The surprising collaboration between Disney and Square Enix returns in this follow-up to 2002's sleeper hit, Kingdom Hearts. Players will guide an older and more powerful Sora along with unlikely pals Goofy and Donald Duck in multiple worlds based on classic and contemporary Disney films. The action once again follows a party of three characters as they fight enemies, solve puzzles, and explore their cinematic surroundings from a third-person perspective. New features include a retooled camera system and a revamped combat engine. The viewpoint is set farther back than in the original game, allowing players to see more of their surroundings, with the right analog stick used to further adjust the perspective. Kingdom Hearts II no longer includes platform jumping, focusing instead on the real-time combat.
Sora can now perform double-team attacks and absorb the party's powers to transform into one of five stronger entities. Players can also swap party members during the heat of battle, perform context-sensitive attacks, and control the abilities of summoned characters like Stitch or Chicken Little. Another adjustment is the initially playable character. Sora takes a back seat to a young boy named Roxas at the game's start, whose dreams help relay the storyline to those new to the Kingdom Hearts saga. Yet the biggest change in this sequel is the ability to visit new worlds from the Disney universe, including environments based on Steamboat Willie, Tron, The Lion King, Mulan, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Redesigned locales from the first game are featured as well, each offering alternate objectives to complete. As in the original, Kingdom Hearts II enlists the voice talents of such Hollywood stars as Haley Joel Osment, Mena Suvari, and Christopher Lee to bring the characters to life. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
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