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Gameplay in Kingdom Hearts

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A list of techniques, mechanics, and special attacks that appear within the Kingdom Hearts franchise.

Deck Commands

Command Deck KHBBS

Command Deck interface in Birth by Sleep.

In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, gameplay is focused on using and developing deck commands. While the player can attack all the time, commands are more powerful abilities that have cool-down times after use. Players organize these commands into a deck, which have command limits. In Birth by Sleep and Dream Drop Distance, some extremely powerful commands take up two, or even three, command slots. Commands can be melded together to create new commands in Birth by Sleep and Re:coded.

Card System

Kingdom Key (card)
The King (card)

In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, gameplay relies on a card system. Players organize their cards into a deck, similar to a command deck. However, command decks allow the player to attack constantly although with card decks, the player is unable to attack once his cards run out. If such a thing happens, the player must stand still for a few moments in order to reload his deck. Cards are divided into attack cards, magic cards, item cards and friend cards, which are found during battle rather than stocked into a deck beforehand. Three of these cards can be used together to form more powerful sleights at the cost of losing one of the three cards for the remainder of the battle. Players can also use enemy cards to grant specific abilities for a set period of time, although these can only be used once per battle.

Other types of cards include map cards, which are required to unlock new rooms, and world cards. In terms of plot, cards are crafted out of memories in Castle Oblivion.

Panel System

Panel2

A fully-completed grid of panels.

In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, a panel system is implemented, where abilities, equipment, weapons and magic must be installed into a grid that can be expanded by obtaining slot releasers. Magic is more limited compared to previous games as, depending on what panels the player is using, each spell has a certain number of uses available to use during each mission. Once a spell runs out, there is no way of recovering uses unless the player uses items.

Drive Forms

Drive Gauge KHII

Drive Forms are special forms that appear in Kingdom Hearts II. Through the magic of the clothes that Flora, Fauna and Merryweather gave him at the Mysterious Tower, Sora is able to temporarily take on a new appearance that grants him a separate set of abilities by merging with his allies.

Sora (Valor Form) KHII
Valor Form specializes in physical combat. By merging with Goofy, Sora is fights with more physical attacks, including the use of two Keyblades. However, Valor Form disables the use of magic.

Sora (Wisdom Form) KHII
Wisdom Form specializes in magic. By merging with Donald, Sora has greater magic attacks, and fights by shooting projectiles from the Keyblade. However, there are no head-on attacks in Wisdom Form, instead allowing for Sora to shoot from a distance and hover slightly from the ground, allowing for a faster movement.

Sora (Limit Form) KHIIFM
Limit Form is exclusive to Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix and is reminiscent of Sora's clothes and abilities in the original Kingdom Hearts. Sora's clothes take on a color palette that matches his original appearance in Kingdom Hearts.

Sora (Master Form) KHII
Master Form is capable of both physical and magical combat, making it more powerful than Valor and Wisdom form. It merges with both Donald and Goofy, and allows for him to use one Keyblade while having another circling around him. It is the combination of both Valor and Wisdom Forms.

Sora (Final Form) KHII
Final Form is the ultimate form, excelling in both magic and physical attacks. It uses both of Sora's party members, and allows for the use of powerful attacks. Two Keyblades float behind Sora, and he hovers above the ground. Sora is able to glide in Final Form, as well.

Sora (Anti Form) KHII
Anti Form uses fast attacks and long combos, but lacks the ability to cast spells, shield, recover HP, or use Reaction Commands. An algorithm in the game causes Sora to trigger Anti Form while switching to any of the other forms. It is a manifestation of the time Sora became a Heartless, and is largely based on dark attacks. However, Sora cannot use the Keyblade while in Anti Form.


Dark Mode

Riku (Dark Mode) KH
Dark Mode is a form exclusive to Riku throughout the series. Riku initially receives the ability to enter Dark Mode from Maleficent in Kingdom Hearts. In this form, Riku embraces the power of Darkness, giving him a substantial advantage in battle as he has increased speed, damage and powerful abilities. Although he is often fought against in this form, in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories Reverse/Rebirth, the player has the opportunity to play as Riku in Dark Mode.


