When the first Kingdom Hearts came out to the states it made a huge impact on most, if not all fans of RPGs and video gaming. With the combined effort of two big companies, Square-Enix and Disney, there was no reason to let this game go under any gamer’s radar. Characters from both universes collide in a epic story that soon launched a sequel that made an even bigger success. Kingdom Hearts 2 had more goodies for the player to enjoy, such as the gummi ship battles, more tournaments and prizes for all their hard work. Yet, there was another in the making. One that did not get to be seen by the American audience. Why? Well, that is the question the fans have been asking and there has not been an answer.
With the purchase of Kingdom Hearts 2: Final Mix+, you also get an extra game called RE: Chain of Memories. It’s the remake of the GBA game Chain of Memories, but now with PS2 graphics and special effects. Also, you can play as Riku in his own story mode, unlocking more story line than the original. But there is more to be said about this game and questions too.
Why didn’t this remake of both KH2 and CoM come state side? Too much cost for the original voice actors to play their roles once again? We may never know. So now that is why I am making this review to let you, the fans to decide if it worth the import. Mind you, RE: Chain of Memories took me about 18 hours to beat and that was only Sora’s story line and this review is ONLY for this game, not Kingdom Hearts 2: Final Mix+. I’ll get to that game next weekend. Now, on with the review!
As I mentioned before, you can pick from playing Sora or Riku’s story line and both have their unique way of fighting. Sora has the same way of battling as in the GBA version, but with Riku you’ll need to switch from his normal self to his darker side. He can do combos like Sora and he has King Mickey to aid him. But for right now, let’s stick with the optional Sora story line.
Sora has of course Goofy and Donald to aid him in battle with their friend cards, and summons such as Cloud, Mushu, Genie and Bambi. As you first start the game, you will be pressing the circle button a lot in battle, but as you progress a bit further you will notice that the triangle button will be your best friend. Meaning that once you get the hang of putting your cards into a nifty combo, you will begin to keep pressing triangle in battle and circle only once or twice for restocking. The game play is fun, but gets tedious once you have yourself finding a way to level up around 60 or so. The good thing about the game play is that you can mix your stock with magic and attack. For me, I played with mainly a magic only deck and wiped out most levels with it. Again, that was only my strategy and didn’t work all that often.
Getting new power-ups and abilities is a fun errand to do, dispite the fact that later on in the game you will need more than 99 cards to unlock those special doors and only stuck with around 15 due to trying to level up past 60. Yeah, good luck with that. On the plus side, the amount of cards you use for those special doors stay at that amount. So just put in a few cards, go back to find more and repeat, though it will be a pain in the butt doing so. As for the cards to use on the doors, I find nothing wrong with them It’s entirely up to the player to decide on how he/she will deal with the decisions of their actions. Hey, if you decide to input a card that spawns tons of enemies and your low on health, too bad for you.
The storyline progresses as it did in the GBA version and ends the same way, nothing new to announce from there. Yet playing as Riku, you get more of an understanding from his point of view on what has happened and the decisions he choose. As I mentioned before, playing as Riku is different and I would refer to him as being a bit difficult to play as since everyone is used to using Sora. One of the issues is the “Duel” method, where in battle against a boss there will be a pop-up message “DUEL” and telling you to keep pressing triangle. Doing so will give you the upper hand and leave an open space for you to attack. Though I find it better to just keep whacking at anything that moves, rather than waiting for that “DUEL” message to pop-up. I’m not going into every single detail about Riku, since you can look up how he fights and his storyline on GameFAQs.
The graphics are decent, though not on the same level as Kingdom Hearts 2. The only detail that I thought stood out was the facial movement and expressions from the main characters and villains. It gives you more of an impression than anything else in the game. The way they look at each other, anger, love, confusion. Those all look really good with the voice acting. Though this is only in the main cut-scenes, not where you have to choose to fight a boss or get ready. The musical score is as wonderful as it is in Kingdom Hearts 2, nothing new to say there.
So, is this game truly worth the import? Well for RE: Chain of Memories, yes. And for KH2: Final Mix+? Why not? From the little amount of time I have played it so far, it has gone beyond my expectations of what a RPG remake should/can be. I have no doubt that KH2:FM+ will be of loss for the fans, even though both games are in Japanese. Still, if you’ve played the GBA version of Chain of Memories and the PS2 Kingdom Hearts 2, then you shouldn’t find many problems playing the remakes.