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E3 Impression

Kingdom Hearts II

05.19.2005

HEATH HINDMAN
STAFF COLUMNIST
CORTNEY STONE
E3 CORRESPONDANT

SCREENSHOT
Familiar faces return

I was disappointed by the long lines at the Square Enix and Buena Vista booths for Kingdom Hearts II, but I was pleasantly surprised by the short lines at Sony's display. As soon as someone dropped a controller and walked away, I stepped into their place.

I entered into the middle of the moutainside scenario with Mulan and Mushu. We climbed up the snowy incline and confronted the evil Hun general, who sent a swarm of yellow bee-like Heartless at us. I charged in and started swinging. I experimented with the Drive mode, which transformed Sora into a more powerful character, and I blazed through the Heartless. After that, a cutscene straight from the Mulan movie played, only with its own Kingdom Hearts twist. Mulan used Mushu's fiery breath to ignite a rocket and create a crushing avalanche, but afterward, instead of Mulan's injury revealing her gender, Mushu slips up and calls her "girl."

SCREENSHOT
RAGE

The next scenario I tried was in Olympus. Auron was with the group, and they were fleeing through a tunnel. They found a locked door, and Goofy and Donald tried to open it, but to no avail. Suddenly, Cerberus appeared behind the group, stomping and snarling. Auron fended off the beast's jaws with his sword, and Sora unlocked the door before running to assist Auron.

The battle was fun. Cerberus was bigger and badder than before. I could not hop on his back, and he also used ferocious tail whips instead of his usual biting attacks. I played around with the Bushido command, which allowed Auron to execute a few of his familar moves from Final Fantasy X, such as Shooting Star. I eventually discovered a fun trick in that battle. While jumping in front of Cerberus, I saw him bring his two outer heads inward to crush me in the middle. Sora stuck his hands out and blocked the heads, and a new triangle button command appeared: "Evade." I pressed triangle, and Sora leaped up to the middle head of Cerberus and stuck his key in the dog's gaping maw. Another triangle command appeared, and it made Sora leap into the air. A third command popped up: "Dog Paddle." I thought to myself, "This should be interesting!" I pressed triangle, and Sora began beating Cerberus senseless. Three of these combos left Cerberus twitching on the ground, and the group made its escape through the open door. Sora, Goofy, and Donald even paused to turn around and make silly faces at the furious dog as he lunged at the closing door.

I came to E3 in hopes of playing Kingdom Hearts II, and I was happy to be able to play the demo. The game is fun and action-packed, although it still includes the same quirky camera as the first title. Battles, however, have new and exciting commands to play with. I look forward to exploring the full game of Kingdom Hearts II.

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Console:
· PlayStation 2

Release:
· Winter 2005

Publisher:
· Square Enix

Developer:
· Square Enix


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