Kingdom Hearts II Packaging - Review  

Beauty is Only Plastic-deep
by Cortney Stone



Rating definitions 

   After more than two years of waiting, North Americans have finally greeted copies of Kingdom Hearts II in game stores -- or at their front doors via online purchasing and shipping -- throughout the United States and Canada. Square Enix poured a lot into the plastic and paper package, including the hope that it will meet a warm reception from its fans. Sadly, this review will dash those hopes, as the packaging is quite a letdown.

   The battle system of Kingdom Hearts II packaging is quite simple. One must remove the plastic wrap, then pop open the case. However, there are many possible strategies for doing this. Plastic wrapping may be removed carefully and neatly or torn off with haste, depending on the eagerness of the player. Fanboys and fangirls may opt for squealing and/or slobbering as they open the game; the plastic cover is resistant to human saliva. Some may be perplexed initially as they pick at the wrapping, should they happen to lack proper fingernail length. Scissors or a knife (sold separately) may need to be employed for this stage. Popping the case open is no challenge, although there are multiple strategies for players to discover here as well. Yet, in spite of the gameplay possibilities, the battle system is extremely unoriginal. It is, in fact, identical to every other battle system out there.

   Visually, Kingdom Hearts II packaging is quite striking. On the cover, the box sports Tetsuya Nomura's artwork of Sora, Donald, Goofy, Kairi, Roxas, and Mickey Mouse, enhanced by a metallic sheen. The back cover displays a host of screenshots and four small blurbs about the game, along with a large CG shot of Sora. Unfortunately, the inside of the case is solid black -- very boring. The instruction manual manages to spruce the inside up a bit, along with the cover of the disc, but once the disc is removed, the manual is not enough to make the inside worthwhile. Furthermore, many of the logos on the cover, such as the ESRB rating logo and the Square Enix name, have appeared on other titles. How unoriginal.

Caption Japanese packaging

   Kingdom Hearts II packaging fails miserably in sound. The rustling of the plastic wrapping may excite eager fans, but to the average player, it is uninteresting. The snapping of the case is rather dull as well. Perhaps the case should play Utada Hikaru's "Passion" when one opens it.

   The story of Kingdom Hearts II packaging is also lacking. The direction of the plot is largely the player's responsibility, although most will not achieve more than the not-so-epic and highly cliche tale of purchasing the game, taking it home, and opening it.

Caption North American packaging

   As mentioned earlier, the packaging is easy to open and close, one would think it would rate high in interaction. However, there is very little replayability. Once the plastic wrap has been removed, it is trash. One cannot repeat that part of the game. The case may be opened and closed as many times as the player wishes, but every time it is the same. The packaging never introduces any new challenges or rewards. There are also no mini-games or bonus features, and there is only one brief and unrewarding sidequest: disposing the plastic wrap in the nearest waste recepticle.

   With easy gameplay, dull sound, and plenty of unoriginality, Kingdom Hearts II packaging fails to live up to Square Enix's promises of a bigger and better sequel. Players will indeed get what they pay for: a $50 piece of plastic.

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