Kingdom Hearts II
Review by XenoPersona
"A mixed bag to say the least."
When I was done playing Kingdom Hearts and finally saw Deep Dive (the secret ending from the Final Mix version) I couldn't wait until the sequel came out. I never got around to playing Chain of Memories for the game boy, so I read the story on one of this site's FAQ's. I was in awe at how cool the story was. Unfortunately, I couldn't wait any longer and spoiled KH2's story for myself. When I did, I felt this strange feeling that this game's story wasn't nearly as good as CoM's. I finally beat Kingdom Hearts 2 yesterday, so on with my review.
When I play a game, I care about the graphics for about five seconds. There is no need to make graphics so good that the game falters because of it. Graphics do not equal games.
Same as the first, with slight differences and upgrades. Nothing that can't be mastered in a good hour or two. The right analog stick now turns the camera instead of the shoulder buttons. The camera itself is vastly improved over the original and barely ever gets in the way. The short cut menu can now be equipped with items and magic, making things much easier to control.
For some reason, the music seemed less memorable in this installment. I don't know what it is, but it just seems like it lacks that certain zing that was in the first. I really like the intro, title screen, final battle, and deep dive music, but every thing else was pretty much Meh.
What was SquarEnix thinking? One of the important characters was literally left behind after the first three hours along with a ton of other characters. The game's pacing was atrocious. The first game didn't have the best pacing in the world but it was tolerable. This game totally drops the ball no the entire ball machine after the intro. No cool plot twists exist (the plot twists that do exist are so incredibly predictable). The characters are all right, save for the new cast members. All of those new characters have no real stage time, so when something big happens, it isn't as good as it should be. This could also be said about the very end, which is supposed to be awesome and emotional but isn't because there is no real story in between the intro and the finale. Because of this the entire game feels under whelming, which leads to another point
The battle system rocked, and that was it. The levels are excessively small and far too linear to be anything fun. Exploration is totally missing from the game and the levels seem like barren wastelands when compared to the first. Each world takes approximately 30 minutes each, which leads to the whole game feeling rushed. This is very apparent towards the end when they start throwing everything at you at once. The game also lacked any challenge. There were only two hard fights in the entire game and both weren't any part of the final battle. The limits were pretty cool and they actually came in handy. As for the drives, however, they were somewhat pointless. One form I never used, another got left behind after I got the third and the final form was the best. The first game made me feel for the characters and I was very absorbed in the story but this game made me feel like I was on the sidelines waiting for all the good stuff to happen, only to end up walking away disappointed due to what seemed like a lack in effort when compared to the original.
Wow, I was expecting much more than what I got. Once you beat the game, there isn't much left to do but replay it on a harder setting. To tell the truth, there are only four things left near the end of the game: Gummi ship, Journal, Coliseum, and the secret boss. The Gummi ship game gets old quickly even though it's much better this time. The journal is good but can be tiresome. Coliseum is, well, I didn't play the coliseum and from what I hear, you can't get exp from it. Moreover, the secret boss is just a rehash.
It was a good game. I would not give it a 6, but it doesn't in any way deserve a 9 or 10. It was simple, fun, and a good tale but that's pretty much it. In all honesty, I don't really like this merge of SquareEnix. It seems like they haven't really made anything astonishing since KH and FFX. Look at FFX-2, Crystal Chronicles, and FFXI. This was their best game since the merge and I'm just not feeling it anymore. Was it worth the wait? Depends on what kinds of games you like, but if you ask me, this game ultimately feels like an average game with a slightly good story.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 04/07/06
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