American name: Kingdom hearts II
Japanese name: キングダムハーツII, Kingudamu Hātsu Tsū
Serie: Kingdom hearts
Platform: Playstation 2
North American release date: March 28, 2006
Compagnies: Square-Enix/Buena vista games production
Kingdom hearts II is a popular game indeed. It's hard to do a review on a game that has been declared a hit already and has had more then its share of fans and clubs but here goes!!
Kingdom hearts II is an action RPG based on the worlds of Walt Disney. Sequel to Kingdom hearts, it didn't have the same chilly welcome its ancestor recieved from older players. Walt Disney rang like a kiddie game but you can't judge a game on its logo!
CHARACTHERS: What did you expect? Of course Disney characthers are in the game. They don't steal the show tough, the action mostly concerns the SE designed characthers. Both bad guys, good guys and don't know guys count cool and sucky members in them. Roxas is simply adorable. Sora is not as bad as his reputation lets it sound like. Before I actualy played the game, I considered him as an overly happy stupid teenager but he's in fact very clever at times and hides his sorrow behind happiness. Still, he's overly too happy compared to the usual SE heroes. Donal and Goofy are annoying to no ends, I think it must be for the kids. When serious cutscenes happen, you can actualy see the different mentality Disney and Enix use by analysing the reaction between them. The bad guys, Organisation XIII, rock. Full of mysterious and lovable members, the Organisation claims to seek hearts but seems very busy keeping all its members in check. As much as they are, they all have a story, some more important then others. Finally, the guests Enix's characthers fill holes Disney could not full for their serious needs... of popularity. Seventeen Final fantasy's characthers appear in this game, most of them come from VII, VIII and X.
WORLDS (LEVELS): The worlds are good but some makes it to amazing. Most of them takes place into Disney worlds but some have been created espacialy for KH such as Twilight Town, Hollow Bastion (Radiant Garden) and The World That Never Was. Each world has its own specialty from singing in Atlantica (little mermaid) to kicking 1000 heartless'asses in Hollow Bastion.
STORY: The goal of this game is to eridicate the darkness living in all hearts... No, wait, that's the side goal. The real goal of KH2 is to find Riku, Sora's lost best friend. Eliminate Organisation XIII and save the worlds from darkness just happen to come with the guy. The story is really fun with good interactivity, many short cutscenes and some long ones. Some part will leave you confused, other laughing and other angry. It does not become warry except for the 12th time Sora explains he's looking for his buddy... That in my book is a good story.
WEAPONS: The Keyblade, KH's main weapon, is marvelous. Original and funny yet extremly dangerous when well used, keyblades come in a variety of sets like guns or swords. The farther you go in the game, the stronger your weapon his. The limits are fun to use for an extra push and the drive change the way you play for a short period of time depending of what form you chose (Valor attacks viciously, Wisdom form attacks from a distance with energy balls, Master form attacks quickly and viciously and anti-form depends of who you're facing.
PLAYABILITY: The battle seems hard but it's really only in apperance. ''Once you get your center, you are sure to win'' lolz. Sorry. But it still points out the whole thing, once you got the hang of it, the battles are easy. Sometimes, you will get to a point where the ennemies kick your ass but it's not impossible to win over... at worst you go back win a few levels before facing the hard one. The ''reaction command'' really makes the figthing tough. In addition to being stronger then the normal attacks, it's a beauty to watch or a funny sigth when missed. Other then battle, Sora is easy to manipulate, following your orders most of the time.
MUSIC: The music is good! You might catch yourself humming the songs a few times but when you've been hanging around in the same world for more then a hour, it gets on your nerves (espacialy halloween town). It's just like Lost Woods theme song in Zelda Ocarine of Time, you like it the first half hour then it drives you crazy. Also, in the little mermaid, Disney uses his musical well and makes Sora sing. Great work on that!
VOICE ACTING (english): The main accusations to all the voices is: IT LACKS EMOTION. It's always the same with english voice actors, they just seem to be reading the text, there's no emotions in the voice. When Sora is sad, you have make him SOUND sad too. Another example is that everyone knows Cloud tries to seem emotionless but is betrayed by his voice, in kh, it's the inverse, it's his body that indicates he's hurt. It's also a shame the original ff7 and disney movies cast weren't all used in the game but at least, they all have nice voices.
GRAPHICS: KH2 shows off some good graphics troughout the game. The most amazing ones settle at the first and last cutscenes naturally. Sora and all the SE designed characthers shows nice facial expression and good fluidity of the body. Too bad it isn't the same for Disney's... The graphics are nice but the facial expression is litteraly fixed on smilling. They also seem to always do the same gesture and some even looked forced but in general, you'll just be so thrown back in your childhood's memories it won,t bother you that much.
LIFE: A nice lifespan if you don't go crazy on it and ram into the game. until. you. have. finished. It took me about 45 hours of gaming if I don't count the 5 to 8 hours where it was just sitting there waiting for me to return from lunch. The game is full of sidequest some easier then others and to get to the hidden end, you have to do and succeed them all or do the proud mode.
DIFFICULTY: Three modes are offered to you when you start the game: Easy, Normal, Proud. Once you've made your decision, there is no turning back. Doing the game for the first time, I opted for normal mode. Normal mode is rather very easy for an experimented gamer but will just be hard enough for a average one. Funny enough, the hardest battle you'll face is against Demyx, the first member you have to vainquish. In the side quest, Olympus tournaments star off easy but will make you growl as their level progress and Sephiroth is fast and dangerous, beware of him.
FINAL BOSS: Xemnas. I must say that for once I wasn't completly disapointed by the last boss for it lasts a while. It's not of those bosses you take less time to beat then the rest of the game. I also got my ass kicked two times and that's where I got disapointed, the battle doesn't start over, instead you start for the last cutscene. I loved how Xemnas would talk while you were trying to reach out for him, it was like to confuse Sora and Riku. ''Riku. Are you sure you are not jealous of Sora?'' There is another good one where he's asking Sora something but i didn't hear it well. By the way, to predict which attack is coming, listen to him.
MAPS: Let's be honest here... MAPS SUCK. S-U-C-K. First, it's impossible to see a full plan of the map like Zelda has the ability. Then, it doesn't show where the treasure chests are hidden or where the ennemies (other then random heartless) are. Finally, the ''space'' map is utterly useless since it doesn't indicates you where you should head first. This choosing the world you want fashion thick me off.
GUMMI SHIP: Fun but... what the fuck? A cubic spaceship thrown into a lame remake of an old shooting game? It's fun once in a while but it gets annoying since it's at each world and you want to get to THIS world you've been craving for so long. Beside, the ''Gummi editor'' is confused and require a lot of reading.
AVERAGE SCORE: 9 AWESOME GAME
VOICE ACTING: 8
DIFFICULTY (NORMAL): 7
FINAL BOSS: 9