Review by OhSoSnake
"A Deep, Venerable, Timeless, Remarkable Exhibition Of A Flawless GEM!!!"
Forgive me for my English, it is not my mother tongue so I hope you understand. Thank you in advance!!!
"Overview": 1997. The face of gaming would change forever. The current third best game of all time (though ranked second by gamefaqs users), Final Fantasy VII rewrote so many rules it blew my mind away. The graphics were art. The music was better than Beethoven. The battle system was the most original ever to be seen in an RPG. It was full to the brim of THREE discs. What happen? Genius was given birth at Squaresoft. Of course, no other than Tetsuya Nomura was intimately involved in the entire project. They say that without his influence, FFVII, and gaming, would never have been the same.
Now, in the early 2000s, his first real project was given, Kingdom Hearts. KH was (and is) the most original RPG I have ever played. Never am I disappointed or bored with anything of it, even in the multiple (about 9000) times I have replayed it. What else could be such an epic from the mind of Tetsuya Nomura? Well, KH2, I suppose, but this review is about KH1! So bear with me, and let us begin.
Basically, KH combines aspects of Disney (the third best franchise) with Final Fantasy (the second best franchise) to create a vivid, kinetic, endearing experience. It is RPG, and with much action to be had! It is entirely delightful, start to finish.
Game-"play": Ah, game-play. My favorite aspect of a game. I would still love KH even without its game-play, though again it is the most important thing. KH likes its gameplay very, very fresh, so if you don't like change then this aspect could draw you away from the game. Not only that, but you cannot really experiment with strategies, because the enemies are in a constant change. And so are the allies. I'll get to most of this.
First off, there's combat involving keys, sticks, shields, wands, you name it. Every single weapon handles entirely differently. The key chops better, the shield pushes hard, wands are good for casting spells, sticks are just to get you started!
Swinging your weapon is fun enough. All of the enemies are very responsive though, so using the same patterns in attacking isn't the best way to play! Did I just mention patterns? Yes, KH's combat system has the best combos of any real time game. It gets deeper than the deepest of fighting games, I'd go as far saying. But how does it do it?? You can combo with one weapon. Yes, one weapon. The amount of skill it takes is pretty tough, but after a long time, you'll be able to lock your enemies for rounds of hurt! But how do you combo? It takes very precise timing, no joke. You must figure out how long to time your attacks apart. In other words, button mashing won't work, sorry :P. But that's what makes it so good, and deep!
Every enemy takes a different strategy, like I said. I'm talking more than Zelda. For that reason, protagonist Sora, Donald, and Goofy (I'll get to them later) all need to use different tactics. Sora gets many spells and items in battle to choose from. For example, "Potion" heals only a couple of your HP (Hit Points). But what if you need, like, more?? Then use the "High Potion"! So what if your attacks and combos are starting to do less damage?? Then try using, Fire, Thunder, or Blizzard spells! You don't have to be choosy about magic though, because Fire, Thunder, and Blizzard work on all enemies very well! Not only that, but you get better versions of them later in the gameJUST in time for when your old ones start to do less damage! Geniuses! And what happens when they throw in Aero spells?! I won't even go there!
Not only that, but there are equipped abilities. These can be added or equipped to get really cool effects! For example, Combo Plus extends your combos (IF you're good at doing combos)! Not only that, but you get to assign them to slots on you, like Materia (FFVII). FFVII had a huge problem, though. You couldn't assign all of your good Materia to a single character, at least earlier in the game. So, what does KH do? You get to assign almost all of your abilities. Yes, it's true. Now, in KH, you almost all of your favorite abilities on Sora, so he can do all of them right when he gets them! Masterful system.
Now, I'll describe the worlds. Yes, KINGDOM HEARTS HAS SIXTEEN FULL WORLDS FOR YOU TO EXPLORE. That's sixteen Final Fantasy VII's combined. It's always a rewarding and magical quest for self-discovery, as Sora, Donald, and Goofy traverse the Disney and Squaresoft universe!
Each world has multiple, important things to do. And their stories. Yes, each world HAS THEIR OWN SEPARATE STORY. Not only that, but these are stories related to the Disney characters in their own worlds. I'm not ruining which ones you visit! Anyway, each story takes the inspiration of the original Walt Disney film, and improves in every way. Though I haven't seen a few of the original Disney films, the worlds' stories in KH make up for every penny I could have spent. You see, the stories for each world in KH are, BETTER, than the original films!!!! And longer! I promise you'll never see any story the same way. It's simply better in every way with Sora, Donald, and Goofy around.
Next, what do we do in KH's worlds? So much interaction. Everything you see, you can probably interact with. Never has talking to NPCs been more fluid and tight. Instead of accidently pressing X all the time and accidently talking to them, you simply go down in the menu to the "Talk" command, then press X. Did I mention that you have to do this to interact with everything? Yes, in KH, there will be no more accidents such as examining every other object.
Besides that, there are many mind-bending puzzles. For example, you have to figure out a mushroom's riddle in a certain world, for what he wants. What does he want, ultimately? You have to figure that out, so they can let you continue. These offer nice diversions from battling enemies, because for me my hands get tired with all of the timing I have to think about when battling, personally. What other kinds of puzzles are there? Many, many request puzzles. They are all rewarding, because you know you're helping the characters who want certain items, or else they can't progress the story, of course.
Not only that, but KH is completely non-linear. Other games (FFX, sadly) are so linear that you can't indulge yourself in the beautiful environments. How does KH approach this differently? You actually get to stay in the environments for a much, much longer time! For example, being that each massive world is a web of screens, it's like going back in forth (and back, and forth!), in glorious, pattern-like form. They finally did it: they gave me the opportunity to see multiple displays of wonderful Walt Disney artmultiple times. And without having to replay the game (though I do anyway). I am in love.
