Review by Gr8one17
"The sequel to one of the most genre shattering games ever doesn't disappoint"
SquareEnix took a huge gamble when it teamed up with Disney to create a unique role playing game for the Playstation 2. Many SE fans were in dismay at the thought of their precious Final Fantasy characters being involved with Disney characters simultaneously in one gaming universe. I will admit I was one of them. Eventually my love for SE games overtook me and I purchased Kingdom Hearts. About 40 hours of gaming later I was sending my sincere apologies out to SE and Disney. This series is one of, if not the most groundbreaking of all time. Who would have thought Disney and Final Fantasy could merge and actually be successful? I know I didn't. Kingdom Hearts is now my favorite game of all time, so purchasing this sequel was a no brainer. On with the review.
Gameplay - 9/10
Cards? When I first heard the game was card based I began to have serious doubts. I absolutely loved the freedom from the original Kingdom Hearts so this card idea though me for a loop. Twenty minutes into the game I realized the battle system is extremely similar to the original and that is a good thing. Cards dictate your actions in battle (attack, magic, summons, etc). Each card is scored from 0-9 (the higher cards being harder to break). When I say break I mean if you play an attack card of 6 and your enemy plays a 7 then the enemies card over powers yours and a card break takes place. The card remains in your deck so don't worry about losing cards. Cards are also used extensively in maneuvering the many different worlds from the original game. Overall a great concept, and it works extremely well. This system makes some of the boss battles quite challenging.
Story - 10/10
I absolutely love the story behind this series. I don't want to spoil anything for newcomers so here goes a short synopsis. The main character in the series thus far is a young boy names Sora. He along with his two friends (Riku and Kairi) lived on Destiny Island, and always dreamed of seeing new worlds. One night their wish was mysteriously granted, and all three were swept from their peaceful island and separated from each other. Sora eventually teams up with Donald Duck and Goofy while trying to locate lost friends. Sora is chosen as the wielder of the keyblade, and is charges with closing the door to darkness. Thus the adventure begins. This game picks up exactly where the original left off. The setting is Castle Oblivion, and the rest is yours to find out. Overall the best storytelling of any game I can remember playing.
Music/Sound - 9/10
The music and sounds effects are top notch in this game (especially for the Gameboy Advance). The music for each world (floor) is from the individual Disney movies. The new music for Twilight Town is also very good. The sounds the characters make in battle add to the realism. The fabled "Simple and Clean" is here as well (albeit at the very end of the game).
Graphics - 10/10
The graphics are top notch for the system, but that is not what got the 10 in this category. This game incorporates about 4-5 cgi scenes at key junctures in the game. These scenes are PS2 quality, and needless to say I was in absolute awe. The battle sequences are very well done, and the different abilities look great. No complaints here.
Overall - 9/10
I really liked the option to play as Riku once you completed Sora's story. The game tends to fool you at times as well. It came seem overly easy for an extended period of time, and then out of nowhere a boss pops in a wipes the floor with you. Many of the bosses require strategy and not just button mashing like most of the random heartless battles. This game has really gotten me excited for Kingdom Hearts 2 (as if I could be any more excited). In one word this game is "unbelievable". Don't believe me, then go out and see for yourself. I promise this is one $30 dollar purchase you won't regret.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 01/03/05
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