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Old 02-12-2007, 10:02 AM   #1
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Kingdom Hearts II - Game Review

Rate out of 10
Story - 8
Control - 9
Gameplay - 7
Graphics - 8
Difficulty - 5
Maturity - E
System - PS2

I recently had the pleasure of playing Kingdom Hearts II for the first time. This game had a very long time to wait and I was starting to think it wouldn't be out for PS2 as it almost didn't release before the PS3 did. The story picks up right after Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories for Gameboy Advance, which takes place after the first Kingdom Hearts. Contrary to what many have come to suspect, this game is actually very deep and challenging for even some hardcore gamers, despite what the goofy Disney-related storyline might imply.

The story first starts off with a new Keyblade master by the name of Roxas, the infamous "blond-haired kid" as he has come to be known. Not long into the the game, Sora returns from a lengthy slumber and you are him for the remainder of the game. The story is typical. Sora and company travel from one Disney world to another (i.e. Port Royal of Pirates of the Carribean and the Pride Lands of the Lion King), following much of their respective storylines while fighting the creatures known as Heartless. Sora is also still in search of his elusive friend, Riku, as well as the King, Mickey Mouse. Kairi is in the game too and later acquires her own Keyblade from Riku who has one of his own as well. By the end of the game, there are many of these mystical weapons floating around, other than Sora's. (Can I have one? )

On top of the Heartless, a new breed of enemy appears to be mixed in with the fray known as the "Nobodies," who are somewhat rare in early levels, but far tougher than Heartless.

The controls in this game are not unlike those in the original Kingdom Hearts. If you played the first KH, you won't have any trouble getting started. Contrary to what awaiting fans have believed, summons are still a part of the game and neither Cloud nor Leon are among them. Many of the old abilities and special skills Sora had in previous games are the same (i.e. MP Rage and Arial Sweep), plus many new ones. Sora has also become much more merciless in mid-air combat, capable of sweeping through the air to continue a long string of combinations without ever touching the ground.

Sora also has a new special power called the Drive Forms, which give Sora a whole new set of skills and attacks for limited periods of time. When the drive gauge is full, you can temporarily take one of both of your party members out of the fray to initate a Drive Form which changes Sora's outfit color and gives him a MONSTROUS power boost. He becomes faster, stronger, and many of the drive forms wield TWO Keyblades at once!

Many Final Fantasy and Disney characters have returned along with some new ones. Tifa from FFVII plays a small role in this game too. Yay for cute (but exceedingly tough) women in mini-skirts! The Moogles have returned and they continue to synthesize items for you throughout the game.

Graphics are no greater or worse than the original KH. Graphics are smooth, clean, and camera view works well enough for efficiently cleaning house of nasty Heartless.

Difficulty in this game is probably the same as the first KH, with one MAJOR exception....SEPHIROTH!!! I need not say more about him. If you played the first KH, you should know what a rediculously hard fight he is. However, you at least get something for your troubles for beating him this time (i.e. a decent keyblade and a chance to watch Cloud and Tifa take on Sephy).

Maturity is rated E for everyone. Despite the animated violence that happens throughout the game, there is no blood or gore of any kind anywhere. If you die, you basically just fall unconscious until you hit continue.

I would highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoyed the first KH. This game will give you everything the first one did and more.
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