Review by B.lu4R
"A Game to Remember"
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is the sequel to the PlayStation 2 hit Kingdom Hearts (KH). It takes place right after Sora (the main character) manages to find King Mickey, and is intended to narrate the events that take place between KH and KH II. If you haven't played KH before there's no need to worry; Kingdom Hearts is a game with characters from both Square (Final Fantasy series) and Disney, and has an intriguing storyline involving the heartless and how the main characters of the game struggle to defeat them.
Most people don't take the time to read manuals and, therefore, they figure out by themselves what each button does. In Chain of Memories, the game teaches you how to play with an obligatory tutorial that takes place at the beginning of the game. After a few minutes of playing, you'll get used to controlling Sora and will se that the control couldn't get better.
A new fighting system is also introduced in Chain of Memories, and is the most noticeable change. Now you'll be battling by means of cards. When I first heard about this, I was a bit disappointed, since card games don't interest me that much, but after I played it I realized I was wrong. The card system has been implemented so well that you'll appreciate this new addition. Combining cards can create new and powerful combos, and you get to customize completely your deck, being able to choose which cards you want to choose in battle and which ones you don't want. From a simple attack to a complex magic spell or a summon, all are done using cards.
Another change is that you can now completely customize the rooms in each level (that's right, you get to synthesize the rooms). Each time you find a door, you will need to use a card to open it. Depending on the card you choose, you'll create a room with a save point, few heartless, or a bunch of heartless, just to mention some of the options that are available.
At the beginning of the game, you get to see an awesome movie in which Sora enters an unknown castle. The moment he does this, he instantly starts to loose his memory (Now you probably understand why this game is called Chain of Memories). To regain it he must explore the castle, traveling back to worlds he visited in Kingdom Hearts I. During this journey he will meet (remember) old characters from the previous game, as well as encounter new ones that play an important role in both KH:CoM and KH II.
At first you probably won't know who some of the characters are, but as you keep on playing the story starts to evolve and you discover who they are and what is their purpose in the game.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is one of the few Game Boy Advance games that take advantage of the system's capabilities. The graphics and the movies are wonderfully done (you'll never complain about this), but one thing that the game does lack is voice acting. Although some of the characters make sounds, they never actually speak any dialogues. Regardless of this, the music in the game makes you feel like you're actually in the worlds from Disney. To make it simple, the music blends in with the game, and in result you get an excellent combination.
This game is neither too long nor too short, but gamers that level up their characters and try to find all the items available will be awarded with a game that lasts for a long time. If you decide to explore all the possibilities of the room creation feature, you'll play even much more. This adds also to the replayability of the game, since it is not likely that you'll visit the same rooms the next time you play. There is even a secret feature that can be unlocked when you finish the game, which lets you play as another character. I won't mention more about it You'll have to find it out for yourself :)
Leveling up your characters is essential if you want to be able to defeat most of the bosses. The higher your level is, the easier it will be for you to defeat the heartless. If you fail to raise the level of Sora, the game will present a certain degree of difficulty, which some people might find as an extra challenge. If you think that some enemy is hard, raising your level is the key.
If you've played KH and are intending to play KH II, Chain of Memories is a must have. Big fans of the series won't be disappointed with this game, since Square Enix was able to maintain most of the features from KH and, at the same time, add a new battle system which, as mentioned before, adds a new challenge to the game. If you're a newcomer to the series, you'll get caught by the intense story and will see that this is an excellent game.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/24/04
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