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Review: Kingdom Hearts (2)II & Game Guide - PS2

by Steven Williamson on 17 October 2006, 14:54

Tags: Kingdom Hearts (PS2), Square Enix (TYO:9684), RPG

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Team up with Donald and Goofy

Kingdom Hearts II sees the return of Sora, Kairi and Riku along with many Disney characters and worlds. Sora is the holder of a magical weapon, the keyblade, which as well as having incredible powers is used to unlock gates to other worlds. Once again you’ll be on a search to rescue your friends as you move from world to world defeating baddies and searching for answers. Along the way you’ll bump into many of Disney’s characters from Huey, Dewey, Louie and Uncle Scrooge to Simba from the Lion King as you journey to their worlds and embark on this unique adventure.

Throughout the game, Donald and Goofy are Sora’s loyal companions, but as you meet other guest characters such as the Beast from Beauty and the Beast they’ll be able to join your party and help you in the battles that you’ll face. As you level up (Kingdom Hearts II works around an EXP system), open treasure chests or earn munny (money) you’ll pick up new magical and fighting abilities, such as a fire resistance spells or a dodge movement, that will aid you in conquering your foes.

In Kingdom Hearts II you’ll be involved in a lot of fighting and most of it revolves around simply pressing the ‘X’ button. If you press it more once you’ll pull off combos and if a reaction command appears you often need to press the triangle button in order to dodge an attack or gain a better attacking position. The fighting can get repetitive, but due to the numerous cut-scenes and breaks in the combat segments it never becomes that dull that you’ll just want to give up. You build up such an empathy with your character that you’ll want to keep plugging away to find out what happens next and to see what the next world has on offer. Combat can be very basic, but as you progress and pick up more skills you can equip them in the menu, assign them to shortcuts on your pad and use a whole range of visually impressive skills in order to defeat enemies. So combat can be as deep or as simple as you want it to be, you can fight enemies by bashing the ‘X button as fast as you can or instead you can use the skills on offer by switching between magical and combat skills, taking potions or adopting certain battle styles during fights with your party.

Your character and party members have a HP and MP gauge. If your HP gauge reaches zero its game over whereas the MP gauge can be used to cast magic whenever it’s full. Both of these gauges can be replenished through magical items or skills that you pick up along the way such as potions and you’ll need to keep and eye on each individual’s gauge in battle to ensure they don’t die.

The big boss battles are visually impressive and far tougher than the other battles, but can get pretty tiresome. Even when you encounter the first boss you’ll need press the triangle button constantly in order to dodge his attacks and defeat him. Though there is an element of skill to the process, by watching your enemy and counteracting his moves, you can pretty much get through most battles by bashing the button as fast as possible; the first boss sequence lasts for a good 5 minutes and left our hands aching. Thankfully Kingdom Hearts II has a lock-on function which means that you won’t waste time slashing at thin air. The camera is controlled via the right thumb stick whilst movement is controlled via the left and although a few camera problems emerged during certain sections, it isn’t enough to leave you totally frustrated and any of the small irritations are soon forgotten as you become involved in the next magical sequence of events.