Review by CandyBar12345
"Very redundant, patently frustrating at times, and not enough substance. Chain of Memories is still a good game, however."
I'm gonna be perfectly honest with you. When I first played this game, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. It was really fun, the battle system was unique, and the familiarity of the game was pleasant. As I played deeper into the game, I began to see the various flaws with it. It was an exact replica of the first game, with some minimal new material added in. There is not enough new substance in the game, and it gets really repetitive after a while.
The game immediately begins right where the last one ended. Sora, Donald, and Goofy have found Pluto with a letter from the king in his mouth. Chasing after him, they run through the fields trying to find Riku and the king. Eventually, they wander into Castle Oblivion, a 13 floor tower that makes you forget useless memories and remember important ones the further you go in.
In order for Sora to find the person who is special to him, he must re-visit the worlds he went to previously that are comprised of his memories. Here, he will meet the people from his memories and do various tasks. As Sora delves deeper into the castle, the plot begins to unfold.
The plot is okay and fresh to the game, but the substance it's built around is very redundant and similar to the first. The worlds you visit have exactly the same thing you did in the first Kingdom Hearts. Here's an example. Remember Agrabah in KH? We met with Jafar, saved Aladdin from the Heartless, Jasmine was kidnapped by Jafar after he steals the lamp, and we fight his Genie form. In this game's Agrabah, we save Aladdin from the Heartless, Jasmine gets kidnapped after Jafar steals the lamp, and we fight his Genie form at the end. Not to say this is necessarily bad, but there was nothing new added to the worlds really. All in all, the plot-line was okay, but the substance could have been stronger around which it was built.
Chain of Memories is a GBA game that is compatible with the Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Advance SP, and Nintendo DS/DS Lite. The controls are basically the same in and out of battle, but there are a few differences.
The A button is used to swing the keyblade in and out of battle and to do several other actions such as talking and confirming options. You can also hold this button in during battle to reload your cards. The B button is the jump button. You can also cancel menus using B. The control pad moves the character and is used to Dodge Roll in battle. Simply tap the control pad either left or right. The L and R buttons are used for battle. They cycle through the cards individually and also stack cards for combos. The Start button opens the main menu, and Select will open the map for the level.
The controls are really simple since it's meant for the weakest version of the Game Boy Advance, but the execution of the buttons can be a nightmare sometime. Sometimes, movement is sluggish, and the actions aren't too quick sometimes. This is frustrating, especially when you are getting hammered in a battle and died because you weren't able to Dodge Roll fast enough. Other than that, the controls are easy and fluent.
This is the first Kingdom Hearts game I came across that had a poor quality of graphics. Rather than the scenic beauty of the towns we saw in the original, we have boxed rooms that makes the towns and worlds feel flat. They are replicas of the worlds in every way, but they just appear so flat and boring. If that wasn't enough, the map is even worse. It's a pitifully drawn map that is hard to read at times, and the squared-room thing is just too good. I'm very disappointed in the graphic department for this game. One thing I will say about the graphics, is the battles. They were done well. Not as good as a console system, but the hand-held handled it well.
The games music made up for the terrible graphics of the worlds. I enjoyed the game's music because it was familiar. Every world you visited had the same music as it did in the first one. I actually liked the repeating of the music. It was a good link to the first Kingdom Hearts, and it was nice and refreshing to hear. Also, the Organization XIII battle music was insanely awesome. The best music of the game by far.
This is where the game begins to display its major flaws, not including the terrible graphics.
The whole focus of the game is going back to the worlds Sora visited and gaining the memories of what transpired before. As he delves deeper into the castle, he starts to remember important things. That's the whole focus of the game.
I'm going to start with the pros of the game. For one thing, the worlds were nice and fun to go through when you knew what you were doing. The battles were really cool and well done. For the battle system, you use cards. Most people think it's a cheap imitation of Yugioh, but I don't see the resemblance there. For me, it's more like the popular card game High Card. Whoever has the highest card wins. That's a fun battle system because there's more strategy to the battles. Rather than button mash the enemy, you have to think what card you should play to beat the enemy's combo. It's really fun once you get used to it.
Okay, now the cons. As fun as the levels are to go through, sometimes, they are very boring. Why is this? The enemies. Oh my god. If you though Square over did it with the enemies in Kingdom Hearts, try playing this game. You constantly get hammered by enemies, which wouldn't be so bad if you weren't drawn into a screen for every enemy you whack on the playing field. Seriously, every one version of an enemy you see equals 5-8 enemies in the battle screen. That just gets really boring after a while and has caused me to, either, skip the enemies and run through or turn the game off.
Here's another con. Everything in this game is controlled by cards. Not only the battle system, but moving through doors as well. This means that you have to have specific Map Cards that you get by fighting the enemies. If you don't fight the enemies, you can't move on. You are practically forced to fight all the enemies to make sure you have enough cards to keep moving through the game. So, you could get all the way to the final door, and you won't have enough Map Cards to pass through it. Then, you have to spend hours killing enemies looking for the specific card you need. If it wasn't so much dependent on that, it wouldn't be so bad.
All in all, the game is okay. I like the game very much, but it just gets really boring after a while. I do like the leveling up system. You get to choose between a 15 increment HP boost, 25 increment CP (Card Power) boost, or a new sleight. Sleights are the abilities for this game. Also, building your own deck was kinda cool. You decide what you use against the bosses. All in all, a good game, but it bores easily.
This game is pretty short, about 10-15 hours, so you can definitely play more files. Not only that, you get to play Reverse Rebirth which is a Riku version of the game. Yes, you can play through the game as Riku. I guess this tacks on a few points to the replay value, if you aren't bored to death by the time you get to this point.
The game is tons of fun, but there are moments where it easily becomes not fun. Some boss battles are super cheesy and cause you to die a lot. Not only that, you can't skip the scenes. Basically, don't die a lot, or you'll have to watch the same lame scene over and over. Also, the enemies and looking for those dang cards gets annoying too.
Rent or Buy?
As frustrating as this game can be, it's still very good and definitely worthy of the Kingdom Hearts name. Go ahead and buy it. It's worth it, but don't expect it to be super worth your time. It's a great game, but you can easily put it down.
I'm giving this game a 7.4, or 7. This is a great game, but it could have been given a better structural substance and overall quality. Other than that, I'm giving it a thumbs-up. Not good, not bad, but in between. Get it.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 08/20/08
Game Release: Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (US, 12/07/04)
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