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Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Nintendo cover of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (キングダム ハーツ 358/2 Days) is an action role-playing video game developed by h.a.n.d. and published by Square Enix for the Nintendo DS. It is the fourth instalment in the best-selling Kingdom Hearts series, and is set near the end of Kingdom Hearts, continuing parallel to Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and ending before Kingdom Hearts II. The game launched in Japan on May 30, 2009, in North America on September 29, 2009 and in Europe on October 9, 2009. The story is told from the perspective of Roxas, following his daily life within Organization XIII and his relationship with fellow Organization members Axel and Xion.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days was directed by Tetsuya Nomura and co-directed by Tomohiro Hasegawa. Nomura decided to develop a game for the Nintendo DS, and once a system had been chosen, decided upon Roxas as the main protagonist. The development team wanted to use gameplay similar to previous Kingdom Hearts games but could not due to the insufficient number of buttons the DS had. It features 3D graphics, and single- and multiplayer modes of play.
Xemnas, leader of Organization XIII, finds the newly-born Roxas in Twilight Town and recruits him as its thirteenth member. Unlike other Nobodies, Roxas lacks memories of his original self, Sora, but develops a personality of his own as time passes. Each day, Roxas is sent on missions to other worlds, either alone or accompanied by a fellow member, to destroy vast quantities of Heartless with his Keyblade and release stolen hearts, which furthers the Organization's goal of creating Kingdom Hearts and becoming complete beings. Roxas is placed under the mentorship of fellow member Axel, whom he becomes close friends with. One day, Axel is stationed at Castle Oblivion along with a group of other members, leaving Roxas to be partnered with a girl named Xion, the Organization's 14th member inducted shortly after Roxas. Roxas and Xion bond over their similarities, including Xion's ability to wield a Keyblade and lack of memories of her past. Some time later, Roxas falls into a coma caused by the alteration of Sora's memories, and does not revive until several weeks later, when Axel returns from Castle Oblivion as the only survivor of the group.
Over time, Xion develops a friendship with Roxas and Axel, eating sea-salt ice cream with them after missions at the Twilight Town clock tower. Xion soon falls into a coma after failing to eliminate Riku; like Roxas, she has visions of Sora after waking. In time, Xion questions her own existence, distancing herself from Roxas and Axel to find out about herself. She eventually discovers that she is a replica created by Xemnas from Sora's memories of Kairi as a fail-safe for Roxas, and that her existence prevents Sora's memory from being completely restored. Xion is torn between staying with her friends and merging with Sora as per Riku's advice, but ultimately decides to escape from the Organization after her powers begin to increase dramatically while Roxas inversely grows weaker. Understanding her situation, Axel allows Xion to escape, but loses Roxas' trust. Upon learning Xion's identity from Xemnas, Roxas begins to question his own identity and defects from the Organization in search of answers, leaving Axel dejected.
At Twilight Town, Roxas confronts Xion, whom Xemnas has altered to perform her initial purpose of absorbing Roxas and becoming Sora. After being defeated, Xion requests Roxas to stop Xemnas's plan before dissipating and merging with Sora, causing everybodies memories of her to gradually vanish. Back at the World That Never Was, Riku attempts to capture Roxas for DiZ. When Roxas defeats him, Riku releases the suppressed darkness in his heart, giving him the power necessary to subdue Roxas, but also giving him the physical form of Xehanort's Heartless Ansem, who resides in his heart. Following Roxas' defeat and capture, DiZ inserts him into a virtual simulation of Twilight Town without any of his memories of the Organization so that Roxas may eventually merge with Sora and complete the restoration of his memories.