Generally favorable reviews - based on 62 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 56 out of 62
  2. Negative: 0 out of 62
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  1. Exploiting the PSP capabilities nicely, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep offers a long ride, with the three crossing adventures of its three heroes, and those new, subtle innovations integrated in the gameplay (especially alchemy and the fury moves). This episode is an enchanting one, with a beautiful atmosphere and dynamic gameplay... even though you need need to be in touch with the child within yourself to fully appreciate it.
  2. 100
    The game is amazingly well-crafted-the only negative is that unless you have room on your memory card to install a good chunk of game data, you'll be sitting through some halting combat transitions and some unbearable load times.
  3. 94
    I had my doubts about Birth by Sleep, and was prepared to call it quits for the series if this game didn't live up to expectations. However, Square Enix has delivered what is, in my opinion, the best Kingdom Hearts experience to date.
  4. 92
    A perfect example of how to bring a series born in home console to portable gaming without making any sacrifice in visuals or in gameplay.
  5. KH fans won't want to miss out on Birth by Sleep, I think that goes without saying. If you're only marginally interested in the series, but have found the combat to be a little bland in the past, then I'll urge you to give BBS a go.
  6. Dec 21, 2010
    Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is absolutely one of the masterpieces you will play this season for PlayStation Portable, but also one of the best games even made of the entire Square Enix saga. If you are a fan of Kingdom Hearts, or simply you like the action RPG genre, buy this game.
  7. An excellent addition to the PSP library and a purchase I recommend you go out and make as soon as possible.
  8. Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep is a beautiful Square Enix's RPG, which includes the Disney's magic in the style of Final Fantasy.
  9. Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep is just one of the best games for the PSP, with a great and long storyline, the best battle system of all Kingdom Hearts games to date and three fantastic new main characters. Don't worry about the subtitle: this is the Kingdom Hearts III you've been waiting for.
  10. Birth By Sleep is a solid entry into the Kingdom Hearts franchise and rivals only Kingdom Hearts 2 as the best title in the series.
  11. With loads of content to play, the addictive as always gameplay along with the enjoyable multiplayer mode, and three different storylines to play through, Kingdom Hearts fans can't afford to miss out on Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep.
  12. 90
    Existing fans of the franchise will be head over heels for Birth by Sleep. Everything you love is here with new twists and turns, and this is ironically the longest game in the series. It may even be the best game in the series so far.
  13. Play UK
    Two thumbs up. [Issue#196, p.91]
  14. One of the reasons why one should buy a PSP. Over 60 hours of gameplay and lots of surprises: This game will definitely put the fans at ease while waiting for Kingdom Hearts 3.
  15. With its deeply satisfying series of campaigns, solid battle and progression systems, and a worthwhile multiplayer component, you'd be foolish to pass this one up.
  16. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep may not have been the game fans of the series were initially hoping for, but that doesn't stop it from being the best entry in the series yet.
  17. Birth by sleep is the best Kingdom Hearts' Spin-off. With three different adventures, an entertaining multiplayer mode and ad straight gameplay, Square Enix delivers a great title for PSP.
  18. KH: BbS is a game for those who prefer story over gameplay - but for those it is a great addition to the existing Kingdom Hearts storyline.
  19. PSM3 Magazine UK
    An odd fit for PSP, but manages both staggering depth and accessibility. [Oct 2010, p.92]
  20. Birth by Sleep is one of the best games for the PSP. Square-Enix has managed to shape a solid game, long, very nicely finished and highly addictive, especially in the first third of the adventure. The title is absolutely essential for the Sony portable.
  21. Jan 13, 2011
    Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep isn't just a spin-off; it's an evolution of the series that makes helpful tweaks to combat and introduces interesting new worlds.
  22. 85
    The story of Kingdom Hearts gets more and more complicated, but the gameplay gets better and better. Birth By Sleep plays extremely well for a PSP game, and has plenty of fun, depth and variety.
  23. 85
    Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep has the best battle system in the series and one of the most ambitious storytelling devices yet.
  24. With a great story, gameplay, and execution Birth by Sleep is easily one of the best RPGs on the platform.
  25. A triumphant debut for Kingdom Hearts on PSP, Birth by Sleep's combat system is deeply addictive and its characters utterly charming.
  26. For fans who have followed the twisting story that happens outside the Disney worlds, it will provide the answers they've been waiting for, sometimes for questions they never knew they had, while leaving enough open for Kingdom Hearts III.
  27. Small screens aside, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep is an amazing title that every KH fan must play.
  28. 85
    This game is actually three games in one. There are three different characters and all of them have an own perspective at the story. That means, if you play with all three of them, you have a lot of gameplay. The game on its own is pretty nice, the gameplay is nice and that means that this part is a good one in the franchise.
  29. Overall, I loved the combat, leveling, and look of Birth by Sleep, and I applaud the bold storytelling approach of having three storylines. I'm just glad I won't have to start up another character from scratch in this game ever again.
  30. 83
    It recaptures the fun of the console games, while adding features that make it a worthwhile entry in the game's canon. This isn't a little sibling; it's a true, if slight, evolutionary step for the series.
  31. As far as gameplay goes, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is easily the best of the Kingdom Hearts games and is a solid addition to the franchise. The combat is fun and interesting, and it manages to avoid feelingly overly repetitive or simplistic.
