New to the Kingdom Hearts series as a whole is Mission Mode, which made its debut in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. Through Mission Mode, two to four players can compete in missions across the worlds with a grand total of 19 characters. Here they can practice Character Customization, as well, using bonuses they earn in Story Mode. Mission Mode uses the Nintendo DS's wireless capabilities to the max, yet players are limited to local play, and not worldwide as with other DS games' multiplayer capabilities. It can also be played alone. Items and Character Growth in mission Mode carry back to the save file the player selects at the start. Guest Play can also be selected, where upon the player is given a preset items instead of those obtained in Story Mode.
Right from when a player accesses the main menu, they have the option of playing either the main game, Story Mode, or the multi-playing Mission Mode. After the player selects the "Mission Mode" option, they are taken to the Character Selection Screen. They are given a chance to view the average stats of the character they choose, just before being taken to the Customization Screen. It should be noted that players only have Organization XIII at their disposal to begin with, later gaining access to new characters as they play Story Mode.
At the Customization Screen, players have the ability to select weapons, items, spells, and abilities that are to be used during competitive gameplay. It should be noted that players will also have access to items gained during Story Mode. It is then that each player is taken to the Mission Select Screen, the last screen to appear before gameplay begins.
At this last screen players select a world and a mission they would like to play from Story Mode that took place in that world. It should be noted that missions are made playable as they are beaten in Story Mode.
As soon as a mission is selected, an object called a Gathering Gate appears. the Gathering Gate allows entrance to the mission, all players having to stand by it. It is at this point that gameplay begins. It should be noted that black and white Thornbeams also block off exits during gameplay. Gathering Gates protect you from other players' attacks, as well.
During actual gameplay, players fight the Heartless, collecting bonuses called Heart Points. Players can attack each other, stealing the targeted players' Heart Points as a result. While the Mission Mode is mainly a way to battle enemies with friends in an allied setting, its true intention is competition due to its friendly-fire format. The fight between players and groups of Heartless, Nobodies, or a Nobody or Heartless Boss continues until the Mission Bar is completely filled, players taken to the Mission Results screen.
At the end of a mission, the results of gameplay are displayed. The characters selected for play appear in the thrones of Where Nothing Gathers, the thrones' height determined by the number of Heart Points. Places are awarded as first, second, and third, each displayed by a gold, silver, or bronze crown respectively.
New to the Kingdom Hearts series is the ability to chat, added as well to the franchise via Mission Mode. During a mission, players can message each other via stylus or in-game keypad. Various colors of text can be used, adding to the fun of this feature. From saying hi to requesting help tackling a boss while a friend is busy with another target, messages are displayed on the Nintendo DS's bottom screen along with Mission Objectives.
While the Heartless and lesser Nobodies fought will be the same as in Story Mode, the character bosses are changed slightly, taking on a never-before-seen AntiForm. These enemies were given their palette swaps as their represented characters are playable in Mission Mode. These Anti characters are fought only in Mission Mode, and are as follows:
Character Gameplay Information
Playing as Xemnas
Template:Q Template:Q Xemnas takes on the role of a playable character rather than a boss, but only in Mission Mode. While controlling Xemnas, the player has the ability to access magic spells, items, abilities, and different weapons via Gears. Xemnas floats rather than walking or running. The Superior of the In-Between utilizes a basic three-hit combo, attacking with either of his two Ethereal Blades alone, then both left and right together with a short range, and then both together once again in a longer range, creating a possibly devastating combo finisher. His aerial combo is merely repeated left-to-right slashes, each more powerful than the next until a three-hit combo is executed. With certain weapons, Xemnas can fire the blades as seen in his Final Mix and final battles. Xemnas' Limit Break, All-Vanity, involves the Nobody surrounding himself in a damaging force field. This Limit Break is similar to a damaging tactic used by the Superior that repels enemy attack in his final battle with Sora and Riku in Kingdom Hearts II. His Final Limit version retains the field but now spreads his arms and fires beams of energy, similar to his Final Mix battle. An interesting note is that he is the only playable character able to project an energy based guard, which is the same barrier seen in the boss battles against him.
