Ah, Kingdom Hearts. A legend on the PS2, and now making its debut on the GBA. I've heard so much about this game, I simply have to try it out myself. So, it goes that I spent $35 from my latest paycheck on the game, and thankfully, it didn't disappoint.
To be honest, I'm not a keen fan of RPGs, primarily due to the need for repetitive, randomized battles just so that your character can level up. There are a few exceptions, like X-Men Legends for example, that incorporated these battles into the story seamlessly, making it less mindless. But the majority of RPGs still rely on such battles, and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is not an exception.
Fortunately, the Kingdom Hearts brand is more than just repetitive battles. The fact that it incorporates a card-based fighting system makes the exchanges a little more interesting than merely just swinging your weapons all the time. The need for specific cards during battle means that building up a deck is important. Different stages, or "worlds", as witnessed in this game, require different strategies, which means it's not a good idea to approach them with only one set of cards. The cards also allow you to do combos and special attacks, which will please fans who enjoy a more advanced form of fighting other than mere melee.
Of course, card-based fighting also means that fighting itself is restricted to what cards you've. Some argue that this takes away the spontaneity of battle. To a certain extent, this is true. Also, while the system calls for strategized battles, the battle will become so intense towards the end that you simply won't have the time to plan. These take away the intention of the system. Still, it's not to that much of a problem that it'll take away your enjoyment of the game.
It also helps that the graphics for this game is really good. You should already know that Kingdom Hearts incorporates characters from Square and Disney, so apart from enjoying the beautiful backgrounds in the various worlds, you also get to see great renditions of familiar characters like Aladdin, Ariel, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pinocchio and Winnie the Pooh. If you've a lady who's not very keen of you playing games all the time, these should convince her to let you have a go!
The audios is this game are also enjoyable, even though they're mostly rehashed from the original Kingdom Hearts. Each world has its own set of music, and they generally complement the mood of the world nicely. A minor issue I had is that somehow the music tends to turn softer at times by itself. This happens for a period of about a few seconds before reverting back to normal. It's not a big issue, but it does bother me because it happens so often. The again, it could be the game, it could be the catridge, or it could even be my GBA.
In summary, this is a game that I'd recommend for gaming fans who like a good RPG. It'd have got a higher score if the dialogues weren't so cheesy, and if it had added some puzzle elements. Still, a great game overall, and the fact that it unlocks an additional mode after you beat the game just makes it all the more good for replay value.Read full review