Review by Game_Reviewer

"Chain of Memories, a Great and Unique Game!"

Having reviewed games in the past, I have just recently decided to go public about it. I have here, my review on the hit Gameboy Advanced game, Kingdom Hearts : Chain of Memories, a game that takes place between the Playstation 2 games, Kingdom Hearts, and Kingdom Hearts II by Disney and Square Enix.

Visuals – 8
I give the visuals (graphics) an 8.
The idea of going from a 3-D game on the Playstation 2, to the world of a 2-D Mystery Dungeon-like video game on the Gameboy Advanced startled me at first, and I had doubts about the visuals. I couldn't have been more wrong. The graphics were very well done and I wouldn't mind if they even re-did the Kingdom Hearts series for the Gameboy Advanced, Chain of Memories' graphics surprised me for that reason, much better than I had thought, and I think they could pull it off. I was very amazed at how the cinematic graphics for the Chain of Memories was exactly the same as the regular gameplay graphics for Kingdom Hearts one, something I never thought they could accomplish, for I had never seen anything like it before. On to the next subject...

Sound & Music – 7
I give the Sounds and Music a 7.
The songs were for the most part, exactly like Kingdom Hearts...same with Kingdom Hearts II. No offense to Utada Hikaru, Square Enix, Disney, or any other companies which assosiated with Kingdom Hearts, but seriously, new songs wouldn't hurt. Nothing beats the classics, but as I always say, you can keep the old, just add some new in there. Do that and you have a top seller! (Not that Kingdom Hearts wasn't already a top seller.) The problem I had with the cinematic scenes, no voices. Anyway, on to the sounds. The sounds were all around okay. One thing I noticed is that there were sounds used for multiple enemies and bosses. Other than that, the sounds were pretty good. They could be better, but they are still very good, and I am still impressed. On to the next subject...

Gameplay – 8
I give the Gameplay an 8.
The gameplay was pretty simple. During fights, you could button mash (hit random buttons) and still make it look good and/or defeat enemies easily, especialy in Riku's story, Reverse/Rebirth. The idea of using cards with special abilities to attack was, in my eyes, ingenious, making up for the all too confusing way of using different combination of cards or, "Sleights". It was good, but they could have made it a little less confusing. Alright, now on to the next subject...

Controls - 9
I give the Controls a 9.
The controls are very easy to learn and memorize. Simple "A" button to attack, "L" & "R" to change cards, "B" to jump, "Start" to Pause, "L + R" to store a card for a sleight, etc. The controls are one of the easiest I've learned for the GBA, despite the confusing fights. This game can easily be learned by a 7 year old, for a seven year old I know learned it like it was no problem, but he didn't fully understand the battle system, so I recommend this game more for persons over the age of 9. On to the next subject.

ETT (Estimate Time Taken)
I have two reviews for this section.

Sora's Story ETT
Sora's story was no doubt as long if not longer (depending on how often you fight enemies for World Cards) than the original Kingdom Hearts games for the Playstation 2. Assuming you recieved all the correct cards and skipped all the enemies except the bosses via cheat device, it would take about 8 hours to complete, however, that is not what I am reviewing. At an estimated finishing time of about 12 hours, it is very difficult to do a speed run of this story.

Riku's Story ETT
Riku's story was definately shorter than Sora's, yet was much more difficult. Assuming you recieved all the correct cards and skipped all the enemies except the bosses via cheat device, it would take about 3 hours to complete, however, that is not what I am reviewing. At an estimated finishing time of about 7 hours, it is even more difficult to do a speed run of this story than Sora's for the more difficult bosses.

Replayability – 7.5
I give the Replayability (ability to replay the game) a 7.5.
You may restart a new game, however, it may require deletion of one of your files, and if you had a particular scene you liked that was halfway through the game like I do, you most likely won't want to replay the whole game to see it.

I have two reviews for this section.

Sora's Story's Difficulty
I would have to give Sora's Story's Difficulty level a Very Moderate (Just above Moderate, and just below Hard). The beginning is relatively easy, but around the BF5 (Basement Floor 5) it gets rather difficult. The final boss is very hard to defeat, probably the hardest boss I've ever fought on a GBA game.

Riku's Story's Difficulty
I'm giving Riku's Story a Very Hard difficulty, especially if you are doing a speed run. The required World Cards, or cards used to advance further into the game, are more rare in Riku's story. The bosses are very difficult, Lexaeus and the Final Boss, Ansem are very, very difficult to defeat. Lexaeus which throws a barrage of rocks at Riku, which if somebody didn't raise their HP enough, can easily defeat them with that one attack.

Enjoy-Ability - 8.5
I'm giving the ability to Enjoy the game an 8.5.
This game can be very enjoyable to Kingdom Hearts Fans, and card game fans alike. The fighting style is confusing, but once you get the hang of it, it is very fun. You simply play the highest card from 0-9 and you attack your opponent, using a simple swing of a keyblade, a summon, or a magic spell. You can use a zero card after the opponent has played any card except another zero and break the card, attacking your opponent. In Riku's story, you are given the new feature of Dark Mode, which is activated by breaking opponents' cards and adding up the difference in the card, adding them to Dark Points. Dark Mode is activated when you get either 20, 25, or 30 Dark Points. This gives you a whole new battle style, with many more sleights, and the only drawbacks to Riku's story is that there is only one summon, King Mickey, and you are limited in Sleights unless you are in Dark Mode, making them balance out,

Benefits of Sora's Story:
Many more sleights, cards, and cutscenes

Benefits of Riku's Story:
More unique gameplay style
Dark Mode

I would say that Riku's story is more fun, but that is based on my own experience. Others may have different views on which story is better, but if you are looking for a unique experience AND a chance to play as Riku, which pretty much everybody looks for the "Play as Riku" cheat on Kingdom Hearts II, Riku's story is great. The best part of Chain of Memories is, you don't NEED cheat codes to play as Riku.

Overall Rating/Review

Overall, I give this game an 8/10.
I would say that this game is no doubt one of the best games of the Gameboy Advanced, and has given Square Enix and Disney credit that they can do multiple consoles. Overall, I recommend this game for experienced gamers because of the difficulty level and also for persons over the age of 9 due to the confusing battle style. If you are trying to decide what GBA game you want next, Kingdom Hearts : Chain of Memories is definitely the best choice!

Over and out,

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 07/12/08

Game Release: Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (US, 12/07/04)

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