Review by BladedCamel
"For the kiddies or for the RPG lovers?"
I like to think of myself as a pretty hard person to get a perfect score for. I also don't believe in writing a review until I've finished the game.
I wasn't sure about this game at first,I mean come on Disney an Square making a game? Before buying the game I didn't know if I should be the one playing it or if it was meant for someone much younger. Within the first hours I couldn't stop playing it. I spent 3 hours in the first area when it could have been done in about 10 minuets. Unlike many RPG this one is truly fun and entertaining.
You know when Square is in on it, the graphics have got to be the best. The 3 Dimensional environments in the game are breath taking. The lush textures an great array of colors make this an easy win. The stunning backgrounds and summoning animation were nothing short of awesome. The sprites are smooth an well rounded, their are not blocky at all! Its amazing how they got all the Disney characters into a 3 dimensional environment an they still look like they did in the cartoons! They just did a GREAT job on the graphic!
SOUND/MUSIC/VOICE ACTING: 10
The sound is great! The spell effects and battle sounds are just right, not over done or constantly used. I in places like in the jungle the water sounds and bird chirping were perfect. You only hear the sound that your supposed to when your supposed to, unlike some other games were your hearing running water miles from the river or the annoying ''CLICK'' every time you take a step. When your in the cave areas you will see what I mean. The sound of your foot steps will start to echo off the walls right when you enter the cave, without driving you mad after 5 minuets. The Sound Effects are always crisp an clear and are truly well done.
The music isn't like the Final Fantasy series. There doesn't seem to be a whole orchestra doing the music. The music fits where it should an doesn't try to steal the spot light from the game it self. Nor is it very childish or too much like Disney's movie sound tracks. The music isn't on a epic scale,but does its job simply and nicely.
The voice acting is VERY well done. Square and Disney got some of the best to do the voices. People such as Haley Joel Osment, Mandy Moore, Cristy Carlson Romano And Lance Bass do some of the Square Soft characters. I am unsure if the Disney characters are done by the original Voice actors or not, but if they aren't I'm unable to tell the difference. This is something a lot of game have REALLY messed up in the past, but kingdom Heart did a outstanding job!
GAMEPLAY: 9 (Control and Battle System)
The controls are fairly simple, right analog stick moves the character, the ''X'' button attack, ''O'' jumps and the other buttons do a variety of other things including magic, menu, Rotating the camera,locking on a target and commanding your other party members in battle. The only problems I encountered with the control was the camera movement and the steering of the gummi ship. This was not very often, but in some places were you need to make a hard jump or your trying to find the big bad guy hitting you with magic, I found myself Fighting the camera to look were I wanted to. In some cases the camera would move 90 degrees in the middle of a critical jump! The other problem was control on the gummi ship(the equivalent of a ''air ship'' in other Square Soft games). It was way to sensitive and it made the ships weapons very hard to aim at first. But all and all the controls are pretty good and didn't cause to many problem.
The battle system is simple enough. Hitting ''X'' button once will hit the targeted enemy and hitting the ''X'' button 3 or 4 times in a row will land a combo. They have a targeting system were all you have to do is hit the ''R1'' button to lock on to the monster the targeting circle is currently on, but you don't even have to use it! You will automatically face the closest enemy,but the lock on feature does come in handy for boss battles and picking up objects. You also have ABILITIES you can use and most of them you just have to equip and the ability will use it self. Like for example: the ability ''+1 Air combo''. You simply equip the ability an instead of doing you normal 3 hit combo you can now do 4 hit combo! These cost a certain amount of AP(ABILITY POINTS) to equip, so you have to pick an choose the ones you want equip.
Some of the abilities you do actually have to pick an use them in combat. Most of these do devastating combos though! Magic is easy to use but somewhat limited. You can program 3 spells to ''SHORT-CUT'' buttons. Those 3 are easily cast anytime you want,but the other spells your going have to choose the spell command and scroll down to find the one you want. In a heated battle this can be a problem, but for the most part the 3 short-cut keys are all you'll need. Combat can very greatly depending on the choice you make at the beginning of the game. You have to choose your fighting style. There's a sword if you want to be the warrior type, There's a wand if you want to play the wizard type and finally there's a shield if you want to play a more defensive style. I played the Warrior style. So I'm not very versed on the other two style. The battle system is very easy to use an fun play, so anyone can do it!
This is the main part of the game I was worried about when I bought the game. I mean Disney was in on it. I didn't want to be playing a RPG aimed at 8 year olds. To my great surprise and relief it was for normal and younger RPG fans alike.
The story begins on a small tropical island with the main character Sora, a young boy living a peaceful and fun life with his friends Riku and Kairi. Sora's friends look a lot like Square's other characters from other games(wink wink). He and his friends are building a raft to journey to another ''world''. Kids are so funny some times. You start out by finding things for the raft and food for the trip. You can also challenge your other friends to sparing a match or some races. You are of course rewarded for winning some of these. You get dropped into the ''meat grinder'' as to say when you wake up an the sky is totally blackened and there are all these funny looking little black balls with arms an short stubby legs....not to mention teeth! These, you find out later, are called heartless. All throughout your adventures your trying to rid every world of the heartless. Soon you receive the ''KEYBLADE''. You'll have to fight off some of the heartless before you realize you've been separated from your best friends, Riku and kairi. Through out your adventure your final goal is to find your friends. Soon you will get your first look at Donald Duck and Goofy in a hilarious FMV! I swear I couldn't stop laughing for 5 minutes! Soon your off to stop the heartless
on a Great epic adventure with 2 of Disney's most beloved characters.
ENDING: NOT A SPOILER!
I don't tend to like the endings on most Square's games, because there really isn't a ending in most of time. Theres a few pictures and a cut-scene showing the heroes escape the final dungeon and that's pretty much it, save for the final still picture that makes you wonder what happened! If you feel the same way I do, then you will not be disappointed with the ending to Kingdom Hearts. I assure you theres a ACTUAL ending and IMO its pretty good for Square, but still makes you want more.
The story line is well thought out an executed nicely. The game gave me a good 65 hours of very addictive play time. I did many of the side side quests and extras too. I know someone else that beat the game in 40 hours though, so I guess it depends on wether you rush through it or not.
Square and Disney have truly created something special here when many feared the worst. Kingdom Hearts is a FUN filled and STUNNING game with a GREAT story line and sense of humor. Its easy to play battle system make fighting fun without being repetitious. The game is aimed at RPG players 10 an up, but I'm pretty sure a younger sibling won't mind watching someone else play. Kingdom Hearts is a definite MUST HAVE for all RPG fans alike!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 09/27/02, Updated 09/27/02
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