What else is there to speak of? The lovely camera? Yes, the camera in KH is probably held by the best cameraman the world has ever seen. If it were, he would be the kind that jumps around valiantly to capture the most significant portions of the intense combat for one like I, the thinking man. The cameraman also predicts my exact thoughts perfectly, especially more when I decide to lock on to an enemy. What does he do then? He dances around even more! You see, a still camera equals still, boring display. The KH camera spins around the combat, giving a different angle of looking at it all the time. It knows that a still camera is never good enough.
And I would never forget to mention the wonderful gatherings. If you've ever played Banjo-Tooie, you know what I mean. The gatherings one-up those of Rare's, again and again (and AGAIN!). What do I mean? The collecting creates an intimate bond between Sora, Donald, and Goofy and the environment. You will search every nook and cranny, and my, has it never been more satisfying. It's especially satisfying after you find someone who tells you to look for something.
Not only do you have the pleasure of searching for this certain something again! but it's somewhere hidden where you've already been! How did Nomura expand on this? In a 2004 interview after KH's release, he stated (this is translated), "...I knew players would love re-discovering their favorite Disney environments, so I topped it with a slew of originality: they would re-discover their inner joy to reciprocate with their favorite Disney environments with all the love they had..." And what a flawless explanation that is! Thank you, Mr. Nomura!
How could I applaud KH further for it's marvelous magnificence?! I could figuratively talk all day about it. I suppose a discussion of the music will suffice. Because, you see, KH has the best soundtrack of any game ever created. Shimomura has made the most original soundtrack since 1999 (THPS). All of my favorite Disney movies have always had the most memorable musicbut at such low sound quality, given how old they are. What does Shimomura do to compensate? She remixes all of them with a sleek, artistic attitude that no one else has ever been like before. Even remixes like "Traverse Town" best their original forms (from Chrono Trigger) in every way imaginable. The other Disney remixes get the job done in every way. I could already start humming them the first time I heard thembecause thankfully, they're not rearranged! God bless you, Shimomura.
Lastly, I can't just say how long KH is. That would be an outright fabricationbecause, you see, KH lasts forever. I have already played it earlier today for 4 straight hours, and it's been almost seven years since its release. But how does KH last long in the first place? You see, like I said, it thrives in letting you spend more time in each world than any other game. For example, a certain world the size of a simple area in a game like, say, FFVII, takes about ten times as long to complete, because of all of the important reciprocating you must do. It's incredible how long these environments last in one playthrough!
Oh, and speaking of environments, there's the GORGEOUS graphix. Each world has particularly beautiful wall backgrounds for you to admire; and given their beauty, I couldn't help but wish they used the same wall patterns for each room. SomehowSOMEHOW, Tetsuya Nomura read my mind. The wall patterns do repeat! I am in love.
Next, there are the enemies. My, they are atrociousin the good sense. They are all evil, and dark colored. And big, and mean. Just the kind of enemies I would battle to the death with. Not only that, but Nomura knew I would long for my favorite enemies of ye olden areas! What does he do this time??? He brings the enemies from old areas into the progressing areas! Not only that, but their stats are reworked to compensate for all of the grinding I've done with Sora, Donald, and Goofy.
Speaking of Sora, Donald, And Goofy, they couldn't look better. Goofy couldn't look goofier! Donald couldn't look donalder!! Sora couldn't look sorer!!! All three of them look ten times better than their previous incarnations in classic Disney works. Especially with their weapons. Did I mention that Sora uses a key? I couldn't have thought of a more original weapon. Quoted from Nomura: "I decided to use a key instead of a sword! Yes, because a key unlocks enemies. It unlocks them!"
What does that mean? Just what Nomura saidyou see, the enemies are heartlessthey have no vibrating, blood pumping muscular organs! So when you unlock them, you'll know just how evil they were.
In the matter of character design, Nomura is just like me, a wonderful fashion expert. All of the great characters he's made all have just as many zippers as I could ever hope for. Every part of these characters is given lovethe only design love such a fashion fan like myself could likethat is, zippers. Yeah.
Overall, I have an undying love for KH, as it is obvious so. And KH has a timeless love for me, as does Nomura. His intellect is beyond philosophers'no, not in some lousy books (except for the KH explanation novels), silly! In Kingdom Hearts, an epic of love, betrayal, revenge, epicness, nomurness, soraness, love, betrayalit's all there, and no, I'm not ruining an ounce of it.
This game is worth ounce of munny you have, regardless of how rich or poor you are. Go forth, Non-Kingdom Hearts Owners, and buy it (preferably the Final Mix, though, but you'll have to learn Japanese, but it's worth it trust me I know these things)! And buy a Playstation 2 (preferably KH Edition) if you haven't done so yet!
Having said thatyes, Kingdom Hearts is the best game of all-times.
"Graphics": 10/10 (again: gorgeous)
"Music": 9.8/10 (Only because Disney films and Chrono Trigger already had them before)
"Fighting System": 10/10
"Controls":9/10 (I don't get to control Donald, Goofy, or other special characters)
"Camera (-man)": 10/10
"Character Design": 10/10
"Constant Button Pressing": 9/10
Length/"Replay Value": 8/10 (this game takes up too much of my free time :-))
"Final Mix Edition": Check/Check
Over-all: 10/10. Not an average, just my formulated rounding.
Thank you for reading!!!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/20/09
Game Release: Kingdom Hearts (US, 09/16/02)
Got Your Own Opinion?
You can submit your own review for this game using our Review Submission Form.