Thursday, March 31, 2011

Be a Keyblader, and play a children's card game. Part 1

Today we'll be going over an aspect of one of my favorite games.

The second installment in a series you may know.

 Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories

And we're not really going to be discussing the game itself more so one of the elements of it. I'm considering breaking down the game like this.

The Card System. It's THIS post's topic.

It initially received much flak from fans of the mash X-like system from the first game. 
For Sora, the main hero, with a heart of pure light, you're given a set deck that can be customized with cards you pick up throughout the game. Numbered 0-9, 9 being the highest. 
Every action in the castle requires a card on the players part. Now it's not like there are turns, no you see it's very quick, you can scroll through your entire deck without stopping. 
And once you play a card by no means do you have to wait for your opponent to play theres. How do I word this?

Open up a can of asswhooping if you feel like it.

Alright, now where was I? Right, the cards themselves, are embodiments of Sora's memories, world cards creating illusions of places he's visited in the first game that fill the current floor. And cards used for battle being his memories of the skills he's developed during the first game. Now like I said they're numbered 0-9. 
There are things called card breaks.

Pictured above is Captain Hook using a sleight(stock command in Japanese). A clever nod to "sleight of hand". 
Anyway, Sleights are when you gather three cards for increased values, and certain values, when collected, in certain cards allow you do to incredible techniques. But see Card Breaks, they can totally cancel out someones attack, whether it be a sleight, or a lone card, if the value of the card is higher. Captain Hook up there has most likely used his sleight "Bomb and Present", I'm not sure, but as you can see, the combined value is  13, now this cannot be broken because the highest value is 9 right? Wrong. This is where 0 cards come in. Like I said you can scroll through your entire deck, and when playing as Sora, customize it however you see fit. Now all you have to do is scroll to a zero(but be quick! Because you're scrolling doesn't mean the bosses won't take the opportunity to mess you up.)
And hit the button! BAM! Combo broken just like that!(Note: Riku's Replica battle IV, zero is your best FRIEND.)

Now, I enjoy the card system, and I enjoy Chain of Memories in general. Not just Re:Chain Of Memories which is very good, but the original, Game Boy Chain of Memories, due to the innovative system we've talked about, and the overall story marching on. I also like how losing memories and having them replaced sort of subconciously causes someone to drop the appearances(as seen when Sora flat out ditches Donald and Goofy before the fake Destiny Island level just because they insinuate he's wrong about FAKE memories, and I won't go any further on the mind screwiness that IS this game.) and as mentioned in parentheses, the general mindscrewiness for the characters but the somewhat easy to follow feel for the player.

The card system shouldn't be the reason this game is ill received, sure the story, the difficulty, some other reason I could probably get. But not the card system which is very well designed and fun to use.
Not only this but Birth By Sleep is VERY VERY well received despite the fact that the Deck Command system also prevents you from "mashing X" in certain boss fights(hi Xehanort, hi Vanitas.) And that the deck command system is essentially the Card System only on a much smaller more complex scale. 

Thats it for now really, we'll get into Riku's gameplay in Part 2.

Editor's Note: If I forgot to mention or explain anything please let me know in the comments. I'd also like your opinion on what was talked about here.

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