Review by gotryce22

"Chain of Memories was great, but Re:Chain of Memories blows it out of the water."

I remember not liking the Kingdom Hearts series without giving it a chance. I was one of those people that thought, “Wow, Disney and Square? That's not stupid at all…”. Then my friend offered to buy me Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories if I gave it a chance. So I tried it, and boy, was I wrong about this series.

Sora is lost on a grassy plain with his companions, Donald and Goofy. When a mysterious unknown leads the team to Castle Oblivion, their curiosity gets the best of them as they decide to venture further into the complex building. Implementing cards as the main source of battle and adventure, Sora ventures through familiar worlds and sees familiar faces, but without realizing it, slowly begins to remember less and less. Little does he know he begins to get to the top of the castle for all the wrong reasons…

Chain of Memories was a masterfully built game in terms of gameplay and story. For a GameBoy Advance, the graphics weren't that bad, either. With this new PS2 remake, Chain of Memories has only gained even more points.

Graphics: 8/10
How can Square go wrong with graphics? With graphics rivaling that of Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2, one can play the entire trio in beautiful quality. The game is just exciting to look at, and that's not even bringing into account the story or gameplay!

Gameplay: 10/10
What can I say? The card-based system introduced in Chain of Memories was genius. You make a deck and use the cards for attacking. The enemies use cards, too, so you can break their attack before they break yours. You can also stock three cards and pull off a combo or a sleight depending on what you have learned. Out of cards? No worries; charge up and you'll get them back. Of course, it takes longer to charge the more you do it, so abusing this system may be a problem.

The leveling system allows the player to customize Sora to their own style. Every time you level, you get the option to raise Sora's health, Card Points (allow you to have more cards in your deck), or learn a new sleight. Do you want to learn all the sleights first then add some HP and CP evenly, or perhaps you want to screw HP altogether? That's the great thing about this leveling system; it's all up to you!

Navigating is a fun thing to explore as well. Each world is built like a grid, but what you encounter in each room is entirely up to you. Make a save point, get some treasure, or have a buttload of heartless; it doesn't matter because it's all up to you. Each door has a set requirement to go on, so use whichever map card you want and the next room will reflect upon that card. This game caters to the player so well, it's funnier than Carrot Top's props.

Story: 10/10
In my opinion, this is absolutely the best story of the Kingdom Hearts trio. After defeating Ansem at the End of the World, you're sent to an unknown land with a peculiar castle. As Sora goes through this “Castle Oblivion”, he begins to lose memory and gain some new memories at the same time. Every world you encounter on your way is a duplicate of the first Kingdom Hearts, such as trying to defeat Cloud in a tournament in Olympus Coliseum or defeating a really, really big Ursula. All of a sudden, “We gotta save Kairi!” changes to “We gotta save Namine!” and Sora wants to take down these cloaked enemies for all the wrong reasons. Does Sora gain his memory back? This story builds to this conclusion extremely well.

As for Riku, well, that just sweetens the story that much more. =]

Music: 9/10
It's… beautiful. There's really not much to say about this. The soundtrack truly impacts the player so much more in creating emotional times even more effective than when muted. Old tunes from Kingdom Hearts 1 return in each of the veteran worlds—heh, memorable music in a game built on memories… who'd have thunk?—and Castle Oblivion's music fits in so well, you'll have yourself sucked into the game as if you were watching a lava lamp.

Overall: 9/10
This is a definite must-buy for Kingdom Hearts fans, especially for those who haven't yet played Chain of Memories on the GBA. Re: Chain of Memories does everything the GBA version did and more, not to mention the base price is cheaper than what the original started with. Kingdom Hearts newbies can enjoy this game as well. One can understand the full story of the series after playing this game. The gameplay is outside what people are used to, so if you want to experiment with new gameplay, this is definitely a choice you should make. Give it a chance, and Re: Chain of Memories will definitely be a worthy investment.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/04/08

Game Release: Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories (US, 12/02/08)

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