Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Review

By on October 4, 2010

A wonderful prequel to one of the best series produced by Square Enix.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

Birth by sleep gets rid of party members and instead uses the “D-link” system which enables you to link your character to other people you meet throughout  the game. Once the D-link gauge is full you can activate D-link by pressing right/left on the d-pad and selecting which character you want to link with. This opens up another very useful element to the game as using “D-link” fully restores your characters health and gives you access to the command menu of the D-linked character.

The final element in the gameplay of birth by sleep is focus attack. In order to perform a focus attack you need to press and hold the shoulder buttons which locks on to the enemies on screen. Once the screen says MAX you then release the shoulder buttons causing damage to all enemies on screen. Focus attacks provides a great way to deal damage while avoiding any and can provide a huge amount of help beating a group of enemies or a really hard boss fight.

The game also adds in a multiplayer aspect called the Mirage Arena. The Mirage Arena contains a series of levels that puts you up against countless rows of enemies in return for various prizes such as items and commands. Within the Mirage Arena you can choose to solo the arena levels or play with other people over ad-hoc and even D-link your characters with each other to be used in-battle even outside of the arena.

Birth by Sleep includes a couple of fun mini-games, most notably the command board. The command board is a board game that you can play outside of battle which gives you rewards such as leveling up your commands and giving you new ones. I have to admit that the command board is pretty fun to play and I actually enjoyed leveling up my commands rather than just doing it for the rewards.

In terms of visuals, the character models are really impressive for a PSP game. The models are extremely detailed rivaling that of the quality of Kingdom Hearts II on the PS2. However the environment and worlds you  visit felt very small and blunt. There was simply not that much detail put into the environment of the game and each world includes a maximum of around 8 areas that you can explore. This isn’t a deal breaker, but it does make the game suffer from the issue of lack of exploration which was a pretty great thing about previous entries in the series.

The soundtrack of Birth by Sleep is fantastic! But that’s just because Square Enix decided to take tracks from Kingdom Hearts I&II and just throw them in the game. The soundtrack still fits Birth by Sleep properly but just using previous tracks entirely makes me feel that Square Enix didn’t put that much work into this game’s sound aspect. The voice acting on the other hand was a great job well done. There are lots of big names voicing the English version of the game, and they all do a fantastic job of bringing these characters to life.

The game still holds quite well despite the two main issues with the environment detail and the repeated soundtrack from previous entries. It  took me around 10 hours to finish each character’s storyline, but the Mirage Arena and the search for unlockables will keep you going for quite a while. Birth by Sleep is easily one of the best RPGs on the Playstation Portable and a great game for both fans of the series and newcomers.

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The Scorecard
The best in the series, Birth by Sleep added a lot of depth not found in previous entries.
While the game does have fantastic character models, it does lack detailed environments.
Great voice acting, but using previous entries’ soundtrack almost exclusively adds a sense of repetition.
The game is a complete Kingdom Hearts experience on a portable platform that boasts at least 30+ hours of gameplay.
From visiting Disney worlds to interacting with Final Fantasy characters, this game is very unique compared to anything you can find out there.
With a great story, gameplay, and execution Birth by Sleep is easily one of the best RPGs on the platform.


A young zergling from Bahrain dreaming of one day magically morphing into an ultralisk. 20 years old, 2nd year of university, and a lover of all types of games specially RPGs and RTSs.

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  • rabie1

    Good read Abdulla! Looking forward to more reviews and articles from you :)

  • Ali Kazerooni

    Awesome 3bood!

  • in3r0

    A very good article,
    I've played KH:BBS and let me tell you something, IT'S AWESOME!
    Super Gameplay (I really liked the Arena minigames and the command board), super fun but i thought the Japanese voice actors suited the characters more xD.
    I really recommend playing this :D .

  • HeartOfWesternJungle

    This was such a good review… that I became wet… Abood… do me.. yo-yo master. =3

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