Review by unclehosh
A game too epic for my mind to handle!
Kingdom Hearts 1 was one of the golden examples of action RPGs at their finest. Combined with gorgeous graphics, fantastic music, and one of the best stories in video games, Kingdom Hearts was an absolute masterpiece on the Playstation 2. How does the sequel hold up? I hate to say this, but I think it is even better than the first game. Here's why.
Kingdom Hearts 2 is gorgeous! Every environment is vast, detailed, and colorful, bringing the many Disney worlds to life. My favorite world is Twilight Town, a world forever stuck in twilight. The sunsets are stunning to behold, especially during some of the cutscenes. Speaking of which, the graphics are even better during cutscenes, and the opening scene is stunning, offering some of the best graphics the PS2 is capable of. During the more intense moments of the game, and there are plenty, the frame rate remains pretty solid throughout, only messing up during the heaviest encounters. Every character looks great, particularly Sora, the main character. The expressions in Kingdom Hearts 2 are so believable that I felt like these were real people.
Kingdom Hearts 2 tells a hefty story that is both incredible and extremely confusing. The writing is top notch, helping you make a connection to each character. The romance between Sora and Kairi is still the big highlight in my book, but there is so much more in this game. After the events of Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, Sora is still in slumber while his memories are being restored. A young boy named Roxas begins to have dreams of Sora and his experiences during the first game. He sees people he has never met, and feels what Sora felt. Suddenly, he finds that he can wield the keyblade, and he meets people who all seem to know him. He finally is forced to make a difficult choice, and Sora wakes up. With no memory of what happened, Sora, Donald, and Goofy continue their search for Mickey and Riku. Along the way, they meet Organization 13, who is made of nobodies, heartless shells. They are trying to use the keyblade to finish Kingdom Hearts, and restore their lost hearts. Eventually, Kairi gets caught up in the middle of everything, and Sora is forced to try to bring the organization down. It is a great story that unfolds very well, but there are several moments that are much more confusing than they should be, especially towards the end of the game.
I never though a game could have epic music, but Kingdom Hearts 2 does. Each tune is beautiful and suiting to their corresponding environments. The music towards the end of the game steals the show, especially when buildings are being tossed around like feathers. The music is my favorite part of this already incredible game.
Kingdom Hearts 2 has many improvements to what we've come to expect, as well as some new flaws. Kingdom Hearts 2 is on a much bigger scale than the first game, boasting some of the best boss battles in gaming. With this new style of game play, comes faster, more intense combat. Put simply, the game moves so fast that it can sometimes be impossible to even process what is going on. The combat is much more fleshed out, and the new drive forms are fun since they give you a temporary power boost and new abilites. Donald, Goofy, and the rest of the cast are great allies, and they rarely get in the way. Tons of mini games, hidden items, and secret areas ensure that the game is never too short or linear. Fighting the heartless is better than ever, and Sora has taken some time to work out. He is much stronger, faster, and flexible than he ever was. With the right abilities equipped, he becomes an unstoppable beast who no one can take down. Unfortunately, the gummy ship segments are still here, and while they are much better, they still take away from the experience. Also, the platforming is still an issue thanks to the slow pace at which Sora moves and the stiffness of his jumps. Thankfully, the camera can now be controlled with the right analog stick, fixing the biggest problem of the first game. Magic is also much easier thanks to a quick shortcut system that allows you to assign spells to certain quick key buttons. In the end, Kingdom Hearts 2 is great from a game play perspective.
Final Score: 9/10
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Kingdom Hearts II (US, 03/28/06)
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