If I had to point out what I think was the best element of KH2, it would be the User Experience (UX). KH2 plays smooth as butter – no! – smooth as whipped cream, with plenty of transition animations for Sora, special attacks and simple movement that the series wouldn’t even attempt to recapture for the next three games. Even though I’ve lambasted the combat gameplay of KH2 as shallow, that was more of a factor of level and enemy design, as the game plays so well that I didn’t notice the game’s problems for several playthroughs. The UI is an especial high point of the overall UX, since the UI is top-of-the-board across the entire game, with a special prize for the dramatically improved gummi editor. The UI is so good that the only game-wide UI problem that I can think of off the top of my head is the fact that the game only tells you how to level up Drives and Summons in an obscure tooltip, and if that’s all it has going against it, it’s riding high!
On the opposite end of the scale, we come to what I feel is KH2’s lowest point, and despite what you might expect, it’s not the narrative, though that’s probably my #2. It’s also not the developer’s lack of respect for the player, which is more of a design philosophy problem than an element of the game. No, the element I’m thinking of is the game’s simply… wretched editing job, with gaps, disjointed plots, and sometimes simply inadequate fixes riddling the final product. And I say we’re going to take that shoddy editing job! We’ll take it and we’ll use it to try to learn about the earliest plans for KH2, and maybe find out just what they were trying to fix. (more…)