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Kingdom Hearts

Action RPG
Kingdom Hearts
  • September 16, 2002
  • March 28, 2002
  • November 15, 2002
A 287 total ratings
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Another Square Collaboration

A Kingdom Hearts review Author: alrightya Published: November 06, 2003
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Once again, Square teamed up with another company to develop a "cute kid game" that everyone can enjoy. I was very skeptical about this game when I first started hearing about it. A Squaresoft game with Disney characters? How ridiculous is that? Then I thought about it, and immediately became excited because I remembered the days of playing another "cute kid game" by Square, Super Mario RPG.
People, including myself, were skeptical about Super Mario RPG and it turned out to be a truly great game. I expected no less of Kingdom Hearts, but I was still skeptical. It's one thing to make a game with Nintendo, a great video game developer, but it's a whole other story making a game with Disney.
This game uses real-time battles, so no waiting for your turn to attack. You just attack non-stop. Battling was different from what you'd expect from Square, but it was still fun taking down the heartless. Except for that damn camera. You couldn't control the camera, and the camera was never at a good angle for you to see the entire fight. The camera was terrible and whoever designed it should be fired.
Your 2 comrades, Donald and Goofy, are helpful in battle, as long as you switch their battle commands so they don't go overboard with the healing potions. They fight, and fight smart, they never get in your way and don't just stand around, they go to a heartless and beat the crap out of them. You will at times only have Donald or Goofy, as the third party member will change from world to world. You'll have Ariel, Aladdin, Tarzan, as well as others to choose from. Each have unique attacks and fighting styles which add a lot of depth to the battles, very fun and enjoyable battles.
You earn back life and magic power from almost every heartless you kill. You also earn money and experience as well. You need all the experience you can get, because although it is a Disney game, the boss battles can sometimes be frustratingly hard. Especially the battle with the almighty Sephiroth, it took me quite a few tries to beat him, but I finally beat the bastard and man it felt good.
Aside from battles, there are many side-quests to partake in. Building a Gummi Ship was fun, it was interesting trying to see what I could come up with. Trying to put as many of the Ultima-Gs and Thundaga-Gs that I could fit, and naming it whatever you wanted, I named mine the Highwind from FFVII. Flying the Gummi Ship was fun, at first, then it became rather boring, tedious, and repetative, fast. Once you visit a place once, you're allowed to just warp there to avoid flying the gummi ship, as long as you have a warp gummi hooked on to your ship. I still used the gummi ship every once in a while, but mostly warped. The best part of the gummi ships was the person you bought parts from, Cid of FFVII fame.
Other side-quests involve trying to find Trinity Marks. When you are allowed to find certain colors, the gang and you will be able to gain items and money from finding and opening these marks, it is hard finding them all, but well worth it. Finding all 99 dalmations was time consuming since it isn't that easy finding 99, only 33 places since there are 3 puppies in each place. You get a nice gummi reward for finding them all though.The coliseum tournaments aren't all needed to beat the game, but you know you will beat them. It will be hard, especially the insanely long and difficult Hades Cup. The secret bosses were the hardest and longest battles of this game. Sephiroth would demolish any other boss in this game, including the final boss.
The mini-games are pleasing. From all the games in the Hundred Acre Wood, to the vine-swinging and tree sliding, the games can keep you occupied for hours. The gameplay is perfect, except for that damn camera. Even though the camera is the only flaw, it is a HUGE flaw.
You play as Sora, an adolescent boy living on Destiny Island. You are young, naive, and somehow very experienced with the Keyblade when you receive it. I don't know how main characters are always experienced fighters when most of the time they have never fought before. You must find your friend Kairi, who disappeared after your homeland was attacked by an evil force known as the heartless. During all the comotion, you end up in a place called Traverse Town, where you must now discover what happened to your home, as well as your friends.
You will not be alone, early in the game Goofy and Donald are thrown into the mix as they search for the master of the Keyblade. They wind up in your group, and you travel the worlds of Disney battling heartless and looking for answers, as well as Keyholes that Sora will seal with his Keyblade after taking care of the boss of each world.
It is a very simple story, but you will be surprised at how well it captures you. You will also be pleasantly surprised to see that all the FF characters were actually added in good taste, and not just thrown into the story to get FF fans to buy the game. Tidus and Wakka from FFX are there. Squall and Selphie from FFVIII make an appearance as well. Cid from VII sells your gummi parts, Cloud is a participant at the coliseum, Sephiroth is damn near impossible to beat, and even Aeris returns from her grave of FFVII to join the cast. As well as the always cute moogles from various games.
There are many, too many to name, Disney characters in the game. They range from Aladdin, to Ariel, to Pooh, to the Beast, to Jack Skelington, and on to the Seven Princesses you must rescue. And for every Disney hero, there is a Disney villain to match, from Maleficent, to Queen of Hearts, to Hades, and Hook and so many more. The worlds and characters from Disney, as well as the summons, Simba, Mushu, and others, really add a lot to the gameplay as well as story of the game.
The worlds are astonishing, and the character designs are very well done. Square has always been known for their graphic designs, and this title is no different. The environments will move you, from the simple and plain Hundred Acre Wood, to the dark and dreary Halloween Town, you will love the look of every world. From the cute Pooh, to the pretty Ariel, to the high-flying Pan, and on to the gruesome Beast, the character animations will never disappoint. I don't know if I would ever be able to give a Square game a less than perfect score for the graphics.
Music and Square almost go together almost as well as Graphics and Square. Kingdom Hearts does not disappoint in this category. The battle effects are great, the voice-overs are superb, and the music is easy on the ears. At no point in the game did I feel the music had been recycled to a point that I dreaded listening to it. I was always looking forward to hearing some new Disney-esque tunes in the popular worlds. Square and Disney did a great job in making a soundtrack that had not a single out of place tune.
Replay Value
A very long game, at times frustrating with the hard battles. I have already played this game twice, and plan on beating it again right before Kingdom Hearts 2 comes out, so you know this is a good game. Some people might not play it again that often for the amount of time it takes to beat, add on another 20 hours if you are a completist like me, and you'll be spending a good month and a half with this game.
The only flaw I had with this game, and it was a HUGE flaw, was the camera during battles. It ALWAYS got in the way. I sure hope the problem is fixed for Kingdom Hearts 2 or I won't be as forgiving. Every other aspect of the game was great. The idea of Final Fantasy and Disney together still sounds frightening, but somehow it worked. Square surprised us with Super Mario RPG, and they've done it again with Kingdom Hearts.
Unlike Mario RPG, which was definitely an easy game, Kingdom Hearts is meant for kids, but if it is hard for a veteran RPG player, I feel sorry for the little ones who are playing this game solely for the Disney aspect.
Editor's Grade
dotted line "One of the best PS2 titles on the market today. Everybody that avoided this game because of Disney really missed out on a great gaming experience."
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Vapid Buttmunch
Member since October 27, 2003
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