9.3

This game is far more than "Well Worth The Wait", and in the UK we had to wait 4/5 months for this absolute ma

The long wait is finally over for us in the UK! I can't stress the word finally enough. Nomura and all the Square Enix/BVG (Buena Vista Games) Staff have made another masterpiece. If you read my blog, I wrote about how this series brought back my love of Disney and inspired me to play Final Fantasy VII again (and actually play Final Fantasy VIII), so I can't thank everyone who worked on this enough. The reason this Square Enix/Disney collboration wroked so well is the Final Fantasy and Disney Magic has been so wonderfully weaved into this game. Very special effort has been made to make the Disney characters look JUST like the films, and Nomura has designed the Final Fantasy characters brilliantly. The superb voice acting (including Mena Suvari, not including Mae Whitman or the Port Royal voice actors) brings these characters to live. As well as another top class song from famed Japanese singer Utada Hikaru and beatiful music from Yoko Shimomura, the game's music is certainly one of it's many highlights. Because of the special effort made for the Theme Tune, Musical Score, Voice Acting (Haley Joel Osment and Christopher Lee in particular) and Graphics, the end result is almost perfect, that's why the Graphics and Sound areas get an instant 9 out of 10. The story can be confusing to some, and I still don't get some of it (Like the Secret Ending and the giant Kingdom Hearts in The World That Never Was) but I grasped it quite easily, and when you do understand and pay very close attention to it, you'll understand how amazing and deep the story is. The characters haven't just been designed brillaintly in visual terms, but their humanity, flaws, uber-coolness and emotions at different points all are easy to see and understand and sometimes realate with. I'm a little dissapointed with some worlds (*ahem*Port Royal) and how they consist of going between 3 or 4 screens and not being at all faithful to the source material (*cough*Port Royal again, I know that Sora, Donald and Goofy don't turn up in the films but with a great story like Pirates Of The Caribbean's shouldn't but ruined the way it is). The Noboies are meant to be the main enemy but for half of the game don't show up at all. And Kairi, Riku, Roxas and Namine were all forgotten apart from in dialouge (Where's Riku and Kairi, are they on this world?) and turn up right in the end. which I guess isn't a bad thing, since the end is awesome and everything all climaxes, maybe I'm just nitpicking. The combat does consist of hammering X and travelling through rooms a couple of times over, but the combat should be praised for it's excellent. The Reaction Commands are great and give the fighting a whole new dimension. The Summons, while very far and few, intergrate well into combat as do the Limits, which are fun to watch and perform. The Magic abilities return and Cure, Fire, and Blizzard have been made more useful, while Gravity and Aero are missed, Reflect and Magnet magic is really useful. Aerial combat is given an overhaul, with the ability to chain many combos whilst juggling hapless fools in the air, and the Horizontal Slash and Normal Aerial Slash can be mixed together to make effective combos. Another great feature is the MP Charge, run out of MP, and your bar will turn pink, and start charging itself. While it's unfortunate Cure takes all your MP, curing you and your Party then attacking with a move called Berserk, which allows infite attacks is very staisfying in a Dynasty Warriors bloodfest kinda way. The best part of combat for me is the Drive. No, not car driving, I mean the ability to merge with Donald, Goofy or both party members allows Sora to wield two Keyblades or use his Keyblade to shoot, as well increased jumps, running speed and super cool sliding across the floors. These all have a unique way of levelling up and when they do, the time you can spend in the form increases, and Sora is granted movement abilities like Dashing and Gliding. This can work against you though, becuase if you Drive too much, you will be punished and transformed into a weak little creature of darkness, AntiSora, which is a really neat idea, but annoying in boss fights and when training drives. It wouldn't be a Square game without Minigames, KHII offers a nice Skateboard, as well as FreeStyle and Hoops missions. Too bad you lose the skateboard when entering a new area, but another one is always around. Other minigames include a Carvern of Trials, Present Shooter, Cave Exploration and... singing. All these minigames are worth the effort as you unlock new synthesis materials for Moogles, new Keyblades and spell upgrades. Overall I can't find little fault with this game, it's damn near perfect and while it seems bosses need less strategy than the first title, just wait till the end. This has improved upon the original in almost every way, and I would recommend it to anyone, but because of the story, I'd recommend the first one before this. Nirvana Phoenix

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