  32. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    Jan 13, 2011
    "Quotation Forthcoming"
  33. Oct 27, 2010
    Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is a game that sticks to its roots and expands upon a winning formula. It still can't quite put long-standing problems to rest (or sleep, whatever) but it presents fans with a cohesive, satisfying adventure and in truth, there are three of them.
  34. An action roleyplaying game that qualifies in the top of the food chain for PSP. With few exceptions the sound and graphics are great. On the negative side it takes time to learn and from the beginning there are many parts needed to master. The game includes a lot of content with three separate stories and enjoyable mini games. This is not something fans of the series and roleplaying fanatics should miss.
  35. A good, atmospheric story with a great Leonard Nimoy as icing on the cake.
  36. 80
    A couple of hang-ups prevent it from being a truly excellent experience, but regardless, it comes highly recommended.
  37. So while series fans who've been waiting to play the first full-featured Kingdom Hearts in almost five years may find their loved returned tenfold, PSP owners who simply desire to play an A+ exclusive might not get what all the fuss is about.
  38. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep deserves to be considered as a top-tier PlayStation Portable title that combines high production values with some strong mechanics.
  39. A great game that will keep fans busy until Square Enix finally makes the long awaited Kingdom Hearts 3.
  40. Playstation: The Official Magazine (US)
    As enjoyable as Sleep is, it still feels a bit dated. [Oct 2010, p.74]
  41. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is a game worthy of the name of this most amazing video game series and one of the best options that you can find for your PSP.
  42. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is yet another exemplarity RPG for the PSP, boasting a robust combat system, riveting plot and some sumptuous visuals. Only the protracted loading times hold it back from classic status.
  43. Another Kingdom Hearts game that is worth your money. Three different stories, three heroes and a bunch of Disney characters... plus a fistful of multiplayer modes that will keep you entertained for a long time, maybe until Square will announce the third (and first HD) installment of the series.
  44. In many ways, it actually outshines its console counterparts. Bar a few niggling control issues, the battle system could well be the best in the series yet, and at times I actually felt it looked better than its PS2 cousins.
  45. Birth By Sleep fixes a lot of things. The story is easy to digest and the focus is on discovering new Disney-worlds. The combat system is the most refined version of the system in Kingdom Hearts ever and the game isn't a step down graphically from the PS2-games.
  46. Playstation Official Magazine Australia
    The graphics are as strong as the combat. While everything's very simple it all runs smoothly and everything's nicely animated. Cutscenes tend to drag, though, and some of the voice acting will have you cringing, but we're truly impressed by the size of the game and the direction. [Oct 2010 p78]
  47. Birth By Sleep is an epic PSP title that provides an excellent (if a little belated) entry point for the series. The original Kingdom Hearts was a bit convoluted for the uninitiated (like myself) and Birth By Sleep has piqued my interest in all things Square Enix once again.
  48. Kingdom Hearts 3 it isn't, but it's a damn good entry in the series. Why any fan wouldn't want to play this is beyond me.
  49. The latest installment in the Kingdom Hearts saga gives us the best combat system yet. It's fast, it's fun, and it's deeply customizable. The story is bland, but you'll be too busy beating up enemies to bother.
  50. Intense action, great visuals and impressive characters customization system, we are full of praise for this best episode of the saga gameplay-wise.
  51. Games Master UK
    Jan 13, 2011
    "Quotation Forthcoming"
  52. Jan 13, 2011
    Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is a fun game that was almost brought down by questionable control issues and a repetitive story. If players can get past a few minor problems, they'll discover that this prequel offers a surprising amount of great content, beautiful graphics and even some fun multiplayer modes!
  53. AceGamez
    Those who love Kingdom Hearts will get a kick out of the combat and story arcs leading to the original games. As for everyone else, they'll find a fun RPG designed with the PSP in mind which ultimately lacks the certain je ne sais quoi that would make it something truly memorable.
  54. As much as the other categories sound good - the story really brought the game down.
  55. This prequel is another fun and pleasant mash-up of Final Fantasy sensibilities and Disney tales.
  56. The only notable downside to Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep is the constant loading times.
  57. If you want a fun action game and don't care about the tale it has to tell, Birth By Sleep is a great choice. If you are a fan of the series, as I reluctantly am, the game is a no-brainer. If you are a PSP Go owner, that is Sony's finger poking you in the eye. No matter which category you fall into, I think you'll agree in hoping Square Enix has some new ideas for the inevitable Kingdom Hearts III, because what they've got now is pretty tired.
  58. Oct 22, 2010
    Disappointing too is the roster of worlds you visit, and the lack of exploration in each.
  59. The story is drawn-out and not very interesting, and the loading times are often excruciatingly long and frequent. But high production values, the charm of the Disney universe and the depth and challenge of the combat system means that Kingdom Hears: Birth by Sleep is still worth picking up.
  60. Developments to the battle system ensure that this is the most enjoyable Kingdom Hearts title in terms of its raw systems, but the storytelling and structure fail to delight in the same way.
  61. 60
    It's a thoroughly middle-of-the-road entry that drips with potential but fails thanks to some deepseeded faults.
  62. The potential for a great game is here, but the repetitive questing, arcane plotting and thoughtless battles means its never properly roused into action.

