Review by Acquire

Reviewed: 12/10/04

Cards??? But it's still fun.

Kingdom Hearts: Chains of Memories is basically what would happen in between Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2.

For the story you again play as Sora accompanied by his pals Goofy and Donald the duck. Basically you start right after the ending of the first Kingdom Hearts. As you are walking through the long seemingly endless pass you end up meeting a strange person in a black cloak. So instead you decide to take a little detour and follow this character. You end up in a big mysterious castle, Castle Oblivion. In here you again talk to the cloaked character and you try to take him out, but soon find that all your skills have been forgotten, not only that but all your memories. The odd thing is that your memories are still there but at the same time not there. So to get back your memories you must travel throughout the floors of this Castle, each being an old Kingdom Hearts world. Throughout the story you meet very familiar characters from your previous adventure. You must defeat the Heartless.

The gameplay is the major difference in this game. They added in a card system but kept it action based, good 'ol hack and slash. This is what makes the gameplay much more fun, unlike in the previous game where you just swung around violently, this time you have to use your attacks carefully, because, every attack takes one card, these cards each have their own power level, and if you run out of cards you must reload which takes time. 0 being the lowest (or is it) and 9 the strongest. You have cards for your key, magic attacks, as well as spells and summons. To unleash combos you can stack up up to 3 cards by pressing L+R simultaneously, then unleash the attack, by pressing L+R. The bad thing of this is that every time you reload your cards, for that battle, the first card of you combo attack will not be loaded, so use them wisely. You can also buy cards to keep upgrading you deck, but you need to keep your CP points up because this determines the limit on cards that you can have.

Another way you use the cards besides fighting is to open up doors, for every door you need certain amounts of cards, which shouldn't a problem because you can get them frequently in battles. Some doors require combos of different types of cards though.

Everything else is pretty simple, the only thing different is that enemy's you view as you are exploring are only there to trigger battles. Once you touch one of these enemies, you will then be entered into a battle area and fight a bunch of heartless, and once you win you will be put back into the exploring mode. Every other basic RPG element is there, when you level up you can choose to either enhance HP, CP, or learn new skills which are used with the stacked up cards. All your points are gotten after you defeat enemies and they release these orb like things.

The only thing annoying of this game play is that sometimes the battle fields are too small to fight all the heartless, and seen as how you have to cycle through your cards it can be quite annoying when trying to find certain cards, which is why I suggest you custom organize your deck.

Tha graphics are pretty good. As you will notice in the intro is that it looks remarkably good, this game is filled with beautiful FMVs for being on a GBA. But the actual gameplay is different, it's very good for being a GBA game. It has an incredible amount of detail for what has previously been seen on the GBA.

The sound is also excellent, for FMVs and those cutscene like things, the music absorbs you into the game, making them seem very dramatic,funny, sad, or prideful. The normal exploring music is also good, it has Disney style music that just makes it seem like your having fun even if you your wandering around and have no idea where to go next.

Replay value is moderate. You might want to replay it if you didn't get the story, also to get stronger decks and unlock some secrets here and there, but it's not real big. What might make you willing to replay it is that it's not a very long game.

In conclusion this game is a very good action orientated RPG that executes excellently a card systems, although sometime annoying because of the cycling through cards, it adds dept to the gameplay. The story is excelling, accompanied by excellent music to suck you in.

A definite buy for those that like good RPG style stories but hate that turn based systems used in conventional RPGs, like me.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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