Review by Mr_Salvador

Reviewed: 01/09/06

Thinking of playing this, wherever I am

For some of us, this started about three years ago. I still remember when I finished the first Kingdom Hearts, and saw Another Side, Another Story. Then, I got to see the extended version, Deep Dive. There were a lot of questions to be solved, and theories started to surface. Now, KH2 has already been released. Does it live to the hype?

Yes, it does. It does in every single way.

Graphics: 10/10

This game just push the PS2 to its limits. Very detailed characters, with almost no jaggies, depth of field, awesome faces (And I mean it, most of the characters show their emotions better than some people I know), a lot of lightning effects, tons of enemies onscreen, no slowdown at all, 1-2 seconds loading times... Amazing. If you want to see how good a PS2 game can look, this game should be one of the first choices.

If I were to find some mistakes, I could too. There is popping in some areas where there are people walking around. And perhaps some textures are worse than the average level. But then again, when I see Jack Sparrow moving like he was gotten straight from the film, I don't think about popping or textures, I think: WOW!

There's a part I would really love to talk about. But as it is probably considered as spoilers, I will have to hold my tongue. All I can say is: Dave Perry should play this before boasting about that 5-6 Agent Smith fight. I know there are some differences I could explain, but in this game it's better implemented. Period.

Gameplay: 10/10

It has also been improved greatly. Everything that was considered to be an issue in the original has changed here, and for good in my humble opinion. The camera, probably the main issue, has been changed to the right analog stick. By moving it you move the camera, and pushing it makes the camera center. Moving through the command menu might still be troublesome sometimes, but it's doesn't happen a lot. The so called "Reaction commands" are very useful, and offer very cool scenes in boss battles. It may seem simple, because only triangle (and circle, but not very often, and they don't actually tell you to use it) is used. But again, when you are in the middle of a battle, you don't think about it.

All worlds have been changed, putting a special effort in those that were considered boring, namely Atlantica and 100 Acre Wood. Well, I must say they have managed to make those fun. Atlantica is based on a timing mini-game, while listening to songs like "Under the Sea" (It was a weird experience to hear that in Japanese), and 100 Acre Wood follows the same pattern than the first game, only that mini-games are actually FUN to play.

And the Gummi Ship, well, it isn't slow now, nor it has horrible graphics. It's faster paced, and it's a lot of fun, you'll see when you try it out.

Finally, the Drive System. That's probably the thing we first knew about gameplay, and It's great. As you go through the game, you'll obtain different "forms", that will allow Sora to transform into a more powerful version of himself. Those are very powerful, and so fun to use, that playing KH again feels very slow and boring.

Story: 9/10

I have to give it a nine, because I don't fully understand Japanese, and I have missed some bits. It wouldn't be fair to give it a 10 without fully acknowledge of the story, but I know enough as to give it a high score.

Without spoiling anything, you will play again as Sora, who is looking for his friends, Riku and Kairi. You'll visit several Disney worlds, which are very well implemented, having their original feelings, and some new worlds. Pretty much that's all you should know, as you will be getting a lot of surprises knowing this little. Unfortunately, It seems that many people know too much. Oh, well...

Sound: 10/10

I really love Yoko-san's tracks, :-). She has done a great job with music. There are some remixed Disney tunes, you'll probably be humming them if you didn't with the first. Some worlds that have new tunes, that fit their spirit perfectly, and the parts not Disney related are just great. Listening to that great theme while doing that part I didn't fully describe above is something everyone should experience.

Kingdom Hearts II also features Utada Hikaru, who sings "Passion". I think It's a very good song, and fits perfectly whenever it sounds.
Sound effects are pretty good too. Most of them come from KH and CoM, and some others are new, but there's nothing that sounds bad to the ears.
Hikari/Simple and Clean fans, beware, you'll have a surprise in this game. But perhaps not exactly as you think.

Overall: 10/10

This game is incredible. I wasn't going to finish it, but the evil disc tempted me to keep going on, and I'm glad I did. It's one of the best experiences a player can get. Seriously, this should be one of the best PS2 titles, along with Metal Gear series, FF, ICO, and some more. I'd even add: one of the best games ever. If you let its magic get you, you won't stop until you finish.

About the length. Finishing the storyline should take about 30-35 hours, and if you want to get everything and level up and such, it can take about 80+ hours. So this is definitely a great purchase. And about importing, keep in mind this game has a story worth understanding, so perhaps you should wait for US/PAL version if you don't know Japanese. It's still playable, though.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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