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Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories

Square Enix
Action RPG
Kingdom Hearts
  • December 7, 2004
  • November 11, 2004
  • May 6, 2005
B 30 total ratings
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Chains of Mediocrity

A Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories review Author: Andrew Farinella Published: December 21, 2004
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For Kingdom Hearts fans, the newest installment in the story was something to look forward to. While the true sequel, Kingdom Hearts 2, has yet to be released, this GBA RPG was supposed to help ease the wait for the fans. Unfortunately, this poorly slapped together re-hash of the original was nothing more than a waste of $35.
Sora and Alice, sitting in a tree
One of the key elements of Chains of Memories that stands out from the original is the new battle system. In Kingdom Hearts, the fighting was in real time with no special arena for battles. However, in Chain of Memories, all fights are thrown into a new area, like a Star Ocean game. Unfortunately, the fighting wasn't as fluid as it was in the first. With the card based battle system now incorporated, players are expected to sift through cards while running around and trying to attack enemies. You must also pay attention to the card's power, because you can have an attack fail or cancel out the opponent's attack through the skillful use of the cards. However, this becomes difficult to do when you have four or five enemies all attacking you and you are trying to hit them, only to have half of your attacks nulled out.
Another problem was the fact that you were so limited in cards. It was possible, and very likely that you will run out of cards in the middle of the fight. To regain your cards, you had to hold down the attack button on a special slot in the card area for so long and your cards would return. The more times you had to do it in one fight, the longer it would take each time.
Fighting the Heartless...again
Even though battle system left much to be desired, the combo aspect of it was fairly well done. By pressing both the L and R button simultaneously, you were able to put three cards together to create a combo attack. By using this combo, not only could you attack swiftly and efficiently, but the card numbers would combine to cancel out almost any attack. You are also able to purchase skills to use in combos, like sliding attacks and such.
While the majority of game play is fighting, the story is what you play this game for, or in this game, don't play it for. With half the game just being a revival of the original, there really isn't anything in it worthy of your time. Without spoiling to much, I can say you can pretty much guess the entire plot by the game's name alone. Dealing heavily with memories and how they affect a character's pursuit of their goal, the story becomes nothing more than a walk down memory lane with a few new benches added to try to make it look different.
As you make your way through the game, one thing begins to become clear, the environments are terrible. One of the great things about Kingdom Hearts were the beautiful environments that seemed very expansive. This is lost in Chain of Memories, as levels become very bleak and uninspired, all having the same basic, claustrophobic shape and feel. They hardly ever differ, most consisting of platforms, ladders, and barrels with heartless running around trying to irritate you further. In order to travel between areas, you have to open doors using cards. Most of the time you simply use a map card with a high enough number, but special doors require multiple cards, consisting of a special map card and then any number of other map cards to fit the requirements for opening that door.
Go, Cloud, Go!
Though the environments are dull, the cut scenes are remarkably beautiful. With faux 3D graphics, the cut scenes offer a wonderful addition to the game, often appearing as though they belong on a more powerful system and not the GBA. It seems as though the cut scenes themselves were developed on the Kingdom Hearts/Kingdom Hearts 2 engine then transfered to a pixel format to work with the GBA.
After having played the game, I have one suggestion that I wish Square would have considered. Put it on the DS. With the updated graphical capabilities and unique form of game play, there would have been a lot of promise in a Kingdom Hearts game on the DS handheld. Unfortunately I will be forced to keep that a wish, and nothing more.
With so many flaws in the game, I can't recommend this title to anyone who's not a rabid Kingdom Hearts fan. It offers nothing enticing in terms of game play and the story will feel far too familiar for anyone who has played the first. Simply put, don't bother; wait for Kingdom Hearts 2.
Editor's Grade
dotted line "With a poor hack of a story and even worse battle system, this is not the game you expected or hoped for."
B dotted line Average Reader Score (Based on 30 ratings) | Rate it Now
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Vapid Buttmunch
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Member since June 11, 2003
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