Why such a small review for one of the best games of the year? Because we gave the Japanese version four pages in issue 73 and it would be madness to review it in as much detail again. But now we have the finished PAL incarnation, so it's worth mentioning a few key differences between this and the Japanese edition.
Most obviously, it's in English, which means we finally get the plot and understand everything. The impact this has on the game is self-explanatory, but the change in difficulty less so. The Japanese generally prefer their games to be easier, but we found Kingdom Hearts 2 to be just the right side of challenging. The PAL version on the other hand is much more difficult, and some of the boss battles are nightmarish.
We Disney believe it
But tiny, pointless gripes aside, Kingdom Hearts 2s a belter. The combat is smoother, slicker, more responsive, more streamlined, more fun and more exciting than ever, the visuals and voices are of such a high quality, it's like an actual Disney film and the new reaction commands - special moves pulled off by pressing w at just the right moment during battles - are so epic and wonderful-looking, we almost chocked on our own testicles. It's like a Final Fantasy game, but with real-time combat, full of Disney and Square Enix characters and with shoot-em-up minigames between levels. We just wish the exploration elements from the first game were kept intact. It's all a bit action-packed for our liking. But that's a minor gripe - just get it, will you? Even non-RPG fans will love it.
Colourful and joyous. A total must-buy.