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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Video Game Connoisseur: Kingdom of Hearts

The Video Game Connoisseur: Kingdom of Hearts
Staff

I told myself that I would not even give this game a second look. I said I did not care about this game. I said I would not play this game. I said all that all the way to the cash register. I cannot begin to explain my desire to see this game and its prequels and its sequels to the bittersweet end. I think the power that compels me to such feats of marathon time loss is Donald Duck. Even the original Kingdom Hearts for the PS2 confounds me completely. I have to admit that the original was immensely entertaining and that I have played it all the way through twice, but the good name of the Final Fantasy series is tarnished by this mind-boggling pairing with sugary-sweet Disney characters. Still, where else can you find Cloud and Aeris from Final Fantasy VII along side Goofy and Donald Duck (besides in some twisted fanboy’s imagination). Kingdom Hearts did change the appearance of every Final Fantasy character they used to some extent; Cloud especially looks pretty damn cool. However some of the voice acting was a little, shall we say…bad (Lance Bass, Billy Zane, and Haley Joel Osment?). I struggled through this game and in retrospect I believe the only thing that made it all worth it was my sympathy for Donald Duck’s anger problems. The Game Boy advance sequel had some odd standards to live up to. It didn’t meet my expectations. First of all, this isn’t a sequel. Oh, it takes place immediately following the events of the first game and it stars the same people as the first game, but it’s not a sequel. Now before I lose you completely, if I haven’t already, it says right on the box that it “sets the stage for Kindom Hearts II”. It’s like a director making a three-hour movie to set up the first movie’s sequel. You want to believe that this is an intricate part of the series mythology, but all this game really is is a distraction for the fans while they take their merry time finishing the sequel. The whole story to the game is that you’re inside some kind of a castle revisiting all the worlds you went to in the last game. Thus it is set up that each world is one floor of the castle. However, the farther you go in the castle the more Sora (the main character along with Goofy and Donald Duck) forget. That’s right, as you relive your past adventures everything you know vanishes. It’s really kind of a crappy story. The whole reason you continue to climb the castle is because someone you may or may not know from your past is being held captive at the top. You can’t even interact with people in the game, all events in which people talk are handled as cut-scenes in which all you can do is watch as the story unfolds then take control again when it’s time to fight. The game has one redeeming feature. The fighting system is not only unique, it’s also kind of cool. Rather than just swing your weapon or cast a spell you have a deck of cards. You fight by playing these cards; the card may be a physical attack, or a magical spell, or it might summon a friend to come and help you. Cards can be played alone or in combos of up to three. You get new cards as you play, which you use to craft your own decks to your liking; this gave me flashbacks to my Magic: The Gathering days back in the fourth grade. I usually avoid games with card based battle systems like the clap, however, I found this to be surprisingly fun, and at times frustrating when I discover that my theoretically perfect deck contains no cards that could help me in the boss fight I discover myself embroiled in. If you’re looking for a very deep story line or high interactivity then you don’t want Chain of Memories. However, this game is a good way to pass the time on road trips or train commutes. I would suggest renting this game, if you have to play it. Or if you’re a hard-core Final Fantasy fan like me, the $34.99 price tag doesn’t hurt too much. It won’t win any awards, but it will make you wonder where the hell your 25 hours went. In fact I’m still looking for mine, let me know if you’ve seen them.

John Kane III is the Photography Editor of The Mass Media. All opinions expressed in this column are solely his own. If you have any information to the whereabouts of his lost hours please contact him at john@the-mass-media.