Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kingdom Hearts 2 for the Playstation 2





Personally, Kingdom Hearts is one of my favorite franchises of all time. I enjoyed the first game, but then I was keeping my distance from the sequel that’s on the Gameboy Advance, Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories. In early 2006 though, I got excited finding out that a true sequel to the first game was coming out, and I just had to have it. The game is called Kingdom Hearts 2. So, is this sequel as good or better than the first? Or does it still have some growing up to do?

The story picks up from Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. It’s been at least two years since Sora was on his last adventure. Since then, he has been in a hibernated state. Instead, the player starts off with a character called Roxas in a town called Twilight Town. During the 6 in-game days that last about 20 minutes or so each, Roxas realizes he can wield the Keyblade and is somehow related to Sora, who also can wield the same weapon. After the 6 days you play as Roxas, you finally get to play as Sora, when you wake up from his slumber. After waking up, he learns quickly about the new enemies called the Nobodies, who Roxas had to fight during his last six days of life. Sora then ventures out to find the King’s old master, learning that not only have the Heartless returned, but there is also a new enemy in the form of Organization 13. It is up to Sora, with his friends Donald and Goofy, to save the many worlds from the evil clutches from the Heartless and the Nobodies. The story is complex, but don’t worry, the game play is simple. Speaking of game play, let’s talk about that next.

The game play is very similar to the last game, though there are some newly added elements, which make the action RPG element more interesting. You again take control of Sora as you use the Keyblade. You gain your magic and multiple different Keyblades, but you get a new power to change forms. The first form makes you wield two Keyblades. The second form gives you an increased magic ability. The final form makes you stronger in all areas. There is one more, but you will have to find out for yourself. You can also pull off combo movies with your teammate that can cause massive damage to multiple enemies, or take a good chunk out of the boss’s health bar. You do have summoning powers where you can summon a Disney friend to help out, but I won’t say whom you can summon so I don’t spoil it for people who haven’t played it. There are some quick time events to also help with some boss fights.

The graphics I think are a little bit better then the last one, but I can’t really tell. They used a very clever art style for the Playstation 2’s processing power. It’s one of the better-looking games on the system. The music is also the second best high point next to the amazing graphics. Utada Hikaru again does the theme song for the game. and I happen to love the song. One of the more surprising things is that the actors who played some of the Disney characters come back and do the voices for their respective character like Ming-Na as Fa Mulan and Tate Donovan as Hercules. I think that’s a cool little touch. like James Wood does his role as Hades and Zack Braff as Chicken Little. We also get some new voice actors like Jesse McCartney voices Roxas and Christopher Lee voices the character Diz.

his is a truly great game that Square Enix has created, but it isn’t without its faults. The beginning of the game where you play as Roxas is sluggish, and it takes too long just to get to Sora. They could have made it only two days instead of 6. The last game was difficult and annoying at times, but Square Enix made this one a little too easy. You will rarely die. Even though it’s fun going through the same levels twice to fight two different bosses, I wish there were more worlds to explore. I mean, what about the Pixar films or one of the Hayao Miyazaki films? It just kind of gets repetitious going through the same levels. Again, as you travel from world to world, you go through those rail-shooting Gummy ship levels, but I would have liked the addition of not having to go through it if I don’t want to. Also, the graphics on the Gummy seem a little outdated. It just looks like a bunch of polygons.

All and all, this is a great game even with its little faults. I would say, get both Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2. I would maybe hold off on getting Chain of Memories since a lot of people consider it the black sheep of the Kingdom Hearts games. Basically, go out and buy Kingdom Hearts 2 and the other game for the Playstation 2. Let’s hope we get a new Kingdom Hearts game for the Playstation 3, though I think I can be happy with the prequel game coming out for the PSP.

This game gets a 9 out of 10.

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