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on March 30, 2006
A sequel that everyone's been waiting for, for nearly four years.

When the original Kingdom Hearts was released, many gamers initially dismissed it as "childish." Upon actually playing it though, many of the naysayers were turned around, and realized that the game was actually pretty good. I was one of the group who actually was looking forward to the game from the start back since 2001, and was incredibly pleased with the results. I've been looking forward to the sequel for some time now, and needless to say, was not disappointed.

The story involves Sora, Donald, and Goofy finally returning after the events of the GBA's Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. It seems as if the quest of finding King Mickey and Riku is nearing, which means that so is our trio's journey. However, it isn't long before they're sent on another journey, this time to not only defeat the Heartless, but also mysterious creatures called the Nobodies, led by a group called Organization XIII. It all gets crazy from there.

And how can I descripe the sound? The music for example, is once again incredibly fun to listen to, and still retains the Disney spirit like the first game. There's even a few returning themes from KH1. And the voices? Well, they're just as topnotch as always. Everyone is great, from returning regulars such as Haley Joel Osment as Sora, to new additions such as Jesse McCartney as newcomer Roxas. And let's forget the well-established cast of Disney voices, who are once again spot on.

And the battle system... hoo boy. The first one was a fairly simple one with attacks, jumps, and quick magic spells. This one ups it all with tons of more combat options. There are new reaction commands that'll help you out, for example, knocking the blast of an enemy back into them, combination attacks with other characters, and the ability to fuse into one warrior with Donald or Goofy that turns Sora into an all-out powerhouse. It makes combat become frantic and incredibly fun.

Kingdom Hearts 2 is an excellent video game, a worthy sequel, and more than worth buying. Get it! Get it now!
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VINE VOICEon March 29, 2006
Very rarely does a sequel out do the original, but Kingdom Hearts II manages to do it. Not only does this improve on many aspects of the original, but it utilizes the same formula that worked very well in the first game.

Once again you'll play as Sora visiting different sets of Disney worlds. Each Disney world has its own plot that is very similar to that of the movies. Some lines are even ripped straight from the movies. That's not such a bad thing, of course. At least for Disney fanatics.

There's no doubt Kingdom Hearts II definitely improves on the gameplay. Yes, it is still the same old hack and slash battle system of the original. And yes, when you go into a world you'll go with Donald and Goofy, and be given a character to substitute. There have been a few additions, however, and they're welcome. These tweaks have obviously been tuned up by Square-Enix. Aside from being able to cast numerous spells and summon other disney characters, Kingdom Hearts II introduces limit breaks. Where your entire party will perform a devastating attack. It drains all your MP (of every character) but it's pretty darn powerful, and helps out. The game also introduces drives which will have you combining with other characters to perform some devastating attacks. These additions are welcome to the universe of Kingdom Hearts, despite the fact that the game is so easy you probably won't need them. However, whenever there are small tweaks made to the gameplay they're welcome so long as it keeps the game interesting.

There is a whole new set of Disney worlds introduced in Kingdom Hearts II. Including the first Disney cartoon Steamboat Willie and Pirates of the Caribbean. Each world, as I've noted has a smiliar plot and voice over to the movies. This isn't so bad because the disney characters actually sound like their disney characters. This is another strength of Kingdom Hearts II. There's an all star voice-over cast. You'll recognize the voices of characters and they're spot on. For a game with as many voices as Kingdom Hearts, it's certainly nice to see that not a single voice is lackluster. Some of the dialogue comes directly from the movies, and this probably won't bother Disney fanatics either.

Although, for Square-Enix fans, I can't say the same for the Final Fantasy aspect of the game. Final Fantasy characters aren't nearly as well fleshed out as Disney characters. It's great that they're here and all, but they don't play an integral part in the storyline, and they're often given bad dialogue. It's the only moment where you'll question Kingdom Hearts II.

Graphically the game is solid. Being one of the best looking on the Playstation 2. Everything is vibrant and colorful and definitely has a great appeal. Especially to people who enjoy Disney. They've got the big feet, gloves and everything. The final fantasy characters also look really good. Even though some may not like that some of them look a little kiddie, it isn't really anything to be too upset about. It's only keeping with the style of the game.

