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on March 30, 2006
If you're a fan of KH1 who enjoyed the KH strategy guide by Dan Birlew, then, like me, you may find yourself frustrated with this Kingdom Hearts 2 strategy guide. The first game's guide provided information as a glossary and as a walk-thru. If you had a question about something in KH1, you could easily find and turn to the corresponding section of its guide for answers. Why didn't the writers of the sequel's guide stick with what worked? I can only guess that they were more interested in style than substance. This book is fat because it is inefficient, full of fluff and fanciful designs that make finding information cumbersome and frustrating. Using Deats' guide, unfortunately, is a distraction from the game rather than a quick reference. I love the Kingdom Hearts series, but I didn't buy this guide for fanfare and souvenir. It will probably be best to go to a gamer's website and download a copy of someone else's guide and/or walk-through as this guide is sorely lacking utility.
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on April 13, 2006
While trying to figure out what game guide I should buy I read reviews on here for both and was left confused as ever. Just in case you don't know I'm talking about this copy and the regular cheaper copy of the Kingdom Hearts II guide books. So I bought both and did a side by side comparison.

Plain and simple here's the bottom line. Both books are the same. Page for page, made by the same company, say the same thing. Only difference in the book is the cover. The cheap one has just one cover with a picture of all of the characters. The limited edition has 4 different covers that have Sora being one of 4 of his different colors.

The bonus to the limited edition in the inclusion of Jiminy's Journal. In this book it gives a little more info on each of the characters you will encounter. Now when I say a little more info I mean two or three sentence giving a general history. It does go over the Heartless a bit and how to defeat them a little more then the guide.

Like the first book where you collected the 101 dalmation puppies and put a sticker on a poster for everyone you found. This has a sticker for every character you meet, for things you pick up along the way, and for every world you make it too.

So what one is right for you? If you want just the basic no frills stick with the lower cost one. It does have all the info you need and if you need a little more help there is plenty of sites that can help you through a difficult spot. If you wanna have a little more fun with keeping track of who you have encountered and what you have collected as well as being able to write your top scores to mini games you play along the way go for the limited, it's a bit funner.

As for me I went with the Limited Edition verision just for the extra fun with the stickers and because I'm a huge Disney and Kingdom Heart fan. If you have questions feel free to contact me through here if that is possible. And remember this review contains my thoughts, ideas, and opinions on both of the books meant to help you decide which one is best for you. Hope it helped!
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on September 29, 2006
When you first get a look at this guide, you think "Woah...very big...", but despite the size, there's a lot of information that's not needed...and a lot that's lacking.

First off, the suggestions for the boss battles were a little too...over the top... When I would try to follow the authors suggestion, I'd fall flat on my face, and find myself frustrated, so I skipped over those parts most of the time and did my own thing.

Second of all, there was a lot of un-needed fluff on the walkthrough pages. I would have preferred a separate area for the character profiles, Atlantica and 100 Acre Wood updates, etc. Clean and simple is always the best way to go. Organization is also something that was extremely lacking. Important info was at the back and I was constantly flipping back and forth... It gets annoying after a while...

Third, in some of the most crucial parts of the game, there was a lack of instruction. There was also and abundance of instruction in the least needed areas. Also, I probably would have preferred a little guidance on higher levels of magic and attacks. I wouldn't want a full introduction "understand the basics" section, but some tips would have been helpful for those who might be less skilled.

The good parts of this guide are more cool than helpful. The bios on the characters are neat, but a separate section devoted to this would have been better. The treasure maps are also helpful, but a little vague. The screenshots spread throughout are cool, but a little cluttered. Really, this guide is more interesting to look through than actually helpful in beating the game.

Just a note to those who will be buying this guide, there is are quite a few errors in the synthesis ingredients section. There is also an extreme lack of instruction on synthesizing the Ultima Keychain, so I would suggest using an internet walkthough for this purpose.

So, the question remains, SHOULD I BUY THIS GUIDE??? Well, I would say that if you want to know how NOT to play the game, then the answer would be yes. If you get extremely stuck in parts and need lots of help, the answer would be no. If you finished the game without and want it just for fun, I would suggest buying it and writing your own guide. That's what I'm planning on doing...
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VINE VOICEon May 12, 2006
The first Kingdom Hearts Guide by BradyGAMES was fantastic. It was the way a well done strategy guide should look. Definitely of five star quality. The Kingdom Hearts II guide is bigger, more exhaustive, but that doesn't mean it's really better. For the most part, it covers what it needs to cover, and not in such bad detail. However, there are a few things that keep the guide from being and overall fantastic guide.

The guide begins with a well done introduction. If you've played Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, the introduction serves as a recap for the story of those two games. This shouldn't be considered a spoiler, as the game itself is a sequel, and that'll spoil the previous two games anyway.

