I just finished the story of Dream Drop Distance.
I'm not going to go into exactly what this series means to me. I'm saving that for the anniversary review next month.
Suffice to say: The entire concept as well as the minutia of the plot is, on paper, one of the most idiotic things imaginable. And yet, after each game, I find myself holding back tears. A lot of it has to do with Yoko Shimomura's haunting and beautiful score, but that's not quite all of it. I actually come to care for the characters, dense and longwinded as they can sometimes be. I care about what happens in the story.
And boy, did Dream Drop Distance get me pumped.
By the end of everything: Riku's a keyblade master. Sora is just so goshdarn happy about it all that I finally find him endearing (plus the fact that everyone in-universe finally acknowledged what an idiot he is...and he's our idiot!). Axel is now Lea again, and is learning to weild a keyblade (?!?!?!). Kairi is being trained as well. Aqua is waiting to be rescued. Ventus could possibly wake up soon. There's a very slim chance for Roxas and Xion. Xehanort chews the scenery up and reveals how Palpatine-ish he really is. The proverbial shit is getting real now. Kingdom Hearts III is imminant!
And this game does answer most of the plot-holey questions that the series has raised since Chain of Memories, such as the true nature of nobodies and Xehanort's REAL plan. However, some questions still remain: How was he able to time-travel, really? Who is in the new Organization? Why was Sora having a tea party?
Gameplay-wise, it's a blast. I love the Dream Eaters to death (my Komory Bat, Barnabas, is apparently my bestest friend according the the game completion screen). Flowmotion is awesome. I've heard some reviewers blast the titular drop mechanic and, yeah, it's annoying when it forces you to switch when a boss has a sliver of health left, but otherwise I actually found it a neat little device. It certainly kept me on my toes, and keeps me from getting too involved in one or the other. 3D makes my head hurt, so I had it off and therefore have no opinion one way or the other of how that was implemented.
In short, this game gave me probably the biggest Nerdgasm since the Robot Chicken Star Wars specials.
Got it memorized?