Review by OrochiNagi EX

"SquareSoft and Disney team up to bring one of quite possibly the coolest games out there to date!!!"

Yes, we all were skeptical when we heard that Kingdom Hearts was going to be made in part by Disney, eh? I heard it all....

''I bet it'll suck worse than anything...''
''I'd rather play Final Fantasy 8 at this rate...''

and my personal fav...

''Hey, let's cross Mickey Mouse Club with Final Fantasy and see what we can make...yeah, right.''

Dead. Wrong. My. Friends.

Kingdom Hearts(or KH for short) gives you the role of Sora, a 14 year old boy who in the beginning wishes to see new worlds, and gets sucked into them due to entities known as the ''Heartless''(who look like little black blobs w/antennae, lol). To make matters worse, he is given a sword which seems to attract the Heartless ones to him, forcing him to fight them. As if THAT'S not bad enough, he's given the label of ''The Chosen One'' and is faced with a task of banishing a great evil.....poor kid. But! He's not alone....with the loss of their ''King''....Donald Duck and Goofy seek out Sora and stick by him as they travel to new, strange areas that they never even thought existed. Along the way they meet new faces,(most of them familiar to us of course, lol), face new tasks, harder bosses, and greater evil....yadda yadda yadda spoiler spoiler spoiler spoiler.

I first stumbled upon KH in my friend's game magazine(I forget which one), saying that a new RPG would be made for the PS2 console. At first glance, I thought it looked cool, then I realized that I RECOGNIZED THE CHARACTERS....Yuffie, Squall, Selphie, Aeris, Cloud, Sephiroth.....I thought it was an FF remake or something at first, but upon further reading was that it would be a game developed by Square and Disney....my eyebrow automatically raised at the word ''Disney''. Usually when you hear the D-word, you picture talking ducks, a prancing fawn, a scantily clad mermaid, and of course....the mouse who wears just his undies, and nothing more. after seeing the demo of KH on a PS2 sampler disc, I was hooked. Had to have it....here's why.....

Kingdom Hearts, first off, is visually stunning. The speech animation(provided it's voiceacted and not texted) is dead on with the voice actor's words, not to mention the voices they chose couldn'tve been better, though some are quite questionable...(how they seemed to piece N'Sync with Sephiroth I will never know, check out your manual and you'll see the name LANCE BASS), they are nonetheless flawless in the game.....second, every world was completely different from the last, with great scenery(and most of it was true to Disney movies) and lighting effects....third was that I noticed the system seemed a lot like Parasite Eve mixed with Dynasty Warriors 3....as in fighting the enemies in the exact location you're in, hacking away until they dissapear and give you your precious EXP points....now, let's break down Kingdom Hearts, shall we?

GRAPHICS - 10/10
Breathtaking visuals(look at the water on Destiny Island, it ripples....and not just static ripples, splash about in it a bit and you'll see what I mean!!!), highly detailed characters, and gorgeous stages...not to mention varying facial expressions on the characters and their actions. You seriously CAN'T give this a lower than a 10 here. Everything is nice and smooth with NO jagged edges or blurring whatsoever....looks excellent. Total Eye Candy.

GAMEPLAY - 9/10
The battle system takes a bit to get used to, since you must use the analog stick to move Sora(the main character) around, yet use the D-Pad to scroll through the always on-screen menu in the lower left corner. It does get confusing in the heat of battle, but thankfully Donald and Goofy sometimes toss recovery spells on you if you get low, and do the same for themselves provided their MP stays up. It's also interesting to have to take on 8 or more enemies at a given time. That's where the ''LOCK-ON!!'' system comes into light. With the press of the R1 Trigger, the camera locks onto a certain enemy, allowing you to circle around them with ease...pressing L2 changes your focus to another enemy, making the change from having your back turned to facing them a LOT easier. Also, you can customize your menu to do different things, such as attaching spells to shortcut buttons(pressing L1+whatever button that isn't X). Being able to jump also makes it easier to dodge and get to where you want to go. That's right. Just press ''O'' and you're in the air. Sw-eeeeeet.

SOUND - 9/10
The opening theme, ''Simple and Clean'' by Utada Hikaru just plain kicks you-know-what-and-its-located-on-your-rear. Also, the in-game music is nice and orchestrated, with the themes switching when you encounter enemies, and going back to a relaxed state once you finish them off. Not too shabby of a job....also, kudos to the voice acting cast!! They all did a very good job, from Haley Joel Osment(The Sixth Sense) as Sora, David Gallagher(7th Heaven) as Riku, David Boreanaz(Buffy!!!!) as Squall, and many others, who do these lines with the perfect amount of emotion and intonation that it's almost scary.

REPLAYABILITY - 10/10
With a side quest to find the other 99 Dalmatians(from 101 Dalmatians), not to mention beating the Colloseum from Hercules, to even being able to defeat Sephiroth(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), this game is one that you will never want to sell back....or have your friends borrow either. Tell them to stop being such mooches and SUPPORT THE COMPANIES BY BUYING IT. But enough of that....with so much to do, find, explore, and see, Kingdom Hearts is chock-full of replayability, probably enough to keep you on this game for insane amounts of hours.

STORY - 10/10
Full of twists, adventures, familiar characters, and funny moments, it just keeps on going, making you WANT to play further so you can see what happens next. Also, seeing the old FF7-8-10 crew in there is a nice touch. but I won't give away too much of the story, for GameFAQs does not allow spoilers...*wink wink*....but, if ya ever want to be spoiled.....then you shouldn't even bother playing it! The best part of KH, like any RPG, is the story!!

OVERALL 10/10
I personally think that KH deserves a 10. It's a very worthwhile effort from Square/Disney that deserves a try, no matter how much the skeptics bash it.

Buy Or Rent?
BOTH!! Well, okay, to be fair....if you're not too sure on the game, rent it first, and see what you think. If it's liked, then grab a copy and grab one quick!!(Example - I was among 30 people who reserved it....and the game went quick. VERY quick.) All in all, Kingdom Hearts is a game that's like a bag of potato chips....once you start, you really DON'T wanna stop. Only without that greasy mess leftover on your fingers.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/01/02, Updated 10/01/02


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