After the fine introduction, we go on to the heroes and this is where the detail in the guide begins to show for the better. Each character has a small profile, and a complete list of their abilities. This includes what they get for bonuses (say, getting an HP bonus from defeating a boss). There's also a huge list that shows off level detail. This shows you how much experience a character needs to reach said level, and what bonuses they receive from leveling up. There's a also a list of weapons for each character. For Sora, it details everything you need to know about his forms. Including his Final Form and Anti-Sora form. For each form it'll also tell you about the abilities. Everything you need to know about Sora, Donald, Goofy and the different companions of each world is here in full detail. There is also a complete list of growth, support and action abilities following the information about all the different heroes.

After that it jumps into the walkthrough, and the walkthrough really is a treat. Each section begins with the maps, and a step-by-step list of key points you should do. After that, the key-points are explained in greater detail. The maps are fairly detailed, pointing out the location of treasures. The maps are also well oriented, so you probably won't get lost using them. Most screen shots are big and detailed. Also, each time a new character in the story comes about, the guide will show you a small profile for that character.

The walkthrough also doesn't hold your hand. In other words, it doesn't waste a whole lot of time pointing out the obvious. Most of the details it helps with are the ones that need help. Such as helping you to better understand the mini-games. Rather than just a basic run down of controls, they'll help detail how to do them well. For some they've even listed how well they themselves have done. The boss strategies, while detailed in the statistics, are not nearly as helpful as they were in the previous guide. Some strategies leave you hanging for help. Some just could've overall been better, more detailed.

The walkthrough contains some minor spoilers. Nothing too incredibly huge, but a few that might ruin some of the surprises of the game. This is the risk ran by investing in a strategy guide, of course, but it keeps from unveiling the entire plot of the game.

After the walkthrough they talk about the sidequests. Primarily Atlantica and The 100 Acre Woods. As if you'll need help with Atlantica, but both sections are particularly well detailed. However, with how they organized the walkthrough, it didn't seem as if they needed a section for sidequests at all. Everything that can be done in each world is listed in that world (but it is NOT listed when a world is revisted). For example, everything about the Coliseum is all under Olympus Coliseum. The battle with Sephiroth? It's listed under Hallow Bastion. I like the idea of having all my secret goodies in one neat little package. This causes for a lot of page flipping. If you're like me, you'll go through the game just to do it first, before going back and tackling all the secrets. Especially because some things (such as the battle with Sephiroth) are best done when you're at the end of the game anyway. Really, all the neat bonuses and secrets should've had their own section as opposed to sticking all of them in the walkthrough. The sidequests chapter here only includes the 100 Acre Woods and Atlantica.

Then there's a map index, which is basically all the maps with the items on it. They're the same as they are in the walkthrough, but in the walkthrough you'll have to flip back and forth from the text to the maps. This map index serves for those who only want the maps. Truly, this is a waste of paper.

There's a complete list of all the items, accessories, armor and whatnot following the walkthrough. Everything about Item Synthesis, Magic and summons can also be found after the walkthrough. And following that, the complete rundown of the Gummi Ship, and that section is also detailed.

The bestiary is large. It's divided into four parts. The heartless, the nobodoes, "other" enemies and finally, bosses. Really detailed, giving off all the stats you'll need, and even a little blurb about them. Again, it takes up a lot of space to say something so basic, however.

As I've said, the guide isn't fantastic. For one, don't let the size of 352 pages full you. Most pages either have a lot of empty space or they're filled to the bone with artwork. There are some things in the walkthrough that also get very little detail to them. Such as the coliseum. So much more could've been done with some of these sections. As I mentioned, all the secrets are scattered throughout the walkthrough. In other words, this guide has a lot of page flipping. The information is all over the place and disorganized. ALL the information you need is actually in this tome, it's just all over the place. It's a good guide, but one that requires a lot of work to use. It takes more work to navigate this guide than the actual game itself. The vast amount of pages also make the guide quite annoying to lug around with you. It's worse than carrying around a college text book.

Overall it's a fairly good guide, but with the lack of organization it takes a big hit. Don't be fooled by it's exhaustive size, it's not quite as extraordinary as you might think.

The Good
+Detailed Walkthrough
+Excellent coverage of abilites and skills
+Excellent coverage of the characters
+Detailed maps
+Fold out poster
+Gummi Ship help
+Recap of the story for those interested

