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Cidolfas's RPG Reviews: Kingdom Hearts (PS2)

You Are: Sora, a kid from Destiny Island, aided and abetted by Donald and Goofy, protectors of King Mickey from Disneyland.

Your Goal Is: You've got two, really. First is to try and seal the keyholes in each world around the "universe" using Sora's mysterious Keyblade. The second is to find King Mickey, who disappears at the start of the game.

General System: The action takes place in various worlds, each of which is either original, or a microcosm of a Disney movie. There's a menu, which can only be accessed outside of battle. Sora, Donald and Goofy can equip different weapons (the other characters, who can only join temporarily in their respective worlds, can't). All characters can equip one or more accessories, and they can equip items for use in battle as well. In addition, various battle skills (ranging from active skills like special moves to automatic skills like Critical Up) can be equipped provided you have enough AP. All stats (including accessory/item capacity and AP) raise as you raise levels. There's also a whole rather pointless side thingy involving your Gummi Ship (used to travel between worlds), which you can build from scratch, accessorize, even paint.

Battle System: An "action RPG" system whereby Sora can jump around and attack, and can use a mini-menu to select magic, items, or special moves. Sora's two companions are computer-controlled. When enemies are defeated, they drop HP/MP spheres, money (er, munny), and items. You can also assign three spells to "shortcut keys" for ease of use.

Graphics: Cool, clean, and cartoony. It really looks like you're playing a Disney movie.

Music: Overall it's pretty nice, but the tracks tend to be really repetitive.

Story: Good, but it could be so much better. -_- There are a few neat twists, and the original characters are pretty cool. The Disney and FF folks are well-done (and the Disney characters are voiced by their original actors in a largely flawless performance). It just galls me to see all these characters featured without any depth to them. Often the "mini-stories" that take place in each world are just shorter versions of the movies. Having gone through all the trouble of getting the Disney actors, couldn't they have given them more lines? Couldn't they have integrated the FF characters more actively into the story? Couldn't they have found some dialogue that didn't have the words "heart" and "darkness" in every sentence?

Challenge: Easy/Medium (not counting optional battles, which are nasty; also, you can raise the difficulty if you want)

Length: About 30 hours

My Thoughts: KH has quite a few shortcomings (the aforementioned story quibbles, for one). I really would have preferred they spend more time in fewer worlds rather than the slipshod treatment they give each individual world this time round. The whole Gummi Ship thing seems completely useless. Despite all that, though, I can replay KH as many times as I want and still not get bored. The battles are fun and varied, and fairly challenging as you progress. Exploration isn't too bad, since Sora can catch himself at the edge of most ledges (still, I spent too much time falling and having to work my way back up to places). I would have preferred a "scene skip" option as well. Overall, KH is a very nice time-waster and one which I'd recommend to any Disney fans out there.

Overall Rating: 8.0/10

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