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Kingdom Hearts

Action, Rating: E - (Everyone), 1 player, published by: Sony

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A Stunning Game from Square

  • Dec 13, 2008
  • by
In 2002, Squaresoft (now Square-Enix) released Kingdom Hearts.  At the time, it was a risky endeavor.  A game which threw many of Square's beloved Final Fantasy characters with many of Disney's beloved characters.  It was risky because of Disney's involvement which made many Final Fantasy fans speculate that it would turn out to be a children's game.  To the surprise of the gaming community, Kingdom Hearts became a huge success! 

You play as Sora who lives on the Destiny Islands and wonders about other worlds out there.  Sora's friends Riku and Kairi are just as curious and one day decide to make a raft to set out and explore the world in which they live.  The night before they are to set out, however, things go awry when the Destiny Islands get invaded by heartless, shadow like creatures.  Eventually, Sora comes to hold the Keyblade to wield against the heartless, but after the attack on Destiny Islands he is separated from his allies and wakes up in a place called Traverse town.  Sora's adventure begins as a mission to find his friends, but will turn into something as he discovers how many other worlds are out there, and how they all need saving.

You'll travel to several worlds populated by Disney characters.  In most cases the world you travel to follows a similar plot to the very Disney film it comes from.  You'll help Aladdin stop Jafar and you'll help Alice in Wonderland among other Disney worlds you'll travel to.  The main story can sometimes fall into the background of the Disney worlds, which makes the story come off as a little unbalanced, but you'll enjoy living out some of Disney's best moments.  When you're not exploring Disney worlds, you'll find that Kingdom Hearts has a surprisingly deep storyline.  It also has some of the best voice acting in the industry.  The only other thing that hampers the story of Kingdom Hearts is that you can't skip any of the cutscenes.  So if you happen to lose a battle or don't like a certain scene on a replay, you'll have to sit through it again. 

The game plays incredibly well.  As you wander the dungeons, heartless enemies will pop up just about anywhere.  At this point, Sora pulls out his keyblade and his allies, Donald and Goofy will pull out their weapons as well.  You can't control Donald and Goofy at all, but the game's AI does a good job of keeping them afloat.  You can also customize things to make them attack more strategically or not.  As Sora you can attack enemies with the keyblade.  At first glance Kingdom Hearts is very much a hack and slash action/adventure RPG.  In most cases it is, but you can also cast spells as well.  At the beginning of the game, button mashing tactics may work, but as the game progresses those tactics will not always work.  Some of the bosses can be a challenge as well.

When progressing to other worlds, you'll have to fly what's called a gummi ship.  Of all the moments in Kingdom Hearts, the gummi ship moments definitely feel the most awkward.  They're moments that generally don't feel like they belong in the game.  They're also fairly long and repetitive.  The first time you jump in a gummi ship it can be a new experience, but having to jump in it every time you have to visit a new world can be annoying.  Luckily more than half of the game is spent exploring towns and battling.  Likewise, Kingdom Hearts has a plethora of secrets like hidden bosses (Sephiroth included) and even a few mini-games to play that are shockingly not frustrating at all.  Gameplay wise, Kingdom Hearts is accessible.  Experienced gamers probably won't find the game to be very hard.  There's a harder difficulty level, but even then it's not really too hard to conquer.

Graphically, Kingdom Hearts is an ever impressive game.  The worlds and enemies are incredibly detailed.  The game also runs very smoothly and at a very consistent frame rate.  Sometimes the camera angles can be a bit unfriendly and you'll be fighting with it, but it doesn't stop Kingdom Hearts from being a very beautiful game.  Needless to say, Kingdom Hearts has a very good soundtrack that remixes some of Disney's more fantastic tunes.

The only other problem Kingdom Hearts has is that the Final Fantasy characters don't seem all that important to the game as a whole.  It's nice to see characters like Cloud, Squall, Aerith and Yuffie, among other Final Fantasy characters, but their inclusion sometimes feels like an after thought as they hardly do much to progress things within the story. 

Nevertheless, Kingdom Hearts is easily one of the best Playstation 2 games to hit the market.  It has a stunning story and it has some remarkable gameplay.  Final Fantasy fans might be disappointed that they won't see very much of the Final Fantasy characters, but they'll be thrilled by the massive amount of gameplay and secrets this gem holds.

