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on December 2, 2008
Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of memories starts off exactly right where Kingdom Hearts left off. It connects Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II and explains the beginning of the second installment.

Sora, Donald, and Goofy, follow a mysterious man in black coat Castle Oblivion, a place where 'to lose is to find and to find is to lose'. upon stepping into the castle, you are approached by the hidden man who gives Sora a card, stating, ' The more you find out, the more you lose.' The card he gives he shows a familiar place- Traverse Town- and upon activating the card, Sora is transported to the town where his adventures first began. Once he gets there, however, he realizes that this place isn't real and the friends he's made and the people he'd met had forgotten him. As he continues to revisit the worlds he had once saved from the ebbing darkness, Sora finds himself unable to understand if the memories he has are real or if they're make believe.
As he continues his journey, Sora finds is hard to remember the faces of the people he had traveled with-even forgetting about finding Riku. As you go along your adventure, stringing together lost memories and discarding old ones, you'll meet the characters from the first game- and even some new faces will appear. You'll encounter Organization XIII, realize what's truth and what's fiction, and, given the chance, unlock the second part of the game.

There are many things that separate this game from its prequel and sequel. The battling system is unique, how you play is absolutely genuine, and the very story line of the game is compelling. Now lets address these topics so one does not get confused as to exactly how different this game is.

First off, Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories isn't like your typical role playing game. It combines tactics with fighting and introduces a new way of defeating your obstacles: cards. In this games battle system you must use cards to release your attacks. There are many different types of cards ( ones for attacking, ones for combos, ones for magic, and ones to release finishing moves ). These cards can run out and to replenish them you have to 'charge' them so to speak by holding in a button. If you run out of cards you can't continue fighting. You can collect the cards, make decks, get rid of the ones you don't want, and combine them to form more powerful cards. Not only do these cards allow you to fight, but they allow you to proceed in the game. Certain cards unlock rooms and you can use these cards to 'synthesize' a room, changing it. They allow passage into other worlds-or memories of that world. And, if you give it enough time and patience, find secret cards to unlock sealed rooms that hold valuable treasure.

Another major change in the game is how you play it. Instead of fighting alongside Donald and Goofy, Sora fights solo, using his friends as special battle cards that come and aid you during battle.
Leveling up is, refreshingly, up to you. Once you achieve a level, you decide what you want to level up. Whether you want to give Sora more hp, allow him to hold more cards, or learn new abilities, is completely up to you.
The layout of the worlds is slightly different then Kingdom Hearts fans are used to. Each section of the world you are in is a room made out of Sora's memories. Now, what's interesting about knowing the layout of a room you'll only be in for a few minuets? Everything. Strategy is a crucial part in deciding the rooms you are in. For example, the cards you collect from enemies are used to unlock the door to the next 'room'. And each card has a different type. Green, red, blue, or yellow. And each type has a title which allows certain things to happen. If you use a card that slow heartless down, then that 'room' is designed to follow that card. As stated before, cards completely rule the game. So when the time comes to unlock a door, choose carefully as it can be in favor for you or against you.

Once you get the hang of the battle system, you can complete the game easily and then focus your attention on finding the hidden secrets through out the game. But even then, you're not quite done.

Once you finish the game, you're not completely done. Once you return to the main menu There will be a third option to choose from: Reverse/Rebirth. By selecting this option, you have engaged yourself in Riku's story. Playing as Riku you battle the darkness in you and try and stay discrete as you unknowingly fight in the same memories as Sora is. Playing as Riku is exactly like playing as Sora: cards as the battle system and playing solo, choosing what you want to level up ( Hp, dark power, or attack. )

Both sides of the game are equally challenging and engaging, promising a never before experienced game play.

Overall, Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories was a worthwhile experience. It features the voice cast of the original Kingdom Hearts and engaging music from all three games. The graphics are eye pleasing and the cut scenes allow you view the game as if it were an actual anime. However, if you want to forge ahead and skip these scenes, you are given the option if you pause the scene. Reaction commands are given when needed, and you choose the difficulty of your game.

The game itself comes packaged in a holographic game case, displaying Sora and Riku along with fragments of memory that display other important characters such as the artistic girl shrouded in mystery, Donald and Goofy, and the ever reliable King Mickey. Along with the game you receive three beautiful Kingdom Hearts postcards, each displaying a different image, along with a full color booklet that gives you all the information you need to start of. My only quelm about the game is that map system you are given. Basically it only shows you which way you're pointing so make sure to take note of the room your in as it can get confusing as to which door you have and haven't used yet.

