Boring, repetitive and cliché story and gameplay deprive this game of its true potential.

User Rating: 6.5 | Kingdom Hearts PS2
It's funny how the developers of the game got the idea to make a Square/Disney themed game. A producer of Square Soft, (today known as Square Enix) Shinji Hashimoto met with a Disney executive in an elevator since they worked in the same building and that's how the idea came. It was a simple idea at first targeted at young Disney fans mostly but when Hironobu Sakaguchi told Tetsuya Nomura that the game would be a failure Tetsuya started developing the story further. So that's how the birth of the Kingdom Hearts series began and since then seven games have been released in the series and more are planned for the future. Now let's talk about Kingdom Hearts, the first game in the series, itself.

I find the game to be colorful and the game world is beautiful. Well, of course it has to be since it is based in a Disney world. It is very interesting to adventure through your favorite childhood Disney worlds. If you ever wanted to walk around Hollow Bastion (Beauty and the Beast) then this is your chance. I know I wanted since Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney cIassic ever. If you ever wanted to wander around the deep jungle then you get to here: Same thing with Wonderland, Atlantis, Olympus Coliseum, Agrabah and other cIassic Disney places. Now not every Disney world is featured here though but there are surely enough to please you. Now this may all sound great, but who do you use as the person to travel through all these wonderful Disney worlds? Well, you use a boy named "Sora" and he is on a quest to save his friend Riku from the evil clutches of Maleficient (Sleeping Beauty). Sora is the chosen one to wield the so called weapon "Keyblade." There are various upgraded Keyblade weapons across the world that are more powerful but in the end it is still the Keyblade Sora wields, just know that. There is also another friend of Sora's that wants to save Riku. Her name is "Kairi." I won't go into much detail about her and the story since I don't want to spoil the story. But I'll put it in a more simple way.
These three friends, Sora, Riku and Kairi are set to go on a journey to find and discover other worlds apart from their own. The night before they leave though, they are attacked by monsters called Heartless and Riku disappears into a portal and Kairi, Sora and Riku are all separated. King Mickey leaves his world to go and defeat the Heartless in the world and gives Donald and Goofy orders to find the one with the key. Sora, Donald and Goofy are all joined together in Traverse Town and so their journey begins. A lot of twists and turns happen and the story is a bit cliché in my opinion and it is boring to me. The story is so boring sometimes that you may not follow and then you'll get lost and won't know what to do and you'll wander hours just trying to get to know what to do. I think the story is the weakest of all in this game since it is the story that is the most important in an RPG.

Now onto the gameplay, I got two words for ya: Boring!
The gameplay is almost as bad as the story. The fighting is really dull and boring and it isn't any fun. At first it seems cool to fight Heartless but you get tired after the first 3-5 hours of this. I mean, it is just button smashing; you hardly need to use magic or anything to defeat them even though you can and it does make killing them faster. Let's now get to the camera. It is in a way good and bad. Sometimes it works well and gives you a great angle of things and then another time it will make you fall and idea, it won't give you a great view of things and it will just get you frustrated. I can honestly say I've played PS1 and N64 games that have better camera views. I think the camera isn't really that good and it could have been made better. Cheap deaths are also annoying in this game since the camera may give you a bad view of things and you just fall to your doom after jumping. Well, you can't really die in the game from jumping. Like for example, in the Deep Jungle, you're on a vine and you fall then you fall to a section lower than that and then you have to go start from scratch again and get to the same area where you just fell from. And I promise you if you haven't played this game, this happens often. So the gameplay may fell interesting at some points like let's say you're up against a more challenging opponent like a big Heartless or a boss. I think the fights in this game shine best at the Coliseum. If you've played the game you'll know what I mean. Boss battles are okay too but some are easy in my opinion.

Now onto the graphics, the artistic display in this game is brilliant. It is one good thing about this game the other being the sound. Trust me, the CGI cut scenes, although not on par with today's are gorgeous at certain points. I think this game really does well. The characters are also very well displayed and the Square and Disney worlds are great. Traverse Town may be a dull place to wander around in but that's mostly the purpose. The beach where Sora is from really is beautiful and let me not start with Disney worlds. Even though they're not that immerse and huge they are a pleasant to adventure in if you're an avid Disney fan. So the graphics from an artistic view are great and are quite good for a game that was released early in the PS2's life.

