Review by Metafractal
A 3-hour training level? Bored now.
The first three hours of this game comprises the most tedious and inconsequential introduction to any game I've played. You take on the role of generic hero kid Roxas accompanied by his three generic friends. There's fighter kid Hayner, fat kid Pence and girl Olette.
You spend what seems like (and is) far too long in Twilight Town being forced to chore your way through numerous minigames while all you really want to do is start properly playing the "real" game.
Eventually, finally, after an average of around three hours (including cutscenes) the game actually starts and you take control of Sora, with Donald and Goofy. Hooray. Bonus points if you noticed, or even cared, that Roxas is an anagram of Sora with an "x".
The rest of the game involves typical Kingdom Hearts gaming, going to and from Disney-movie-themed worlds, as well as "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Pirates of the Carribean" (talk about visual style clash!) while killing Heartless, and new enemies called "Nobodies" who are basically white-coloured Heartless. Because they don't want to have TOO much variety in the game, obviously.
Combat is fairly straightforward, mash away at the X button, occasionally jab Triangle when prompted and get annoyed with Sora spends a minute doing a combo in mid-air above an enemy without actually hitting it. Or hacking away at a boss monster that has 0 HP waiting for the correct striking blow to make the game recognise you've already defeated it!
There's The Little Mermaid's level, Atlantica, which has been transformed into a "press the button at the right time" level to test your reflexes while listening to Ariel, Sora and Goofy sing while Donald squawks his way through the songs. Genre shift much?
Speaking of genre shifting, the Gummi Ship shooting game is back, but the Gummi Ship creation menus have been horrendously over-complicated rather needlessly. Still, it's one part of the game you don't need to bother with again after playing each stage once to gain access to the next world.
Unfortunately, this game lacks any replayability whatsoever [which means I automatically subtract 2 points from the final score] largely due to the frustratingly boring (and far too long) start, as well as no matter which starting weapon you choose (Sword, Shield or Wand), your character will eventually end up with the same abilities and stats no matter which one you pick.
I did really like the song on the opening movie though. :-)
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Product Release: Kingdom Hearts II (AU, 09/28/06)
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