Is any of this for real? Or not?

Today we are going to be doing something a little different. We shall be doing a first impression on the latest released game in the Kingdom Hearts series: Melody of Memory. Released in November 2020, it is the latest of 24 released games of the series, if you include the repackaged/remastered versions of prior games. Despite my disappointment with Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts III‘s base game, as a long-standing fan of the series, it still is an exciting experience hearing about the newer titles. However, this came with a caveat.

Like Chain of Memories, this kind of game defers from what the series is used to, and focuses primarily on a different experimental mechanic. This time, Tetsuya Nomura looked at their previous material, and thought to himself, “Yes. A rhythm fighting game for the Switch would make a perfect addition to the series.”

There’s more to a heart than anger and hate.

Let’s delve into the gameplay as a whole. You have three different difficulty modes, and the demo offers a handful of songs for you to sample. Additionally, the gameplay starts with a mandatory tutorial mode that visitors must complete before accessing the main content. I was surprised that there was no beat calibration system to set up prior to this tutorial. Some games do offer that kind of option after all. Therefore, I wasn’t overly surprised to find out that the beats were not registering properly on the TV (2-3 seconds delay). It won’t take long to realize that the button prompts are based entirely on Playstation. There were no universal prompts that people can follow regardless of console. As someone who also plays on the Playstation, it was a confusing and disorientating experience at first. I was thankfully able to adjust the settings after completing the tutorial mode.

There’s a light that never goes out.

Since there’s no story to review based on the demo, I shall move right on to the graphics. The models of the characters used during each musical playthrough were older models, as opposed to the newer updated models. I didn’t find any issue with this since the models provided fit with Nintendo and the classic Kingdom Hearts look. There were also no noticeable dips in FPS while playing through any of the modes or songs. The demo offers players a variety of songs from different Kingdom Hearts games to choose from. I found no issues with the overall quality of the music and audio. However, I do wish that there was more of a broader selection to choose from, but that is my only gripe regarding this.

Final impressions…

All in all, my experience of playing the demo was mostly a fun one. I was concerned that the experience was going to be like Chain of Memories. For me, Chain of Memories felt more like a grindey chore than something exciting to play. I am glad to have been proven wrong. Despite initial confusion with the buttons and the lag, it was mostly an enjoyable experience. There’s even a two-player mode! Here’s my recommendation if you do decide to pick up the demo or full game. Check out the settings and calibrate it so it matches input lag to your TV/Monitors. Also, be honest with yourself on whether you will truly enjoy another rhythm game.

You can buy the full game for Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memories on the Switch, Xbox One & Playstation Store here.

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