Originally the second disk in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, North America finally presents: Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories.
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on December 29, 2008
The Kingdom Hearts series is synonymous with fun gameplay, eye-catching environments and an interesting story. Unfortunately, Square/Enix & co. decided to throw one third of that mix out the window when they made this game. This game (which is a remake of the Game Boy Advance title Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories) features a truly odd spin on combat, in which cards are required to do ANYTHING in battle. You can't even swing your Keyblade without using cards to make that happen! It hampers the fun, action-intensive element of combat with a whole lot of fumbling around to get the right cards lined up at the right time.

The game still features pretty (if somewhat limited) scenery, and of course it's great to fill those pesky story-gaps that were left between KH and KH2...but why did they have to do so in some sort of bizarre Yu-Gi-Oh card-flinging fashion?? I'm sure there's those out there who enjoy this change but I feel that it's an unnecessary revamp of gameplay that detracts from the overall experience, instead of adding to it. In a 3-D world with full range of motion, restricting even your most basic attacks to what cards you have in hand is ridiculous.'re in mid-air, pounding some justice into an enemy, when suddenly you run out of cards and can't do much of anything until you've had a chance to run away a bit and reload your deck.

I do like the story and I will get as much use out of the game as I can, but I really don't like the changes. It's like having a driving game which you control with your abdominal muscles, or a facial-gesture-controlled martial arts combat unneccesary amount of abstraction from the natural jumping-dodging-and-swinging-my-weapon-at-lightning-speed action/adventure vibe.
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VINE VOICEon June 18, 2009
First, like many reviewers have already stated, this is not the Kingdom Hearts you have experienced on the PS2. If you expect somthing like those games, or forget to take into account that this game was originally released for the Gameboy Advance, you will constantly be shaking your head in a "why did they do this" kind of way.

Some history, this game - the remade PS2 version of the GBA game - was originally a bonus feature to a director's cut of Kingdom Hearts 2 released in Japan. (The Japanese market actually gets a lot of these. I think that is because as JRPGs are usually released in Japan first and then tweaked for the NA market, they feel the need to go back and re-release the game in Japan with the tweaks and possibly some added features, who knows.) Because of this I think it would be a bit much to expect the entire GBA game to be completely remade.

That said, this game does sport some impressive production values, i.e. some actual voice acting by many of the original actors including Haley Joel Osment as Sora. The use of the KH1 engine bring most visuals up to par as well.

But this is where things can get confusing. Many people will wonder "why do I need to use these cards - wouldn't it just be easier to have the old control setup back????" Well the truth is, without the card battle system this game would be almost TOO simplistic. This game is really a dungeon crawler with a veneer of strategy derived form the card system. Gone is almost all the exploring and platforming bits from the first 2 games. So without the card system to occupy a lot of your time, that is thinking about your deck, you would spend a LOT more time complaining about just how generic that individual rooms are.

Which gets us to the dungeon crawling bit of the game. Each "world" is a floor in Castle Oblivion and you complete the world by using a map card to "generate" a room. The number of rooms and the general layout is constant but what is in the room is generated by the map cards. Progress through the rooms to unlock the story elements. Wash, rinse, repeat.

What keeps this from getting repetitive and old is the strategy of the card system and the unlocking of the story bits. The worlds themselves generally follow the same storyline as that of the first game, i.e. the Queen is still irratated with Alice and you need to help her, and so on. The real meat of the story, which keeps you playing, is the bits that are revealed about Organization 13 and what happened between KH 1 and 2.

Downsides? Well, the camera is still pretty hectic though nowhere near as bad as KH1 if you don't lock onto the heartless. I never did as locking on seemed to keep you targeted to a single enemy where you seem to attack the closest enemy without lock. Not really a problem as most magic still hits without the manual lock and combos attack the same enemy as well.

Breaking stuff in the room reveal goodies as well but the fact that these acquired goodies don't register for a couple of seconds after grabbing them can be very frustrating. This is because battles aren't random per se, but engaged after you touch an enemy in the room. The issue is that enemies appear or "pop" on screen when you get close. This is only problematic of course you are waiting for that magic card you just snagged to register when a heartless appears nearby and bee-lines it for you, touching you before you collect the card. The common Hearltess (those little black guys) are really fast making this happens more than it should and can be very aggrivating when it does.

Still, nitpicks aside and understanding what you are purchasing can make this game a good experience. The gameplay value is here lengthwise as well.

3.5 stars. Bump that up to 4 if you are very interested in knowing more of the KH storyline and have an affinity for a little strategic thinking with your dungeon crawlers. 3 stars if you don't fit the above description; fun but you won't be getting the most out of it.
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on March 24, 2009
Yeah, sure, game producers think they can sell just about anything in any form by tacking a well-liked/popular game title onto it. Translating a DS game onto the PS2, however...not half as easily done as said, though you'll probably be just as deceived. As we know, few if any sequels of incredible games (KH, in this case) live up to our expectations 100%, and, to be honest, I went with the crowd on this one and bought Chain of Memories just because it was KH and I wanted to get filled in on what went down between KH and KHII. But let me just say I did that several months ago, and I haven't played any further than Hades (which, let me tell you, is not far).

