Review by Kingdom_Hearts2

"There's more to this game than meets the eye."

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is the direct sequel of the original Kingdom Hearts for PS2 and bridges the gap between the original game and its sequel on the PS2, Kingdom Hearts II. This sequel is actually based on the "improved" version of the North American version of Kingdom Hearts for PS2, Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix, which added a lot more significant depth to the plot and storyline of the original one.

Gameplay - 10
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories offers dozens of hours of fun and addictive gameplay of an amazingly newly-created fighting engine. The game is a combination of card-based battles combined with the fluidity of an adventure game and the always entertaining pattern of an RPG game.
Despite the fake impression the game may cause by basing its gameplay on cards, you shouldn't be put off by this concept.
This game offers a wide range of different combos you can come up with by combining different types of cards, although you will not be able to create these special attacks until you learn them - you can choose to either increase your HP, your CP (Card Points) or learn a new ability (only if available) once you level up.
Moreover, unlike any other GBA game, you'll be able to play for countless of hours so as to keep up with the increasing difficulty level that bosses get.
Probably if there is a drawback it could be that the game may seem a little monotonous once you set a fixed pattern on your combos and don't change your card order at all.

Graphics - 10
The game's graphics are utterly staggering for a game of a 32 bit console. The special hi-res videos are excellent and it could be argued that their quality is virtually close to the PS2's ones. On top of that, the characters sprites and the whole environmental animation is great, it actually gives the game life and makes it look like a game above all the ones made so far for the GBA. All the characters and enemies in the game look exactly the same as in the original version despite the differences in graphic resolutions that both platforms can put up with. There are definitely no flaws in this aspect of the game.

Sound – 9
Again, Square-Enix stands out with its compelling songs that have been taken directly from the PS2 game to its sequel. Perhaps if you already played the first Kingdom Hearts for several hours, you may find hearing the very same music pretty monotonous, but still, the fact that the sound quality and all the battle cries have been perfectly combined with the whole environment of this game has been a great achievement that very few games have been able to cope with so far. It's pretty exciting to hear how Sora calls all the party members and casts his magic spells with such a great sound quality.

Value - 10
The greatest asset of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is mainly that it will keep you playing it for dozens of hours, unlike most of the lousy games for this platform. Despite your willing or reluctance to train Sora and fight against thousands of Heartless for countless of hours is not actually up to you. If you really want to go on through the storyline, then you'll need to train a lot your character and that will keep you entertained for a whale of time. You'll find yourself playing a pretty addictive RPG-Adventure-Card-based game that not only offers you a plain, straightforward storyline, but also grapples you even more with its secret mode once you finish the game the first time, the “Reverse Rebirth” mode, in which you'll have the opportunity to play the game with Riku (Sora's best friend and life rival) and his side of the story.
But that's not the end of it. Alongside Reverse Rebirth, you also unlock a second secret mode which is a 2 player mode for battling with a friend with another Gameboy Advance, thus, increasing even more the hours of fun playtime that this game has to offer to players. There's certainly much more to this game than meets the eye.

To cut it short, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories not only is a great follow-up story to the original Kingdom Hearts, but also a magnificent GBA game with stunning features that no other game on this platform has ever reached.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 12/30/04

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