Friday, March 31, 2006
Kingdom Hearts II out in US
NOTE: Very mild spoilers for Kingdom Hearts II follow, relating only to what worlds are or aren't in the game.
Well, Kingdom Hearts II is out in America. The review consensus seems to be that if what you liked about the first one was the fantastic plot, characters, atmosphere, and seeing lots and lots of your favourite Disney and Square characters, then this is the game for you. But if you like challenge and/or deep strategic gameplay then don't hold your breath. I'm happy with that - bring on my PAL localisation!
For those not computer-attuned, Kingdom Hearts is a platforming game franchise for the Playstation 2 which involves journeying through a series of worlds and characters based on properties owned by the Square-Enix game development company and by Disney Studios. The characters sometimes appear in the context of their story of origin, but also sometimes appear in strange and new ways. The plot as a whole is a little darker than you might expect from Disney.
If you've been following the gaming news, you'll know that a bunch of worlds from the original game return for the new sequel, including levels based on Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Hercules, Winnie the Pooh, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
This time around, the levels based on Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Pinocchio and Tarzan appear to be missing. But to replace them, the sequel has added levels based on Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, The Lion King, Steamboat Willie, Pirates of the Carribean, Tron, and "the Kingdom" (the Disney Castle from the first game). That's an impressive list. Plus, of course, there's a couple of unique areas including the new Twilight Town and some special end-game areas. AND there's a list of summons which includes Chicken Little, Stitch, and Peter Pan.
It leaves me thinking, though, of some notable missed opportunities. This is two games now, and no sign of Duckburg! Kingdom Hearts stars Donald Duck and everything, and yet I'm given no opportunity whatsoever to protect Scrooge McDuck's Money Bin from the evil forces of Flintheart Glomgold, Magika DeSpell and the Beagle Boys. What's up with that?
It's also worth noticing that Disney owns both the Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock these days. Who else is with me in hoping for a Fraggle themed level for Kingdom Hearts III? What with a new Fraggle movie on the way, it seems like a sure bet.
And of course, sadly overlooked since the beginning of Kingdom Hearts, we're still without even a mention of the Gummi Bears. Even if they don't get their own level, they'd make a great summon. Come on, Square-Enix - get your act together!
And lastly - do Disney still own Pixar? Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Cars... come on, guys, these make for natural gaming environments!
Sigh. Guess I'll just have to make do with beating the tar of Geoffrey Rush. Again, and again. From different angles.