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Kingdom Hearts 2 Review - PS2

9
Gameplay: 9 stars 9
Graphics: 8 stars 8
Audio: 9 stars 9
Innovation: 7 stars 7
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Introduction

Back in 2003, Kingdom Hearts was released for the PS2. Kingdom Hearts was a unique game in many ways. A combination of Disney and Square Enix working on the same game, completely unheard of, and seriously doubted by many. It was an unusual merger, yet a very interesting one. The inclusion of Disney characters were somewhat off-putting to older gamers, yet this was counter-balanced by the appearance of many characters from Square’s popular Final Fantasy series. Together, they produced an impressive piece of software, which played like an RPG, yet broke away from Square’s long standing turn based fighting system used in the Final Fantasy series. The main character, Sora had a character design reminiscent of the characters in the Final Fantasy series, e.g. Cloud with his spiky hair.

The story of Kingdom Hearts continues on in its sequel, following on from the defeat of Ansem, Sora continues on his journey through many worlds, some new, some old. The story is quite mysterious at first, yet more is revealed soon, and the real quest begins. There is a time gap between the two games, and Sora is now older than he was in the original. He’s taller, and his voice is deeper, but basically he’s the same in overall appearance. The general story, without giving too much away, is that King Mickey is still on the loose and that Sora and company are still trying to track him down, along with Riku. However, strange entities called the Nobodies are at work, and they have an dangerous plan. You find out more about that later.

Familiar characters include Cloud and Leon, and Final Fantasy fans will be happy to know that almost all of the other FF characters from the original KH (plus some new additions) are present. For those who played Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories on GBA, Axel also makes an appearance, and has his own part to play in the story. Donald and Goofy also re-emerge, of course, filling their old positions once more. Fans of FFX-2 will be in for a nice surprise.

Gameplay

The gameplay is very similar to that of Kingdom Hearts. You walk around the levels just the same, and the battle layout is almost exactly the same, with the X button being used for standard attacks. However, this is where the similarities end. The battle controls are more complicated, with the Triangle button being used for counter-attacks and parries/moves specific to particular baddies. There are action scenes in some battles, where you must press the Triangle button at the right time to trigger an action or attack/defend, with quite spectacular results. The Square button allows you to use a blocking move, when Guard is equipped, as in KH, which will stop most physical attacks. Summoning is still present, and there are all new summons to collect, each with their own powers to exploit.

Going back to the layout, the health bar next to the character’s icons still look the same, however magic ...

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