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Kingdom Hearts- RE: Chain of Memories (PS2) Review

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Kingdom Hearts- RE: Chain of Memories (PS2) Review

Post  Adminassassin on Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:19 pm

Originally written for school newspaper...

Taking what people have done in the past and reworking it with a modern vision remains a trademark of the entertainment industry. This may be through the form of adapting books to films or vice-versa. Other times, works are remade in the same medium.

Kingdom Hearts- RE: Chain of Memories (rated Everyone 10+) is the PlayStation 2 remake of the 2004 Gameboy Advance game of nearly the same name. Fitting in chronologically between fellow PS2 titles Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, Chain of Memories tells the story of the year in between.

Like the rest of the series, the game follows a teenaged boy named Sora (still voiced by Haley Joel Osment) and his companions Donald and Goofy. Throughout the game, the trio ventures through both original and Disney-related worlds in order to save their friends.

This middle title in the series differs in game play in that all actions in combat rely on using cards, such as those for magic, summons, reloads and the keyblade. Cards must be played in real-time combat as opposed to a turn-based card game and come in different numbers as well, from zero to nine, with nine being the strongest. Succeeding in battle relies on breaking your opponent’s hands by using higher numbered cards except in the case of zero cards, which will beat any card if used after the opponent’s move.

The original version was entirely 2D in combat and used an isometric view during exploration. The remake sports 3D environments using somewhat recycled graphics from the other PS2 titles, but they are styled like cubic rooms as in the GBA version.

Combat has been greatly enhanced in the remake and feels very similar to the combat of the other PS2 games. Some of the boss fights have been changed to be similar to the boss fights in Kingdom Hearts. The ability to dodge roll and move around in all directions makes it easier to avoid more attacks than was previously possible.

The original GBA version used several minutes of compressed 3D cutscenes, an impressive feat for the cartridge-based handheld system. In the remake, these scenes have been greatly expanded and are voiced by an above-average cast. However, story scenes that take place between floors in the Disney worlds use the game engine and still rely on text, which take away from the drama of the narrative in these parts.

The biggest flaw of the original version was uneven difficulty and, while addressed and fixed somewhat in the remake by making it easier to get better cards, this still remains a problem. Skirmishes while exploring are usually a breeze but many boss battles are unusually difficult. Even buying better cards at Moogle shops, a must to succeed, and strategically arranging one’s deck does not always mean victory. Some later fights even seem cheap because the enemy can sometimes shrug off attacks without taking damage by guarding, even if the player can manage to break their high-numbered cards.

Square-Enix has greatly improved on their game with this revisit. Aesthetically, they did a great job as well as bringing in components from the other titles. Unfortunately, they didn’t completely fix some of the problems in the difficulty balance of the original version, which can hurt the fun factor at times. 3.5 of 5 logs.

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Re: Kingdom Hearts- RE: Chain of Memories (PS2) Review

Post  Donth8 on Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:49 pm

If I remember correctly, you unlock Riku's story after you beat the game once and he handles differently from Sora.
This should have been the version we got instead of the original GBA release.

For those who played KHII first, this game is good for piecing the story together.

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Re: Kingdom Hearts- RE: Chain of Memories (PS2) Review

Post  Adminassassin on Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:23 pm

That's correct. I enjoyed that mode a lot more because frankly, it was easy and I like easy...especially when I struggled to beat the main game.

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Re: Kingdom Hearts- RE: Chain of Memories (PS2) Review

Post  Terra on Thu Aug 12, 2010 5:17 pm

I have to admit that I'm liking Riku's Story more right now as well, it is definitely easier. I'll continue with it soon once I finish my next Nintendo Life review, Star Fox Command.

As for the Remake, I am annoyed that we never got it, it does sound better in several ways. I don't see why it couldn't have released by another publisher like with the GBA version in Europe (Thank you Nintendo).

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Re: Kingdom Hearts- RE: Chain of Memories (PS2) Review

Post  Donth8 on Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:04 am

I don't know if you can tell the difference in the GBA version but Riku's Dodge Roll is 10 times better than Sora's in the PS2 remake. Also the Auto-Reload is awesome. Smile

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Re: Kingdom Hearts- RE: Chain of Memories (PS2) Review

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