With the Tokyo Game Show closing in fast, Square Enix decided to give a little peek into the sequel to one of their pillar franchises. Kingdom Hearts II has yet to receive a solid release date but this hasn't stopped Square Enix from slowly turning up the fire under the pot known as hype.
New details regarding the implementation of new and updated features was recently announced. The biggest change will be to the camera system itself. In the original title, the camera system was plagued with instances of autism and in the end was a downfall to the overall enjoyment of the game. The camera is now controlled by the right analog stick instead of the shoulder buttons as it was in the original. The overall feel is, so far, quite a bit more intuitive than the original. Currently this feature is still in development so there are still some instances of the camera getting stuck behind walls, but things are moving forward very quickly.
The second gameplay element that comes into play is an entirely new feature that allows for character transformations, called 'Transformation Drive'. The Transformation Drive is a gauge that is filled by collecting orbs from defeated enemies, much like health and magic. When activated, it allows Sora to "fuse" with another character giving the player new abilities, more attack power, and such. So far only a transformation with Goofy has been shown. In the current demo version, this produced a "crimson-clad" Sora who was able to dual-wield a keyblade and sword for twice the normal damage. The downside is that Goofy is no longer helping the player; the upside is that Sora becomes much more powerful.
The third feature that was really shown off was the updated combo system. New multiple enemy combos should be easier to pull off this time around. There is a juggle system that will be implemented that allows the player to attack the enemy as they both rise into the air, protecting the character from other enemies. Weapon specific combos will be possible this time around, with weapons from the original title making appearances. Currently, it is unknown whether save data will affect the weapons that you use during the game.
Many familiar faces will make appearances in this sequel as will many new faces. Auron, of Final Fantasy X fame, is confronted by Hades, much in the same way that Cloud was in the original title. What he chooses to do could even seal Sora's fate. Is Sora prepared for his story to end, will he allow it to end after coming this far? Kingdom Hearts II is scheduled for release in 2005 for both Japan and North America and is as-of-yet unannounced in Europe.