Summon

UkuleleCharm
A Summon is a special character that can be magically called on to aid Sora in battle. They have been present in Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts II. In the first game, most of these summons were Disney characters whose worlds were swallowed by darkness, although the summons lived on through "summon gems". The Fairy Godmother was able to release a summon from its gem. However, other summons joined of their own free will, like Genie and Tinker Bell. In Chain of Memories, summons came in card form, similar to the rest of the game. In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora could summon by using charms that teleported the summon directly to Sora. The only non-Disney summon is Cloud, who originated from the Final Fantasy franchise. The Disney summons are:

Dimension Link

D-Link Gauge KHBBS
D-Link Emblem KHBBS

In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, a new form of summon was featured, called the Dimension Link (ディメンションリンク Dimenshon Rinku?), otherwise known as a D-Link. Players can draw power from characters bonded to their Wayfinder in order to use their commands and attacks.

Disney D-Links
  • Mickey
  • Donald Duck
  • Goofy
  • Pete
Other D-Links

Trinities

Trinity Mark

Trinities are colored marks that are featured in Kingdom Hearts. Interacting with these enable Sora, Donald, and Goofy to unlock new paths or obtain rare treasures. There are a total of five different Trinities, each with their own color, that Sora, Donald, and Goofy can learn throughout the game: Trinity Jump, Charge, Ladder, Push and Detect.

As they are Sora's closest friends, the Trinity command will only appear if Sora, Donald, and Goofy are the active party members; if another character is in the party instead, the player will not be able to activate a Trinity.

Trinity Limit is an attack present in Kingdom Hearts, Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II that shares the same name as the other Trinities.

Other Mechanics

  • Lock On is a targeting mechanism that recurs throughout the series. Additional abilities can enhance it, such as Scan, Range Extender, and Auto-Lock.
  • Limits are special attacks introduced in Kingdom Hearts II that allow Sora and another party member to unleash a devastating attack together. They are also present in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, where they can only be used if the player is at critically low health.
  • Flowmotion is featured in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance and allows the player to move, free-run and wall-jump smoothly and efficiently. Special attacks can follow on from Flowmotion movements.
  • Trophies are special awards for feats of gaming skill that are present in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, and Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX. In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, each Trophy comes with a unique prize called a "Trophy Bonus", which are usually Deck Commands.
  • A Union is a team that the player must join at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts χ. The goal of each Union is to defend the worlds from Heartless, collect light in form of "Lux" and compete with the other Unions.
There are five Unions in total:

Major Mini-Games

  • Gummi Missions are mini-games that involve the player traversing between worlds in their Gummi Ship. In Kingdom Hearts Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts II, additional objectives are given to be completed while with the original Kingdom Hearts. Gummi Missions must be completed in order to gain access to a world.
    • Terra, Aqua and Ventus on Land of Departure's Command Board.
    • The Command Board maps.
    • Picking the order of turns
    • The Command Card menu.
    • The Prize Cube panel that is used to navigate the damage panels.
    • Terra activating the Land of Departure special event, "Keyblade Rider".
    • Command Board play in the Mirage Arena
    Command Board is a minigame featured in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. It is a board game that gives opportunities for players to upgrade their commands and obtain new ones. Most worlds have their own board and set of characters that the player can play against. The game can also be played with other people using the PSP's wireless connection.
  • Mission Mode is a gameplay mode featured in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, where the player's goal is to complete objectives and obtain as many points as possible. This can be with multiple people, using the DS's wireless connection. Each player can select a character to play as from a range of people, including the Organization XIII members, Riku, Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Sora.
  • Avatar Sector is an alternate gameplay mode featured in Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. It relies on multiplayer aspects for people to send and receive dungeons known as System Sectors. Players complete dungeons to unlock scratch cards that often feature cameos to Disney and Final Fantasy characters and unlock items of clothing, which can be used to customize the player's avatar.
  • Dive Mode is a new way of getting to worlds in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. It involves the player diving down into a Sleeping World, collecting points and completing objectives on the way.
  • Flick Rush is an arena for Spirit Dream Eaters. Players can enter their Spirits in tournaments, where they battle using a new card-based gameplay mode.

Trophies

Trophies appear in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, and Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix.

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