For those of you who don't mind, maybe even enjoy, card-based games, this is for you. I, personally, cannot stand it--in fact, I think it's a ridiculous concept, especially to introduce to a real-time RPG game that was incredible AS IT WAS. My opinion: if you're going to make it for PS2 and you're already overhauling the graphics and almost everything else about it--why not go all the way? In fact, I'd LOVE to know why they DIDN'T go all the way...because had they, I would have seriously enjoyed this game.

That's it, though: I can't get past the stupidity, the irritating meticulousness, of the whole card-based aspect. (I mean, really? I have to toss down one of my very few cards just to swing the stupid keyblade?)And look, I'm a pretty quick learner: but this thing had me running in circles for more hours than I appreciated trying to figure out the stupid card-based map idea. I still don't even understand WHY you have to create your own rooms and maps--honestly, I prefer the game producers to do that, since THEY'RE the people I buy games from instead of making them in my basement myself, as if I could.

I guess what I'm saying is this: sometimes renovations are awesome. We latchkey kid gamers need a little surprise in our lives sometimes to divert us from the cruelly repetitive but oddly addicting monotony of every single "newly" released title by Nintendo (LoZ, Metroid, etc.). So for that, I thank you, PS. But if you're going to do it, do it right. This game goes unfinished for me.
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on January 18, 2009
It's been about two years since I first played Kingdom Hearts II and went "WTF is going on here?" about the missing story arc found in Chain of Memories. I did not have a GameBoy Advance, so I had no idea how Sora came to be sleeping for a year at the start of KH2. Thankfully, though, after three years, Chain of Memories was finally released in the U.S.

My first thought when receiving it was "Yay! I can't wait to play it and see everything I missed!" And play I did. Anyways.

The game play is far different from either of the other two Kingdom Hearts games. The battle system has a deck of cards to be used for attack moves, healing powers, and friend cards, instead of having an unlimited amount of attacks the player can do, healing whenever needed, and team members staying and assisting throughout the entire battle. I suppose it may have been an attempt to make the game more of a strategy-based RPG, instead of one involving mindless button-mashing to beat bosses, but it sort of failed in that aspect. While, yes, the game is harder than other KH games, it does devolve from strategy to button-mashing about halfway through it. As the game progresses and the player levels, the choice is given of whether to upgrade health, card points (increases number of cards in deck), or earn a new sleight (a special move requiring three cards in battle, usually powerful and very useful). If one levels mainly CP and HP, then one will be allowed more cards in a deck, meaning more chances to button-mash.

Mainly this is true of regular battles, but the developers did succeed in making the boss battles require some strategy. As cards can be broken (meaning the player's attack can be over-powered by the enemy's) and the bosses able to use sleights, cards of special rank are needed to break sleights and prevent powerful attacks. For some bosses, using certain sleights is definitely recommended. Despite the at first confusing battle system, I found the change refreshing. This game takes more thought than the other two KH games, making it more fun, in my opinion.

The graphics are basically the same as in the previous KH games for the PS2, but the characters' movements seem smoother and not as jerky. This game is more refined in that aspect. However, there is no voice-acting in the different worlds visited throughout Sora's trip in Castle Oblivion, which made the worlds seem a bit uninteresting to me. I found myself rushing through the worlds and skipping any dialogue, just so that I could see more of the Organization members. By the way, the voices for the members are all extremely satisfying, except for Larxene's; I felt her voice needed to be a bit deeper, in order to match her role of sadistic and cruel.

No matter how fun I believe the game to be, however, it is basically just fanservice. It may have filled in a major gap in the series for PS2 users, but it was mainly used to garner extra profits over the Christmas season. Even so, I found it to be a great way to refresh my liking for the Kingdom Hearts game series until the new titles are released.

There is basically no replay value, though. After Sora's half of the game is beaten, the option of watching all the cut-scenes from the game again is given in the new theater feature. So, instead of replaying the game for the storyline, a person could just watch it almost completely in the theater.

All in all, I recommend it, if one wants to kill time and really enjoys the Kingdom Hearts game franchise. However, people who aren't exactly great at strategy-based games may not want to pick it up, as one cannot button-mash throughout the entire game.

(Sorry if there are any typos. I did not exactly proofread this.)
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on January 14, 2009
I was so excited to learn that Chain of Memories was going to be converted to PS2, however that excitement went down the drain after playing it for ten minutes. The entire "card" system of playing is just annoying. Especially if you've played both KH 1 & 2! Trying to remember what cards do what, or even worse being in the middle of a battle and having to stop so you can recall all your cards is just a waste of time. Half the time I spend doing that I'm getting killed by bosses.

