Kingdom Hearts 2
|a game by||Square Enix|
|Editor Rating:||7.1/10, based on 4 reviews|
|User Rating:||8.7/10 - 3 votes|
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Kingdom Hearts 2 is the successor to the original Kingdom Hearts, one of the most popular action RPG titles on the Playstation 2. This game continues the story started in Kingdom Hearts, and follows a young boy named Sora on a quest that's larger than life. His journey takes him through several worlds inspired by Disney films, and the game is packed full of Disney characters and content. The gameplay is a mix of RPG leveling mechanics and hack 'n slash combat, with an emphasis on both ease of use and strategy. As a sequel, Kingdom Hearts 2 makes many improvements in both the storytelling and gameplay categories. There's more Disney worlds to explore, better combat options, and an even bigger story than ever before.
The story in the original Kingdom Hearts was pretty straightforward, but still drenched in loads of symbolism and hyperbole. Beneath the cute Disney charm, there's a lengthy and complex story involving light versus dark. Kingdom Hearts 2 continues that story, starting off with a brand new protagonist. Players begin the game as Roxas, a young boy living in the joyous Twilight Town. For reasons unknown, Roxas shares a connection with the original game's protagonist, Sora. Before long, Sora is reawakened from his year-plus nap, and sent on another mission through the world of Disney.
The Disney content in Kingdom Hearts 2 is far more varied and enjoyable than the original game, giving players a wide array of franchise and properties. Some of the classic worlds from the first game are still present, including Olympus, Atlantis, and others. However, a slew of new worlds make exploration even more enjoyable. Players can dive into exciting levels based on movies like Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, Pirates of the Caribbean, and more. There's a great mixture of unique visual styles, as each world feels vastly different from the last.
Gameplay remains similar to the original game, with some nice tweaks and additions. As you progress through each of the game's worlds, you'll find new gear and level up. This allows Sora to use new abilities, and generally become more powerful. There's a new feature called “Drive Gauge”, which lets Sora change into a more powerful form. These forms offer brand new combos, exciting special moves, and situational buffs. It's a cool feature that makes combat feel more varied and accessible.
The “Gummi ship” portions of the game have also received an update, as the content in the original Kingdom Hearts was underwhelming. In between levels, players still control a space ship hurdling through space. However, instead of being used as a means of transportation, the Gummi ship sections feel more like classic on-rails shooting games. You'll have to blast through hordes of enemies ships, traveling through unique areas that feel distinct. It's a great upgrade from the original game, where the Gummi ship levels were repetitive and boring.
Overall, Kingdom Hearts 2 is an excellent sequel that will surely put a smile on your face. It continues the story started in the original game, and adds some interesting twists and turns along the way. The overall narrative is still pretty tough to understand at times, but the surface-level Disney content is charming and easy to parse. Both RPG and Disney fans will surely want to check out Kingdom Hearts 2, as it offers a huge amount of nostalgia and quality action RPG gameplay.
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Given that the original Kingdom Hearts was a blockbuster international hit that contained an unlockable trailer for a sequel (you had to get the best ending to see it), the announcement of KH2ms less than shocking. But, despite the fact that everyone knows it's coming, Square Enix is still keeping a tight lid on this follow-up to their Disney-themed action-RPG--the brief movie shown at TGS raised more questions than it answered.
As expected, lead heroes Sora, Goofy, and Donald return with a darker, more grown-up look, but so far, we don't know what other party members might join up or which Disney worlds they'll be exploring. We do know that you'll catch up with main squeeze Kairi, whack some more Heartless with a keyblade, and face off against a mysterious red-haired dude in black cloak, who certainly seems evil. Oh, and this time, the main mouse is in the house for some serious onscreen action--he shows up and saves Sora's butt with some snazzy moves. Who knew Mickey could hold his own in a fight?
Square Enix wasn't willing to divulge a potential release date for Kingdom Hearts II outside of "2004," but we heard that series creator Tetsuya Nomura is secretly planning a simultaneous launch in both Japan and North America in time for the '04 holiday shopping season.
Kingdom Hearts II is like a monster--but in a good way," says Director Tetsuya Nomura. "The game is just so huge." He's right: The anticipated followup to Square Enix's action-RPG that blends the worlds of Disney and Final Fantasy is roughly twice the size of the original. Set one year after Chain of Memories (GBA), send Sora and co. to new Disney-themed worlds, including areas based on Steamboat Willie (Mickey Mouse's 1928 debut), The Lion King, Lilo & Stitch, and even live-action fare such as Pirates of the Caribbean (attention lady gamers: look for a realistic-looking Capt. Jack Sparrow to join your party). Also, Nomura promises that the Gummi Ship will be "more than just a means of transportation...it's equivalent to being on a ride at a Disney amusement park."
This one's...well, full of heart. For starters, the camera--the biggest problem with the first game--is vastly improved and rarely obstructs your view of enemies. The fighting has also received a nice kick in the pants. While playing the demo, I joined forces with FFX's Auron for spectacular double-team attacks against Hades' three-headed canine; plus, thanks to the new "instant command action" (activated when pressing the Triangle button at the right time), I was able to slide under Mulan's flying fish boss and dish out some serious damage to its tummy. And who says you need the power of the next-gen consoles to litter a battlefield with characters; during the Mulan stage, I fought off literally hundreds of Heartless on a snow-covered mountain. Awesome indeed.
We had some great new Kingdom Hearts info ready to go this issue, until someone slipped us a Mickey. Now all we can remember is that the story for the GBA game Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories will tie in with the PS2 game (Final Fantasy Ws Cloud helps link them together). Also, we hear Disneys modest mouse will be capable of doling out some serious damage in Kingdom Hearts II. So expect some heavy backup from the big M.