E3: Square Enix Presents Kingdom Hearts II
05.20.05 - 3:26 PM

At Square Enix's booth, fans swarmed around the Kingdom Hearts II display to get a chance to play one of the many playable demos available. RPGFan had the chance to speak with Square Enix and play the upcoming title. Here's what we learned.

Kingdom Hearts II features many of the same characters from the previous games, along with their authentic voice actors. Haley Joel Osment returns to do voices for Sora, James Woods voices Hades, Ming Na voices Mulan, etc. The world of Mulan is one of many new worlds in Kingdom Hearts II; another new area will be made to incorporate characters from Pirates of the Caribbean.

The playable demo featured gameplay with Sora, Goofy, Donald, and, as previously announced, Auron. For battles, Sora has a "dual tech" ability with Auron called "Bushido", which happens real-time despite its looking like a "cutscene" attack. We were told that it is "likely" that other playable characters will have dual tech abilities, though in the playable demo, Mulan did not have one with Sora.

Battling has also had a major facelift from the first game. One new feature, currently being called the "situational action" feature, allows Sora to have unique interactions with different enemies and bosses. Above the "attack" option in the lower-left hand menu, there is a "commands" menu: when the option to perform a situational action happens, the name of the action will appear in the commands menu, and hitting triangle allows the action to be performed. This helps tremendously in doing away with the "hack and slash" feel of the previous Kingdom Hearts games.

Also new to gameplay is the "drive" feature, which allows Sora to fight with two keyblades and maneuver much more quickly. The "drive gauge" is filled by defeating enemies, and using the drive takes either Goofy or Donald off of the field. Once switching to "drive" mode, the gauge slowly decreases over time, much like Riku's "dark mode" from Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories for GBA.

Graphically, the game looks much smoother and less "jagged" in terms of polygons.

Little was revealed regarding the game's plot, though trailers have indicated that the events of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories will hold significant relevance in Kingdom Hearts II.

Square Enix still has yet to solidify a release date for Kingdom Hearts II, but US fans can expect to have it before the year is out. RPGFan will continue to cover this title as details are released over the next few months.


Patrick Gann