Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories is the second game in the Kingdom Hearts series (and actually the remake of the original Chain of Memories for the GBA, hence the strange name). While searching for King Mickey and Riku, Sora encounters a strange cloaked man. This person leads him, Donald, and Goofy into Castle Oblivion, where they begin to lose their memories.
Each floor of the castle puts you in a different Disney world from the first game. While it might seem like the game is retreading old ground, I enjoyed the way the Disney sections tied in to the overall plot. They deal with themes like memory and friendship, just as Sora’s main story does.
The main story also introduces several new characters into the Kingdom Hearts universe, mysterious figures who all wear black cloaks. This expands the series original lore, and I found the focus on these characters to be the most enjoyable part of the game. They have their own plans and schemes, and they were generally entertaining to see (though frustrating to fight).
Combat veers wildly away from the first game’s combat. While you still move like in a regular action RPG, all of your other combat actions are tied to cards. For example, you use a card to strike once with your Keyblade, a different card to use a magic spell, etc. You earn more cards throughout the game, and you build decks that you’ll take into combat with you.
Each card has a number. Higher cards beat (or break) lower cards and render it useless. For example, if you use a 3 attack card and your opponent uses a 5 card, you miss your attack. The exception is 0, which can both break any card and be broken by any card, depending on which is used first.
It sounds fantastically strategic, but I hated it. Managing cards while running and dodging was a bit too much, and I didn’t appreciate that enemies could break even my attempts to cure. I found combat to be annoying and the game’s least enjoyable part.
Traversing the castle also relies on cards this time to unlock doors and decide in advance what type of room would be beyond. For example, you might set up a room where many enemies spawn, or a room with a treasure chest. I found it fun, although I missed normal exploration.
Overall, you should play Re: Chain of Memories if you’re a Kingdom Hearts fan. It’s a decent game with some great story moments. However, I’d much rather stick with normal combat.