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Kingdom Hearts Re:coded is a full remake of Kingdom Hearts coded released on the Nintendo DS. It was one of the two titles being worked on by the Kingdom Hearts team, as hinted at in the Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Ultimania. Kingdom Hearts Re:coded feature several new additions to the game which include new elements for multiplayer, adjustable difficulty settings, and a new secret cinematic. It was released on October 7, 2010 in Japan, on January 11, 2011 in North America, Australia on January 13, 2011 and on January 14, 2011 in Europe, making Kingdom Hearts Re:coded the first Kingdom Hearts remake released in Europe and Australia.
On October 14, 2013 at D23 Expo, it was announced that Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX would contain Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix along with Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded as HD cinematics. The game was released with Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX in December 2014.
Kingdom Hearts Re:coded follows the story of Donald Duck, Goofy, Jiminy Cricket, and King Mickey in Disney Castle after the events of Kingdom Hearts II. Jiminy Cricket was attempting to organize what is known as Jiminy's Journal after completing his adventure with Sora when he noticed a line that said "Thank Naminé". Looking further he discovers a message in the journal that he did not put there that states "Their hurting will be mended when you return to end it." King Mickey digitizes the journal and takes it in the simulated world in hopes of finding out more. He awakens Data-Sora on the digital version Destiny Islands and asks him reenact the contents of the journal in an attempt to uncover the identity of those who are "hurting".
During his awakening Data-Sora encounters a cloaked figure in the Station of Awakening. When he awakens on Destiny Islands, Data-Sora encounters multiple "bugs" in the form of black and red blocks which appear to cover the entire world. After Data-Sora destroys the bugs and eliminates the Heartless, he - having been given direction by King Mickey - follows a cloaked figure into other worlds, destroying more bugs as he discovers them along the way.
Back in the non-virtual world, Sora's friends discover Heartless inside Disney Castle and soon find themselves trapped. They are saved by none other than Data-Sora who was still following the cloaked figured. The figure reveals himself as Riku, only it's not Riku. It's Jiminy's Journal manifest in the form of Riku. The Journal explains to everyone that they are all now inside the Datascape.
While on a task for the Journal to find his true identity, he encounters the real-world Maleficent and Pete. Maleficent destroys Data-Sora's Keyblade and summons Heartless to attack him. Mickey and the Journal arrive in time to save Data-Sora but Maleficent grabs the Journal and flees, with Mickey close behind. With the help of Sora's friends Donald and Goofy, Data-Sora makes his way through Hollow Bastion. He, Donald, and Goofy find Pete who summons the Journal (who is still using Riku's form) and uses bugs to force it to fight. Data-Sora regains the Keyblade and defeats the Journal who falls to the ground.
Mickey arrives and informs Data-Sora that the Journal will never awaken unless the bugs now inside it are destroyed. If Data-Sora decides to go inside Data-Riku, he will lose his abilities. Regardless, Data-Sora enters and the two visit various worlds from the Data-Riku's memory. They eventually find a path back to Hollow Bastion, where they fight and defeat Maleficent. King Mickey, after realizing he will soon return to the real world, reveals that once the Journal is again complete, it will need to be fully erased. Unfortunately doing so will also erase Data-Sora's memories. Once the Journal becomes complete, Sora asks for additional time to save the real world Pete and Maleficent, who are still trapped within the Datascape.
When Data-Sora finds the two, he sees they are fighting Sora's Heartless. Data-Sora wants to help them, but before he can do anything, they suddenly vanish, thus leaving Data-Sora alone with the Heartless. He defeats it and learns that the Journal had pulled Maleficent and Pete back to the real world through a digital rift. Mickey also returns to the real world shortly after, as he knew he would, and erases the Journal. Suddenly a new message appears claiming that a new door to a new world has been opened, which is the data of the Data World added into the Journal. Mickey, realizing that this quest may be too dangerous for Data-Sora as he now has no memory of past events, requests to be taken into the Datascape once again.
Mickey finds Data-Sora in Traverse Town and takes him to Castle Oblivion where Data-Sora is confronted by a young man wearing a black coat. He tells Data-Sora that if he wants to know the truth, he must travel through the worlds once again. Data-Sora does, but even without his previous memories, he still has a feeling of sadness and emptyness knowing he has forgotten everything and everyone. The dark figure warns him against giving in to those feeling and not allowing it to consume him. Sora defies the figure and defeats him. The dark figure reveals his identity to be Data-Roxas.
