Kingdom Hearts II

released on Dec 22, 2005

Kingdom Hearts II is an action role-playing game, and the primary entry to the series since the 2002 Disney Interactive and Square collaboration. The game's setting is a collection of various levels (referred to in-game as "worlds") that the player progresses through. As in the first game, it II allows the player to travel to locales from various Disney works, along with original worlds specifically created for the series.

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The only redeeming factor of this game is the cutscene where Goofy seemingly dies but you have to get through an incredibly jank-ridden game to get to it.

Is the gameplay better than the first one? Yes, but that wasn't hard to achieve.
I just can't stand the anime writting combined with the boring gameplay of smashing square and occasionally triangle

O melhor da franquia em gameplay, narrativa, personagens e simbolismo. Uma obra de arte em formato de videogame, porém carece de um pós game decente.

did someone say the door to darkness - Michael Mouse

I have an immense love for Kingdom Hearts and all the mainline games but I'd be lying if I didn't say Kingdom Hearts 2 is where Square Enix absolutely fumbled the story giving you plenty of "wtf is going on" moments throughout the game. However, if you loved the first game as much as me and many others did you accept that for what it is and enjoy the gameplay, saving the Disney worlds, and continuing the adventure you set forth with Sora and friends. I did love the game, just not as much as it's predecessor, and that's a shame. I still recommend it heavily.

This game still has the best combat in the franchise and has undoubtedly withstood the test of time. Even without the editions from Final Mix, I remember this version of the game still being just as fun. There are a handful of drive forms that give Sora two keyblades and briefly change up the playstyle depending on which one you choose. The drive forms are all pretty useful and make the gameplay a lot more fun than it already is. Reaction commands are another welcome addition. They're basically just quick-time events where you need to press a button on time as a small cutscene plays. Usually quick-time events are a hit or miss, but in this case, they knocked it out of the ballpark. I will never get tired of looking at the reaction commands on the final boss which is my favorite final boss ever.
In terms of story, it was a bold move of them to start the game with Roxas back when this game came out. I already knew about the plot of Chain of Memories before playing but I'd imagine how confused fans must have been when they were playing as him in the beginning. Story-wise, the game's plot is pretty much just Sora trying to find his friends and finally return home with them while saving the world from a new band of villains called Organization XIII who are trying to create an artificial version of Kingdom Hearts. While I think it would have been better if Disney villains and really just Disney characters in general had more of an influence like they did in the original, Xemnas & his squad are still good villains in their own right and an absolute blast to fight. The ending to this game's story was also very satisfying to where I would have been perfectly fine if they ended the series after this title.
While I think the world choices in the original Kingdom Hearts were pretty solid, this game probably has the best roster of worlds in the series so far. Returning worlds like Olympus & Agrabah are expanded upon and a lot of the new worlds add some pretty interesting gimmicks like becoming a lion in the Pride Lands (my favorite world in this game and second favorite in the series as a whole) and Space Pandroids which allows you to meet Tron and even let you participate in a light cycle minigame. Despite some of the neat gimmicks added, the worlds in this game aren't as interactive or as interesting to explore as they were in the first game. Most of the worlds feel like empty, spaced-out corridors compared to the original where the worlds felt like they had more life in them. The worlds themselves also don't have as much of an impact on the story as the first game and feel more like filler some of the time. Unfortunately, that is a problem that gets even worse with each and every passing installment in this series.
Besides combat, one thing I almost forgot to mention is this game has an amazing soundtrack that is even better than the first game's soundtrack. Lazy Afternoons, Darkness of the Unknown, and multiple other songs from this game stood out to me and I still occasionally listen to them when I am in the mood to do so.
KH2's 10/10 combat, fantastic conclusion, and its soundtrack full of bangers make this a sequel that improves upon the original in more ways than not. It's a Ps2 essential just like its predecessor.