Musically Kingdom Hearts II sounds great. Most tunes you'll instantly recognize from your favorite Disney movie, and it'll be no surprise if you find yourself humming these tunes. If you love Disney music, you'll love the music of this game. The outside tunes also sound really great.

Rarely is a second installment better than the first. Kingdom Hearts II succeeds by improving the gameplay, and fixing a few things that kept the first one down such as the horrible camera angles. While it could've used a bit more Final Fantasy influence, Kingdom Hearts II is a solid game. Those who loved the first one will fall in love all over again with the second one.

The Good
+Outstanding graphics
+Great Gameplay
+Music is great
+All-Star Voice Acting cast
+A longer more fleshed out game than the first one
+Several different worlds
+New summon spells

The Bad
-The game is a little too easy. Even though they've got these new, cool additions, you most likely won't need them. You can easily hack and slash through everything
-The Final Fantasy characters could've been put to better use

The game is fantastic. Fans of the first one will absolutely love it.
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VINE VOICEon March 31, 2006
Let's be honest. On paper, the idea behind Kingdom Hearts sounds like Square-Enix's money wet dream. Take Final Fantasy, a franchise that has more otaku's than most out there, and add in Disney, another franchise that has a ton of fans and followers. Meld them together and bam. Insta-money. Well, it worked for them. They raked in a ton of money. But, it worked for gamers like me.

There's a moment early on in the game where the Blue Fairy from Sleeping Beauty gives the main character something new (I'm purposefully being nebulous) then says "You'll need it because your adventure will be twice as difficult" as the last. If only that were true. Kingdom Hearts II is a mix of great and not-so-great. And I know my review is going to be pounded into the ground with so many unhelpful votes but I have to be the dissenting opinion in this case.

The game begins by force-feeding you mini-games. Uninspired, boring, repetitive mini-games that you HAVE to play. You are required to gain 800 munny (the currency) and, in order to do so, you have to take jobs (read: mini games) and you will get paid upon your skill. There are three levels of payment, 10, 30 and 50. Do the math and you'll see that, depending on your ability, you will do these mini-games 16-80 times in order to gain the required munny. They aren't necessarily difficult by any means, but it comes off as needless filler.

Speaking of filler, while I think the prologue is necessary and probably has a very important relevance to the plot of the series, I was so ready for the prologue (which is a meaty 3 hours or so) to finally get out of the way so I could actually begin to play the main plot of the story. I'm happy to say, that once you leave Twilight Town the story finally picks up. I haven't finished the game, not even close I don't think, but the story is finally getting interesting. And much more enjoyable than the first.

Going back to the difficulty comment, the game is not difficult at all. In fact, I have been able to set the controller down, keep hitting "X" and not pay attention to what's happening on screen. The result? All of the enemies dead, and me with full life. This is accomplished by the fact that enemies drop a ton of health refills and the game is just too easy. And, I have the difficult set up to the max (there's 3 levels). I can only imagine the lower difficulties. Now, I do know that this game is made to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. I perfectly understand that and the need for having a very easy difficulty so that Square-Enix can maximize their audience. But, when the highest level difficulty results to me just hitting down X...I'm disappointed.

Which is too bad. Like some reviewers have said, KH2 utilizes a much much better battle system than the previous titles. The most important change is complete control over the camera with the Right stick. No more shoulder button pressing. But now, also, the summons are different and better, the new abilities to meld with one of your teammates to do amazing amounts of damage, and other similar upgrades. The AI is also much better this time around and your teammates won't waste as many of your items as before. All of these make the game easier but more fun. Unfortunately, with the difficulty already set to a very low standard, problems arise.

There are some cool additions though. They definitely stole from games like God of War and Resident Evil 4 with the triangle button presses. Some areas are like interactive cutscenes ala the boss fights in God of War. They are cool and fun. Not as awesome as some in God of War, but still quite exciting. And they throw some change into the mix. The gummi ship has also been muchly improved, thankfully.

