Generally favorable reviews - based on 64 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 58 out of 64
  2. Negative: 0 out of 64
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  1. Given the title's wide appeal, featuring numerous characters and scenarios close to the hearts of many, and given how it ties this to simple yet addictive gameplay backed by mostly solid game design, there's no denying Kingdom Hearts II satisfies in a way few games can.
  2. 100
    An inspiring emotional work of art and perhaps the best role-playing game this year. Square Enix continues to prove that you can take even the most played out source material in the world (Disney's various franchises) and make something wonderful.
  3. An all around excellent game. It looks phenomenal and plays even better. What started out as a crazy fan based experiment for Square-Enix has panned out to one of the most entertaining titles of the year. [JPN Import]
  4. Where the first KH felt like more like a like an RPG in terms of item use, exploration and experimentation, KH2 feels more focused and linear and definitely falls more into the action adventure genre.
  5. Kingdom Hearts 2 provides the most engrossing and polished gameplay experience available on the PS2, with enough variety to please any gamer and keep them entranced many hours past the ending.
  6. This is a rare sort of game that can appeal to almost any type of gamer from ages 12 to 120.
  7. 95
    From the amazing opening cg cinema (oh god, I think I just soiled myself it was so good) with Utada Hikaru's newest song, Passion, to the kick ass ending, this game rocked and set itself a more than worthy successor to the first Kingdom Hearts. [JPN Import]
  8. If you’re looking for Disney nostalgia and very linear action-RPG gameplay, it’s simply a joy to see, hear and interact with all of your Disney favorites.
  9. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Kingdom Hearts II, I am relieved to say, delivers on everything the series' potential hinted at. [May 2006, p.101]
  10. Play Magazine
    In ten years, Kingdom Hearts II will be remembered as one of the absolute triumphs on Playstation 2. [May 2006, p.41]
  11. It's hard to deny that from its humble beginnings to the spectacular finale, Kingdom Hearts II is absolutely what the first game should have been. Its production values are still amazingly high, but the mechanics and tactile experience of play are now equals.
  12. A very large game in every respect. A long narrative, huge worlds, more secrets than you can shake a giant evil-slaying key at, more characters, more moves, bigger explosions, enormous hordes of Heartless, it's all here.
  13. It has an excellent battle system, more variety than almost any game out there, great graphics, and an interesting story. The title isn't perfect though. The story lacks a bit of cohesiveness and the auto-camera still can't seem to track everything that's going on. [JPN Import]
  14. The smoothest and most seamless action/RPG to grace the PlayStation 2. It’s more addictive than "Grandia III," more charming than "Dragon Quest VII," and as memorable as the granddaddy of them all – "Final Fantasy [insert Roman numeral here]."
  15. PSM3 Magazine UK
    The comat is smoother, slicker, more responsive, more streamlined, more fun and more exciting than ever, the visuals and voices are of such a high quality, it's like an actual Disney film. [Nov 2006, p.86]
  16. 93
    I am wildly pleased by every little thing this game had to offer, and I consider myself fortunate to be one of the millions of gamers who will laugh, cry, and fight their way through this exciting title.
  17. A game well worth playing. It lasts much longer than any game should have to, squeezing out new experiences wherever possible.
  18. Forget your opinions about the original Kingdom Hearts. Kingdom Hearts II improves on its predecessor in just about every possible way, and is a must-have title for Disney fans and Square Enix fans alike.
  19. Play UK
    So good it will bring tears to your eyes. [Issue#46, p.74]
  20. Games Master UK
    By far the best action-RPG we've played and one we want to keep on playing. [Nov 2006, p.74]
  21. Despite its obvious flaws, Kingdom Hearts II is a great game – just not as great as its predecessor, and not the best RPG we’ve ever seen.
  22. If you loved the first game and enjoy a story-heavy action roleplaying game, then Kingdom Hearts II is a must-buy.
  23. 91
    If you liked KH1, you’ll love KH2 – it’s better than its predecessor in every aspect.
