Release Date: TBA
Alicia Ashby: o/` It's Tron! It's Tron! It's Trooooooon! o/`
Kingdom Hearts is the poster child for games that are much better than they have any right to be, and the sequel looks like it'll be everything the first game was and then some. The interface is streamlined, special cooperative moves with all of the guest characters have been implemented, and new context-sensitive moves let Sora perform amazing stunts during boss fights and special battles. Best of all is the new roster of series and guest characters: Jack Sparrow, Auron from FFX, the Beast, Mulan, and of course the aforementioned Dude From Tron. This is going to be the game everyone's talking about for months after it's finally released.
Geson Hatchett: The game's finally out in Japan, and now it's but a simple matter of translation and dubbing before we finally see it here in the States. An expanded cast and repertoire of worlds make this one as much of a keeper as the last – but so help me, Disney, if KH3 doesn't draw from your myriad cartoon series, we're going to have words. I want my Darkwing Duck.
Joe Keiser: With Kingdom Hearts, it was almost impossible to see the game for anything but its myriad of heartwarming Disney licenses. I was giggling like a schoolgirl throughout the first game, which apparently means I didn't realize that the gameplay was shallow (though I did notice that the camera swung around without rhyme or reason and continuously – I'm not completely oblivious). Kingdom Hearts II promises to fix the gameplay problems of the first game, but also stuff all of the best areas from the first game, as well as several new areas, into the mix, thus ensuring that I won't notice the hard work into the design repairs. Tron, Steamboat Willy, and Mulan areas – man, I have to suppress the giggle fits already.
Bill Lange: TRON World. That's pretty much my entire justification for putting Kingdom Hearts II on the list. Oh sure, almost all of our favorite characters return from the original, along with new features and attacks. Awesome new allies from the Final Fantasy series and Disney's classics sweeten the deal considerably, but come on: TRON World. End of argument.
Tim "The Rabbit" Mithee: In a way, it's sad that this title has to come up again this year, but every time I see new little tidbits of information from Square, I perk back up again. I thrilled through all but a few moments of the original, and Square seems to have picked up on how much players enjoyed the various areas of the original every bit as much as the gameplay itself. The choices to include TRON and Mulan are certainly enough to push me from a "maybe play" to a "will play." The excellent combat system and style of the original certainly won't push me away, if it comes back in full force.
Brian "Katarani" Porbansky: After the disappointing features of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, a return to an action-based combat will be a breath of fresh air. Ah, Kingdom Hearts. Forever walking the line between genius and travesty, the series is the perfect mix of Final Fantasy overwrought melodrama and Disney-esque lightheartedness. The psuedo-sequel Chain of Memories only furthered the title's role as a borderline pariah. In a time where card battle games were super awesome with Phantasy Star Online 3: Card Revolution and the upcoming Metal Gear: ACiD, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories took a ride on the cash-cow bandwagon and introduced us to the exact same areas we'd seen in the PlayStation game while allowing us to mix cards in order ... to perform the same attacks we'd done in the PlayStation game. While the storyline shed a bit more light on the main conflict between Sora and Riku that was only barely scratched in the original Kingdom Hearts, it also seemed like a pointless cash-cow ploy. Enter Kingdom Hearts II. Picking up the storyline right away, not only are we promised brand-new areas – levels based off of Tron and The Lion King especially bring out the Disney geek in me – but also a refined and perfected combat system, one that this reviewer hopes brings the series a step closer to the pinnacle of action-RPGs, namely, Ocarina of Time and Dark Cloud 2.
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