Playing as Xigbar
Template:Q Template:Q Xigbar attacks similarly to his boss incarnation in Kingdom Hearts II, and is playable only through Mission Mode. The Freeshooter is customized via the Gear System along with all other playable characters, attacking in a three-hit combo that involves two shots getting fired from his Arrowguns with each hit, the combo finisher firing two larger bullets than the last two hits of the combo. His downside is that he is a strictly ranged opponent as he has no melee attacks. He is also required to reload as his weapons run on finite clips (25 shots per clip). Xigbar's Limit Break, Critical Snipe, involves the Nobody combining his two weapons into one and firing powerful shots in rapid succession.
Playing as Xaldin
Template:Q Template:Q Xaldin attacks with wide, and long-ranged swipes with his Lances, similarly to his boss incarnation in Kingdom Hearts II and is playable only through Mission Mode. Via the Gear System, Xaldin can be customized along with all other playable characters, attacking in a multiple-hit combos that specialize in wide ranged attacks that single out enemies. Xaldin's Limit Break, Dragoon Storm, caues the Whirlwind Lancer to swirl his blade-like weapons around himself in powerful bursts. Enemies that are hit take Wind damage, and are pushed away from the Nobody. In it's Final Limit incarnation, Xaldin follows up with teleport attacks that jump straight on top of the enemies, similar to the Jump Reaction Command Sora can use in Kingdom Hearts II on the Whirlwind Lancer himself and the Dragoon Nobodies. It is interesting to note that Xaldin's Mission Mode gameplay was the first revealed for 358/2 Days to English audiences, the Nobody shouting "This will crush you!" upon the execution of his Limit Break.
Playing as Vexen
Template:Q Template:Q Vexen uses his shield to attack with short-ranged, defensive attacks that create distance between enemies and Vexen. Via the Gear System Vexen can be customized along with all other playable characters, attacking in a multiple-hit combos that specialize in creating distance between enemies to provide cover for magic attacks. Vexen's Limit Break, Diamond Dust, has Vexen summon three large mounds of ice to come up from the ground to strike enemies, dealing ice damage to and freezing all struck enemies. Enemies that are frozen take three times as much damage while frozen. During Vexen's Final Limit, Vexen's three mounds of ice are replaced by one larger glacier. This deals greater ice damage to enemies, and temporarily makes them gradually lose HP. It also freezes them for awhile.
Playing as Lexaeus
Template:Q Template:Q Lexaeus uses his mighty Axesword to attack with short-ranged, powerful attacks that chip away large chunks of enemies' HP. Via the Gear System, he can be customized along with all other playable characters, attacking in short combos that specialize in dealing heavy damage, though his attacks are slow in comparison to other characters. With the Silent Hero's Limit Break, Ayers Rock, Lexaeus can perform a "charged" attack. Once the Limit Break begins, Lexaeus can charge his energy, as shown by a red aura around him; he then can release the stored energy in a powerful tomahawk smash, dealing devastating damage to the target. The attack is then followed up by a shockwave. The longer the player charges before releasing this attack, the stronger the attack will be. Depending on the amount charged, this attack can even be performed twice before obtaining Final Limits. During the Nobody's Final Limit, Lexaeus's weapon becomes engulfed in rock before releasing the charged attack, increasing the strength and range of the attack by also adding a large addition of earth to the weapon length-wise.
Playing as Zexion
Template:Q Template:Q Zexion fights by slamming enemies with his Lexicon. Via the Gear System, the Cloaked Schemer can be customized along with all other playable characters, attacking in quick, short-ranged combos that specialize in opening windows for Zexion's true attack speciality; the use of magic. Zexion's Limit Break, Meteor Mirage, causes the Nobody to levitate in the air with his book-like weapon open. While in the air, a ball of light appears in front of Zexion's Lexicon, symbolizing that it is the source of the attack. Zexion summons many balls of dark indigo energy to bomb the field, dealing a large amount of damage to enemies hit by the barrage. During the bombardment, Zexion can slowly move around to hit enemies that are further away with the meteors. During Zexion's Final Limit, Zexion exerts more power into his lexicon for the attack, as shown by his different pose. The meteors that he summons are larger and more plentiful. It is interesting to note that when Zexion executes Guard, he merely opens his Lexicon to the enemy, absorbing unfriendly attack. This is a graphic seen during the end credits of Riku's story in Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories.