  24. Game Informer
    Kingdom Hearts II is a remarkable journey and another Square-Enix masterpiece. [Apr 2006, p.120]
  25. PSM2 Magazine UK
    One of the strongest, most accomplished games on PS2. Kingdom Hearts 2 excels on almost every level and sweats charm. Hate RPGs? This could change your mind. [JPN Import; Apr 2006, p.60]
  26. 90
    One of those sorts of games where nearly everything goes right. And despite some annoying load times, Kingdom Hearts II eventually becomes so involving, so enthralling, you'll find yourself propelled from world to world as if by some magnetic invisible force.
  27. 90
    A living, breathing fairy tale in the purest sense. In this tale, the magic and wonder from Disney's pantheon of worlds and characters are merged with the interactivity and excitement of an epic Square Enix role-playing adventure. The result, in theory, may seem contrived or overly convoluted. But it works.
  28. 90
    By any measure, Kingdom Hearts II is an outstanding adventure made all the more spectacular by its uncanny ability to weave disparate strands of fiction into a single, engaging conglomeration of iconic characters and settings.
  29. It has a combat system that rewards the tactical ninja without leaving the button-masher completely behind (three difficulty levels, folks), and it has characters who can easily surmount every shortcoming the game displays.
  30. Kingdom Hearts II isn't necessarily the kind of game you replay obsessively, or even take an instant liking to, but once you sink into the fantastic world it presents, it's hard not to get addicted to its immense variety and kinetic pace.
  31. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    If this is what happens when you make a game on the PS2's supposed deathbed, then we might not need the PS3 quite yet. [May 2006, p.78]
  32. An excellent, fun, and whimsical game that once again proves how well Disney and Final Fantasy can play together.
  33. An amazing technical feat, a vast improvement in key areas of the last game, and just a bit too much forced rehashes to keep it from being perfect.
  34. A superior sequel worth the wait. It's another huge, memorable and magical adventure.
  35. AceGamez
    You may not be playing the same game as the original, but the same feelings of awe and enjoyment will flow over you.
  36. I loved the sheer amount to do within the game and hope for a next gen Kingdom Hearts 3 in the same way the Final Fantasy series never fails to engross me for an exorbitant amount of time.
  37. netjak
    Kingdom Hearts 2 will be looked upon as one of the "must play" games on the Playstation 2, and while not perfect, original, or surprising, it IS very well put together, very polished, and it is very fun to play. [JPN Import]
  38. While Kingdom Hearts II might boil down to button mashing, levelling up and some crap mini-games, the experience itself is second to none.
  39. Kingdom Hearts II is a long, cameo-infused joyride that improves upon the original and manages to be quite entertaining despite some minor problems with the gameplay mechanics.
  40. It is the story, with its endearing characters, epic confrontations, and masterful dialog that make the experience work.
  41. Kingdom Hearts II is in many ways superior to its predecessor. Battles are more exciting, the game is much longer, and unlike the original, it allows one to skip the beautifully animated story scenes, saving the player from watching a two-minute introductory sequence to a difficult battle five times in a row. What the sequel lacks is the narrative momentum of the original.
  42. PSM Magazine
    It just washes you away in the magic that is two of the world's greatest storytellers--Disney and SquareEnix--coming together to make something timeless, wonderful, and unforgettable. [Jun 2006, p.77]
  43. 85
    Great in every regard. Better than the first game in every concievable way, and a strong recommendation for those even simply curious about the story of Kingdom Hearts.
  44. Pelit (Finland)
    Like in its predecessor, the gameplay is quite shallow, and because of the easy difficulty level the button-smash oriented fighting is not very rewarding. [Oct 2006]
  45. Kingdom Hearts II is a blast - playable by nearly anyone, smarter than you'd expect, and built to a consistently impressive standard. Cartoon and RPG fandom isn't even required, as the story is outlandish and creative enough to ensnare even those wary of Disney.
  46. games(TM)
    Square Enix has created a great title in its own right, made better by the inclusion of some of the most memorable and popular faces from the world of entertainment. [Mar 2006, p.110]
  47. 80
    This is a wonderful synthesis of elements. Kingdom Hearts II is all about story, character, and the recreation of classic fantasies, and it excels at all.
