Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories is a re-make of Chain of Memories on the GameBoy Advance. Released alongside Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix, it takes place immediately after the end of Kingdom Hearts. However, because it was re-released from the GameBoy Advance, they re-did the voice acting and graphics to better suit PlayStation.
The game begins immediately after Kingdom Hearts, and Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories takes place in an area called Castle Oblivion. Sora, Donald and Goofy arrive in search of the missing Riku and King Mickey when they run into a mysterious cloaked man who gives Sora a set of cards. In Castle Oblivion, Sora is not allowed Donald and Goofy with him, and must have them in card form instead.
In some ways, the beginning of Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories is a re-telling of the first game in the series. It has all the essential worlds, but it is important to help discover what took place between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 2. While Kingdom Hearts did begin with an introduction to Organisation XIII by having a mysterious man in a black cloak appear, Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories expands upon it. This is considerably significant once we get to Kingdom Hearts 2, but for now, it helps expand upon what happened to Sora in that year.
Furthermore, the story introduces a variety of characters that appear in Kingdom Hearts 2 and how they know of Sora. Any characters that were introduced in the original game are but mere illusions created from Sora’s memories. One of the main features of Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories is that it does make you question Sora’s and Riku’s actions particularly when it comes to a new character: Namine.
In my previous review, I started off with the story elements of the game – so let’s shake things up a bit. In Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, you have a card-based battle system. This system allows you to change from attack, items and magic. The cards aren’t infinite, and although you can reload them, it leaves you vulnerable to attacks. When in battle, you can quickly shock your opponents by throwing a crate or barrel at them – this way you can save some of your cards without too much hassle. Even if you do fear running out of cards, you receive more to add to your deck so it’s less of a worry to be left with nothing by the end of a fight. In battle, it’s easy to power up your cards with special attacks called Sleights that are considerably more powerful than the average attack card.
Along with the card system, you need to explore different rooms in each world. These are mostly based on worlds you’ve previously visited in the first game. However, in order to get through the room, you need different cards for each level – and finding them is done by defeating your enemies. Essentially, to get to different rooms, you will need to acquire cards in battle. The rooms are easy enough to navigate however, as enemies don’t re-spawn each time you have to go through the rooms to get to a save point.
Also, unlike in the previous game Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories and by default the GameBoy Advance version allows you to play as Riku after you complete Sora’s story. This makes it a bit more of a challenge, as Riku’s deck can’t be edited and he has a completely different fighting style compared to the one we’re used to with Sora.
Overall, I’d say that Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories does stand-out, but it’s a point of contention in the fanbase due to it’s different gameplay style. However, the story is regarded well by the fans in spite of this. Personally, I thought it was an interesting twist compared to other games in the series.