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AyumiNemoto's Kingdom Hearts Game Review

Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts game Review

"The closer you get to the light, the larger your shadow becomes."

When stars begin to disappear and 14-year-old Sora's home, Destiny Islands, is engulfed in a freak storm, he must journey across worlds to find his friends, Riku and Kairi. As master of the mysterious Keyblade, Sora must battle the soul-eating Heartless and discover where true strength lies.

Kingdom Hearts is the first collaboration between powerhouses of animation and gaming, Disney and Square Enix. A fun, light-entertainment role-playing game featuring cameos by a plethora of familiar characters, from Cloud Strife and Sephiroth to Hades, Tinkerbell, Jack Skellington, and Maleficent.

NOTES: For all Disney characters appearing in Kingdom Hearts, see Disney Characters.

Story & Playability

Intro:
This review will be based on the JAPANESE VERSION OF KINGDOM HEARTS 2. The US released date (as far as I know of) is in March and please don't accuse me that it's impossible to have played it. The review below contains little spoilers (stuff that most people who keep track of updates on this should already know) but I will keep the spoilers to a minium so that everyone at least get a decent idea about what I'm talking about.

The story continues from the popular PS2 game Kingdom Hearts and the GBA's KH: Chain of Memories. If you have NEVER played Kingdom Hearts than this game might not be the best place to start. The opening for the game is pretty confusing if you have no idea what KH was about so I'm assuming that Square-Enix is assuming that everyone who buys KH2 should have decent knowledge of KH. The story is much more darker and complex than the previous game. We meet the original Organization, the XIII Order (juu-san kikan) who have a different goal than those in CoM, as well as a the multi Ansems in the the game and both previous and new Disney worlds. Returning and new Final Fantasy characters (Cloud turned Advent Children XD), a much more harder to beat Sephiroth (-_-|||), add-ons to worlds (such as Alantica's musical) and the return of the (annoying >.<) Colliseum.

Story:
The introduction/prologue doesn't start with Sora but with a new character named Roxas. This 3 - 4 hr prologue introduces the normal life of Roxas who later on learn that his life isn't as normal as it seems. After that the real game begins and now you are in control of Sora from here on it's basically the same as the old KH - vist worlds, fight Heartlesses and Nobodies (the new enemy) and lock the worlds - but at the same time Sora is getting deprite in finding his friend, Riku. The character developement itself was something I was really pleased about since you venture with them you also see how much mature they have become. The interaction between the created KH characters have more spotlight than the Disney characters. The plot itself is becoming darker although it has filled in many questions that the original KH didn't but only at the VERY end they leave us hanging with even more questions (which implies there MIGHT be a KH3). Overall, I was pleased in how the story was going, the two best friends ended up fighting side-by-side was a real treat where we practically get to see the duo fighting and still left in awe. (For Riku fans: Riku is playable for like 30 seconds XD but he is in your party. :D)

Rating: 9

Graphics

The art in the gameplay and the cutscenes is pretty much the same as the original KH game. Although the intro and ending was spectacular. Much more realistic but, in my opnion, much clay figure-rized although if it weren't for the 5 year old PS2 technology, I think the game would of been much better like the recent Square-Enix work of Advent Children (now that we all know what SE is capable of). The design for the characters were much more mature and alot less "cute" with no more over-sized feet compared to KH. The clothing for one thing was able to achieve its purpose to show the maturity of the characters (mainly Sora, Riku and Kairi). Although the Disney characters, Donald, Goofy and Mickey, (who seem to be lessed focus on compared to KH) still had their "cuteness".

Rating: 9

Sound

As usual the BGM were amazing. Truly captures the feel of the world/area your in and the tension when you fight one of those (truly annoying) XIII Order members. The voices for the game left me in awe. I was completely amazed at how they found Japanese voice actors to sound nearly identical to the original Disney voices (Mickey especially) and as usual, no one made out a single for of what Donal say (^^;; thank god for subtitles). The Japanese voice of Sora worked amazingly well for someone who seemed much more childish than the English Voice (after all, Sora was suppose to be mature). Riku's voice actor fitted Riku just perfectly and Kairi's voice was less "squeaky" (okay, I couldn't stand her in the English version >.<) so her maturity shone. As for the XIII Order voices, to me, they practically screamed out "I'm evil!" which is a good thing because at first it was pretty hard to tell if they were good or bad (which the story got complicated later on >.<). Overall, both the BGM and the VAs has exceeded my expectations.