  48. It's pretty simple, very linear and slightly lazy in places but there can be no denying that it still manages to earn a place among the most beautiful and exciting adventures of recent years for gamers of all ages.
  49. With smooth visuals, a gripping plot (when not relegated to Disney-land), and a mostly-captivating soundtrack, Kingdom Hearts II is a title any adventure/RPG/fun-loving gamer will desire to add to their collection, despite not shining as well as the original.
  50. A very good game, but it's so close to being something completely out-of-this-world that you can't help but feel just a little short-changed by how strangely bereft of challenge it is.
  51. 80
    Although Kingdom Hearts II seems to focus more on the action than the RPG, it’s still a lot more enjoyable than the previous outing.
  52. Undeniably hard to get into, Kingdom Hearts II is very much a sequel and does lean heavily on knowing the storyline and the cast of characters.
  53. Official Playstation 2 Magazine UK
    This epic adventure is short on the nuts-and-bolts of adventuring, but its charm, and the quality of its production still merit a high score. [Nov 2006, p.88]
  54. 80
    In summary, Kingdom Hearts II might not even meet some definitions of what a computer game is, and for long sections it would probably be better described as 'next-gen interactive fiction'.
  55. Once the tedious opening section is completed, Kingdom Hearts II rarely disappoints, with even its weakest sections providing plenty to enjoy.
  56. Not one for easily bored older children, perhaps, but a well-crafted story that young players will enjoy.
  57. 76
    A definite let down. The combat was way too simple, and while the number of attacks and abilities gives the player a lot of ways to kill opponents, it's eventually unfulfilling and boring.
  58. A huge game -- so large, in fact, that you can play for several hours before finally meeting up with the main character, Sora, the boy who teamed up in the first game with Donald and Goofy.
  59. Edge Magazine
    Were it not for the rich, recognisable and beloved settings that fall over themselves to get to the player, this would be a desperately bland game. But the power of those settings simply cannot be brushed aside. [June 2006, p.88]
  60. There are a number of good and inspired moments, but for each one, you can think of something else that would have been better.
  61. As an Action-RPG the storyline is outstanding, but the gameplay falls a bit short. This is primarily due to how overly easy the game is. You can run through the entire game using nothing more than the basic attack button, and your assistant characters suffer from poor AI.
  62. Unfortunately, now the major problem of mundane backtracking has been remedied, the minor flaws have become overly pronounced. Despite this, Kingdom Hearts II is still a hugely pleasurable experience.
  63. If you enjoyed the original Kingdom Hearts you'll find some enjoyment here too, but sadly it is not the classic it could have - and probably should have - been.
  64. While KHII's story and flawless presentation (no camera problems here) ease gamers through the lengthy 30-hour quest, the undercooked gameplay makes it unlikely they'll touch the game again. It's just too easy: lock onto your target and mash the X button as needed. Heal and repeat. This isn't fun — it's tedious.

Awards & Rankings

#2 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2006
#3 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2006
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 1374 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Apr 11, 2011
    Kingdom Heart II is better than its predecessor. Pros: Excellent use of action-RPG and platforming elements, improved controls, graphics, andKingdom Heart II is better than its predecessor. Pros: Excellent use of action-RPG and platforming elements, improved controls, graphics, and visual effect, and more Disney worlds to explore. Cons: Only for viewers who have played the previous games and starts out with a dull 3 hour long tutorial. Full Review »
  2. DerekS.
    Mar 28, 2006
    this is what you need to be playing.
  3. Oct 27, 2013
    This my favorite kingdom hearts game and maybe one of my favorite games of all time. and a improvement from kingdom hearts 1. the battleThis my favorite kingdom hearts game and maybe one of my favorite games of all time. and a improvement from kingdom hearts 1. the battle system is better, the areas are bigger, although i do think it lacks extra content when compared to kingdom hearts 1. the final mix version fixes that problem, the final mix version has only been released in japan, but there will be an english version in the kingdom hearts 2.5 HD remix coming soon. but although the game lacks extra content, it has lots of replay value, i think i played this game over 10 times when i had it. the game just pulls you in and you don't want to stop playing. kingdom hearts is one of the best crossovers ever made. Full Review »