Review by azn_devil_kid
"A Unique Addition to RPG History"
The game Kingdom Hearts goes where few games have gone before. It is a compilation of both Squaresoft and Disney characters and their. It is rare that two companies such as these have come together to collaborate a game. Kingdom Hearts follows the story of a boy named Sora, who lives a peaceful life on an island with his friends, when one day he receives a legendary sword known as the Keyblade, and from then on his life changes. You play as Sora through many worlds, both Disney worlds and worlds original to this game. Along the way, you meet both Disney and Final Fantasy characters. Enemies known as Heartless also appear along the way to fight Sora as to eliminate the Keyblade wielder. Sora's main goal through all of these escapades is to find his two friends that he played with on his island and had become acquainted to, Kairi and Riku.
The gameplay of this game is both unique and similar to that of previous Final Fantasy games. There are no turns, it's simply whack the enemy with the Keyblade until they finally go away. The most major flaw of the battle system is that all you need to do is really mash X until you win. But nonetheless, it's always fun to bash an enemy multiple times. Another aspect to the battle system is magic, which is familiar to all Final Fantasy fans. Spells such as Fire and Thunder are derived from previous Square games, but there are certain spells which are totally original. Summons also come into play in this game. Although not nearly as useful as in most Final Fantasy games, you can summon a variety of Disney creatures like Dumbo and Tinkerbell to aid you in the fight against the Heartless and other enemies. A new aspect that is completely original is the Gummi Ship. The Gummi Ship is a vehicle that you use to travel from world to world. While venturing, you will encounter enemy ships who also seek to harm you. While in the Gummi Ship, you can use an array of attacks depending on what parts that you put on it. The Gummi Ship is truly unique and is also a great addition. All in all, the gameplay is superior to many, but there are a few flaws in the field of battle.
I found the storyline to this game absolutely phenomenal and moving. As I mentioned before, Sora goes from world to world defeating enemies in order to find his friends Riku and Kairi. Shortly after he leaves his home island, he meets up with two faces familiar to all Disney fans, Donald and Goofy. The boy who once traveled solo now travels as a trio. Sora soon finds out that the Keyblade has a purpose, which is to seal the Keyhole in each world which will in turn slow down the production of Heartless. Almost every time Sora seals a Keyhole, a scene occurs in which a variety of Disney villains plot to destroy this skilled boy, although I will not continue on as to prevent myself from spoiling the story. Whether Sora is able to find Kairi and Riku or not is up to you to find out.
The graphics for this game during this certain time period in gaming history is a first. The graphics of the first sequence of the game will easily hook you onto playing the game. Even the graphics of the normal gameplay are incredibly detailed, with vibrant colors in every spot of the screen. Each character has human-like details and look as though they really are human. From the dense jungle of Tarzan's land to the watery environment of Atlantica, the graphics are able to maintain cutting edge design. The combination of Square and Disney has resulted in an arsenal of fresh designs that are unfamiliar to those of not only other RPGs, but all games. In my opinion, the graphics of this game is what really makes it an excellent game, and they contribute to its success as an RPG.
The controls of this game is where Kingdom Hearts struggles in. Although the battle controls are easy enough to memorize and use to your advantage, the camera is awful. When attempting to travel from place to place in a room, especially by jumping, the camera angles will really screw you over. In fact, the camera angles both in-battle and out of battle will cause you to fail so many times that it becomes frustrating. But other than the god-awful camera controls, the normal controls excel. I really enjoyed the convenience of having the controls similar to those of games which I had previously played. The menu controls and in-battle controls are especially spectacular. To sum it up, the controls are quite advanced, except for the controls of the camera.
Sound and Music: 10/10
I really enjoyed the music of this game, especially the song "Simple and Clean" performed by Utada Hikari during the opening sequence. And the greatest part of this game is that unlike most other RPGs, music doesn't play every single second. The music alters from world to world, appropriating itself to your environment. Disney fans will easily recognize certain songs such as "Under the Sea" which will play when you are in the world of the Little Mermaid. The background songs are very catchy, I even caught myself tapping my fingers from time to time. The voiceovers of the characters also provide pleasure in playing this game. Haley Joel Osment was a great choice to use as the voice of Sora, as his not-yet-matured voice really captures the essence of Sora's character. There are also several other characters in which the voiceovers will intrigue you due to their ability to modify their voice as to capture the essence of their character. In conclusion, the music and sound of this game was phenomenal and contributed to its success.
Sidequests and Mini Games: 9/10
The sidequests and mini games of Kingdom Hearts are both abundant in number and fun. From the several battles in which you can participate at the Coliseum and the fun mini games that you can nonchalantly play in the 100 Acre Woods. One thing that I especially enjoyed about the side quests was the collection of the 101 Dalmatians. Along your quest to find your friends and battle the Heartless, you will find certain treasure chests that contain a few of the 99 Dalmatians that have been separated from their mother and father. By collecting all 99, you will receive an array of prizes which will make this quest worth your time and effort. Synthesizing is also another aspect to the side quests of Kingdom Hearts that may be familiar to Final Fantasy fans. You will find certain items along your adventure that can be used to create items which prove to be very useful. And by successfully synthesizing all items, you will be able to obtain Sora's most powerful weapon, Ultima Weapon, which appears in almost all Final Fantasy games. All in all, the sidequests and mini games are very entertaining and provide relief from fighting the necessary enemies.
Disney's Role: 10/10
The thing that makes this game truly unique is the insight provided by Disney. Although some people may think that this game is childish due to the appearance of Disney characters, I believe that they provide a whole new aspect to gaming, maybe even revolutionizing the way we play RPGs. From the appearances of Disney characters such as the mysterious Chesire Cat to Jack Skellington of Halloween Town, these Disney characters entertain people of all ages. One reason I purchased this game in the first place was to see how well the combination of Square and Disney worked out. And in my opinion, this was a very successful result to a highly risky attempt that was meant to retain individuality from other games.
Squaresoft's Role: 10/10
This game would not be an RPG without the insight provided by Square. Square decided to take a spin from the regular RPGs such as Final Fantasy by collaborating with Disney to create this game. Square characters like Squall (or Leon) and Cloud make appearances in this game and sometimes fight both along and against Disney characters. I believe that contrary to what people think of Disney's role in this game, the Square part attracts older ages. Because of this, the combination of these two companies ultimately attracts people of all ages. In conclusion, I believe that Square was necessary for the success of this video game.
Replay Value: 6/10
Honestly, I have to say that there is not much to be gained by playing this game multiple times. Although you can obtain a secret ending, you can do that easily on your first run through the game. Despite this, one reason that one might wish to replay this game is because of the different experiences that you get with each game. What I mean by this is that at the beginning of the game, you are given a choice of choosing one of three items which will decide what skills you learn when you level up and what attribute gets powered up. Just by choosing one over the other will greatly change the difficulty of each game played. To sum it up, if you really wish to play the game again in order to test your skill, do so, but if not, you are really not missing out on anything.
In conclusion, this is a fantastic game for many reasons including its unique gameplay, the way the storyline engulfs you into continue playing, the spectacular details in graphic design, and more. I found this game to be one of the most enjoyable games I have ever played, even if it did have a few flaws. But then again, nothing is perfect. To sum it up, Square and Disney managed to collaborate with each other in order to create a game that satisfies the needs of gamers everywhere, and succeeded.
RENT OR BUY? This game is a definite buy due to the experience and joy obtained by playing this game. You can also get it for $20, a great deal. This is a must for RPG and Disney fans.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/18/06
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