Hikaru Utade's opening theme song, Passion, was something that didn't seem to fit KH2 at all compared to KH. Listening to it alone is a great song but how did something so calming and slow have to do with KH2? Well, once you've seen the video it will change your mind. The song had like a 30 sec insert Pop (?) music in the middle. The flow of the flashback visual with the song worked harmoniously together and with the upbeat insert that worked well in the small fighting scene of Castle Oblivion. Overall, it was smooth going and at the same time exciting but I feel that the upbeat could of lasted a little longer.

Rating: 9

Fun

Nothing like it. The new add-ons to the game play such as shortcuts to potion usage, the new abiliity attacks and new stories to the old worlds made KH2 much more enjoyable. There were a few things that made KH2 one of those games where you can never let go of the controller.

First off the new Reaction Commanc (the triable button). At first, I thought it was nothing fancy just some dodging move that replaced the dodge roll in KH but boy was I wrong. The Reaction Command works completely different depending on the enemy you are fighting (usually works on Nobodies) and what the situation is. Each time you use the Reaction Command, Sora will do some sort of counter or evasion, whether it's deflecting a laser attack or countering a Samurai Nobodie, this function will never ceases to amaze you.

As most people much of know, the Drive function was a new insert where you get Drive forms where you merge with characters. I can't say much about this function because I've only used it three times in the entire game (which defeats the purpose of this function... eh..heh... ).

Co-op moves where you get to work with a member in your party on a double attack sorta of move. Depending on who you are teaming up with you can do different things.

Mickey... Mickey... Mickey... he is much more useful than even I could of expected. When Sora's hp hits 0, Mickey will come save the day and revives Sora. This will keep repeating til Mickey's hp hits 0 and once Sora's hp is 0 it's game over. But with this new add-on it makes it much more harder to die and easier to defeat insane bosses (not all fights have this function though so try not to die).

The revamp of the Gummi ship (which in my opnion is alot harder than fighting Heartless). The most annoying part of the original KH has turned out much more pleasing to play and much harder in my opnion. Same idea, same attacking the enemy ship but a LOT more harder enemies to blast.

In the game, Alantica was turned into a musical. The songs were amazing and the voice actors can sing (well except Donald cause I still couldn't made up a single word he said). You no longer had to struggle to fight Ursula and stead you pressed buttons (something like DDR in my opnion). It was stress-relieving from fighting Heartlesses and unique. Depending if you are successful on pressing the button at the right times, scenes will change. You get it right, an amazing dance move will occur and if you miss than well it becomes boring because everyone missed their cue.

I believe thats about it for the new add-ons that truly brought out the enjoyability of KH2. The camera (to many's relief) has improved ALOT but personally I still don't like it. I still hit areas where you can't see through walls and sometimes accidentally touch the right analog stick screws me over since the camera will tilt. As for humor, it is much more humorous than KH thats for sure. As I like to put it, "everyone got stupified" and I won't rant here but there are some scenes where Sora becomes the comedy relief especially in serious moments.

Overall the presentation (aside from the camera), was the most enjoyable part of Kingdom Hearts 2. The game has such a unique gameplay that I suggest those who know some information on KH to buy and try out this game. It's definitely one of the best games I've ever played.

Rating: 9

Final Verdict

9.00 (very good)

Reviewed by AyumiNemoto, Jan 21, 2006

Comments

  1. evilofheart Jan 21, 2006

    lol...did a review already? wish i could play it after u told me about the ending...lol *sigh* must try to find a way to play the game, anyways, great review....it's so detailed ^^

  2. enchantressinthedark Jan 22, 2006

    NOw I konw why everyone's addicted to Kingdom Hearts coz from ur review, I can tell its really good!

  3. darkangel013 Jan 22, 2006

    Quote by enchantressinthedarkNOw I konw why everyone's addicted to Kingdom Hearts coz from ur review, I can tell its really good!

