So I purchased Kingdom Hearts: Re: Chain of Memories today, and gave the game a shot. In short, if you enjoyed the GBA version of this game, be prepared to tackle another beast of a game in this 3D rendition.
The move from 2D to 3D filled in more aesthetics into the already movie-filled game. Replacing all the 2D battles and isometric map navigation with pure 3D environments certainly gave me a dizzying experience as I return to somewhat familiar ground. Adding to the already-existing 3D movies that were streamed in the GBA game are more animated movies for my viewing pleasure. Overall, the general feel of the game is made to directly map against the existing Kingdom Hearts 2 menu template.
Once I hit the gameplay, though, that's where all the pleasantries hit a road bump.
Know this - if you've played the GBA game and enjoyed it, you're not gonna get the same experience the second time around on the PS2 version. Going from 2D battles to 3D changes the rules in the field, and all the clever tricks you've employed to avoiding attacks mean squat in the 3D realm. All the remake has done has converted your safe, 2D battles into the same battles you've done in KH and KH2, except with the restrictions of the card system in play.
This brings me to another problem that I have yet to experience: boss battles. All the familiar tactics used to take them down are thrown out the window now that you have to do battle in an extra dimension. And not only that, you'll have to run around and keep them within your sights at all times if you want to dish out the damage, something you never had to worry so much in the GBA game.
And this carries over to the 3D maps instead of the fixed, isometric maps that didn't move. There's extra maneuvering to be done if you want to find everything now, instead of being able to see everything at a glance. This certainly adds more playtime in the game, but more of the unwanted kind.
Despite these shortcomings, the game is still as fun as it was portably. But if you want the original experience, the GBA game is still the preference of choice. Too bad that I cannot locate my copy in my house, which is why there's a significant lack of any comparison thoughts between the two versions.