The setup for a sequel to Square Enix and Disney’s break-out hit ‘Kingdom Hearts’ was baked into the finale of the original title, both in the final scenes of the main campaign and in the unlockable video that players got for fully completing the game. But few would have imagined that the Game Boy Advance exclusive title ‘Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories’ would have been so impactful on Kingdom Hearts 2.
Kingdom Hearts is perhaps one of the RPG scene’s best known franchises, in part because it features the mix of Squaresoft at its best with the star power of Disney, and in part because of its compelling and rich story.
When the announcement of a sequel to Ni No Kuni was entering production without the involvement of Studio Ghibli, many were skeptical if the game that had sold itself on its strong connections to the famous Japanese animation house could stand on its own. Looking at the shift toward more visceral and violent combat, it’s easy to see why Studio Ghibli moved away from the franchise, which had previously used puppets for conflicts to keep things child-friendly. Still, Level 5 are established JRPG developers with a long list of titles already under their belts and Ni No Kuni 2 should be in safe hands.
If any game has been a long time coming it’s Kingdom Hearts III, which has seen its life as a series extended through a variety of handheld entries that have been as vitally important to its plot as the main series’ numbered entries. Kingdom Hearts III is the cumulation of not a trilogy, but over 10 games in the current plot thread that all need to be paid off in this instalment. But does Kingdom Hearts stick the landing?
Level-5 may be a big name in the gaming industry these days, but once upon a time they were just another nobody set to release a launch title for the PlayStation 2. Whilst Dark Cloud is certainly showing its rough edges in this day and age (and has undoubtedly been bettered) it’s still interesting to see the scope this studio invested in their first outing.
The Gentlebros, creators of ‘Slashy Hero’, have brought us the most pun-laden game ever devised for mobile or desktop gaming. This is not a joke, it’s a pure statement of fact. Not that puns are all this game has going for it, what’s on display here is a near master class in touch-screen design.
For many the most fun to be had in any ‘Legend of Zelda’ game is when the hook shot item comes into play. Legend of the Skyfish takes this idea and runs with it, and its developer, Mgaia makes the most of the concept.
SquareEnix is fast approaching the point where they will have release more re-release retro content than new games this side of the millennium, but when a company has such a vast and genre-defining back catalog it’s hard to argue against seeing some of their titles getting a lavish remake. Adventures of Mana is in fact the second remake of the originally titled ‘Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden’ (also known as ‘Mystic Quest’ and ‘Final Fantasy Adventure’ outside Japan) after the less than successful ‘Sword of Mana’ version on the Game Boy Advance, and this version easily trumps it’s last-gen equivalent on all fronts by staying closer to the source material.
The first instalment into the Oasis series of RPGs, The Story of Thor (known in America as ‘Beyond Oasis’) was a late release for the Mega Drive that some consider to be Sega’s answer to the ‘Legend of Zelda’ series.
For those of us from Europe this game will always be known confusingly as ‘Final Fantasy Mystic Quest’, and for others in America its ‘Final Fantasy Adventure’, however in truth this game is at its best using its Japanese title ‘Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden’ marking it as the first entry into the massively popular ‘Mana’ series.