Playing as Saïx
Template:Q Template:Q Saïx does battle with his Claymore with fast, furious, and heavy combos. Via the Gear System, Saïx can be customized along with all other playable characters, attacking in powerful, fast combos that specialize in single-enemy focus. During the Luna Diviner's Limit Break, Berserk, Saïx goes into a berserk stage; he jumps around the field, dealing devastating damage to enemies that he comes down hitting with his mighty blade. Each smashing attack is followed up by a shockwave. During the Nobody's Final Limit, Saïx goes into an even more berserk stage; He comes down to attack even more often, and exerts a sphere of his strength straight from himself while in the air before coming down. The shockwaves that come after each attack also increase in range. The downside to this Limit is that Saïx is constantly moving when attacking and directing his attacks are made more difficult, hence the berserk state.
Playing as Axel
Template:Q Template:Q Axel fights with his Chakrams in fast, versatile combos that are effective in both short and long-range combat. Via the Gear System, the Flurry of Dancing Flames can be customized along with all other playable characters, attacking in quick combos that close distance between enemies for even faster ones. Axel's Limit Break, Explosion, causes Axel throw his chakrams at enemies while they're engulfed in fire when activated, creating a small explosion of fire afterwards. While not being thrown, Axel's chakrams spin rapidly, the layer of flames surrounding the unique weapons thickening as they continue to gather. However, they can be thrown at any time, and do not need to charge. During Axel's Final Limit, the Nobody combines his two flaming Chakrams into one enormous flaming version of the weapon, easily many times larger than the two Chakrams. The explosion after the attack is also much larger.
Playing as Demyx
Template:Q Template:Q Demyx fights with his Sitar to perform long, multiple-hit combos that leave enemies open to other, more powerful attacks. Via the Gear System, Demyx can be customized along with all other playable characters, attacking in combos that leave enemies vulnerable to other players' attacks. During his Limit Break, Wave Gigs, the Melodious Nocturne jams on his Sitar, summoning up large pillars of water to rise and strike enemies. Enemies that are hit by the pillars take Water damage. During Demyx's Final Limit, the Nobody releases a large ball of water while playing Arpeggio. The ball creates a watery explosion that knocks enemies back and again deals water damage.
Playing as Luxord
Template:Q Template:Q Luxord uses his playing cards for a strict crowd-control game, attacking multiple surrounding enemies. Via the Gear System Luxord can be customized along with all other playable characters, using wide-ranged combos that spread enemies apart. During Jackpot, Luxord's Limit Break, he summons a card in front of him. While it is summoned, the card alternates between a cross and a flashing symbol similar to Roxas's pendant. Selecting the cross results in the card merely exploding and Luxord will visibly flinch while selecting the flashing symbol will create a few powerful energy blasts that follow a trail between Luxord and the target. During Luxord’s Final Limit, Luxord summons two cards in front of him instead of one. The player now has three alternating symbols to choose from: double crosses, the flashing symbol and an additional red symbol or two large red symbols. The crosses cause the cards to explode as before, the flashing symbol and the red symbol create the exact same energy blasts as summoned by one card. When the two large red symbols are selected, Luxord will create more energy blasts than with one card, with the final blast being much bigger and more powerful.
Playing as Marluxia
Template:Q Template:Q Marluxia uses his large Scythe to fight as a focus fighter, attacking in wide-angled, quick swipes that focus on a single enemy, yet keeps surrounding enemies at bay as well. Via the Gear System, the Graceful Assassin can be customized along with all other playable characters, using wide-angled attacks that focus on single enemies, keeping both surrounding foe and friend at a distance. Bloom-Out, the Nobody's Limit Break begins with a charge attack while a large black ring forms around him. Once the attack finishes charging and the black ring is completely formed, Marluxia swings his Scythe multiple times over a large area on the black ring. With perfect release timing, Marluxia can instantly kill any normal enemy regardless of remaining HP. During Marluxia’s Final Limit, he swings his Scythe more frequently, and each swing is followed by the release of a large, crescent-shaped projectile.
