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E3 Impression

Kingdom Hearts 2

05.19.2004

MATTHEW FOSTER
SOUND TEST CURATOR
PHILIP BLOOM
E3 CORRESPONDANT

SCREENSHOT
There are lots of new Disneey friends in KH2

Split briefly from my E3 buddy, the mighty Lord Klaxor, I got funneled by traffic into that mecca of RPGing, Square Enix, a second time. This time, I found myself surrounded by unfamiliar games...or they would be if I'd been asleep for the last five years. First up was Kingdom Hearts 2, the much awaited sequel to Kingdom Hearts where men are men, heartless are heartless, and the chinese are angry at Mulan.

The section I played was a demo of the Mulan level that revealed a lot about the game, both good and bad. The battle system, as it stands, feels more fluid than the original and seems to hint at slightly more complex version of what came before while still providing swift moving gameplay. Sora has gained the ability to fuse with his partners for a period of time when he builds up a drive meter which while I didn't figure out how to do, I did get to play with courtesy of him being Super twin-key-blade wielding Sora when I'd picked the controller up, complete with a number of new moves to deal with.
SCREENSHOT
Tag team swordsmen.

Marching around, I found exploration rather heavily and noticibly curtailed, with glowing walls popping up all over the place to guide me to where I was supposed to be heading. I suspect that this is an artifact of the demo level and not something that'll remain in the final copy, but I'm mentioning it anyways just in case it was a real example of what to expect. Corraled through a nice looking village, I found myself looking up at Atilla the Hun, complete with his mighty bird flying about. A brief gesture by him and he was promptly surrounded by hundreds of heartless, really quite a sight even if none of them looked or felt like mighty huns. These forces then charged you, requiring you to hold them back for a bit as they swarmed you from all directions, yellow flying one's charging down and horse riding heartless smashing into your back. It was a pretty nice effect and spoke well of capturing the whole sensation until...it finished.

That was the good. The battle system was nice and seem improved. The graphics look good. But right after it finished they got to what was, for me at least, a major sticking point on the original Kingdom Hearts. That being their writers struggling to merge the precise same events and reactions that occurred in the movie into a game that has remarkably different setups, largely due to more characters being around and the heartless providing a backdrop to the actions. Unfortunately, I have to report they haven't fixed that problem as right after the delightful hun scene I was treated to a sloppily delivered copy of Mulan being discovered and the soldiers marching off victorious in the precise same fashion they did in the movie. Truly, not Square Enix's writing staff at their best.

Having not gotten much of a chance to explore the other demo copies they had out, I can only presume from this we're looking at what's going to be a very good game that suffers from dialogue and story that meanders in and out of pre-recorded disney segments and an actually interesting tale of the heartless and Sora's fight against them. I'm still looking forward to it despite the clear evidence that they didn't really throw their leash from the last game but to those who also had issues with the Disney pre-recorded scene-work in the first game, do be ready for more of the same in the second.

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Console:
· Playstation 2

Release:
· Winter 2005

Publisher:
· Square Enix

Developer:
· Square Enix


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