Kingdom Hearts II

The Kingdom Hearts series is a strange, but thoroughly enjoyable collaboration between studio giant Disney and role-playing game powerhouse Square Enix. Like the previous incarnation, “Kingdom Hearts II” is an odd concoction of Disney movie favorites and popular characters from Square’s Final Fantasy series not to be missed by fans of either franchise.

In the sequel vidgame, Sora (voiced by Haley Joel Osment), Donald and Goofy continue their quest to find Sora’s missing friends and restore order to the worlds being threatened by evil. This time around, Sora not only faces the menacing army of dark creatures called Heartless, led by “Sleeping Beauty” villain Maleficent, but also a mysterious group of mysterious robed figures called Organization XIII.

Sora and company travel to different worlds ranging from the heavily stylized Halloween town of “Nightmare Before Christmas” to the black-and-white shores of “Steamboat Willie,” and even the realistic Port Royal of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Each reflects the movie world and characters.

Unfortunately, combat has been tweaked from the first game. Since fighting is such a large part of the game, humdrum play may make one feel it’s more of a chore battling to the next scene to continue the story.

Kingdom Hearts II

Production: A Square Enix and Buena Vista Games release for PlayStation 2. Reviewed on PlayStation 2.

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