Review by SabinRaijin
"While Square may have stolen my idea just a bit, this is almost what I envisioned - in a Disney sort of way."
I'd say about two years ago, I was sitting around the house playing D&D with my friends. I was DMing, but not very well at that.
When an idea for a Final Fantasy story came into my head. I thought, what if all the enemies from the previous Final Fantasies teamed up in one world to set a plot of destruction? And to counter that, all the main characters from the previous installments would team up, in an omnipotent battle of the powers for the control of the multiverse.
Ok, so this is a far cry from my story idea, but not TOO far. Basically, just replace all the Final Fantasy villains with alot of the Disney villains, like Hades (Hercules), The Boogey Man (The Nightmare Before Christmas), Jafar (Aladdin), and a horde of others. And of course, all with the help of an outside force, known as ''The Heartless'' - a mysterious batch of enemies trained at stealing people's hearts.
So lets take a look at the aspects of what sounds like the perfect game - if you're a Disney fan that is.
Graphics - Always rely on Squaresoft to pump out some major polygons. While these may not be the most breathtaking 3D models you'll ever see, they're pretty detailed considering the PS2 can easily show 20 of them onscreen plus the backgrounds without a hint of slowdown. And as with any post-SNES Square game, there's FMV galore to be seen. While the amount of FMV used isn't even close to the amount used in, say FFX, it's still enough to be able to sit back and watch at a few points of the game. And they're a sight to behold. 10/10
Gameplay - Square and Disney Interactive went for an Action-orientated RPG this time around. On first look at the screenshots of this game, the player would seem to think that the battles are fought in a separate battle system because of the menu saying ''Attack'', ''Magic'', ''Items'', and ''?''. This is not the case. The battles are completely in real-time, and the player chooses one of these commands to stay on while the X button confirms the action. If you ask me, this game feels alot like Dewprism/Threads of Fate when it comes to the battles. It's one of the few 3D action-RPGs Square has made, anyways.
The only complaint I have about the gameplay is the less-than-stellar AI the other characters run on. If there's one thing I don't like in an action-RPG, it's when the developers opt to not let you control all the characters yourself. I consider setting AI as just being lazy. I would have liked to be able to press ''Select'' to switch characters from time to time. But alas, even though Sora is really the only one doing any meaningful fighting, you can still manage to win fights.
Which brings me to my final word on the Gameplay review. The difficulty. Even set on Easy mode (which my game is currently set at), the game still poses quite a challenge to your average Role-player. As early as two hours into the game, in Traverse Town, you are put up against groups of enemies whose attacks are unpredictable and cause massive damage if you're not careful. At first it would seem that the enemies are endless, but after a while you realize that, indeed, each room has a set amount of enemies to beat. All in all, the Gameplay takes some time to get used to, but once you've got it, you've got it. 7/10
Music/Sound - If there's one thing I'll probably always know Squaresoft for, it's the quality of sound in their games. Although being an anti-FF fanboy and I hate to admit it, they have managed to stay fresh in just about all their games - at least when it comes to sound.
You'll love just about every audible aspect to this game - right down to the menu clicks and confirmation sounds. Every once in a while, the battle music will change to fit the mood of the surrounding ambience, and it's usually more up-beat than monotone. The Disney world of music was definitely new to Square, but they seem to have captured the right mood for each world. The opening orchestral theme is simply amazing, and sounds as if it was taken right from a big-screen Disney movie.
Usually, when converting from Disney movie to Video Game, musically, you can always tell which is game and which is movie. This game defeats that barrier. Playing this is very similar to accually ''playing'' a Disney production.
And of course, what big-name Disney movie would be complete without an All-star cast of celebrity voices. Many famed voices were used in the dubbing of the North American version of the game. Including Haley Joel Osment (AI, The Sixth Sense) as Sora himself. Also, many of the original Disney cast members reappeared to play the role of their old characters, such as Robin Williams as Genie, James Woods as Hades, Danny DeVito as Phil - hell, the list goes on and on. The only voices from the old characters that were changed were voices of the characters from the OLD Disney movies, like Pinnochio, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White, and just about any other Disney movie made before 1955.
All in all, if you're looking for really good English voice acting in an RPG, this is the pinnacle of them all. This probably had 10 times more money put into it than all other RPG dubs combined. 10/10
Well, those are my three main topics to cover. What else can be said? If you're an avid Disney fan, you'll simply love this game, plain and simple. Or even if you're like me - who used to love Disney movies when I was younger but lost touch with them - you'll still want to at least rent this. While the gameplay takes some time to grow attached to, and if you can ignore the insanely-hard boss fights, this is a very well-polished attempt at what would have been a perfect plot for a Final Fantasy. But hell, let's stop comparing it to FF and get right down to it. You will more than likely have hordes of fun with this game. But don't trust my opinion - go and see for yourself.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/23/02, Updated 09/23/02
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