Review by gingrbrdcorpses
Kingdom Hearts 2 is the worst sequel I have ever played
Kingdom Hearts is one of my favorite video games of all time. I was immersed in the world and am filled with a melancholic nostalgia whenever I think of it. Not so much for the characters but for the brilliant structure of all the worlds that made each one stand out with a life and resonance of its own.
The graphics are ideal, just as good as the original. I'm not here to complain about the graphics. There was this ugly mass they called "Roxas" that was pretty hard to look at, but otherwise the graphics were good.
Zero out of ten, I am not kidding. The original Kingdom Hearts had massive worlds with detailed scenery waiting to be explored thoroughly. Each world in Kingdom Hearts 2 is a hallway. A hallway that might lead to a rotunda, from which branches more hallways. Here is what you do in the hallways: Press X, X, X, X, X, X, X, X, X, and then triangle when it tells you to, and that's the extent of your battles. WOW, that's my idea of a fun and engaging game. There are ZERO puzzles, unlike Kingdom Hearts. There are almost no mini-games, albeit the crap with Roxas at the beginning. And Hundred Acre Woods doesn't count, because the games there are awful now. You can't even call them games; they have nothing on the fun little challenges from the original. Why did they even include a jump button in this game? This game is not a platformer. They took out all the platforming fun from the original. This game is a hallwayer. Atlantica, one of the funnest levels from the original game, returns. Except there is no exploration or level or anything. Instead, you get to participate in a series of musical numbers and listen to Haley Joel Osment's squeaky vocals.
Let me touch on the wasted potential. Worlds like the Lion King and Mulan could have been great expansive levels. Instead, they're dull hallways where you can get a game over for not completing some dumb tent "mini-game" fast enough. Also, Pirates of the Caribbean has made an entrance, which is just a mess. That is not Kingdom Hearts material. Neither is Tron, which also disgraces us with its presence here.
The story is just so, so awful. In the original, you got the satisfaction from sealing keyholes at the end of each world. In this game, you encounter "special items" that you bounce light from your keyblade off of, and then it goes to the sky and opens up a keyhole in the clouds. The purpose of these keyholes is never really explained. The entire "story" is contrived by themes of light and darkness, and that's about as detailed as it gets. Light and darkness even lose their individual significance, because it's determined that a person needs a bit of each for ultimate strength. Yeah, shut up. I was so sick of the going-in-circles dialog of light/dark throughout the whole game that I had no problem skipping the cutscenes after awhile. And believe it or not, I didn't miss a single thing.
And now they are introducing new contrivances like Roxas, which is Sora's half-spirit or whatever the hell they called it, I forget. He's extremely ugly, definitely would not fit in amongst the beautiful people from Destiny Islands. So already he's a displaced loser, except he's a supposedly instrumental part of our protagonist, Sora. So now Sora just feels dirty. Then they introduce people of The Organization, which continues a plot that began in Chain Of Memories. The whole Organization thing is generic and uninteresting and completely takes away from the Disney feel that the original had. The members of the Organization have no personality and they are basically interchangeable. Kingdom Hearts did not rely primarily on its character development, but it didn't have to. It did enough with Sora, Riku, and Kairi to make an engaging story within the beautiful worlds of the game. Now Kingdom Hearts 2 is trying to base a massive part of its plot off of the personalities of these Organization members, and they're failing because they took flat characters, put them in a stale and dark world, and threw in the most generic storyline possible.
The sound is good. The music is okay, but it doesn't have that gripping nostalgic feel that the music from the original did. It feels less orchestrated and more manufactured. But whatever, I was too busy listening to myself complaining about how much I hated this game for me to pay too much attention to the sound.
Extras and Replayability: 0/10
There are no fun side-quests or mini-games. I can't imagine why anyone would even want to play this game one time, let alone a second. The game is truly the sum of all its parts, and its parts are stale hallways with nothing extra or appealing within them.
So the technical elements of this game, graphics and sound, were good. But everything else was an awful mess.I'm surprised so many people do like it, but I absolutely hate it. I don't only hate it for what an awful game it is, but I hate it for what a good game it could have been but wasn't. There is NO substance here. It's not fun, and it's not moving. If you want another Kingdom Hearts, this isn't it.
Rating: 1.0 - Terrible
Product Release: Kingdom Hearts II (US, 03/28/06)
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