Review by Zeltica

"Commit it to memory..."

This is the second game in the soon to be 3 game series. The sequel to Square Enix's FOUR million copy selling predecessor Kingdom Hearts has hit stores for the Gameboy Advance. While this game might seem kid-like in appearance, it is definitely for a more mature audience. But the Disney factor will still bring out the kid in all of us, reminding you that no matter the outcome, there will always be some good in the end. Like Donald said: “This ship only runs on happy faces.”

Gameplay

The gameplay in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is all set in real time. However, attacking, summons, and spells are all done through the card battle system. It is similar to that of the battle menu in the first Kingdom Hearts. When attacking choose to use a card with a higher point value then that of your opponent, or group up to three cards for a more powerful combined attack power. That's the basis of battling. It is as simple as that. Now some card combinations allow the character to use special attacks, what these combinations are, you'll have to figure out for yourself. But beware you can run out of cards, and this could easily spell your doom.

Other uses for the cards in this game involve unlocking doors on the worlds to proceed to the next room. If you have the certain card(s), you shall be allowed to advance. If not then you'll want to do some battling in order to get it/them.

Battles in this game, which get progressively more difficult as you get farther in the game, can be fun or frustrating depending on the player. They can be won rather quickly and easily if you know what you're doing. The boss battles can take a while, which is good. They can range anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes depending on your card usage. The bosses in this game, all unique in fighting styles, provide a touch challenge for the player, and are a lot of fun to fight. You won't be disappointed here. Overall the gameplay is pretty solid.

Score: 8/10

Story

The story in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories takes place immediately after its predecessor: Kingdom Hearts. Sora, the main character, has to restore lost memories to himself and others through this adventure. Along the way he discovers masses of enemies, new antagonists, and a secret underlying plot, full of deceit and deception. As usual you, the player, are left blindly guessing what will be around the next turn, as this game is full of surprises.

Score: 10/10

Graphics and Sound

The graphics in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is just gorgeous, especially considering that this game takes place on the Gameboy Advance. Plus this game has AMV's which are CGI like movies only not as powerful. These movies are used to show important cut scenes and may just have you awing in disbelief, that the GBA can actually be capable of this.

The sound is just ‘freaking' phenomenal. From battle attacks to music this game is perfection in this field. It has a lovely score of music depending on what world you are in, which most have been carried over from the first Kingdom Hearts. This will definitely bring back the love from the first game. Overall sound is impeccable.

Score: 10/10

Playtime and Replayability

The playtime of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories can range anywhere from 20 to 50 hours based on your skills. A lot of the time will be spent leveling up your character during battles. Mind you this is still an RPG, although, a Card Action RPG.

The replay value in this game is very high. While random battles can be dull and boring at times, boss battles are incredibly fun. Along with secrets and unlock-ables, there is a large experience to be had.

Score: 9/10

Final Recommendation
Should you go out and get this game for the 40 dollars on the price tag? I say definitely yes, however… if you haven't played the first Kingdom Hearts, you could find yourself lost. I'd recommend picking that up first if you have a Sony Playstation 2, if not, picking up this game without any previous knowledge, could leave you with an empty feeling inside. So get the first game then get this game.

Final Score: 9/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 12/06/04


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