not.
- In the room where Sora receives his new clothes, hints to Drive Forms that he will receive later on can be found by examining the mirrors - each of the five mirrors around the room describes the abilities of one of Sora's original five Drive Forms, including his Anti Form. In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, an extra mirror is added to represent Limit Form.
- Interestingly enough, some of Sora's Drives seem to be reminiscent of Ventus's Command Styles: Valor Form and Fever Pitch share a connection in what comes to high-speed physical combos; Master Form's aerial capabilities - especially the spinning finisher, Disaster - resemble the wind-wielding Cyclone Command Style; while Final Form is a combination of Wingblade's non-stop multi-blade strikes and Sky Climber's mid-air attack posture: