Kingdom Hearts Review
Kingdom Hearts is great, largely because it successfully captures the spirit both of Square and Disney in a single game.
It's difficult to imagine how the idea for Kingdom Hearts might have dawned on someone. For a game to combine the brooding, self-important characters of the Final Fantasy series with the lighthearted, often silly characters from many of Disney's most famous animated feature films seems ridiculous, if not impossible. But here it is, as plain as day: Kingdom Hearts, an action adventure game that's sure to appeal to fans of either Square's previous games or Disney's cartoons, at least on some weird level. Though the actual gameplay of Kingdom Hearts isn't as noteworthy as the concept, and the plot wavers between being predictable and incoherent, you'll still enjoy making your way through the game's various settings, stumbling onto more Square and Disney cameos than you ever thought you'd see in one place.
Having Donald Duck and Final Fantasy VII's Cloud Strife in the same game--much less battling it out--demands some explanation. What the heck is going on in Kingdom Hearts? Well, it seems that a nefarious force is drawing on the life energies of a number of interconnected worlds using a shadowy, monstrous horde called the Heartless. Though, "monstrous" perhaps isn't the best way to describe a group of bad guys who look like a cross between the black mages of Final Fantasy and Looney Tunes' Marvin the Martian. As Sora, a fresh-faced kid with strange clothes, big feet, spiky hair, and a voice provided by The Sixth Sense star Haley Joel Osment, you'll become the unwitting savior of all these troubled lands as you search for your missing friends. With the help of none other than Goofy and Donald Duck (who happen to be looking for Mickey Mouse) and armed with your trusty keyblade, you'll visit a number of strange-but-familiar worlds before your quest is complete.
Along the way, you'll run into some of Disney's most famous characters, and you'll also meet some of Square's finest. But make no mistake--there's much more Disney here. So while you shouldn't expect to run into every one of your favorite Final Fantasy bit players, if you're a big Disney fan, you'll be in for a real treat. Square fans can take heart from the fact that Kingdom Hearts by all means bears the characteristics of a Square game, complete with all the sorts of character building, secret items, minigames, and impressive boss battles they've come to expect.
Kingdom Hearts isn't a role-playing game like last year's Final Fantasy X, but it does have plenty of role-playing elements. Your characters gain levels, spells, and special abilities as they proceed in their quest, and you can go out of your way to find special items or go back to town and shop for better equipment. Yet the action all takes place in real time, and there's plenty of it. You'll be fighting the Heartless in virtually every scene of the game, and when you defeat a pack of them, another pack will often materialize right then and there. Kingdom Hearts also has a good number of platform-jumping sequences and a few puzzles to solve. It's a linear game, though sometimes you get a choice of where to go first. It's also a pretty long game--not as lengthy as Final Fantasy X, but certainly a lot bigger than your average 10-hour action adventure.
Though Kingdom Hearts succeeds on most levels, its gameplay can get tedious. By default, the camera tries to stay behind Sora as he runs around, but you'll be able to move more nimbly than the camera, which will cause you headaches. You can switch to a manual camera--which complicates things but gives you better control over the perspective--but the camera will still wig out when you get too close to walls or other obstacles. The worlds you'll visit are mostly themed after various Disney animated films--Aladdin and The Little Mermaid, to name a couple. Yet despite the unmistakably different visual styles of each of these settings, the course of the gameplay tends to be about the same in each one. While there's an overarching story story in Kingdom Hearts, it sometimes takes a backseat to an abridged version of whichever Disney movie that world is based on. To help the hero of the world defeat the villain and restore order, you'll basically need to run around from one small area to the next, fighting the armies of the Heartless and the occasional boss.
There can be a lot of backtracking in each sequence, but you might not realize it, because you often won't get clear instructions on what to do next. You'll just have to run around and see what happens, and since the worlds are all relatively small, you'll still stumble upon the next checkpoint eventually. There's nothing like hitting a dead end to make you realize you were probably supposed to go the other way. This doesn't really make for a satisfying sense of exploration, though you'll love first setting foot in each new world.
Hey you! Yeah, I am talking to you! Are you sick and tired of the same old cliché videogames nowadays? If so, look no further, Kingdom Hearts is the game you are searching for. Kingdom Hearts has the perfect balance of great graphics, a hectic plot, animated Disney Characters, cool cut-scenes, and fun battle scenes that any avid role-playing gamer (RPG) would absolutely crave to get their hands on. Square Enix Gaming and Disney came up with a brilliant idea of combining Disney classic movies with a plot for the ages. I recommend this game to any adolescent, who is looking for a fun story plot and is sick and tired of the ?old, typical shooting games,? such as Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo, or even Far Cry. Kingdom Hearts is a fresh game that is unique and put together very well.Based off of these games, you are probably thinking, ?oh great, another generic fast-paced game, big whoop!? Let me tell you something. This game is far too classy and outstanding to simply mimic other popular games. The gamer gets all of the epic characteristics I mentioned before but in a more fun, laid back atmosphere with Disney Legends guiding you along every step of the way! So maybe if you are hardcore kind of guy, but not so into the gory, disgusting scenes from hard-fought battles, this might be right up your alley! Let me give you a taste of the storyline, my friend!
Kingdom Hearts starts off with three characters, Riku, Kairi, and finally, the main character Sora. They are all best of friends on an island basically in the middle of nowhere in a made up world. At the start off the game, they decide to build a raft to travel to a ?different world? and to explore around a bit. Keep in mind that this threesome is an extremely adventurous, tightknit group of youngsters and are always curious about what is beyond the perimeter of their small island. Little do they know, the day they decide to start their voyage on the raft is the same night the Heartless or the bad guys decide to come and attack. The three friends get split up trying to escape from the island and go through the rest of the game trying to find each other and restore peace. Kingdom Hearts sets up to be an exploratory game, as the Heartless along with the help of evil Disney Characters go around trying to capture the hearts of the good people, especially the keyholder, Sora. Meanwhile, Sora is having a grand old time hopping from world to world teaming up with Disney heroes, such as Hercules, Tarzan, The Little Mermaid, and many more, just trying to find and rekindle his deep friendship with his two old best friends from the island.
So you are probably wondering, what is possibly bad about this game? Well if you were to ask me, I would say there are some weaker points in the game, not necessarily bad things. One of the weaker points is that the fighting is too easy to learn and be good at. All you really have to do is keep hitting the x button on your PS2 controller and you will be pretty tough to defeat in battle. Obviously has you advance in the game, this will work less and less as you must incorporate abilities and different agility moves. Another weak point of Kingdom Hearts on PS2 is that the storyline can be confusing if you jump right into it. However, I see that as more of a good thing to have as a weak point because who wants a game that is completely predictable.
Furthermore, there are numerous benefits to playing Kingdom Hearts, and these benefits easily outweigh the negatives. For one you can reconnect with your childhood since a plethora of Disney classics are integrated into one storyline for the ages. I remember thinking it was so cool to be able to fight alongside the Disney Heroes I idolized in movies like the Beauty and the Beast or Alice in Wonderland. Also, if you like action and lots of it with countless memorable battles, then this game is right up your ally. Moreover, the plot is very well written and extremely captivating. Oh and did I mention that along Sora?s travels, Mickey Mouse asks Sora to help him find his wife, Minnie Mouse, who has apparently been captured by the Heartless. You really never know what world you will be going to next or who you will meet along the way. Sora ends building a gummi ship along with the help of others to navigate to the unknown. You even run into the owners of the 101 Dalmatians, and commit to trying to help them find their missing puppies. There are random, unexpected mini quests like that throughout the entirety of the game so there is always something new around the corner for you to explore! Another pro of this game is that the graphics are fabulous, and the music matches the gameplay very well. Sora along with his companions he meets in new worlds even make cool grunting noises as they engage in battle.
In summary, Kingdom Hearts is a classic game filled with action, some goofy cut scenes, and a memorable storyline with your favorite Disney characters. I am not going to be ?that guy? and ruin the ending of this fabulous game, but all I will say is that it is worth your time. I wholeheartedly recommend you buy this game if you love Disney! Reminisce on your old childhood and pick up a controller. You will not regret it; your new Disney friends are waiting?