Story and Characters This game is definitely a story-driven rather than character-driven piece, unfortunately to a degree that is detrimental to the overall story. Characterization is rushed through or ignored in favor of pushing the pace, and character development is similarly rushed or nonexistent. A player may have difficulty learning who the characters are, let alone caring about their fates. The story, however, is surprisingly straightforward for a series with as much Kudzu Plot as Kingdom Hearts. Very little in the way of new questions are raised compared to how many are answered or given implied answers, a relief to many who feared the game would complicate an already over-complicated 'verse. Gameplay Gameplay is where this game really shines. Interchangeable and numerous commands insure you can customize to your playstyle. The action is quick-paced, challenging, and fun. Bosses require both strategy and quick thinking and reactions to beat. Simple hack-and-slash gameplay is sometimes broken up by Escort Missions, scavenger hunts, or platforming elements. The Command Board minigame is decently executed and has benefits that extend to the main game, replacing grinding to a degree. However, the Disney Town minigames are uninspired and uninteresting. Level design is very good. Although this game does not match the interactivity and platforming of the first game, it comes closer than 2 and CoM. Levels are fun and encourage full exploration. Value While this game is gorgeous to look at and fun to play it does suffer from one other flaw. The levels are well-designed, but sadly are mostly re-used between the three characters' scenarios. With a few exceptions, all characters will play on the same maps. Additionally, much of the story for each character is learned by playing through Ven or Terra's story. This means that, unless you played as Aqua first, after the first playthrough very little of what you encounter will be new in any sense. This reduces what should be ~45 hours of new experience to closer to ~20-25 hours. One has to wonder what the developers thought justified the full price tag for this game, given the amount of reuse. Depending on what you look for in an RPG, you may want to consider buying this one used.
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