I also wish we were exploring more new territories. Sure, some of the territories here are really awesome, Tron and Steamboat Willy come directly to mind, but why must we continue to tread through repeats of the first game? Yes, I know the story is set to do that. But there are so many different disney zones that could have been used. Where is The Black Cauldron? Also, after you've revisted the places...you're going back to them again! Yes, there are changes, but you're going back to them. It seems awfully lazy.

One thing I'm always amazed in is Square's ability to maximize their console to create the best product they can graphically. While if you compare the game to the next Gen systems, the aliasing problems are through the roof at times, the animation style is terrific. Everyone moves so fluid that you can easily forget at times you are watching polygons not a hand drawn animation. Its absolutely beautiful to look at. But the one thought going through my mind is, man what will they be able to do on the next gen systems?

The sound is also really well orchestrated and utilized. The voice actors range from Haley Joel Osment to Ron Perlman to Christopher Lee to Sean Astin to just a ton of voice actors. Its really amazing. Its disappointing that some of the cast from Pirate of the Carribean didn't contribute ("scheduling conflicts") except, most notably, Geoffrey Rush.

I haven't beaten the game yet. My review could possibly change as I progess. I just wanted to get some of the important things out there to help people decide. Honestly, most of these reviews are going to be pointless. The majority of those who played the first one will undoubtably be right back on board with this one, reviews be damned. I know I was. I really like the game. Don't get me wrong. The story is absolutely excellent (once we got past the boring prologue) and I love what I'm playing and its fun to see the Disney franchise used in this way (by the way, you might want to pick up chain of Memories and play it (if you can) before playing this game. The plot directly relates to some events of that game). I do think that there are some problems, most notably in terms of the difficulty range that can reduce the game to button mashing without thought. But, really, I'm in it for the story and the remembrances of childhood.

Not a 4 star game, but not a 5 star. If I could, it would be 4.5. Kingdom Hearts II is a good game that will delight most, if not all, of its fans. Its detractors will still fume about the problem. But, if you played the first one, you're doing yourself a great disservice by not picking this up.
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on April 5, 2006
This game was amazing. I've played the first game, and this game has many improvements. It has new worlds, new characters, better gameplay, better graphics, length, and one of the best storylines ever to be seen in a videogame.

First of all, I suggest you play Kingdom Hearts 1 before you play this game, because you might not understand everything's that's going on. However, you don't have to play Chain of Memories to understand it. Take it from me, I've only played the first game, not Chain of Memories.

Anyway, the game starts out with you playing as a young boy named Roxas(don't worry, you play as Sora later). He has been having weird dreams and flashbacks that don't appear to be his own. He goes on a quest to find out about the weird stuff that's happening to him, and in the end he finds Sora, Donald and Goofy. Their memories are still returning to them (from the end of Chain of Memories, when they were in those flower pods), and then they wake up, and go on another auest to defeat darkness. Of course, the storyline gets much more complicated and interesting later in the game.

The game does have a few drawbacks, though. First of all, there isn't any platforming in this game. There are still a lot of action, adventure, and RPG elements in the game, but there isn't much platforming. Sure, you do get to jump on a few ledges and stuff like that, but there aren't any long plaforming sequences like in the first game. This didn't really other me, but harcore platforming fans might be disappointed. Also, the difficulty modes are pretty easy, so unless you want to pick the hardest difficulty mode which makes the game very tough in a lot of spots, you might find it as a problem. People have also been complaining that the game is too button-mashy, and that you can get through all the buttons by simply hitting the normal attack button. However, this is not a problem, because all of the magic, reaction commands, drives, special attacks, and other things you get in the game help to distract you from simply hitting the attack button over and over again, so I don't understand why people are complaining about this.

Now, on to the good things in the game. First of all, the graphics are splendid. They have improved over the first game, and they look really great. All of the environments are very detailed, and they look awesome. Every environment has its own special theme. For example, the Tron world is one big computerized world, the steamboat willy world is black-and-white, The atlantic world is one big sea level, etc. Also, the character designs of your party members change according to the world you're in. For example, in the Tron world, everyone will look like robots, in the steamboat willy world, everyone will be black and white and cartoony, etc. Overall, everything looks really great.

