Review by beckonthemoon
"If only there was more to it...."
When you play any major series in the world, whether it be Ninja Gaiden or Final Fantasy, you don't expect some sort of retribution for your past exploits. You expects any new titles to be just as good as the rest of the series. Of course, every series has it fallout. Final Fantasy XII, Devil May Cry 2, Silent Hill Origins and the list just keeps on going. However, none of them find a rare mix of boring and infuriating quite like Kingdom Hearts: CoM.
I actually wasn't aware this game existed until last November, after I had beaten Kingdom Hearts 2 like 3 or 4 times. I was in utter shock and amazement that I hadn't heard of the title. And then last Christmas, I traded five cigarettes for a Game Boy Advance, and slowly, after suffering through the second Golden Sun title, I found this game in my pocket. And in hindsight, I deeply regret it.
The story is mediocre in comparison to the other stories in the series. It actually introduces the Organization XIII members you won't see in number 2 outside of cut scenes. But the plot about a Castle that causes anyone who is not a Nobody (which isn't even mentioned within the game) to forget things in large chunks at a time. So, of course, I was far from impressed by this plot in comparison to the plot twists and constant aggression of the plots from both Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 2.
The combat is new, but in no way is it better. Instead of simply being able to select a command, as in the other two and in Final Fantasy games (which the series has taken much influences from), they introduced the card system. You have to sift through numbered cards, hoping your next card will have a higher number then your enemies current card. You also have to hope that you don't run out of cards. Once that happens you have to fill either 3, 2 or 1 containers just to get your cards back. Yeah, it's original, but it's really not that much fun. Seeing as in the middle of any battle you can be cornered based on the fact that you need to refill your cards, but you can't because Hades, or Oogie, or any of the other bad guys who pop up won't stop beating you down.
That leads me to my last point. The script. First off, the original Kingdom Hearts did something I had to put up with when I first played it. They summarized classic Disney stories, to a point where they almost flowed jagged, but hey they still kept them interesting. Well this game avoided that. Instead, this game summarizes the first game. The stories were so cut and pasted, I expected a long diatribe in the middle of Leon's opening speech about the cards to include who made the game and the art directors page on Wikipedia. It is a thoughtless game in it's scripting, and even the most classic characters like the Genie, don't feel 2d, but they feel like they were drawn with paper and pencil. The script could easily make you feel out of place in a terrible 80's sitcom. The only life brought into the script is when people talk about whether or not they remember Sora, Donald and Goofy. It's a plastic as you can get.
Overall, I would say by pass this game at all cost. The later levels are kind of fun, but this game just does not deliver in any sort of medium. It isn't fun. It's not time consuming. I couldn't keep my GBA on for more then 2 minutes once I started playing, because this game does do something innovative. It mixes boring visuals, static scripting, stale combat, and deep boredom all in one handy machine. Good job Square Enix.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 06/20/08
Game Release: Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (US, 12/07/04)
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