Review by Code_Geass_CC

"A wonderful 3D PS2 remake of a decent 2D GBA game. Nothing but improvements."

Story:

Sora's story: Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories takes place right after the end of the fabulous game, Kingdom Hearts. Sora is separated from his friends Riku and Kairi, while Donald and Goofy are still searching for their king (King Mickey). One night Sora arrives at a crossroad, only to be greeted by a mysterious man in a black coat who leads him to Castle Oblivion, where Sora must battle through his memories in order to find “those most precious to him”. However, Sora starts to lose his memories while gaining new memories. Which of his memories are real, and which ones are fake? You'll have to find that out for yourself.

Riku's story: Riku wakes up in Castle Oblivion, and after saying some cool lines you end up in Hollow Bastion. Riku must battle through his memories in order to defeat the darkness within him. He finally regrets opening himself to the darkness.

Gameplay:

Sora's mode: Instead of the normal button mashing that is present in Kingdom Hearts 1 and Kingdom Hearts 2, you battle with cards. Hitting X allows you to use a card you have selected. Hitting O allows you to jump (and eventually glide), hitting [ ] allows you to dodge roll, hitting /_\ allows you to set up a sleight and use a sleight. Hitting L1 and R1 allows you to rotate between your cards while L2 and R2 lets you lock on to enemies. Right-analogue stick allows you to rotate the camera. Hitting select allows you to rotate between your card deck and your enemy cards. It seems complicated, but in a couple hours it almost becomes second nature. Some people might have trouble adjusting to this system though.

What is great about this game is the customization. You can customize everything. Customize your deck to your liking, choose which types of rooms you create, and even select which stat you boost when you level up. HP boosts your health, CP raises how many cards you may have in your deck, and you can also have the choice of learning a new sleight.

Because of all these new gameplay elements, this game requires much more strategy and can get quite difficult. Fighting an Organization 13 member becomes borderline insane. It gives you a great deal of satisfaction when you take down a member, something Kingdom Hearts 2 lacked (with the exception of Xigbar).

Riku's mode: Riku's mode is practically the same, but lacks customization. When leveling up you can still choose which stat to boost, HP(health), AP(attack power) and DP(dark power), but the deck is customized for you. Some might find it as a relief (I sure did at the beginning), but later on you will start to wish that you could customize your deck.

One thing Riku has is Dark Mode. This mode is AWSOME. You are practically invincible, and you can perform dark sleights that totally obliterate your enemies. To raise your DP and eventually change into Dark Mode, you have to break your enemies' cards and win duels. Riku also gets an attack boost in Dark Mode.

Duels occur when you select the same card as your opponent. Press /_\ to enter a duel. A duel is where you must break a certain amount of your opponent's cards before the time runs out. When you succeed you will deal a HUGE amount of damage, but if you lose be on the lookout for a Mickey friend card so you can heal yourself. Losing a duel can be fatal.

In terms of difficulty, Riku's mode is bit easier because you don't have to worry if your deck is strong enough to defeat a boss. Since the cards in your deck are chosen for you, you can be confident that you will defeat a boss.


Graphics and Sound:

The graphics are on par with Kingdom Hearts 1 and Kingdom Hearts 2. The animation is very smooth and realistic. Compared to Kingdom Hearts 1's zombie like facial expressions (Sora was always smiling, his blank stare in his eyes made him look like he was a zombie, he lacked emotions) Re: Chain of Memories makes most of the graphics and the facial expressions are very realistic. Not much else to say.

As for sound, it's almost flawless. The combat sounds are basically the same from the first and second game. The music in each world is fun to listen to (even though “Under the Sea” is just as annoying as ever) The voiceover is almost flawless. All the voices of the Organization 13 members fit them very well. Vexen by far has the best voice IMO. He's the science geek and his high pitched voice suits him. Larxene's voice is a little annoying, but it suits her very well however. She's very annoying and snotty, and her voice portrays this very well.

The only voice I had a problem with is Sora's voice. He has his character model from Kingdom Hearts 1 (because it takes place right after Kingdom Hearts 1), but he has the voice of Kingdom Hearts 2 Sora. It can feel a little weird at first, but you get used to it. It's not Square-Enix's fault though. It's not like Haley Joel Osment (voice of Sora) can go back in time. I got over it quick. In fact, when I went back to Kingdom Hearts 1 I expected to hear his Kingdom Hearts 2 voice, and his younger voice became awkward for me lol.


Side Quests and Replay value:

There are a few of things to do after you beat the main quest. You can collect every card and build a great deck, and you can max your stats. Aside from that there isn't much left to do. IMO this game has the least replay value out of the 3 games.

Conclusion:

This game is great for those who never got a chance to play the original GBA version. If you have played the GBA version, I can't say if you will enjoy this version or not. This version has more cards, and the combat works better in 3D IMO. The only main difference is of course, the PS2 version is in 3D. Overall I give this game an 8/10. It's certainly a worthy addition to the Kingdom Hearts series and will answer those unanswered questions for many people.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/17/08

Game Release: Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories (US, 12/02/08)


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