Kingdom Hearts: Chain of MemoriesReviewed By: Nat Sullivan
VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER
"Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories" is Square Enix's second entry in the million selling Kingdom Hearts series. Kingdom Hearts was a unique game for a few reasons, from it's high production values to the unheard of pairing of Final Fantasy and Disney. While Square busily works away on a true sequel for the PS2, they provide us with this, an excellent card-based action RPG. Arguably 2004's best GBA release. But does the game stand with its PS2 big brother in terms of being greatly family friendly?
The story begins right where the first game's left off; with Sora, Donald and Goofy following Pluto down a road in the midst of grassy hills. In next to no time they reach a cross roads. Confused at which way to go, Sora ponders his situation. It is then that he is approached by a hooded man telling him to go to Castle Oblivion. Sora goes and thus our heroes lose their memories the moment they enter the castle. They go on a long journey through the castle to reclaim their lost memories.
Game play 4/5: Kingdom Hearts: CoM uses a unique card based action RPG system. Critics of this bizarre new system might be happy to know that it is just as simple (and button masher friendly)as it's PS2 predecessor. Various actions take the form of one of three main types of cards, attack, magic and item. Attack and magic include magic spells such as fira, summons like Cloud Strife (of FFVII fame) and Sora's trademark weapon, the key blade. There is an additional type of card known as an enemy card that allow Sora to use powerful special abilities for a limited time. Using these four types of cards, Sora can build a deck to use in combat. However, to equip a deck you need CP. CP stands for card points and you can build them as you level, so to equip a deck with a card total of 50 CP you will need 50 CPs or more. Different cards take up different amounts of card points. A basic kingdom key takes up one, while a high level enemy card may take up to eighty. Outside of combat it is fairly standard action RPG fare. People who played the earlier Zelda games and the Boktai series will have no trouble adjusting to this new system.
Graphics 5/5: Square Enix innovates yet again in the market. Seven years after FFVII changed the face of RPGs forever Square finds a way to display full 3D FMV on the GBA. The results are almost on par with the graphics found in the PS2 game. An amazing technical feat for sure. It's in game graphics fare good as well, featuring well animated sprites and colorful environments. Veterans of the first game may find the use of almost all of the first game's worlds a bit tedious after a while.
Sound 5/5: While the game is not voice acted, in battle characters have a number of yells and such. Sound effects are good as well. The version of Hikari that plays during the end credits is well emulated from the PS2 game.
Violence 4/5: Next to none. Most of it consists of whacking shadow like enemies known as the heartless with a key and watching them ''die'' in a shower of XP points. Although, late in the game a character is killed via a chakram to the back.
Occult 4/5: Apart from the basic magic spells and summons, one character is known as a witch and has the power to rearrange peoples memories. Nothing too major. Much less than in most RPGs.
Adult Content 4/5: An amazing slip from the first game. One enemy character yells ''Give me one h*** of a show!'' Also, those who didn't approve of Jasmine and Ariel's outfits will hate to know that both make a cameo in the game, as well as FFVII's midriff baring ninja, Yuffie Kusanagi.
Positive: Sora goes through a lot to save his friend Namine as well as his friend Riku. Even when Riku attacks him, Sora refuses to kill him. Donald and Goofy stick with Sora through thick and thin. Love, self-sacrifice and honor are condoned through out the whole game.
Overall 4.5/5: This is on game that anyone over the age of 11 should play. The one game that features Disney characters and doesn't stink. The best action RPG released on the GBA in 2004, period. Barring some minor problems in game play and content it is by far one of the best GBA games yet and a wonderful bridge between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 2.Year of Release—2004
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.