Review by cadvan6

"Sure - It's better than the remake, but not what I expected..."

First off, I've wanted to find the game that fills in the gap between 1 and 2, and sure, I have 358/2 days - which whilst it is an interesting game and the main character is my favourite; it only fills half of it. So, a bit of research I learn that this game is from Sora's perspective, cool, but - oh no, it's a GBA game. I then find the PS2 remake and I discover that you can only buy it from America or Japan. So I pay $100 dollars to get it shipped over, and a further $120 to chip my PS2. I can tell, it is not worth more than $50. So not only did this game burn a hole in my wallet, it wasn't nearly what I expected.

Gameplay

This game is a dungeon crawler, for those that haven't heard. This being my first dungeon crawler game my first thought is: "Damn, I hate dungeon crawlers". It is repetitive and dull. In each world you go to (there is a total of 13) you have to progress through rooms using map cards. These transform the room you are heading into so that it fits the card you have. For example, you can treat yourself to a bit of treasure, or a save point - or you can level up a bit and fight a bunch of enemies. Sure, I liked this for the first world as it was fresh and different but playing 26 hours of it can get really tedious and you'll end up begging the game to stop the same pattern. Of course this does happen in 100 acre wood. The world is basically a collection of fun and addictive mini-games. Oddly enough, even though I get the urge to drop kick Winnie the Pooh, this was my favourite world. The customisation of this game is something I prefer from the other KH installments. For instance, you have CP (card points) which determine the amount of cards you have. The more powerful the card, the more CP it takes. Sure that's all very well and good...The combat is effectively the same as the first KH game albeit everything you do is controlled by cards. You must press "X" on a card to swing your keyblade. Sure, you can still play the game well enough but I find it detracts from the fast paced gameplay I play Kingdom Hearts for. This is just my opinion though. The camera controls are fixed from the first KH, and are now similar to KH2. Although the normal setting is inversed which is so damned pointless and annoying, you can however change this. What you can't change is the inversed card selection (ie: Left is right, right is left). I've been killed limitless times by that whilst trying to find my "0" card, but accidentally going the wrong way. I find the difficulty progression a bit off, it isn't too bad but the last 2 bosses were easy, where as I found the 3 before them damn-near impossible.

Sound/Music

The music is something I've always liked about the KH series. And once again it doesn't disappoint. The music in this installment is recycled from the first game for the disney worlds with a few new additions for the bits inbetween. I found the new songs to be more ominous to previous KH tracks. The voice acting is beautifully done as always. Except for Donald. Donald now seems to sound plain in a way, with little emotion, it may be just me though. Other than that the majority of the original voice actors return. The only voice acted parts however are only in Castle Oblivion and Destiny Islands which is a bit of a let down. I just wish they would change the Traverse Town track which has remained the same for every game. It is so annoying.

Story

This game fills the gap from Sora's perspective in between Kh1 and Kh2. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but the story only seems to start moving whenever you return to castle oblivion. So it is as if the story is put on hold until the disney characters have finished their screen time. It is another good story, but with bad and slow progression. I would talk about the story, but you know - spoilers.

Length/ Replay Value

Like all Square Enix games, this is a long game aswell. It will get you to about 40 hours in total. Sora's story is about 25 hours long. Once you finish that you have the option to play Riku's which I haven't finished yet because I got bored of this game...I heard in was around 15 hours though. As for replay value, I heard you have the option to start a kind of new game + once you finish Sora's story, however I have yet to test this. The game features a theater mode so you can rewatch practically every cutscene, even the non-voiced ones.

Conclusion

Gameplay - 6/10 - It was repetitive and got boring after a while, but what gets this a passing mark is the various boss fights. They are plenty and serve an exciting fast paced challenge.

Sound/Music - 8/10- I loved the new tracks and arrangements, but the recycled tracks got boring. The voice acting was nearly perfect though.

Graphics - 8.5/10- I'd give any other installment a 9, but this suffers from lazy backdrops (ie, this backdrops you can see from the room you're in are too plain)

Story - 8/10 - Good story, answers nearly all questions, but has a slow progression

Length/ Replay value - 9/10 - If you like this game, then you are going to want to replay it and obtain everything, or just play all of this cutscenes in the theatre mode. That and it is a reasonably long game with two story modes.

Presentation - 9/10 - This game is presented similarly to the first one, the animations are good, the cutscenes and all that are all good.

Final score - 7/10 - Reasonable game, but it is let down on a few points. I recommend only avid fans buy it if they can find a deal for it.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/25/11

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


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