Combat in Birth By Sleep

Birth By Sleep is a really nice game…

Now, context for that statement. I love combat in the game, while KH has fun combat in general, there have been some issues  that BBS deals with in clever simple ways.

KH2 ushered in some lightning fast combat that was far too automated… BBS can have this problem (especially if you aren’t playing on proud mode, which you should in BBS as it’s not as stupid as other KH games’ proud mode), but typically it doesn’t. BBS simplifies and creates more complexity in combat using it’s command deck, styles and D links, which I’ll get to in order

Your command deck is basically all the skills and moves you can use, starting with 3, and capping at 8 by the end of the game (by which point you’ll find moves taking up multiple slots too). Each ability can be used once, and then has to recharge, so when creating a command deck, you have to decide if you want flexibility or the ability to do something frequently. One of the nice things about skills is that some of them allow you to get various items and abilities earlier because they move you in various ways.

Command styles are a fairly new addition to the franchise overall… Basically as you do anything offensive your command gauge builds up and once it’s full (which isn’t very long) one of two things can happen:

If you have fufilled a requirement for a command style, you change to that style

If you haven’t do a ‘finish move’

Typically, the finish moves are not that impressive, but do have some uses here and there, so it’s normally best to go for the command style. Command styles typically give you an elemental ability attached to your weapon, increased range power, aswell as the ability to either go into a more powerful style or unleash a very powerful finisher. You acquire the styles throughout the story, and each one has a different requirement. Typically it’s to use certain elemental magics/attack although they can be awarded for other reasons.

The requirements are pretty forgiving, typically if you use a single elemental spell just once to fill up your gauge, you’ll be likely to go to that style, however given the impact styles can have on what you do, it’s important to keep track of what you do in battle, and how your command deck is set up. If you don’t have an Ice command style yet, maybe you should consider taking out all the ice spells in your deck.

The interactions between these two systems is nice, and forces you to think about what you really want, although sadly the importance of picking the right style isn’t very high, and so it falls flat a little…

D-Links are pretty worthless as a system though. Basically they only truely serve to heal you and give you access to another characters skills. Which one in a while might save you, but often since you aren’t used to the skill set, you aren’t able to play as well as you might normally have. This system doesn’t interact with you in the long run either… making it the needless extra summons were in the first 2 games.

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