PS2 REVIEW: KINGDOM HEARTS 2
Speaking of powers, while Sora still swings that mighty keyblade in KH2 he has also learned some cool new tricks, including how to wield two keyblades at once. The battle system, which is in real-time, unlike the Final Fantasy series turn-based combat, has been upgraded. The first of which is a context sensitive use of the Triangle button that will allow Sora to improvise new battle moves at the touch of the button. If players are fast on the draw when the Triangle symbol appears it might help turn the tide of battle with a special move. During battles, enemies will drop glowing yellow spheres that Sora can use to increase the drive form meter. Once enough spheres have been collected, Sora can activate a 'drive form'. There are 5 different drive forms available in KH2 and each allow Sora to fuse with one or both of his party members which grant him greater strength and power for a limited time. As players progress they will acquire the following drive forms: Brave Form (Goofy & Sora), Wisdom Form (Donald & Sora), Master Form (Donald, Goofy & Sora), Final Form (Goofy, Donald & Sora) and Anti-Form (dependent on damage taken during drive form). The powers granted during the drive forms range include wielding two keyblades, telekinetic duel keyblade attacks, projectile keyblade attacks, flight, increased magic, increased physical ability, glide and double jump to name a few. If Sora takes too much damage while in drive form he will transmogrify into the Anti-Form which....well, perhaps I've said too much. I'm getting into spoiler territory.

Another addition to the fighting engine is Sora's newfound ability to execute a link attack with a special guest character fighting alongside your party. These attacks will vary widely depending on what level you are currently playing and whom Sora is teamed up with at the time.

In terms of actual combat, KH2 isn't that far removed from the original. Square-Enix seemed to be reluctant to alter it significantly so there will still be lengthy episodes of button mashing the X button. Overall the difficulty appears to have been lowered to accomodate players with average skills, which is usually not the way a sequel works, but in Square-Enix's defense, I would advise KH veterans to play on Proud (the hardest difficulty) which should provide a decent amount of challenge in the long run.

Combat is much less frustrating an experience when compared to the original Kingdom Hearts, due to the overhauled camera system which allows you to control the camera with the R analog stick at any time. This should please critics of the originals flawed camera system, which wasn't maneuverable and often left you with the worst possible view of the action. You'll also discover Square-Enix is offering a new 'perspective' this time out. While the game is generally played from a third person view allowing the player to see the action from a 'behind the character' position, you'll also find yourself playing in first person view reminiscent of FPS (first person shooters) thanks to a little help from Chicken Little.

Summoning Disney characters to assist Sora in battle returns in KH2 and you'll have four to choose from. Summoning a character is dependent on your drive meter so Sora won't be able to use drive form and summon simultaneously. This also means summoned characters won't be available to help indefinitely; once the drive form meter depletes, you'll be on your own.

  • Chicken Little: When summoned, the game switches to a first person perspective so that Chicken can hurl baseballs in rapid succession at enemies.
  • Stitch is the extremely destructive Disney anti-hero and he isn't any less behaved in video game form. Once called into action, Stitch will break through the "fourth wall" of gaming and appear to crawl around the screen (including the menus!) while casually shooting enemies with his plasma blaster. His link attack with Sora consists of a ukulele jam session where buttons must be pressed at the correct time to execute the ultimate in musical destruction.
  • Genie from Aladdin has his own version of Sora's keyblade, which he'll use with reckless abandon to smite his enemies. He can also mimic any of Sora's available drive forms, which can result in a devastating damaging attack.
  • Peter Pan & Tink are quite handy. Peter will fly around and attack enemies while Tink will heal Sora. This summons is actually quite special as it furthers the storyline of KH2, but sorry, I won't tell you why!
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System: PS2
Dev: Square-Enix
Pub: Square-Enix
Release: Mar 2006
Players: 1
Review by Vaughn