The gameplay also improved over the last game. The combat is much better, and you get a lot of new combat abilities. Also, a big difference from the previous game are the reaction commands. At many specific parts in the game, a display of the triangle button on your controller will appear on the screen. If you hit the triangle button at that time, Sora will execute some really cool moves. Some can be simple moves, like spinning around and appearing behind the enemy so you can attack him, but a lot of times you will have to hit the triangle button in a certain sequence to do a very powerful and important action(mostly in boss fights). For example, in one battle, an giant enemy will try to hit you. You then press the triangle button to dodge his attack. Then he grabs you and throws you in the air. You press the button again to dodge his attack and hit him. He then tries to drop you off a ledge, so you hit the button again to save yourself. These sort of things are simple, yet very fun.

Other than the physical combat, you also get magic. Some of the spells you get are Blizzard, which shoots a bolt of ice, Thunder, ehich shoots down a bolt of thunder on your enemies, fire, which spins flames around you in a circle, and more. They're all fun to use, and they can be easily accessed through a shortcut menu in which you map your spells to buttons on your controller. There are also limit attacks in this game. These attacks consume all of your Magic Points(which, by the way, start replenishing by themselves when all of your magic drains), and in these attacks, you and another member of your party execute a very powerful attack which is very useful. You have to use the reaction commands(triangle presses)to execute these attacks, and they're very useful and fun. You also get summoning spells like in the last game, and you can summon one out of four different characters. I'll only tell you about one of them, because I don't want to spoil the rest. Anyway, this summon is Chicken Little. He can stun the enemies by using firecrackers, or go into an FPS mode in which you and him can throw baseballs at the enemies while looking through Chicken Little's eyes. All of these summons are fun, but they're pretty much useless. Another more important and fun feature are the drives. In this mode, Sora combines with one of the other members in your group, and he gets special powers temporarily. You have to keep fighting or collect special orbs in order to replenish your drive meter. There are five drive forms overall. One form is the Valor form, which lets sora wield two Keyblades(weapons) at once, makes him much stronger, lets him run faster, lets him jump higher, and gives him new abilities. There's also another form, wisdom form, which lets you shoot magic bolts out of your keyblade, improves your magic, and lets you hover around instead of walking. Another from is the Anti-From. Sora basically turns into a Heartless. His attacks are weaker but MUCH faster, and he is able to jump higher and walk faster. No one is actually sure how you get it, but there are two theories:

1.You get it from driving too much while in battle

2.You get it from being hit by heartless while in a drive, then driving again when you get the chance.

I personally go with the first theory, but that's just me.

The AI of your partners is also very good. They will heal you when you get hurt, help you defeat enemies, etc. and they feel like a big help, instead of just a distraction for the enemies to not hit you. You also get to switch Donal or Goofy with a character specific to the world you're in (for example: Mulan in her world, Tron in his world, etc.) You can also customize the way they fight, and when to use their special abilities.

By the way, if you haven't already known, the worlds in this game are worlds based on Disney movies. They're very well done, and you see characters from the movies in the game. Some of the worlds are:

Pirates of the Caribbean

Mulan

Lion King world

Tron world

Steamboat willy

and many more.

If you like Disney movies, you'll really love these worlds, and even if you don't like Disney, you'll still enjoy these worlds.

There are also many characters from Final Fantasy games like Seifer, Sephiroth, Leon, Cloud, Yuna, Rikku, Paine, Auron, and many more. They're also very cool, and the voice acting is wonderful for everyone. There are some people who didn't voice the original characters, but they imitate them extremley good. I swear, you won't know that Will Turner and Jack Sparrow aren't actually voiced by Orlando Bloom and Jhony Depp. You won't be able to tell the difference!