    I agree.Really great review.Hope to see more.

  4. shinsengumi Retired Moderator Jan 22, 2006

    Now now, if you have problems with the presentation, it can't possibly deserve a 10, can it now?

    *scratches the 10 out and slips a 9 in when nobody is looking*

  5. EurydiceXO Jan 22, 2006

    This honestly sounds just like the first one....but I loved the first one so much that I wouldn't mind :) I'm very much looking forward to playing it!

  6. JiZames Jan 22, 2006

    The review is good, but I wouldn't have given it such high praise. You left out a few details here and there, but I'm assuming it was to keep it spoiler-free. All in all, KH2 feels more like an expansion to KH instead of a direct sequal, since it still uses the same engine and fighting mechanics outside of a few changes. Also, the comment on how the FMVs should've been Advent Children quality is absurd. Let's remember that KH is NOT A FINAL FANTASY GAME, since people seem to make that assumption pretty often.

  7. akai Jan 22, 2006

    x) Kingdom Hearts really is a good game. It's probably one of the most enjoyable video game I've played so far (although I don't really like some of the disney characters... xD) The use of disney characters in the game might have given some people the impression that it's a game for kids... but in fact, some bosses are soooooooooooooooooo hard to beat. (I don't think any ordinary kid can defeat them easily) x(
    This game although is fun, there are a couple of things I don't like about it.
    1. I don't like the part where you have to sit in that stupid spaceship to travel to different worlds.
    2. KH came in 2 versions. The first one, followed by a Deep Dive/Final Mix version. Why isn't it translated into English?
    3. I don't like the "easy munny". I have too much of it and have nowhere to spend them.

    I've been waiting for KH2 release for ages, I wonder if it REALLY is coming out this year. =S And I seriously hope that we would get to sit on that spaceship again in KH2.

  8. AyumiNemoto Jan 22, 2006

    shinsengumi - I would of given it 9.7 but that wasn't possible so I rounded (alot of it was rounded).

    JiZames - your assumption = right. I tried to be as broad as possible. Maybe it's just me but I actually really enjoy the engine *uses it as stress reliever* as for the FMV, :/ meh... I was actually expecting more improvement in the tonal usages espeically in worlds like Pirates of the Carribean (as an example), cause I still see pixels >.> but I'm just trying to say that it could be better (not the same as AC grpahics of course) now that we know what SE is capable of.

    akai - totally agree. Forget the Gummi ship entirely >.> it's a pain to deal with it everytime. As for KH they should of released the Final Mix version instead, in my opnion. They didn't translate it cause it only contained three new scenes, two of which is Riku and one is showdown of fate I believe. I don't remember so long ago since I played both versions. And for easy munny, be relieved that KH2 is hard to earn munny (either that or I just spend too much XD) the most I ever had was in the 3000s.

  9. zakira06 Jan 22, 2006

    Ahhhh Oh my gosh I'm so looking forward to playing the second game! I mean I loved the first one! and yeah I'm sure I'll love the second one as well! tehehhe

  10. akai Jan 23, 2006

    xD I have the Final Mix version too. But I played like only 10% of the game because I can hardly understand more than 50% of the dialogues and it was really a pain trying to guess what they were talking about. xD

  11. hikaru02 Jan 23, 2006

    Yay, a review.. Yes! i've played KH it was so fun and exciting... I can't wait until KH2 is coming out.. Hopefully in March.. This march right? :)

  12. ZhuangQuan Jan 28, 2006

    I have played Kingdom Hearts myself and I think the review what you wrote is great

  13. DemonHunt3r Feb 02, 2006

    I have played KH, it was very great and I'm waiting for KH 2 to play too, and storyline is very great.

  14. nahuel19 Jul 26, 2006

    this game is really great, I can stop of playing, aguante goofy!:)

  15. hello-me Dec 19, 2008

    KH2 Final Mix is really cool. The game has more things to unlock compare to the first one. Sora also able to fight all the members of the Organization XIII and a new boss is added too. He is Terra, a character from the KH3. This boss is the hardest in the game, i took almost 30 minutes to defeat him for my first try.

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