Awards & Rankings

#4 Most Discussed PSP Game of 2010
#6 Most Shared PSP Game of 2010
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 527 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 48 out of 527
  1. Sep 12, 2010
    Square Enix does a great job with this Kingdom Hearts title. Birth By Sleep has improved its battle system and did a great job to createSquare Enix does a great job with this Kingdom Hearts title. Birth By Sleep has improved its battle system and did a great job to create something new. Soundtrack - - The music is excellent as usual with the talents of Yoko Shimomura reprising her role. Graphics - - For a PSP title you can't really complain about the graphics as it does look great for a portable title. Gameplay - - Gameplay is fun and exciting with probably the best battle scheme in the series, along with a few fun mini-games and multi-player options.
    Story - - An interesting past about characters from before the events of the first game and how it all started makes you want to more about what is happening as you progress (Unless you have read spoilers)

    Overall this game is one of the best PSP titles and one of the more Interesting KH titles.
    If you haven't played the series before this is probably a great start as it is a prequel to the original.
    If you're a Kingdom Hearts fan then you will definitely love this one.
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 1, 2011
    The game offers you three, Identical, scenarios in which you travel to Miniature versions of the previous Kingdom Hearts worlds. These worldsThe game offers you three, Identical, scenarios in which you travel to Miniature versions of the previous Kingdom Hearts worlds. These worlds offer neither the amount of Game play nor the awesome Keyblades at the completion of the level. You can burn through a world with 100% completion in less time than the average Gummy ship Mini Game (Which there isn't in this game)

    The Kingdom hearts franchise is known for mixing the Magic of Disney with the Solid Game play of Final Fantasy. With the only Final Fantasy cameo coming from a terrible remake of Zach (Crisis Core and 7) its hard to even call this a prequal to the original.

    In short:

    Three Identicle scenarios

    Quick game, 45 hours 100% completion

    Not enough Key Blades

    One Final Fantasy Character

    No Gummy Ship

    No replay Value

    Does Not compare with other Kingdom Hearts
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 7, 2010
    Easily the best game in the series - so far.
    The battle system is great, the graphics are fantastic for the PSP, and it rarely has any
    Easily the best game in the series - so far.
    The battle system is great, the graphics are fantastic for the PSP, and it rarely has any slowdown.
    If you install data onto a memory card, load times are not a problem.
    This game is just amazing in general.
    If you're looking for something to keep you occupied for a while or are already familiar with the Kingdom Hearts franchise then stop reading this and go and buy it.
    Full Review »