I tried playing the game over the course of a few days, but just kept getting mad that I couldn't make any head way. The other two games I played almost non stop and enjoyed every minute. This one? I returned it.

Here's hoping that when KH3 comes out (hopefully soon!) that it won't have this battle system.
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on December 20, 2008
When I first started playing Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, I was a little hesitant with the new fighting system. But after getting used to it, I found it very invigorating and it turned out to be a great move on SE's part. This game bridges the gap between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, and makes you really understand what is going on at the beginning of KH2. The added cut scenes and transition to PS2 has made the game extremely enjoyable, adding replay value over the original. Whether you've played the GBA version or not, I would recommend getting this game. If you love the other 2 games in the series, then this is a must have.
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on January 7, 2009
I should warn you up front, I am a MAJOR Kingdom Hearts buff, so expect this review to be biased accordingly.

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is the game that bridges half of the gap between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. (The rest will be explained in Kingdom Hearts: 385/2 Days, to be released in Japan in February, North America ???) This is the story of Sora's trek through the mysterious Castle Oblivion, his search for the friend he forgot he had (Naminé), and his encounter with the mysterious "Organization" of "Nobodies."

The original KH:CoM was released on the GBA system. Kingdom Hearts: Re:Chain of Memories is a complete 3D remake of the GBA game (Originally released in Japan w/KHII Final Mix +)--including VOICE OVERS!!! That's right, the cutscenes between the floors/worlds are completely voice acted. Beautiful, right? It also incorporates new features to the game, like reaction commands with some attacks.

KH Re:CoM also includes a remake of the Reverse/Rebirth mode, also mostly voice acted. (Sadly the actual worlds in both game modes are "bubbled" not acted. *sigh*) This game mode also includes a new Card Duel system. Play the same ranked card as your opponent, and you're given the opportunity to unleash some seriously bad sleights.

Oh, I should have mentioned that Re:CoM (as the original CoM) has an entirely different gameplay system. In Castle Oblivion, every action is controlled by the Cards. What world you go to, generating new areas within the world, and even fighting. You have to construct a deck of Attacks, Magics, Items, and even Enemies to match your fighting stle and destroying your enemies. It took me the first floor or so before I got the hang of it, but it's really not that much harder. One aspect is that you can "stack" one-three cards and play them all simultaneously, resulting in a destructive combo, or ocassionally an even more powerful attack called a "sleight" that can have devestating effects.

Bottom line: if you like Kingdom Hearts, BUY THIS GAME. If you don't like Kingdom Hearts, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? (Just kidding! :p) If you've played the original CoM BUY THIS GAME. If you haven't, BUY THIS GAME!

I rate it two thumbs up (but only because I don't have a third!)
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on October 14, 2009
THis game takes off right after Kingdom Hearts 1. The game Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days starts right after this game. THen Hingdom Hearts II after KH 358/2 Days. Just so you know. The game order:

Birth by Sleep (PSP)
Kingdom Hearts (PS2)
Chain of Memories (GBA, PS2)
358/2 Days (DS)
Kingdom Hearts II (PS2)
Hingdom Hearts 3??????(hopefully!)
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on December 28, 2008
This is the best KH game out there! The story is this, Sora, Donald Duck, and Goofy are chasing Pluto (the dog) in a big wide open field.The
cutscene then cuts to nighttime where we see Sora standing at crossroads thinking of his lost friends. A man wearing a black coat appears behind Sora and tells him of a strange place. Sora begins to walk down the road and finds himself in front of a huge castle. This mighty fortress known as Castle Oblivion is where the game takes place besides the Disney worlds. Sora and friends step inside the castle talking about how they all have the same feeling that their friends would be in Castle Oblivion. The man appears again and tells Sora that in Castle Oblivion "To find is to lose and to lose is to find." The man gives Sora a card made from his memories and the game begins. There are 3 key differences in this game, the most notable being the battle system. You can no longer just hit the x button over and over to attack. Now you have a certain number of cards to attack with and when you run out you can't attack again until you reload your deck. Another thing is that Donald and Goofy are no longer at Sora's side to help him fight. They are special cards in this game that you must pick up to have them appear for a short while. One final key difference is that you pick which attribute you want to level up now rather than the computer pick one for you. Once you beat Sora's story mode your not even done yet. After your back at the main menu an option called "reverse/rebirth" is available. Select this option to begin Riku's story mode. Riku's story mode is different from Sora's story mode in these ways: Riku can't customize his deck, Riku doesn't have to reload his deck, the main enemy is different, and rather than Going to the top of the castle like Sora, Riku has to go to the bottom of the castle. So here's my summary. story: 10/10. Graphics: 8/10. Gameplay: 10/10. Overall: 9.5/10. Seriously go pick this up now, it's much better than than the GBA version.
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