All of these things make the game wonderful, but the two best things in the game are its length and storyline. This game is very long, and it will probably take you about 40-50 hours to finish it. There are also a lot of distactions from the main gameplay, like the Gaummi ships, which are much better than in the first game, and the olympus coliseum, which lets you fight in many tournaments for prizes. You can also go back to worlds you already visited in order to level up. Now, the storyline is absolutely great! It's very complicated, and there are tons of twists and things that will surprise you(something very interesting about Ansem too...).

Overall, this is a great game for anyone who liked the first Kingdom Hearts, Disney, Final Fantasy, or anyone who has never played any of those. Yous should definitely buy this game if you own a PS2, and you shouldn't be discouraged by the Disney theme to the game. A lot of people complain that this is a "kiddie game", and that's just not true, so don't listen to these complaints.
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on March 31, 2006
Kingdom Hearts was one of the all-time best video games ever created, thus creating Kingdom Hearts 2.

This game continues Sora's quest from Kingdom Hearts, and Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories. Sora, Donald, and Goofy, attempt to find King Mickey, and during their journey, they come across may worlds in which they explore. These worlds include some old favorites, such as Holloween Town, Agrabah, and Atlantica. New levels include Port Royal (Pirates of the Carribean), Tron, Land of the Dragons (Mulan), Steamboat Willie, Deep Dive City, and Twilight Town.

In the beginning of the game, KH2 introduces a new playable character know as Roxas. His little story mode only lasts for about 3 hours however, and is basically a toturial for newer players to learn to play. After that, you play as Sora for the remainder of the game.

As Sora, you meet mysterious Hooded people called the Organization 13, who are up to something for you to find out :)

Time to get technical. Kingdom Hearts has many new improvements. Here are a few that I'd like to point out.

PROS
1) The camera is much improved from the first game. The main change was the buttons used. The first KH used the R2 and L2 buttons, which were slow and not very helpful at most times. Now, the layer controls the camera with the right analog stick, which is much more accurate. It isn't perfect however. When you are fighting a fast enemy, or near a wall, the camera may not work. Don't get me wrong though, it's an awesome improvement.

2) Sora now knows drive bar moves, which are very powerful combos. With it, you can deal lots of damage to a spacious area. You can also fuse with Donald and/or Goofy to power up even more!

3) The game graphics are perfect. It really pushes the [...] old PS2 system to it's limits. YOur game play should not be disruptted from this though. The worlds are awesome 3D worlds with nice colorful enemies.

4) The Gummiship is a lot better too!!! For KH fans, many hated the Gummiship. Now it's much faster paced. You fight tons of enemies from all directions, all at the same time, making for a better challenge and loads more fun! There are many upgrades to choose from too, so there are endless ways to customize your ship. Also, for people not big in making their own ship, KH2 has premade blueprints to use. During the gummiship flight, you can also fight bosses. There is also multiple ways to reach a destination, not just a straight path. Lastly, you can keep track of your Gummiship high scores! This is a great thing to do if you find yourself a little board with the main story.

5) Another big thing that bugged people in KH was the cutscenes. If you've seen them already or don't care to watch them, or if you are in a rush to find a save point, too bad. You had to watch the cut scenes. KH2 changed that too. To skip a cutscene, just hit start and go down to "skip cutscene." I loved that change.

6) Jiminy's Journel is extened and more detailed.

7) The game has great replay value (about 100 hours if beaten 100%) to keep you busy for awhile.

Too good to be true, right? Right. KH2 isn't perfect.

Cons
1) KH2 seems much easier that KH. I mean much easier. As you level up and learn nice combos and magic, the Heartless/Nobodies surrounding you never really increase their stats. Therefor, one can eliminate his enemies with ease and taking the challenge out. If are/were a huge KH fan and played KH before, I reccomend trying "Proud mode," which is "hard mode."

2) KH2 is an action RPG, but it may have too much action. In KH, magic was required for certain fights. That's not the case with KH2. No magic is neccesary, and neither are the special power combos. All you need to do to get through the game is do some "X mashing."

3) This isn't really important to the plot or gameplay. I did notice though that KH2 had very little scenes with Final Fantasy characters and a little too many scenes with Disney characters.

