Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Do you mean 
Reply
Mar 28 2006
By: AcidJames77 Fender Bender 3589 posts
Offline

Kingdom Hearts II Review - 1UP

10 replies 1 views Edited Mar 28, 2006
It gets a 9.0 out of 10 from 1UP.com (Reviewed by the Milkman) Link.

"When the first Kingdom Hearts came out back in 2002, it was in essence the perfect testing ground, both for the viability of the Disney brand in videogaming culture, and for Tetsuya Nomura as a more than just Square Enix's omnipresent character designer, but as game director. After all, neither was a sure thing. Disney games were rarely little more than perfectly timed cash-ins released to coincide with the latest theatrical release. As much we may love the occasional Disney flick, did the serious gamer really rush out and buy Stitch: Experiment 626? And as prolific a creative whirlwind as Tetsuya Nomura is, nothing at the time suggested he could cut it as an actual game designer. Funny how things work out.

Kingdom Hearts, as flawed as it was, would start off slowly saleswise but continue to grow in both reputation and the number of units sold as casual gamers were drawn to the high-quality graphics and family-friendly cast of dozens of Disney alumni (with high-profile voice actors, like Haley Joel Osment, providing the voice work), while hardcore gamers came for the action-RPG gameplay mechanics and Final Fantasy appearances. Kingdom Hearts turned out to be a Final Fantasy-sized breakthrough hit, with worldwide sales eclipsing 5 million units, with 2.5 million of those coming from North America. It was the rare game that was all things to all people, but as with all debut efforts, much stood to be improved. The camera was a vertigo-inducing nightmare, and certain design considerations (like being able to pause the game during battle, whether to access your items menu or go to the bathroom) had been left out altogether.

Now, four years later, with a plot-bridging sequel (Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories for the GBA) released to fill the gap, Kingdom Hearts II arrives at long last to prove whether the first game's success was a fluke, and whether Nomura and company have built upon their success, listened to criticism, and devised a follow-up worthy of the series' potential. Not to suggest that Kingdom Hearts (I or II) is an exercise in form over function, but a great deal of the joy to be had here is in the experience, the thrill of seeing familiar faces reinvented (or reinterpreted) in polygonal art. Where the first game dealt in the Dumbos and Simbas of memory past, Kingdom Hearts II updates the formula with a series of unexpected additions in the form of Captain Jack Sparrow, Stitch, Tron (among others from the Disney canon), and Auron from Final Fantasy X. Following the formula of the first game, Sora and his companions Donald and Goofy adorn themselves in attire based on the worlds they're visiting, which leads to some pretty striking level design (the Tron-based areas are particularly stunning), in terms of both visuals and gameplay opportunities (lightcycles? Oh, hell yes). As Sora and company move from one world to another, they do so via a vastly improved Gummi Ship feature that has been reinvented as an exciting Disney-meets-Gradius 3D shooter (complete with Option-like 'Teeny Ships') that is one of the better minigame-style efforts we've seen in a Square RPG in a long time.

But the actual act of leveling and adventuring from the game's opening segments (where you're introduced to a young band of characters, led by a young Twilight Town resident, Roxas) to the real meat of the game (where Sora, Donald, Goofy, King Mickey and others make their grand return) is nothing short of brilliant when compared to the original Kingdom Heart's flaws. The camera, while not perfect, has been fixed to the point that the exciting new battle engine can flourish, rewarding gamers with its intuitive depth and visually bombastic Limit and Reaction attacks. The Drive abilities transform Sora, depending on who is in his party, and while the depth may prove to be just out of reach of younger gamers (those under, say, 10 years old), older gamers will enjoy the instantaneous eye candy it provides. But when it comes to something more visceral, the Reaction commands -- which require the gamer to press Triangle when the icon flashes onscreen -- provide the biggest incentive, as Sora dashes back and forth, his Keyblade flying through the air. Helping matters is the lock-on function, which works great provided you're not too close to any walls or other geography; otherwise, the camera does do a bit of a head spin.

In terms of length, the game is no slouch, providing a good 50 hours or more, depending on whether you opt to fill out Jiminy Cricket's journal or try to take down the impossibly difficult optional boss fight with Sephiroth (maybe you thought he was bad in the first game, but that was nothing). While the most important parts of the Kingdom Hearts experience -- the game mechanics -- have been improved to where it is now a legitimate top-tier game, it's the little things that make this game so great. The attention to detail is riveting (check out the footsteps and sounds Sora leaves behind when in Tron form), and Kingdom Hearts II is nothing if not inspired. The Steamboat Willie area makes you realize just how wonderful videogames can be, and if that weren't enough, the voice acting is also superb. While the much-hyped addition of actors like Mena Suvari (as Aerith) is occasionally overrated (her script reading is pretty dry), on the whole, the game has a level of polish and professionalism that you'd expect in a frontline Disney-related effort. And the animation of the characters themselves is something to behold. Whereas in other games the protagonists may run, walk, and fight, in Kingdom Hearts II they live and breathe. That extra motion, the fluid nature of each character's gait features the same amazing nuance that characters like Mulan display on the big screen. Helping matters is Nomura's eye for epic drama, which -- as in the CG-animated film Advent Children -- will often result in the sort of "I'll never leave you!" tear-jerking, heart-stopping moments he is so fond of, and so good at creating. This is, after all, a movie about young friends taking on the world, and perhaps this is why Kingdom Hearts touches you where games like, say, God of War never will.

