Kingdom Hearts II Review

May 3, 2010

2002 Kingdom Hearts was released. After 3 years of waiting Kingdom Hearts II is finally released. But was it worth the wait? The million dollar question that not everyone has the answer to.

The graphics are slightly better than its predecessor since KHII takes the PS2 technology to the limit. Especially if you enter first person mode while in the Pirates Of The Caribbean world and look at a characters face. The frame rate is pretty solid. So the game shouldn’t slow down when you’re up against a horde amount of enemies. Also the games visuals and special effects will just leave you satisfied. The infuriating camera system that was in KH is nowhere to be found. You can now click the R3 button and it will auto centre the camera again. You can also rotate the camera freely with the right analogue stick. Yet it can be pretty distracting sometimes. While I was in battle with Beast in my party. Beast was behind Sora which makes the camera behind Beast. Beast covered the whole of Sora. So I couldn’t even see the main character during battle mode. But this problem just occurs rarely.

Let’s face it. Kingdom Hearts II strongest point is in music. The music is perfectly selected and also the music pieces that have been added to this game are magnificent. Yoko Shimomura has done an excellent job in creating & selecting which music piece begins at which location and so on. Most of the music from the previous game are still here but have been remixed. They sound more evil and better at simultaneously. You now have a lot more music pieces to hear than the original. Utada Hikaru has also proved herself yet again that she was the right person to perform the KHII main theme. Her performance is even better this time round. The introduction suited her music perfectly.

Gameplay since the original has been improved vastly. The battles are more intense than ever before. A significant addition to the game is the dodge ability. This is triggered if you press the triangle button at the right time. If performed correctly, you run around the opponent at a fast pace which will keep him dazed for about 1-2 seconds. The dodge ability is converted into a combo ability when you play as Sora. When instructed to press triangle and performed correctly you will release a set of powerful combos which will take a decent amount off health points from your opponent. Each boss has a different set of combos that can be performed on when instructed. After performing devastating combos against bosses, you will sometimes enter button bashing mode during battles. This happened to me while facing one opponent. He had a sword and I was blocking it with my keyblade.

If you win the button bashing contest your opponent will be open to attacks for a limited amount of time only. There is now a special button added to operate multiple tasks. It’s called “Reaction Trigger” or simply it’s the triangle button. An image of a triangle symbol will most of the time pop up indicating it should be pressed. The triangle button is used to communicate with other characters, perform furious combos during battles and dodge last minute attacks. The environment can sometimes help during battles. In Mulan the environment was interactive. When inserted into a battle with loads of enemies you can run to a cannon lying on the floor and strike it with your keyblade, this will result in the cannon exploding and damaging your opponent. Also a new engine is introduced in KHII. It allows larger groups of enemies to attack you at once. The amount of enemies that appear during combat is uncountable.

Another new addition is the fusion feature. This feature allows you to dual wield keyblades, increase attacking power and faster combat. Drives grow stronger over time. Allowing you to strike more enemies at once and also increase the time limit it’s accessible for. To activate fusion you will need to win a fair amount of battles and pick up yellow orbs until your drive gauge is filled. Once it’s filled you will have to navigate the cursor down to the fourth menu bar and select a fusion method you desire. White light will then cover the screen for a second and it will then become normal again showing Sora with the method of fusion you’ve selected. While each fusion method has it’s advantages and disadvantages. It’s not vital to use them to win your battles, but you will be able to defeat enemies at a faster pace. Also while you’re fused with a character and a cutscene is triggered, you appear with the clothes depending on who you fused with. So if your in Wisdom form and a cutscene is triggered, you will appear in Wisdom form.

The Gummi Ship has become even more customizable and it also takes a longer length of time to reach your destination. When you want to select the world you would like to travel to, you will have a mouse cursor. But instead it’s replaced with a Gummi Ship icon and can be moved freely. In the previous KH the cursor had to follow the trail that was set for it. And also while travelling to different destinations, your enemies will attack you from everywhere, plus sometimes a alert warning appears on screen warning you the screen is going to twist in the direction the alert warning was situated. Overall the Gummi Ship is more action packed than the previous game.

Other minor additions have been included in KHII like the navigation menu. Every world has a different navigation menu interface. But if you don’t like this feature you can always stick with KH’s navigation menu through out the game. There is also a large amount of mini games scattered around every world. They are very addicting in my opinion. You can also select out of three difficulty levels at the menu screen. They are as follows: easy, standard and proud.

The length of this game is surprisingly much longer. The title didn’t appear until I was 3 hours into the game and the heart pounding battles didn’t start until I was 5 to 6 hours through the game. Also after realising I was 5 to 6 hours into the game, I didn’t even visit a Disney world yet. When I arrived at a Disney world, it took a fair amount of time to complete. Yet other worlds like the Coliseum took a a lot longer to complete. Kingdom Hearts II’s lifespan guarantees 35-40 hours of playing time. And that’s not including all the sidequests. Even after completing the game. Kingdom Hearts II will keep making you come back and beginning the game over again.



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