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Kingdom Hearts II (PlayStation 2)

86
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Bob the Stickman (290)
Written on  :  Nov 10, 2010
Rating  :  4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars

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Summary

One of the best RPG's I've ever played.

The Good

WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS

What happens when you mix Disney characters like Micky Mouse and Donald Duck with characters from one of the most famous RPG series ever, Final Fantasy, while adding characters of your own (Sora, Riku, Kairi, ect.) and having a story about evil shadows called Heartless who feed on the darkness in people's hearts and can only be stopped by the "Keyblade"? Well, you would think the end product would be a confusing mess. If you still think that, you must be a FPS fan boy (no offence to people who like Half-life or Team Fortress). But SquareSoft (now SquareEnix) and Disney Interactive had made undeniable proof that complete opposites can coincide peacefully with Kingdom Hearts. Well... "The story is not over"... and thank god because this game out-does the original by far. Not that the first installment was bad, it was just missing something. And this game, in my eyes, has just that.

The story continues from the second installment of the series, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (which I've never played at time of review). Namine has made Sora and his friends fall into a deep sleep, along with erasing everyone's memory of him. We start the story off with a boy who lives in a town called Twilight Town named Roxas, who's seemingly normal life shall soon reveal secrets that perhaps should of stayed secret... The story is very well made, and flows quite smoothly with the rest of the series, give or take a few plot holes.

The gameplay is a greatly improved version of Kingdom Hearts'. Almost everything has been improved: Fighting system, camera system, menu operation, synthesis, magic, summons, everything! And things such as Drives and a Shortcut menu just makes it all better. One of my favorite additions is Reaction Commands. These let you execute actions that shows Sora's true skills of combat. There are also mini-games that you can play. And the boss battles actually make me want to fight them (and that doesn't happen often)! All of the bosses give some moderate to extreme challenge, and most are really just a lot of fun! I can say absolutely nothing bad about 95% of the game. And the other 5%? Well... we'll get to that later.

The graphics are absolutely amazing. Some detail is so extreme, I wonder sometimes how Square could push the boundaries of the system so much. These graphics are one of the best examples of what a PS2 can really do! The cutscenes have specials "movements" for the characters in 60% of the shots. Let me explain: Sometimes in cutscenes, the models just talk like they do in game. But most of the time, their movements are exclusive to that cutscene, and their mouth syncs with the words almost perfectly.

The music is one of the best game tracks I have ever heard in my life. Some songs, such as "Vim and Vigor", give a sense of an evil aura surrounding the area, while "The Encounter" (one of my favorites) pumps you up for fight and gives you a feeling of "I'm ready to kick some ass!!!" Other music tracks in the game are also worthy of praise. The music will definitely fit the situation, whether walking in the mystic tower of Yen Sid, or getting one step closer to the final battle in the World That Never Was. The theme, "Sanctuary", is also a great song. As for the voice acting, it is wonderful. Not only do the original characters have good actors/actresses, but they have done something that is almost impossible: having almost every Disney character have their original actor. Obviously, Mickey, Donald, Goofy , and every one voiced by Jim Cummings (god-like actor) have their voices, but most of the others do to! Hades, Maleficent, Oggie Boogie, Ursula, Daisy, Minnie, Merlin, and even the freakin' Emperor from Mulan (I'm pretty sure)- ALL have their original voice talents. That, my friends, is commitment. The FF cast is good, too.

So far it sounds like the perfect game, right? Well, about that other 5%...

The Bad

...there are somethings I can't forgive.

Most of the Disney characters retain their original actors (amazingly). But, obviously, they couldn't do this for all of them. The worst cases are Nala and Scar. Nala's "new" actress is very bland and dull. I can't hear any emotion in her voice. It's almost like GLaDOS is voicing her- no, GLaDOS can actually out-perform Nala's actress. And she's a computer! And Scar's biggest mistake: he's not voiced by Jeremy Irons. Without him, Scar isn't Scar in my opinion. Instead of going the 2nd best option, Jim Cummings (see "Be Prepared"), they go with some one who does a TERRIBLE job being Irons. At least he's better than Nala...

Also, some classic moments (Scar's "little secret" to Simba, Hades's so-called "death", ect.) are completely butchered. For example, in the "final battle" at Pride Rock, there is no fire at all. It doesn't even take place at night. In my opinion, this brings the awesome-ness of the whole thing down immensely. Perhaps that would be too "dark", but if they did it in the 90's, they can do it now!

On one last note, I kind of liked the Trinity mark stuff. But that's not to serious.

The Bottom Line

Overall, this game is a must buy for any PS2 owner. Even if you don't like RPGs, buy it. You will not in anyway be sorry for that purchase.