Playing as Larxene
Template:Q Template:Q Larxene is the fastest attacker in the game, using powerful rush attacks that give enemies no quarter, though her attacks are short-ranged. Via the Gear System, Larxene can be customized along with all other playable characters, using her knives to attack enemies faster than they can act. During Voltic Rush, the Savage Nymph's Limit Break, she rapidly slashes away at her enemies, dealing Lightning damage. During the Nobody’s Final Limit, Larxene darts around the field while enveloped in lightning, making her even faster. She also deals even more Lightning damage to enemies. Larxene holds the honor of being the only one of two female characters playable in 358/2 Days, sharing this role with Xion.
Playing as Roxas
Template:Q Template:Q Roxas acts as a balanced fighter, having average stats. The true potential of having low, but even stats makes him the most versatile character in the game, able to specialize in any specific area. Via the Gear System, Roxas can be customized along with all other playable characters in the game, using various Keyblades to augment any specific combat area the player wishes. Roxas' Limit Break, Event Horizon, causes the Keyblade wielder to rapidly attack around the field while his Keyblade is enveloped in light, slashing away at enemies with great speed and strength. During Roxas’s Final Limit, Roxas summons four thin pillars of light which quickly move in straight paths to ends of the field, dealing heavy damage to any enemies in their path. The Key of Destiny's Final Limit is identical to a desperation attack used by his Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix boss incarnation when Sora steals his Oblivion and Oathkeeper via a "Duelstance" event. Roxas uses a three-hit ground combo exactly identical to Sora's from Kingdom Hearts and both versions of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, a forward slash followed by a lunge and finished with a spin-slash, when wielding only one Keyblade. His aerial combo involves simple strikes from his blade, followed by an aerial spin.
Dual-Wielding Template:Q Template:Q By equipping the Zero Gear, and attaching three ability units, Roxas' Dual-Wielding form can be accessed in Mission Mode, where he uses both the Oblivion and Oathkeeper in even tandem. In this form, Roxas is only second to Larxene in terms of attack speed, while still adapting his versatility and balance. He also gains access to a brand new Limit Break, Magic Hour, where Roxas leaps into the air and shoots up a beam of light with his joined Keyblades. By doing so, he summons many large pillars of light to repeatedly come down onto the battlefield. Enemies that get hit take devastating damage. In his Final Limit, Roxas uses even more power, as shown by his different pose. Roxas himself even becomes coated in light during this Final Limit. The pillars of light that he summons are even larger, and deal an even greater amount of damage.
While Roxas Dual-Wields the Oathkeeper and Oblivion Keyblades when fought as a boss in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, he can also use the blades during gameplay in 358/2 Days. In 358/2 Days, Roxas only Dual-Wields in Story Mode at the end of the game. He shows superb strength capabilities as he tackles Neoshadows in the brief pre-boss gameplay, sacrificing the second Keyblade almost instantly before the final battle with Riku. Roxas only has the full ability to Dual-Wield during Mission Mode. While Dual-Wielding, the Key of Destiny uses a combo comprised of many hits, dealing a finisher exactly identical to that of his boss battle version. His aerial combo involves multiple strikes with his Keyblades, followed by an aerial attack similar to Strike Raid. Dual-Wielding Roxas also replaced his main form's Limit Break, Event Horizon, with one useable only by his alternate hooded form that matched his Final Mix boss incarnation's laser desperation attack, Magic Hour. Dual-Wielding Roxas is made playable by equipping a Zero Gear and three ability units to the normal Roxas, has access to spells and abilities via Gears, but is only allowed to wield Oathkeeper and Oblivion.
