Review by Mysticcat

"I just can't believe this ! It's great !"

Just like Devil May Cry, I didn't intend to buy this game. I had been a big fan of Devil May Cry series, and I couldn't just wait for part two to release quietly. Then I decide to get some game to forget my strong desire. At that time, I did hear a lot about Kingdom Hearts - a game created from the co-operation of Squaresoft and Walt Disney. Squaresoft had ruled the RPG World with their Final Fantasy series and some other great masterpieces like Legend of Legaia, Xenogear, etc ; Walt Disney was the king of cartoon world, with tons of famous classic masterpieces. I thought that two kings could make a great combination if they worked well with each other. That's the reason why I picked up Kingdom Hearts. Anyway, I did never think this game would suit my style, since the drawing was pretty kidding and the battle system seemed simpler than most RPGs.

Gameplay 9/10
Like most other RPGs, Kingdom Hearts is too long to have any more secrets unlocked after finishing the game, besides several secrets within the game itself. This game has a harder mode beside Normal Mode, which players can access to test their veteran skills. Square and Disney were so creative that they created Kingdom Hearts as a mixture of both of their elements. I will analyze this carefully in ''Storyline'' part, but this really attracts me. During the game, you have to pass various worlds for various adventures and stories in your main journey. Besides, there are tons of mini-games, secret sidequests and secret stories for you to find and enjoy. Unlike my first glance, the battle system is not as simple as I expected. At the first time it may be simple. But later in the game, you'll obtain new systems, new abilities and new characters. The battle system becomes more complicated with time and your levels. You just simply attack and attack. But later, you'll realize that there are more things to do than jusy attacking like crazy. Kingdom Hearts not only has variety of characters and stories, but treasure of enemies as well. This game deserves to have ''Everyone'' rate, since partly because the enemies is not scary. They even look funny and lovely that can make you laugh. Each enemy has different attacks with variable advantages and disadvantages which you have to be careful when facing them. Overall, this game is excellent, is the paradise where you can find different feelings and different atmospheres, where you find the true soul of a game.

Storyline 10/10
As I said, many characters of both Square and Disney appear during the game. They live within their own worlds. You meet them as well as you meet different stories. The situation of the game has pushed them to gather here. They become friends and they fight against the evil together in order to get back their homes. Your playable characters are also some of them. Besides Sora, Riku, Kairi and Ansem who are unique in Kingdom Hearts, the others are mostly well-known. For Final Fantasy series of Square, you can find Cloud, Sephiroth, etc from Final Fantasy VII; Squall from Final Fantasy VIII, and even the lovely Mogs, and so on. For Disney, you can meet famous classic characters like Cinderella, Alice, Snow White, Beast, etc Yeah, they all gather here, to make the storyline of Kingdom Hearts : Everyone was living peacefully, under the light of happiness. Then they fought against one another to get the light for themselves. Darkness covers their hearts, so the Heartless was born. Sora was chosen the Keyblade bearer to use his keyblade to disarm the keyholes to darkness. Well, the general story may be simple, but within it is a bunch of different stories of different characters with their own situations. Just play the game. You'll find that its story is not as simple as it seems.

Controls 8/10
The control, as well as the battle system is justified. The buttons are easy to use, except when Sora has to swim or to fly. I did get some instant troubles, since it's hard to make those moves work with these buttons (or it's because of the game ?). The idea of using the Left Analog Stick to move the characters is really great and suitable in this game, especially after I found out the joy of using the analog sticks in Devil May Cry. You can choose the right target by pressing the R1 trigger. It's not a bad idea, but sometimes this button doesn't seem very good along with the moving camera angles. And the chosen target keeps you from moving farther, until you turn it off.

