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Why Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is the Best… in Story.

Why Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is the Best… in Story.

Today (hopefully, at least) is the anniversary of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days on the Nintendo DS, considered one of the best Kingdom Hearts games to release and one of the most emotional. Seriously, it really needs a remake. I’ve played it so much as a kid and so, I just wanted to take the time to talk about why Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is the best… in terms of narrative.

Since this is about the story, you should check it out before you read this article. I wouldn’t want to spoil the tragedy. Are you good? Because get some tissues ready.

si nds kingdomhearts3582days image1600w 8ttc

The confusing title is about Roxas and Xion's days together. All 358. Over Two.

To anyone who has played Kingdom Hearts II, you should know how 358/2 Days ends. Roxas’ life ends when Sora wakes up and this game tells you what his Nobody was doing during the days before. 358 days, in fact. Although, they do make sure to have time skips because I don’t think that’s possible to fit into a DS cartridge. Still, you’ll be spending a lot of time with Roxas, Axel, and Xion, and this game uses this time well.

While there is the standard Kingdom Hearts weirdness, it’s ultimately all for setting up the complete collapse of Roxas’ and Xion's life. The story is a tragedy with friends forced to break up and fight because of forces outside of their control. All they want to do is live life as best as they can, yet everything from the Organization, the good guys, and even the worlds won’t allow them to do that.

Oh, right. Xion. Almost forgot about her.

358OVER2 Xion


Xion is… a very interesting character created for this game, inserted into the plot and taken out rather brutally, like an original character in a Kingdom Hearts fan fiction story. Since she isn’t mentioned in Kingdom Hearts II, if you played it before, you know she isn’t long for this world. But I think she’s one of the best characters written in the series. She has agency and drive, and you can’t help but feel sorry for her because of how everyone, especially SaÏx, treats her. Xion feels more like the driving force than Roxas himself… which makes it more tragic.

Before the game was released, it was assumed Roxas realised how bad Organization XIII was and left, but in reality, he was just stumbling around until everything fell apart. He had no control throughout the entire story, and by the time he tried, it’s taken away from him… all because of someone he never meets until his summer vacation ends, exactly one year later he began to exist.

A lot of people don’t like the Kingdom Hearts story, and I can definitely agree it has problems, but by experiencing it, you realise how well-written the characters are and how much you grow to care for them, especially when you’ve played the previous games. Yeah, you won’t get the whole “Who will I have ice cream with?” moment, but thinking about it makes you sadder when you realise that Roxas associates friendship with ice cream and that without Xion, he’ll have no one. The friendship is real, and you aren’t just told that they’re friends like with Terra, Ven, and Aqua, but you can see it grow throughout as days go by… which makes the breakdown of it all the more bitter. Roxas’ story is one of the best character arcs to have ever graced the videogame scene.

358OVER2 TheNobodyTrio

The movie in the Kingdom Hearts All-In-One Package does not do 358/2 Days' story justice. Seriously, the best way to experience it is through the DS.


Playing through it is… not great.

Dear Mickey, the tedium really kills the enjoyment I have with this game. Like it does mean something, it makes you look forward to the next cutscene, but doing missions is a slog sometimes, and the combat wasn’t exactly built for the DS. It works, and it was probably the best they could muster at the time, but it could’ve been better. Fighting with any weapon that doesn’t use the standard combo feels terrible, and so many enemies feel like damage sponges, especially the bosses. Especially Leechgrave and the Ruler of the Sky. Ugh, as a kid, I could never actually beat the game myself because of these walls in the form of terribly designed bosses. I had to use my older brother’s save file to see the rest of the story. And dear God, 100% completing the game just so I could play as Sora was such a grind, having to deal with bad mission types like recon and stealth. You have to follow a guide to do everything, and it really doesn’t feel worth it.

358OVER2 IceCream

Got it memorized?

If you want the best Kingdom Hearts combat on the DS, heck, maybe even next to Kingdom Hearts II, then I recommend (drumroll, please)… Kingdom Hearts Re:coded! Yeah, this is the first game I would definitely call filler, it used to set up Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, but the Command Deck system introduced inKingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep was at its best here. You can use commands during your combo, your Keyblades have different attacks and abilities, the level up system is great, and a whole bunch of other features that made it one of my favourite Kingdom Hearts games… in terms of gameplay. I still found the story quite boring and not as important as it should be.

Still, I will always cherish the Kingdom Hearts games, no matter how many there are or what console it may be on. That’s why I am perfectly willing to wait a couple of years for anything about Kingdom Hearts IV… although I would like for it to be in my lifetime. Or century. Kingdom Hearts has problems as a whole, and I wish it could be done better, but I will continue loving it because of the characters I’ve grown to love and the opportunity to experience more of this wild adventure.

Dylan Pamintuan

Dylan Pamintuan

Staff Writer

Taking all of the AAA games

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