Review by Mykas0

"Are you dreaming?"

Believe it or not, this game was my only reason for buying a Playstation 2. After playing Chain of Memories for GBA I really wanted to play the original version. Neither being a big fan of action rpg nor of Disney movies, I was somehow surprised with the experience that I found in here.

Once you start the game, you will be playing through some simple (yet impressive) scenes, which are somehow a tutorial teaching you the very basics of the game. Plus, this tutorial ends with an event that lets you make some selections, based on which the stats your character improve in the level up will increase.

There, you will also fight your first boss battle, in which you will learn about the useful "Lock" ability, which lets you keep on attacking a specific enemy, and turns out being quite useful when you are fighting against lots of enemies at the same time.

In the battles you can also use Magic attacks (I think that all of them were taken from the Final Fantasy series) or Summons (all of them related to the Disney universe, but strangely you can't summon Winnie the Pooh, that would surely be great), but these have a small problem... Once you summon someone, your two party members will disappear (except in a particular summon...), and that isn't very nice in the most important battles.

Also, since this is an action rpg you won't have any specific battles (unlike in Final Fantasy games...), meaning that you will find enemies randomly in the field, which sometimes turns out being really boring. I mean, sometimes you just want to reach a specific place in the main city (if I recall correctly, it is called "Traverse Town") and you will have to face lots of (easy) battles before reaching the place you wanted.

This also seems to happen in every Disney world that you visit, and while you are happily hanging in Wonderland while having your characters at level 60, you will still have to fight lots of enemies which can die with a single strike.

As for characters, it is obvious that you will always see the characters that belong to each world, but Goofie and Donald (your main character is called Sora, and he was created especially for this game) will always be in your party, despite sometimes being possible to exchange one of them with a character from the world you are currently playing in. Seems nice, but Final Fantasy fans will surely become upset when they find out that no character from that series is playable in this game. Oh, and each world has their own key features, taken from the movies!

For the weapons, they ones for Sora can be acquired by completing tasks (which are needed to finish the game, not optional ones!), but the ones for his fellows can mostly be acquired by shopping in the main city.

For travelling between each of the worlds you will need to play a mini-game in which you will be controlling a "Gummi Ship", which is a spaceship that you will be able to modify/improve with some pieces that you find across the game. While giving some more interest and originality to this game, I don't think that such type of mini-game will be enjoyable for the type of person who will play this game. And also... the interface used to customize your ship is too hard to use, at least for me it was...

There are also many other mini-games and quests that don't need to be completed in order to finish the game, but most of them award you with nice bonus. For example, in Olympus Colosseum (the world from the Disney Hercules movie) you can participate in fighting tournaments, in the world from Tarzan you can slide down some trees and in the main world ("Traverse Town", like I already said before) you will even be able to work in several quests, like collecting 99 dalmatians (with Pongo and his wife make them 101...), bringing items for creating new (and improved, of course) items, unlocking special places for receive bonus, and many other things.

All this seems good, right? However, there are things that you only be able to notice when you put the CD on your console... Mainly, the battles are just "Lock" and button mashing, except for the boss battles, and most of the times you won't even know if what you are doing, you just press the keys for attacking, since not even the magic commands cause enough damage for you to use them. Later in the game you will also find harder battles, but only 4 or 5 of them may put you into real trouble, meaning that people who want an hard game won't find it here.

Now, about the controls. This is one of those games in which you really need an analog control, since the left stick controls Sora's movement and the right one let's you pick the commands. Personally I thought that this made quite easy to control it, but some actions are hard to perform, like summoning, since you can't assign summons to the shortcuts buttons (accessible by pressing R1 and triangle, square or circle), and even when using those you have to leave the right analog stick, which sometimes isn't such a good idea. Maybe they should have add a way to control the camera, since sometimes its angles are not the best ones... Plus, in one of the worlds (Atlantica, the world from Ariel's story!) the controls are really bad, since you will have to swim, and those controls are not very user friendly.

About the menus, most of them are not very good, since it turns out being really hard to transfer lots of items from your inventory to the players, and each item must be transfered to a player in order to be used in a battle. This way, it takes way too much time to put a character fit for a specific battle, and even people who are pros in this type of game may find it difficult (and costly, in terms of time) to do.

Sora is little kid who lives in Destiny Islands with his friends Riku, Kairi (strangely, no parents!) and some folks from Final Fantasy X. One day, his island is strangely attacked by some black creatures that destroy everything they touch. Sora escapes due to a strange event, but he splits up from his friends. Now, will he ever be able to find them again? Will he ever be back to his island? Will he be able to save the world from this strange creatures that he just met? That's what you will find out by playing this game...

Personally I didn't found the graphics of this game very interesting, considering the quality of other games also released for this platform. Despite the player being able to clearly see all the attacks and characters in a quite good way, they don't seem very realistic. Also, some characters are depicted in a SD ("super deformed") way, while others appear exactly like in their original games/movies (like Squall Leonhart, from Final Fantasy VIII), which isn't a good idea, at least in my view.

Plus, sometimes the camera angles are not very good, and perhaps you will only see Sora hitting "something", but you won't know what that is, since the camera isn't in its best position. This "bug" becomes even worse in the world of Monstro (Pinnochio's world), which turns being even harder like this, since the player won't even understand where he need to go next.

I didn't liked the sound effects very much (they are way too repetitive), but at least you can heard the other characters saying the names of other players in your party, when they do some action relating to that specific character, and Donald's voice is still as... well, let's say "interesting" like in the cartoon.

As for the musics, I really loved them, and perhaps all the fans from the game will even buy the soundtrack. I shall give a special reference to the new version of "One Winged Angel", which is even better than the version which appear in Final Fantasy VII, and that means... unforgettable. As for the musics played in each world, they are really similar to the ones from their movies, and fans from a specific movie/show will enjoy them.

Play Time/Replayability
Finishing this game is easy, but really beating it with all the bonus is quite hard, and it may take you more than 60 hours to do, even if you are a skilled player.

Concerning the replay value, this game has a quite interesting feature in that field. After performing a certain task in the game, you will be able to replay the entire game with a bigger difficulty level, so you will have an even harder time beating some of the secret bosses, and this is surely a type of easter egg that fans will enjoy.

Final Recommendation
Are you looking for an action rpg? If so, you must get this, even if you are not a fan of Disney movies!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 03/31/05

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