Let's move on to the characters themselves. We all know about Sora, Riku, Kairi, Donald, King Mickey, Goofy, Maleficient with Daisy and Minnie making cameos but what other Disney and Square characters are there. Well, let me start off with the villains. There is Clayton from the Tarzan series, Ursula from Little Mermaid, Captain Hook (come on guys, I don't need to tell you where he's from), there is Jafar, Hades from Hercules, Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII and I think there are more but just can't remember them now.

Next we have the good guys. Among the good guys there's of course Tarzan, Alice, Winnie the Pooh, Jasmine, Ariel, Aladdin, Cid from FF VII (yeah, that Cid), Squall Leonhart, Yuffie from FF VII, Selphie from FF VIII, Aerith from FF VII. Cloud Strife makes an appearance too in this game. There's also Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Snow White, Huey, Dewey, and Louie (Donald Duck series), Winnie the Pooh characters, King Triton (Little Mermaid), Beast, Abu (Aladdin), Genie (Aladdin), Philoctetes (Hercules) and many other Disney characters, trust me, many others. The game, as you can see, features a lot more Disney than Square but it doesn't really matter that much. So the Disney and Square characters we love are here, especially the Disney characters and what's even better, the original cast of these Disney characters provide their voice work for the game. I'll provide more on that in the "sound" section.

Now onto the sound, the music is catchy at certain points but forgettable too. I think the best theme in the game is from Traverse Town. It is relaxing and enjoyable and at least not easily forgettable. Yes, the soundtrack could have been better but at least the music played in different worlds fits into it. If you're in the Deep Jungle you'll feel like you're really there because the music is synchronized so well with the place. The voice acting is top notch. I give it a 9.5/10. It is just absolutely fantastic. Most voice actors from past Disney movies reprise their respective roles and voice act for the character they voice acted for in a movie where they appeared. I think the character with the best voice acting is Hades from Hercules. I just love that guy's voice actor. The other characters really do sound like Disney characters and really make you feel right at home in the world you're in but I don't think any Disney voice actor beats Hades' voice actor but the Genie from Aladdin comes close. The Square characters sound good too but I cannot really judge the voice acting here since none of them spoke in the games they appeared in so I did not really know how they sounded until I played this game. Therefore, the music and voice acting is brilliant. It is in my opinion, the best aspect of this game.

Now for Lasting Appeal, I think the Lasting Appeal in this game is very low. After you've finished it there's nothing much to do and you may not really feel like coming back. The game is mostly just a "play once and come back after some years and play again" kind of Appeal. At least that's what I think. The game's story and gameplay aren't that good to bring you back and the extras are not that great, there are hardly any worthwhile extras in the game anyway apart from a teaser cut scene/trailer for KH II. So the game's Lasting Appeal is quite low. At least I know I'm not going back to this game after seeing the ending. The voice acting may want to bring you back but you could just as well watch Disney Classic movies if you have and save yourself the trouble of just having to hear a certain character/characters

Lastly, the Final Verdict. The game isn't really as great as I'd hoped. I came in with high expectations after hearing so much good about this game and was disappointed to realize the game wasn't as good as everyone said. I think the game was spoilt for me because of the hype I got from it. Maybe I was expecting too much but either way, I find the game to be boring and dull gameplay and story wise but the graphics and music are good and the voice-acting is top notch. It just feels like there's something missing. So if you want to play a great Disney-themed game with maybe a little Square in it then this is your game but if you're looking for an engaging and full-fledged RPG I suggest you check some other PS2 RPGs because this game may not please you that much. Kingdom Hearts is known as some of the best PS2 games out there and I keep on asking myself why? I don't get why it is so loved because I found it very boring and repetitive. The Disney characters and worlds are a joy to see and listen to but other than that, there's nothing else. Maybe it's just me but I don't think I'm the only one that thinks this way. I know many may disagree with my review but I still stand by my word and say that Kingdom Hearts is an overrated game and certainly isn't one of the best games available on the PlayStation 2.
To put it shortly: Boring, repetitive and cliché story and gameplay deprive this game of its true potential.

Score: 6.8/10

Reviewer: spooky102

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