I was delighted to receive an advance review copy of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix in the mail last week. Delighted, but also a bit uneasy. Confession time, I have never beaten the first one. I always seem to lose steam after the Tarzan stage. Nothing to do with how excellent the game is, of course, just me being the lazy gamer as always. Consequently, I have never played the sequel, either.
So it left me with a problem because Kingdom Hearts 2 is not a game that you can just jump into without really knowing the mythology of what came before. It's a rather unique series in that missing either an entry in the main franchise or one of the portable spin-offs affects your understanding of the plot a significant amount.
Reviewing the game in a conventional sense is clearly out, then, but it did bring me to a greater understanding of the unique problem of video games as an art form.
When people talk about the evolution of gaming as an art they are usually pointing to A List voice casts and photorealistic graphics. To be sure, all of those things have contributed a significant amount to where gaming has reached these days, but to focus on them is to ignore what makes gaming unique.