Data-Roxas gives Data-Sora a card just as Mickey appears. Data-Sora opens the next door to find Data-Naminé, who reveals the bugs to have been an unintentional side effect of her attempt to restore Sora's memories. She then reveals Sora's nature as the "Key that connects everything" through his ties with herself, Roxas, Axel, and Xion. Furthermore, Data-Naminé tells Data-Sora about three figures (Terra, Ventus, and Aqua) also tied to Sora's heart who are the ones referred to in the message and need his help. Mickey bids farewell to Data-Sora and promises Data-Naminé that he will inform the real Sora of this.
Sometime later, Mickey is shown in the Mysterious Tower, informing Yen Sid that they are close to locating Ventus's heart and have only now to find Terra. However, Yen Sid delivers the shocking news that Xehanort has been revived due to the destruction of both Ansem and Xemnas at the hands of Sora, which will ultimately lead to Master Xehanort's revival. Realizing that not just a "single" Xehanort has returned, Yen Sid orders Mickey to summon Sora and Riku before him to undertake a Mark of Mastery exam in order to become full-fledged Keyblade Masters and properly combat Xehanort.
The gameplay in Kingdom Hearts Re:coded is largely the same as in Kingdom Hearts coded, focusing on the manipulation of Bug Blox to solve puzzles and reach new areas, but also incorporates the Deck Command system used in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, which allows players to design "decks" of various combat abilities to use against enemies. Kingdom Hearts Re:coded appears to use the same game engine employed in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, the previous DS game in the series.
Similar to Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded uses a combat system like the Command Deck, with the controls being much like that of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. The player attacks with normal strikes of the Keyblade with the button, while using special commands like Strike Raid and Fire with the button. By tapping the L button, you can scroll through your deck of commands.
By holding in the L button and pressing or , you can navigate the deck up and down (respectively), or press the L and buttons simultaneously to use the command set as your shortcut, regardless of whether it is currently selected in the Command Deck. Sora can also perform series staples such as Dodge Roll and Reflect Guard with the button.
Clock Program & Passive Abilities
As Sora damages enemies or destroys blox with either commands or regular attacks, the Clock gauge will fill. When completely filled, the gauge will "level up," granting Sora a passive ability known as Clock abilities. By continuing to fill (or "Overclock") the gauge, it can reach the "MAX Clock," which allows Sora to unleash a powerful finishing strike against enemies with the Attack command, which glows orange when ready for use.
Afterwards, the Clock gauge will reset. The touchscreen shows the Clock tree, a branching grid of the passive abilities that will be gained. The stylus can be used to tap a passive ability of the next level, altering the path and changing the passive ability Sora will gain. Some abilities have an 'x' after them, indicating that that ability is the last in that branch. The abilities available are unique and dependent on the Keyblade equipped, and each upgrade of a Keyblade reveals a new ability.
As Sora progresses through the worlds in the Datascape, he will seek out System Sectors, areas in each of the worlds' core programming, which contain bugs and corrupted data that cause glitches in the worlds, such as missing objects and people or a location being horribly distorted. In these closed-off spaces, you are tasked with navigating through a set number of floors, eliminating "bugged" Heartless targets in each.
Destroying Bug Blox and defeating Heartless will award you with Sector Points (SP). However, being struck by enemy attacks will cost a bit of your accumulated SP. By completing each floor and moving on to the terminal, you can cash in your accrued SP for exclusive Accessories and Commands. Any SP remaining when you leave can be converted to either Experience or Munny.
Each World also contains special events that feature gameplay styles that differ from the main game, like Traverse Town's side-scrolling platformer stages, Wonderland's rail shooting obstacle course, or the Olympus Coliseum's turn-based party combat, which is actually very similar to Final Fantasy's combat system. Each of these events ends with a grading system based on the player's performance therein, which begets special bonus items for achieving outstanding grades.
The Data Worlds are not new as they are based on what Jiminy wrote in his journal prior to falling asleep for a year. Data-Sora visits Destiny Islands, Traverse Town, Wonderland, Olympus Coliseum, Agrabah, Hollow Bastion and Castle Oblivion.
The Avatar Menu is the multiplayer minigame in Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. The player can customize an avatar and play through various system sectors they've unlocked via tag mode.