4) This isn't really reated to plot or gameplay. The characters in KH2 still have "robotic movements." In other words, before a computer character in a cutscene could run, he had to turn. The movement just didn't seem natural. But hey, maybe I'm just being too picky.

5) The story line was a little too tied into the first two Kingdom Hearts games. If you havn't beaten them, or at least played them, you may not get the story.

6) There is little exploring in KH2. In fact, there is very little strategy (except boss fights). The game is fairly straight forward, so if you are looking for an in depth, "I gotta think" game, this isn't the best choice.

7) There are lesson summons and magic abilities than the first KH.

All in all, KH2 is a great gaming experience. I should warn people however, that it is recommended only if you have background of the first two KH games. I few tweaks here and there and KH2 would be perfect. I think anybody could enjoy it, and expect something great. I'd give it 4.5 stars.
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on April 1, 2006
A lot of sequels are based on adding a couple things to make it different it's fundamentally the same. Kingdom Hearts was an action RPG that was marred by a loathesome camera, a shifting difficulty and hack and slash battle system. While there's some camera problems, it's overall a much improved game with slight difficulty problems for some and some new additions to its battle system.

Story: Never played Chain of Memories but the game picks up afterwards. Sora's back as well as Donald and Goofy, as well as a new type of enemy called Nobodies and a group known as Organization XIII. You'll also travel to worlds with little mini-plots.

Graphics: Some improvements from the first one with slight noticeable enhancements. The Pirates of the Caribbean level looks pretty great for the facial detail and in-game graphics look more detailed than before. Sora's new moves greatly benefit from the new graphics as well.

Sound/Music: The music is always spot-on except the themes you might not like. Voice acting is kind of a mixed bag with Haley Joel Osment and Hayden Panettiere doing good jobs as always but then we have the ghastly sounding Aeris by Mena Suvari or the hick sounding Cid. Another offender is whoever did Scar's voice, it's so emotionless it was painful and funny to hear. There's also lots of sound alikes that are kind of distracting.

Gameplay: Nothing much changed except for a few new things. Added is the Drive system where Sora combines with Donald or Goofy for the Wisdom Form or Valor Form respectively. They're more stronger versions of the characters in a way. Sora's got some added combos that makes him a bit more of a powerhouse than last time. Also added is Reaction Commands, certain moves you can do against an enemy. Example is fighting Cerberus and instead of being chomped on, you press Triangle and you do some moves for some good damage. Only complaint is that quite a few enemies don't even have any.

As for difficulty, some say it's way too easy even on hard mode, others struggle through it and keep getting hit. It's kind of unbalanced at times since some enemies are no problem while others won't even let you attack and they cheap shot from the back. That last round of bosses in particular will probably make you start swearing too. Also munny personally is rather scarce. In the first one, I usually had 1000 leftover by the time I finished shopping for items and equipment, here I barely have 40 bucks by the end of everything.

It's the rare sequel that tops the original. Yes it's got extremely minor flaws and it might rear its ugly head but you end up ignoring it. Since Okami and Final Fantasy XII are quite a ways, kill time with this one.
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on March 30, 2006
It's finally here the sequel to one of the best video games ever kingdom hearts 2. After beating the first game it left me quenching for more. After four long years of waiting it's back and better than ever. You start off as a new character Roxas "who weilded two keyblades in the secret scene in the first game." You have to go through a very long tutorial in a new world called Twilight Town. But eventually you can play as Sora again. This game features a new revamped fighting system and for all you Final Fantasy Fans theres more characters from the genre. This game features new and old worlds. You can go to Port Royal and swash buckle with Jack Sparrow. Or you can go digital in the disney break through Tron. You can go all hakkuna matata with timon and Pumba in the classic lion King. Others include-Olympus Collosium "Hercules" Atlantica "Mini games" 100 Acre Wood, Hollow Bastion, Agrabah "Aladdin" Timeless River "Steamboat Willie" Beast's Castle, Land of the Dragons "Mulan" Disney Castle, Halloween-Christmas Town. Sadly there are only four summons Chicken Little, Genie, stitch, and Peter Pan. But they added a new element merging where you can merge with donald or goofy to create stronger forms of Sora. This game is longer than the first and features new villains like the organization. Sepheroth returns and he's kicking your butt again. kingdom Hearts Rules!!!!
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on October 23, 2006
At first, I didn't put much stock into the whole KINGDOM HEARTS craze. I've always been an avid RPG fan, but the pairing of Disney and Square Enix initially struck me as very odd, and I convinced myself that they could only be making a kid's game. Eventually, though, I picked up a copy of the original game and was quickly proved wrong. That game, much like this sequel, isn't for "kids" per se - it's for anyone who's a kid at heart.

