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Hands-on: Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days

Though the development team for Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days shied away from E3 this year due to the ever-present danger of Swine Flu, the game itself made an appearance, as computer software is impervious to most biological pandemics. As a result, our time with the game was completely unguided. Not that it mattered -- the game is classic Kingdom Hearts. Not card-based brawler Kingdom Hearts, not kart racer Kingdom Hearts, but the classic action-RPG Kingdom Hearts we fell in love with when it first landed on PS2.

Forget about the wide chasm between the graphical capabilities of the PS2 and the DS -- the game looks phenomenal. The controls have been ported over brilliantly, the only noticeable difference being the camera controls, which are now bound to the touch screen. The game also comes with an ad-hoc four-player multiplayer mode in which members of the shadowy Organization XIII compete for points whilst embarking upon a mission. Points come in the form of crystals dispersed throughout the level -- attacking your fellow players will knock the crystals out of them, which will probably lead to hilarious real-life bloodshed.

With no inkling of the game's story or the micromanagement mechanics, our walkaway impression of the game was simply this: It is the Kingdom Hearts gameplay and visual aesthetic you know and love (plus a few bonus features) operating on the DS with remarkable accuracy. Despite the game's stupid, inaccessible title, our interest has swiftly moved from "non-existent" to "piqued."

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