Chain of Memories is a different kind of Kingdom Hearts game, a fact that instantly will put off some fans. Originally released in 2004 for Nintendo’s handheld console, Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories game saw a remaster for PlayStation 2 in 2007 as part of the Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. Serving as a precursor to Kingdom Hearts II, will you want to try this game out in 2017?

Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories story takes place after the events of the first Kingdom Hearts. Sora, Donald, Goofy (Jiminy Cricket plays a bigger role in this game) are still looking for Riku and King Mickey after they shut the door. The three heroes come across a castle where they come across a man in a hoodie. (Fans of the series know who these hooded people are so I won’t spoil it for others). He goes through Sora to see through his memories. He hands Sora cards that are memories of the world’s he’s already been too. As the three heroes keep getting higher to the castle they keep losing more of their memories and also see the purpose of the new enemies goal.

The worlds that Sora and his friends go to are basically smaller versions of the world, which happen many rooms. It’s almost like playing Pokemon. Sora goes through each room where the player can either fight heartless or collect items. Players collect items by attacking boxes or anything else that has the hit icon that’s not a heartless. Items can be health balls, cards or Moogle points which I will explain later.

Gameplay in Chain of Memories is different from the first game. The gameplay is based on the card play. So it requires more strategy The hooded man explains the gameplay to Sora. Players can only attack based on their cards. Players will see cards on the left corner. Cards are ranked 0 through 9. It’s like a game of War. A person that has a higher card will get to attack first. Basically, if your enemy has a card of 9 and you have a card of 7 your card will be useless. A 0 card can break an opponent’s attack. So a 0 can be really useful especially against boss battles. If players have the same value card both cards will break. Players can stack up to three cards to use to perform a combo. Stacking cards can be hard to break due to their rank but also players have to be careful that the first card they use to stack will become unusable after reloading. Players can reload their cards when they run out but it leaves them vulnerable and also the more times they reload the longer it will take so be careful.

There are different types of cards. You have attack cards, magic cards and item cards. Goofy and Donald are summon cards so they are not with Sora 24/7. When the player uses Goofy he can do a tornado or a Goofy Smash where he hits the enemy in the air and smashes them down it depends on the card value.Playing  Donald can be risky because you never know what he’s going to do. He can either heal you or use a different magic attack but sometimes those magic cards can heal enemies and it can be frustrating.

I want to talk more about the rooms in Chain of Memories. As I said, Sora goes through a small room and can collect items. When they come across a heartless they can either run or confront them. When the play confronts they enter the battle room and fight the heartless but even when the player is in the room they can still escape the room. Some fights might not be necessary but you will need them to open doors. The doors in the worlds will require a number so players will have to grind and get cards. There are different types of Map Cards. There will be rooms where players can make Heartless move slow or make a room where you have stronger cards or it can be a mix of things. My favourite is the Moogle Room. Players can go to the Moogle room to get more cards. That’s where the Moogle Points come in. Players can collect them then use them to make more valuable cards or sell them. It’s all about the cards in this game.

When Sora levels up players have the option to either increase Sora’s health, increase his card deck or learn new sleights. Sleights are basically special attacks that are familiar like the Sonic Blade. Players can perform them when they stack up their three cards and get into a specific number range. Sleights work very well when fighting bosses. I mainly increase my deck and use sleights. You always want to have a lot of cards when you don’t have a lot of cards it can be tough and always organize your deck.

Boss battles can be either easy or tough. Certain bosses can always beat your stacked cards so it can be really annoying. Heck, sometimes even luck play into it. So it can be frustrating but you do learn more when you die.

When the player beats Sora’s story they can play Riku’s story making him playable for the first time in the series. It follows Riku after shutting the door and him trying to get rid of the darkness and redeem himself after the actions he did in the first Kingdom Hearts. I would say his story is darker than Sora’s.

The gameplay with Riku is different. Unlike Sora, Riku has a closed deck that can’t be customized. The amounts of cards change in each world but he can use Boss cards anytime he wants. The only ally card he can use is Mickey that can help increase his health and restack his deck or they can perform a double team attack. Riku can activate Dark mode but can only activate it when his dark meter is filled. It can be filled by breaking enemy cards and doing combo attacks. Dark Mode will be your best friend in boss fights.

In the end, Chain of Memories can be a tough game without any strategy. It does look good on the PS4 running 60FPS. That’s not to say you don’t use strategy in the first Kingdom Hearts. You use some but you mainly just keep swinging but this game doesn’t work like that. I think this game is okay. The card system isn’t for me but it can be for someone else. I also don’t like how luck can play a factor in this game.

Overall it’s a fun game. While I can’t fault the new direction, it’s certainly not a game for everyone. It’s got some interesting ideas and a l