The Matrix System
Re:coded makes use of a unique system for character growth by using a few subcategories of what is known as a Matrix. Each Matrix deals with an aspect of Sora's character development and status.
The Stat Matrix handles Sora's level growth and abilities. Similar to Final Fantasy X's Sphere Grid, you progress on a line of circuitry within the matrix, whose paths are segmented into blocks. Throughout Sora's quest, he'll receive panels like Strength Ups or Magic Ups that can be placed in those blocks, amplifying the applicable stats, and progressing further through the matrix.
At each level up, you will also gain a Level Up panel, similar to Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, that will grant Sora a boost to all his stats. Scattered all throughout the matrix are ability panels, which when the line of active circuitry connects to one, you will gain abilities like Scan, Combo Plus, and Dodge Roll.
Extra slots for your Command deck and more Accessory slots are also acquired through the Stat Matrix. As you progress through the game, the matrix will expand, offering branching paths of circuitry to follow sometimes with beneficial abilities at their ends. If you place panels between two CPUs, it will activate "Dual Processing," which will double the power of those panels are doubled.
It should be noted that any panels placed onto the matrix cannot be removed but can be replaced with another chips, yet, as long as an empty circuit is lit up, you can place a panel in it, even it's not a part of the previously expanded circuitry path. The difficulty setting can also be adjusted between Beginner, Standard, Proud, and Critical at any time from the Stat Matrix, as well.
Since there are bugs all around the datascape, there are also bugs in the matrix, called bug chips. Bug chips come in Red or Yellow and you need Debug Devices to destroy them. One you destroy them, they usually lead to more upgrades or Accessory and Command Extensions.
The Command Matrix is where you install Sora's special skills and items to be used in battle. Although sharing many similarities with Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep's incarnation, the Command Matrix allows for mixing and matching commands without a permanent result. By installing a command, you can then supplement it with another skill, producing differing effects, like adding a Fire spell to add the element to the command itself.
When the commands have both been leveled up to their maximum level, denoted by a !, you can use the conversion process to permanently fuse the two skills for their end result, allowing the command to increase to a higher level, and subsequently be used in further supplementation. The Command Matrix also has a "Memory" capacity, which restricts the creation of a deck composed of high-powered Commands. At the beginning of the game, Sora starts off with three Command Slots, but gains more as you progress through certain circuitry in the Stat Matrix.
The Gear Matrix handles Sora's equipment, split into "Keyblade" and "Accessory." Throughout the game, Sora will gain new Keyblades that change the passive abilities he gets through the Overclock programs Leveling system. By continuing to use the same Keyblade, its level will increase, unlocking more of the abilities to access from different branches.
When the Clock Gauge filled the MAX Level of each branch, the "Attack" command will change into a Finish Command as set in the Keyblade section. Most Finish Commands can be obtained by exchanging SP in certain System Areas while others can be obtained by breaking Rare Prize Blocks or buying from the Moogle Shop. Accessories are equipped in a similar fashion like the rest of the series, with each granting special bonuses to HP percentage or resistance to certain elements, or other benefits. More Accessory Slots can be acquired through progression on the Stat Matrix.
- In the opening movie, you can see Behemoths and Wyverns at the Battle of the 1000 Heartless. They were only seen in the E3 trailer for Kingdom Hearts II and were removed from the finished product.
- This is the only game in the series to feature a narrator in the story.
- This is the only game in the series to not have Treasure Chests. Instead of Treasure Chests this game uses Prize Blocks.
Notes and References
- Kingdom Hearts Re:coded Decoded In October
- SQUARE ENIX BRINGS AN UNRIVALED LINEUP OF FRANCHISES TO E3 2010
- Game Informer 207; Bryan Vore: "Translations of your interview in the Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Ultimania seem to confirm that Kingdom Hearts III is coming along with two other games." / Tetsuya Nomura: "Kingdom Hearts III is not a confirmed title. I actually phrased my answer for the Ultimania "two titles other than III" to avoid speculation that we were working on Kingdom Hearts III." / Bryan Vore: "Are there any hints you can provide about these games?" / Tetsuya Nomura: "Hints would give away too much, and for Kingdom Hearts we're contractually obligated to keep any information that has not been officially released under wraps. However, I can say one of the two projects mentioned above came into existence because we wanted to do something for the North American fans, so we'll be announcing it at E3."