It’s a few weeks since I played the spectacularly name Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage, but I thought that I should finally get around to writing down my thoughts on it.
As the title suggests, Fragmentary Passage (as I’ll call it for short!) picks up from the conclusion of Birth by Sleep. It follows Aqua, who is stuck wandering in the realm of darkness.
Fragmentary Passage essentially borrows the play-style from Birth by Sleep. And as you play as Aqua, this is no bad thing, given that she is by far the best character to play with in Birth by Sleep. Like the earlier game, there is a fluidity to her movements that makes it a joy to play as her.
That said, Fragmentary Passage is much easier than Birth by Sleep. Given that it is a short game, which was meant to provide just a small morsel to tide us over from Dream Drop Distance to Kingdom Hearts 3, this is perhaps unsurprising. With only around a three hour playtime, there’s not much space to ramp up the difficulty.
However, where Fragmentary Passage truly stands out is in the atmosphere it creates. Because Aqua’s journey through the realm of darkness is at its core an existential one. She is lost – in every sense in the world – and trying to piece herself back together after the tragic conclusion of Birth by Sleep.
For me at least, Aqua’s journey was one that I found very moving. Her endless dedication to her friends and her willingness to sacrifice herself for them hit me like an emotional punch. And I’m unashamed to say that at Fragmentary Passage‘s conclusion I was left wiping away the tears.
Undoubtedly, an element of that was because I was moved by Aqua’s plight. But, for me, it was also the culmination of nine months of playing through the complete Kingdom Hearts. So it was a doubly emotional moment.
Fortunately (for me) I completed it the very day before Kingdom Hearts 3 released in the UK. So unlike many, I’ve not had to suffer an agonising wait for the latest instalment. But more will follow on that shortly….