Can there be any series more convoluted than Kingdom Hearts? In fact, is there any game underneath Kingdom Hearts' convolutions?
After one too many sequels, prequels and sequels to the prequels' sequels, we have our doubts. The title alone sets off alarm bells. The '3D' stands for 'Dream Drop Distance'. Er, which stands for what exactly?
Producer Tetsuya Nomura told Famitsu it relates to the depths to which we sink in our dreams. He may as well have made armpit fart noises for all the sense that makes.
An afternoon of intense concentration leads us to the following conclusions: 1) Kingdom Hearts 3D is set after all past Hearts. 2) Long-term antagonist Xehanort is back. 3) Original heroes Sora and Riku must take an exam to prepare them for the fight ahead.
Keep these tidbits in mind and we might make it out of this preview alive. Might. It looks like Nomura is hijacking 3DS to deliver a glorified preamble to Kingdom Hearts III. But there's nothing to suggest this is holding the team back.
Sora and Riku may be dreaming, but they're also dropping. This is combat by way of Prince Of Persia: the usual key-swinging joined with lamp post swirling, rope-grinding and wall jumps.
Feet rarely touch the ground, our heroes instead launching themselves from nearby scenery and cutting clean through clusters of Heartless.
Away from the hurly-burly ground the same skills translate into Tony Hawk-style gutter grinds, seeing entire levels traversed with an effortless bounding grace.
JUMP TO IT
The game is ever moving, especially with regards to the playable characters. We can expect to alternate between Sora and Riku automatically and uncontrollably.
One second Sora is BASE2 jumping from Notre Dame Cathedral, the next Riku is pinging from wall to wall like a ludicrously coiffed pinball.
Strategies will need to be generated quickly on the fly, although Nomura does suggest that a countdown will be in effect to help with the jarring transitions.
We remember a time when a new Kingdom Hearts was to be celebrated. It was somewhere between Kingdom Hearts I and II. Nomura has since driven the series further and further up its own Disney-branded backside.
With a mythology more tangled than Medusa's writhing locks - where characters can somehow end up fighting themselves to save themselves while Bambi watches - Kingdom Hearts is nearing the point of no return. One blistering 3D instalment could make it all right.