STORY: KINGDOM HEARTS II does a fantastic job of building on the story of its predecessor while improving upon the few small problems with that game. Sora, Donald, and Goofy all return in this installment, each having the same delightful personality that made them so enjoyable during the first go-around. Designers gave them each enough personality to make them very enjoyable characters to watch and listen to, while making sure than neither of the three steals the limelight. The story in KHII is as rich as it was in KHI, providing the player with an interesting story that draws you in, treats you to a few twists and turns, and then builds to a fantastic conclusion after some 30-40+ hours of gameplay.

CHARACTERS: Arguably the strongest point of the game, the three protagonists are joined every step of the way by countless characters from the worlds of Disney and Final Fantasy. Each character (Ariel, Simba, Jack Skellington, Hercules, Cloud Strife, and many more) lends their own personality to the story and, for those who fight alongside you at one point or another, their own skills to the battlefield. The sheer number of characters involved makes sure you never get bored seeing the same people over and over again, and each invariably has a quest you can help them to complete as you advance in the game.

GAMEPLAY: With the Keyblade in hand, Sora returns to the battlefield as strong as ever. Each of the main characters (and any additional characters you might have in your party) have skills that they can equip by using ability points available to them. A wide range of skills are possible, some of which support your characters in battle, while others are used for attacking or performing combos. Setting your skills and combos is necessary as you battle against different enemies and bosses with different strengths and weaknesses. Battles, while often mostly button-mashing, are still fun due to the skills you have at your disposal and the wide range of enemies you encounter.

EXTRAS: Several sidequests/mini-games are available, several of which you are exposed to very early on the game. Throughout the rest of the game, you'll encounter mini-games used to advance the game; while none are particularly riveting, many are well-designed and interesting enough to play through several times. Other than choosing whether or not to play these small mini-games, you'll also have the option of playing Gummi levels many times in order to get their various prizes. Building a stronger, better ship is easy at first, but quickly becomes more challenging as these first-person-ship-shooter type levels increase in difficulty rapidly. For those with the patience and desire, designing your own unique Gummi ship using the parts you find can be rewarding and fun.

SUMMARY: All told, the uniqueness of the characters and story in KHII make for a fantastic game. The number of characters you will encounter and worlds you will visit keeps even the most fickle player interested for many hours as you travel from one place to the next on your epic journey. The battle interface and character skillsets, tweaked since KHI, provide a rich experience that, while often heavy on the button-mashing, still proves to be rewarding and fun. This Disney-Square Enix masterpiece shows that animated characters aren't just for kids anymore; we adults can enjoy them, too. Very highly recommended.
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on May 15, 2006
I've read a number of reviews for KH2 in magazines and the like, while all are positive, many mention a series of technical limitations the game presents. I know these folk are paid to take a game apart, but Kingdom Hearts is a fantastic game and looking back I can't now nor could I speak of flaws. If I sound like a gushing fanboy, I am.

What I will remember when I look back through the smear of nostalgia will be Sora's new moves, and new look that make him seem less like some junior hero, and more like a guy who could go toe to toe with Cloud or Squall or any of the Final Fantasy greats.

I will remember the story which somewhere between One and Two (Chain of memories, Anyone?) devolped not only a more mature tone, but a mythology all of it's own. It will be confusing to newbies, but once the breadcrumbs lead to some connections it's just pure joy.

I will rememer the graphical touches. Anyone that doesn't get to Timeless River and relish in it's Black & White simplicity that even extends to the charecters themselves, needs to get their inner child checked.