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November 27, 2009
nice one. I need to grab this since this is one of those games that I missed in the PS2. it is dirt cheap now. I finished LEFT FOR DEAD 1 yesterday (borrowed it from a friend) Pretty good, but I prefer the RE games still.
More Kingdom Hearts for PlayStation... reviews
review by . August 13, 2008
If you're anything like me, then you grew up totally into all things Disney. As a video game fan, my mouth was watering as soon as I heard Square was teaming up with Disney to create an action/adventure RPG. The best part is - THEY DELIVERED. The game play is fantastic, the characters are pheonominal, and the story is compelling. There were actually times when my eyes would glisten because I was so drawn in to the story along with characters I had known a lifetime. Kingdom Hearts is definitely a …
review by . August 11, 2006
Pros: Great game, wonderful plot, fantastic graphics and characters...     Cons: ...can be a bit challenging, but that isn't exactly a "con"!     The Bottom Line: Kingdom Hearts is a great game, and well worth buying. Now stop reading this, and head on over to your video game retailer!     The mere idea of a Disney RPG game probably sounds ridiculous. But in 2002, Disney paired up with Squaresoft (the creators of the Final Fantasy series …
review by . March 01, 2004
This is a fun, cute game that offers many hours of enjoyable play. The basic premise of the game is the standard stuff... the world is coming to an end, bad people have taken the girl, and YOU are the chosen one who has the "Gift" to make it all better. See pretty standard stuff.However, there is some non-standard stuff here too! First of all, the game is fun. Sure it is cheesy and it was (mostly) made for 12 year olds but it is still playable. Second. the blend of Disney characters adds a nice …
review by . April 01, 2003
When I first saw the television commercials for this game back in October 2002, I knew that one day I would buy KINGDOM HEARTS and play it (even though I didn't even own a PS 2 at the time). Fast forward six months and I finally have a PS 2 and have purchased KINGDOM HEARTS, played it, and beat it.All I can say is that I found the game amazing. The graphics are great, the soundtrack memorable, and the plot unforgettable. The plot of this game is what really sucked me in. I found myself playing and …
review by . January 18, 2003
posted in Siliconera Bounce
Pros: Disney and Squaresoft? Where do I sign?     Cons: The Little freakin' Mermaid section! UGH!     The Bottom Line: The world's greatest animation producers meet the world's greatest RPG producers. Need I say more?     Think for a moment, if you will, about the meanings of such terms as breathless, breathtaking, takes your breath away, et cetera. You think about them, you would normally think of a beautiful woman or some sort of natural …
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #7
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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About this video game


Ever wondered what would happen if the worlds ofFinal Fantasyand Disney collided? It’s an odd concept to be sure, but from the most schizophrenic of acorns the mighty gaming oak ofKingdom Heartshas grown. Legendary role-playing game makers Square have been given unprecedented liberties with the entire Disney universe and have created a game featuring everything fromThe Nightmare Before ChristmastoThe Little Mermaid. This is odd enough in itself when you have characters as disparate as Tarzan and Donald Duck teaming up, but becomes majorly freaky when Square thrown in a variety of their own characters such as Cloud, Squall, and Aeris from the variousFinal Fantasygames. But this incongruity has one side benefit in that the storyline behind the game is by necessity rather vague, which seems to have stopped Square from filling three CDs full of their usual New Age whining about Mother Earth. Instead they’ve spent even more time on the graphics, and the end result is a quite stunning 3-D cartoon.

As for the gameplay, it may come as a surprise to learn that it doesn’t actually feature, as all the Final Fantasy games do, turn-based combat. Instead it's essentially a scrolling beat-'em-up-cum-platformer with exactly the kind of complicated Square-style knobs you’d expect. The game may be a little shallow, but it’s an impressive artistic achievement and to be quite frank any title that allows you to magically summon Bambi out of thin air to ...

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ESRB: E - (Everyone), Violence
Publisher: Square Electronic Arts/Disney Interactive
Developer: Square
Console: PlayStation 2 Games
Genre: Action RPG
Release Date: September 17, 2002 (NA);
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