The sound quality extends not only to the THX-approved, Pro Logic II-enhanced effects, but also to the orchestration and composition. Utada Hikaru returns with a theme song that, while not as uplifting as "Simple and Clean" (aka the less-corny sounding "Hikari"), is a sublime contribution that grows with each listen. In total, Kingdom Hearts II feels like the result of a development team emboldened by the success of its own debut. It's as if everyone on the team said "Hey, we can do this" and, for the long-awaited sequel, hit the ground running. Forget about the next generation of gaming for a little while, do yourself a favor, and soak in this majestic delight, this most guilty of pleasures. This, while staggeringly commercial in ways, is one of those sorts of games where nearly everything goes right. And despite some annoying load times, Kingdom Hearts II eventually becomes so involving, so enthralling, you'll find yourself propelled from world to world as if by some magnetic invisible force; time flies by that effortlessly. While the cynical crowd will likely not be lured away from their first-person shooters to spend time in this Disney-soaked world, those who have already made up their minds to dive in headfirst will surely be touched by Kingdom Hearts II. It is occasionally overwrought, and more often than not cloying in its excessive fan service, but Kingdom Hearts II proves the first game was no fluke. This is a game that will stay with you.


_________________________________________________________________
Name- Clades
Server- Cerberus
Race- Tarutaru
Job- BLM 53
Please use plain text.
Message 1 of 11 (1 View)
Reply
0 Likes
Uncharted Territory
Registered: 11/07/2004
Offline
2188 posts
 

Re: Kingdom Hearts II Review - 1UP

Mar 28, 2006
sick
Image hosting by Photobucket
Image hosting by Photobucket
Image hosting by Photobucket
Image hosting by Photobucket
Image hosting by Photobucket
Jessica Alba is HOTT
Please use plain text.
Message 2 of 11 (1 View)
Reply
0 Likes
Fender Bender
Registered: 03/15/2005
Offline
3748 posts
 

Re: Kingdom Hearts II Review - 1UP

Mar 28, 2006
Nice, I wanted a 9.5/10 from them though.:smileytongue:


Please use plain text.
Message 3 of 11 (1 View)
Reply
0 Likes
Final Boss
Registered: 01/03/2001
Offline
30058 posts
 

Re: Kingdom Hearts II Review - 1UP

Mar 28, 2006


Sniper99 wrote:
It gets a 9.0 out of 10 from 1UP.com (Reviewed by the Milkman) Link.

 



Don't copy articles on a website you don't have permission to do so. Next time use a URL.
Formally chaynes...
Please use plain text.
Message 4 of 11 (1 View)
Reply
0 Likes
Treasure Hunter
Registered: 08/13/2005
Offline
5038 posts
 

Re: Kingdom Hearts II Review - 1UP

Mar 28, 2006
He is being partial, It can be seen that the reviewer was a fan...
Please use plain text.
Message 5 of 11 (1 View)
Reply
0 Likes
Treasure Hunter
Registered: 08/23/2005
Offline
5420 posts
 

Re: Kingdom Hearts II Review - 1UP

Mar 28, 2006


Ark_v2 wrote:
He is being partial, It can be seen that the reviewer was a fan...

Well, people don't want to hear a review from somebody who hated the game....  It would be interesting, but what would be the point?

Granted, you're somewhat right, he seems to be too much of a fan to be the reviewer, they should get somebody to judge it as a sequel and as a game in itself, not from a huge fan of the series....

Please use plain text.
Message 6 of 11 (1 View)
Reply
0 Likes
Treasure Hunter
Registered: 09/04/2005
Offline
5760 posts
 

Re: Kingdom Hearts II Review - 1UP

Mar 28, 2006


Aeris_Jayle wrote:


Ark_v2 wrote:
He is being partial, It can be seen that the reviewer was a fan...

Well, people don't want to hear a review from somebody who hated the game....  It would be interesting, but what would be the point?

Granted, you're somewhat right, he seems to be too much of a fan to be the reviewer, they should get somebody to judge it as a sequel and as a game in itself, not from a huge fan of the series....



...Because that would cause a biased opinion and articles should try to stay as un-biased as possible. Well, that's if you want an honest review.

The article was right in the beginning though. As the years went by the game started gaining more popularity.

Live every day as if it were your last, because one of these days, it will be.
Please use plain text.
Message 7 of 11 (1 View)
Reply
0 Likes
Hekseville Citizen
Registered: 09/07/2004
Offline
400 posts
 

Re: Kingdom Hearts II Review - 1UP

Mar 28, 2006
my question is why are all of you on now? the game hath been released upon we, the underserving masses. im on because it doesnt come to the gamestop by my house til 4 sucks huh?
I hang out and do stuff......... its the way I live if you have a problem with it then i don't need you in my life
"Just because your paranoid doesnt mean theyre not after you" Kurt Cobain
Please use plain text.
Message 8 of 11 (1 View)
Reply
0 Likes
Sackboy
Registered: 07/22/2005
Offline
536 posts
 

Re: Kingdom Hearts II Review - 1UP

Mar 28, 2006
Are you people still here? Shoudlnt you go get KH2 and play the heck out of it.... mmm. As for me i respect dinsey's effeort, but the battle mechanics and hummy ships just ruined it for me. but anywayz... Hope you enjoy the game people
2% of the teenage population hasn't tried smoking pot. If you're one of the 98% that has or will try it. Please copy and paste this into your signature

Please use plain text.
Message 9 of 11 (1 View)
Reply
0 Likes
Fender Bender
Registered: 03/24/2006
Offline
3542 posts
 

Re: Kingdom Hearts II Review - 1UP

Mar 28, 2006
it definititly gets a 10/10

Like Dissidia, Final Fantasy, or Square-enix games at all?
Please use plain text.
Message 10 of 11 (1 View)
Reply
0 Likes