Kingdom Hearts II review

A duck with a wand, a dog with a shield, and a story that might have you holding back tears ... they did it again

GamesRadar+ Verdict


  • +

    Amazing characters and atmosphere

  • +

    Touching story

  • +

    when it happens

  • +

    Deeper combat


  • -

    Camera and combat can get chaotic

  • -

    Story is touching

  • -

    but incomprehensible

  • -

    A few boss battles are annoying

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We're still amazed that Kingdom Hearts even exists. An action RPG that casts Goofy, Donald Duck and now Mickey Mouse fighting through multiple Disney worlds? Along the way, they interact with new characters and villains created by the developer/publisher of the Final Fantasy games?

This should never have happened, but it did. And it should never have been brilliant, even magical, but it was. So is this sequel, actually the third game in the series, after the PS2 original and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories for Game Boy Advance. It's a whopping, 30+ hour fantasy epic filled with familiar gameplay:evilcritter thwacking, spell-casting and Disney universe-touring.

Or is it? KH2 actually makes some big changes; most of which involve clubbing bad guys. The first game's mind-numbing scavenger hunts are out - there's not a Dalmatian puppy or Trinity Mark in sight - but a heavily retooled combat system is definitely in.

Almost every level is home to a new character who subs in for Donald or Goofy, be it Simba, Tron, Beast, Mulan, Jack Skellington or another. Still more can be summoned for brief cameos: Chicken Little, Genie, Stitch and Peter Pan. Most of those folks come with special team-up moves they can do with Sora, such as Mulan's dragon-powered meteor storm of blazing fireballs, or Stitch's oddly dangerous ukulele strumming.

More info

GenreRole Playing
DescriptionIt's back: that mystical merger of Disney characters, Final Fantasy cameos and Action RPG combat against sub-human agents of nothingness. Weird? Oh, yeah. But also wonderful.
US censor rating"Everyone 10+"
UK censor rating"Rating Pending"
Alternative names"Kingdom Hearts 2","KH 2","KH II",""
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
Eric Bratcher
I was the founding Executive Editor/Editor in Chief here at GR, charged with making sure we published great stories every day without burning down the building or getting sued. Which isn't nearly as easy as you might imagine. I don't work for GR any longer, but I still come here - why wouldn't I? It's awesome. I'm a fairly average person who has nursed an above average love of video games since I first played Pong just over 30 years ago. I entered the games journalism world as a freelancer and have since been on staff at the magazines Next Generation and PSM before coming over to GamesRadar. Outside of gaming, I also love music (especially classic metal and hard rock), my lovely wife, my pet pig Bacon, Japanese monster movies, and my dented, now dearly departed '89 Ranger pickup truck. I pray sincerely. I cheer for the Bears, Bulls, and White Sox. And behind Tyler Nagata, I am probably the GR staffer least likely to get arrested... again.