Playing as Xion
Template:Q Template:Q To unlock Xion, you must play Story Mode up to Day 117. Xion fights in the exact same manner as Roxas, acting as nothing more than a gameplay carbon copy. Like Roxas, she also has low, but even stats, which make her just as versatile as Roxas, able to specialize in any specific area. Via the Gear System, Xion can be customized along with all other playable characters, using Keyblades to augment any specific combat area the player wishes. Xion's Limit Break, Event Horizon, is the exact same Limit Break that Roxas uses. She rapidly attacks around the field while her Keyblade is enveloped in light, slashing away at enemies with great speed and strength. During the Final Limit, Xion summons four thin pillars of light that quickly move in straight paths to the ends of the field, dealing heavy damage to any enemies in their path. Unlike Roxas however, Xion is unable to Dual-Wield her Keyblades by using the Zero Gear and three ability units; her weapon will just revert to a Kingdom Key+ with this panel combination.
Playing as Riku
Template:Q Template:Q To unlock Riku, you must play Story Mode up to Day 171. Riku continues to use his signature, one-handed attack style in 358/2 Days. Able to attack repeatedly during a combo at relatively high speeds, he can be customized as with all playable characters via the Gear System, however all weapon gears aside from Pandora Gear and Zero Gear result in the same weapon, Soul Eater or upgraded versions (Soul Eater+ or Soul Eater++) His Limit Break, Darkstorm, is very similar to the Dark Aura sleight used in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories.
Playing as Sora
Template:Q Template:Q Sora is a secret character, unlocked by purchasing "Sora's Awakening" in the Moogle shop, available after completely completing all missions in story mode. He fights with a standard combo and aerial combo similar to Roxas. He is also customized via Gears, using an ability from Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories as a Limit Break, Ragnarok.
Playing as King Mickey
Template:Q Template:Q Mickey is a secret character, unlocked by purchasing "Return of the King" from the Moogle Shop, which becomes available after the player completes all missions in story mode. He uses his small size to his maximum advantage, swiftly evading enemy attacks while exploiting enemy openings likewise with wide, fast strokes of his Keyblade. He is customized via Gears, having the Pearl ability from Kingdom Hearts II as a Limit Break.
Playing as Donald
Template:Q Template:Q Donald's only appearance in 358/2 Days is in Mission Mode. To unlock him, you must play Story Mode up to Day 244. Physically, he is unimpressive, with incredibly low attack, but he has very powerful magic. His Limit Break, Fantasia, is similar to his Kingdom Hearts II Limit, Comet.
Playing as Goofy
Template:Q Template:Q Goofy's only appearance in 358/2 Days is in Mission Mode. To unlock him, you must play Story Mode up to Day 277. He has high physical attack, but slow movements, with all of his strikes being sluggish swings of his shield. He also has a very inaccurate aerial combo. His Limit Break, Teamwork, is an ability that causes Goofy to deal powerful lunge attacks multiple times. He has an ability by the same name in Kingdom Hearts II.
Notes and References
- It should be noted that Dual-Wielding Roxas is also available for gameplay after the player equips the Zero Gear and three ability units.
- Xion is unlocked by reaching Rookie rank on day 117
- Riku is unlocked by being promoted to Agent on Day 172.
- Donald is unlocked by being promoted to Expert on Day 225
- Goofy is unlocked by being promoted to Master on Day 296
- King Mickey is unlocked after clearing all missions and the buying of "Return of the King" at the Moogle Shop.
- Sora is unlocked after fully completing all missions and the buying of "Sora's Awakening" at the Moogle Shop.
- The selection between solo and multiplayer mission mode was made more clear cut in the English release. Unlike the Japanese version, selecting misson mode in the English version offers a choice between solo and muliplayer on the main menu. The Japanese version instead brings the player to the Wi-fi group menu and the player can continue without other players.
- During solo mode in the English release, you can earn the Gold Crowns, unlike the Japanese version where you must be playing with others.
- This is the first time in which Organization XIII (Aside from Roxas) and Disney characters Donald and Goofy have ever been playable.
- This is the first time a female character has been playable in the Kingdom Hearts series, this honor held by Larxene and Xion.