And I will remember the music that ties such a nice bow around the whole package by being perfectly suited to it's enviorment. The opening and the ending are a little too catchy. There's a good chance you'll be humming them while your working, or perhaps doing the laundry.

In closing what else is there to say? It's a game that rarely comes along in this era of imatation. Play the game and start dreaming of Kingdom Hearts III on a next gen system.
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on March 30, 2006
Alright, so here's the deal. Two of the major games are coming out this year. One is Kingdom Hearts Two, which was just released, and the second is Final Fantasy Twelve. Both of them by Square Enix, and all of the series usually got into the 'Greatest Hits' selection within about three months of their release in America.

Back to Kingdom Hearts Two.

The original Kingdom Hearts was wonderfully done, wonderful graphics, awesome (but sometimes annoying) music, an awesome and original plot, and an ending that made me cry so hard I had to rebeat the game to watch it again.

This Kingdom Hearts has alot up against it, I mean. Not only does it have to follow the plot line, music, and other random stuff. It also needs to have that challenge of when stupid heartless monkies hit you on expert mode and you die instantly.

Alright, so let's get down to the basics.

Plot line*. The plot line in this story, is pretty much, there's light, there's darkness, and then there's a small medium of Twilight. Sora, the keyblade master, has set out to save the universe from heartless. Along with some formiliar Disney characters, Donald and Goofy. On his journey a number of other people come to help him and join his little band on what ever world their on. These people vary from Mulan, to Beast, Aladdin to Arieal. Of course, there is some romance along the way, and some testing the bonds of friendship in between Sora and one of his best friends Riku who was taken over by darkness (Note, in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories for the Game Boy Advance system, Riku became a twilight member, for he has darkness with in his heart, but pure intentions.)

The graphics in the first Kingdom Hearts were wonderful, but the graphics here are alot better. I've been watching trailers for the past six months due to boredom and excitment for the game to come out. They look so awesome! They are great, a little better then the last one's and the good graphics are wonderful!

Music. Oh. My. God. Made me cry again. Last time, the hit song for this game was 'Simple and Clean'. I don't know the title to the song that stars on this game, but I listened to it on my computer once or twice through a website. One Word: Wow. Beautiful.

World Music. The world music varies from world to world. Now, it plays on about a two minute loop some of it, and in the Little Mermaid's in the last game it played in a five second loop it seemed. So, it does get annoying, but it's fun still to beat up heartless. That makes the game worth while.

Battle System. *Drools* I love it! The last battle system was 'okay' you could slice things in mid-air, and cast spell. But never together at once! Come on! It's like you have Sora jump up into the air, spin around in some combo thing, and then he casts a spell! Killing all the heartless!

Characters. Unforgetable. You have characters from Final Fantasy, Squall, Yuffie, Areith, Cloud, Cid, and the newest addition Auron from Final Fantasy Ten *fan girl scream*. Then you have Disney Characters, Donal, Goofy, Aladin, Ariel, Jack The Pumpkin King, there's to many to list! And then there's Sora, Riku, Namine, Kairi, and the Organization who are the Kingdom Hearts Crew. After them, comes the Villans, like Oogie Bogie, Pete, and the Organization, various heartless (There are many, many more.)

Worlds. Sadly, Tarzan will not be in this game due to copyright issues. But, there are a number of other worlds. Each world is special, and awesome. They all star their own disney characters, and are based on the movies, except for about two in each game. As far as I know, you have in addition to the original list, The Fabled Country Side, from Beauty and The Beast. And Ancient China, from Mulan. Pride Lands, Lion King. Something with a Steamboat, and Pirate of the Caribean (Spelt that wrong)!

Pros,
Lots of action
Music is good
Plot line is wondeful
Cloud is hot.
You get to kick alot of heartless' but.
Unforgetable characters.
Great Graphics.
Great world Set up.

Cons,
Two minute music loop.
Nothing.

*Note, in order to understand this game you may have to purchase, play, and beat, Kingdom Hearts, and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories.

Hope you found this reveiw helpful! ^_~
-D
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