The Bad
-The boss strategies lack overall
-The walkthrough is not nearly as detailed in some areas as it is others
-Despite how thick this guide is, most of it comes from pages with a lot of artwork and little text
-The Secrets are scattered all throughout the walkthrough making for a lot of annoying page flipping
-This guide is heavy and a pain to lug around, and the list price is a little steep
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on February 13, 2016
It's ok , kinda 50/50 on it . There's actually quite a decent amount of stuff that got left out of this . For example ( I hope this doesn't sound like nitpicking here but- ) they don't even show you any of the New " KeyBlades " that you collector in the game . I know you're not gonna believe this but I really was under the impression that there wouldn't be any new KeyBlades during this time around . But probably the biggest thing that bugs me is when you're stuck at a Hard part , there like " heck you're on your own kid " . Oh and there were some times that I wasn't even using the book , funny . So to recap , it's pretty much like everybody else has been saying " its okay " .
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on April 21, 2006
I had high expectations for this guide, only to discover the book was far from perfect. The guide appears to go in-depth of Kingdom Hearts II, but hardly covers any ground. It has plenty of beautiful pictures, but not even that can make up for the walkthrough. The walkthrough is weak since it is only composed of a few pictures known as "key points." The boss battles are covered and the strategies they list are somewhat helpful. What hinders this book more is its lack of coverage regarding the Underdrome and synthesis. If you are to purchase this guide, expect to use only the bestiary and the Drive coverage.
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on April 22, 2006
One thing I've always hated about strategy guides are the pointless introductory chapters that basically run through everything the booklets included with the video games run through, that being the basics (controls, character intros, game systems, etc.). And the funny thing is, these chapters are usually entitled "Basics". To me, these chapters are completely pointless and add nothing to the actual experience of the game, as strategy guides are meant to do. But the guide for Kingdom Hearts II does not have this, and I have to give it at least one extra point because of that.

Beyond that, this is a massive book, highly detailed and containing almost everything needed to get the most out of this game. While yes, there is an introduction, it's only three pages long and has nothing to do with the controls of the game, but goes more into the history of the Kingdom Hearts world and story. To me, this was welcome, mainly because I was unable to complete the first game in this series, and I don't remember much about the Gameboy Advance Kingdom Hearts. It was a refresher that made it possible for me to jump right into Kingdom Hearts II.

After that, it goes into the character introductions, detailing the skills and level progression of all the characters, as well as a list of abilities. Though I think this appendix-like section could have been placed at the back of the book, it does fit well here as it's a section used a lot during game play.

Then comes the walk-through, which covers nearly 180 pages and doesn't miss many points. Using a kind of numbered checklist, it guides you from point to point while supplying a written walk-through as well. I liked the set-up, because it doesn't spoil much, but it does leave a little out at times. Also included in every separate world walk-through is a map showing where to find the treasures, a list of creatures that may be encountered, boss strategies, and brief character introductions. Though some of this can spoil the game, they make it easy to avoid by separating each point into its own section or space.

After that is the norm of all strategy guides, that being the appendixes of secrets and strategies. First comes the "Lay of the Lands" which is a compilation of all the maps, next are lists of items, armor, accessories, magic, and summoned allies. After that comes the Gummi Ship section, detailing the more complicated mini-game which returned from the first game. Finally, it closes with a very detailed bestiary and boss index, which covers all the information the boss strategies found in the walk-through doesn't encounter.

To sum up, I've included a list of pros and cons with this review:
+ No introductory handbook.
+ The intro is more of a refresher of the stories of the last two games
+ Massively detailed sections.
+ 350 pages leaves little to want.
+ Beautiful construction.

- Hard to reference because of the size, especially during game play.
- The walk-through is weak at points.
- Does have a few spoilers.

If you own Kingdom Hearts II and finished it without this guide, then more power to you. But I can guarantee you missed something. If you want to get everything the first time through because of, say, time constraints (like me), then I highly recommend picking up this guide, and I even recommend it over the somewhat redundant Limited Edition. This is a great purchase.
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on September 19, 2006
Unlike the first Kingdom Hearts where the guide was essential, this guide is quite optional. The game has enough hints and exploration value for you to find all the chests and special areas without the guide. There are some nice features in Jiminy's Journal that make completing each world quite effective. You also can beat just about every boss without hints, although the hints will probably help you beat the bosses the first time out.

As to this particular guide, it is very well written, full of information and quite informative for the enthusiast. If you like to know all the details behind every synthesis item, every spell, each form, and each character, this is the book for you. While it has a very nice walkthrough section and step by step expalins most of the decision points of the game, the gameplay itself does not require you have this information to complete.

Overall, the guide should be purchased only by those who really want the detail of the game and want to be deluged with statistics, but it is not a requirement for full game completion.
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on January 2, 2014
It's Disney!! This guide has beautiful color pictures and is an easy read for any age. Clear instruction for playing the game are great, and seeing the characters at your fingertips is exciting for our kids!!
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on January 27, 2007
Over 340 pages amazing artwork,detailed Walkthrough,explanations of every accessories,items&enemys and there are only few spoilers.

You get to know the Story of KH 1 and KH CoM,it's like a short summary of what happened earlier to Sora&Co.

You also get a detailed explanation of what Nobodies&Heartless are,but if you are looking for a detailed character explanation of Organization XIII you won't find it here :(

The bad thing is that the minigames are scattered everywhere and you must look for every single one,which takes a lot of time(big book!) and the character profiles are very short...

Not one of the greatest strategy guides,but neither a bad one!
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