Battle & Atmosphere 9/10
As I said above, the battle system of this game is good. You attack the enemies simply by pressing the Action button repeatedly to make combos. The first combos may be simple. But later, after obtaining various abilities, you'll be able to execute more interesting combos, even aerial and on- ground. The command board is always shown that makes every action more convenient. But the Item section is not very good. I don't really agree with this item restriction. Unlike several traditional RPGs where every action is stopped when your turns come, the battles keep continuing no matter what you're doing, as your turns are free. I hope the Item command should have some priority, since it can save your life more than the Magic does, and I have got stupid deaths many times just because Sora had been slashed 1/10 second before he drank the Potion.

Characters 8/10
Most of the familiar characters in this game have the old designs which are altered better that look pretty cool. But what I dislike is Sora's design. He is the main character, but his design can be considered the worst compared to others. He looks worse than his comrades Riku, Kairi and even Ansem. But it's okay since he has taken a very good role during the game. Besides, the rest is very good.

Enemies 10/10
Well, the enemies are very ''good-looking'' and funny that are reall Disney style. This style can be accepted by everyone, and this is one of the elements making Kingdom Hearts have no limit of players. Besides, they look exciting, right ? Sometimes, your enemies can be those popular ones like Squall Leonhart, Cloud Strife, Sephiroth, etc which are the favourite of most people. And it's also a joy to see them in pretty different designs from the original games. Well, just as I said, each enemy has its own style and its own advantages/disadvantages that decide your strategies to fight them.

Secrets 10/10
Well, this game has bigger variety than I expected for such a ''kidding'' one like this. Tons of secret sidequests, characters and episodes can be accessed. Unlike some RPGs in which the sidequests are often boring, the secrets in Kingdom Hearts are very great and worth to play. I really like the 99 Dalmatians quest, since it exists from the beginning to the end of the game, but to do it or not is up to you. And the battle arenas can be accessed whenever you want, with various enemies and characters. You can play as much as you like. There are still plenty of other secrets, little or big alike, which I can't spoiler. What I can say is that Kingdom Hearts has the best secret system ever.

Graphic 9.5/10
Well, the graphic is undoubtedly impressive, no discuss. Before playing this game, I heard that many people had claimed the graphic of this game was very kidding, confusing and bad. But after looking at the game by my own eyes, I couldn't find the reasons why they complained such things. Yes, Kingdom Hearts' may be kidding, because it's ''lovely'' style, Disney's rule which most people are fond of. I don't find the graphic so confusing or bad. Sometimes it may be confusing when you battle. But it's just an unremarkable bug, since the entire game is good. We can't deny the fact that Sora's and the characters' faces, especially the eyes, are drawn very carefully and lively. The Disney characters had to be turned from 2D into 3D characters, but they don't lose their own beautiful simplicity. I'm most satisfactory with the characters' emotions which are expressed very greatly with the gorgeous graphic. I really like the sceneries, the backgrounds around in the game. Though they may look kidding, they still contain the unbelievable mystery which I'm very fond of.

Music & Sound 10/10
The music and the sound in this game is very nice. I have nothing much to say. The melodies are made well, suiting the sceneries. And the great thing is that the music of original Disney cartoons are all preserved and modified to be better, as I like Disney music very much, and so is Square's music.

Replay Value 8/10
Just as usual, RPGs' replay value is rarely high, since the time to beat the game is pretty long. But as I like this game, this value may be a bit high. Besides, the game has a difficulty called ''Expert Mode'' for experienced players. This is a great point, as most of other RPGs don't have difficulty settings. Anyway, a great game like Kingdom Hearts always deserves high replay value.

Rent of Buy ?
In my own opinion, this is a very impressive and creative game, as it's the great production of the two ''kings'' Square and Disney. But just because of this fact, many people will like it, but some others won't. So make your choice. If you have been a fan of either Square or Disney, you should buy this game soon. If not, just first rent the game to know its taste. Then have choice.

Conclusion

*ADVANTAGES
- Made by the two famous companies Squaresoft and Walt Disney.
- Lovely graphic, great music and sound.
- Nice battle system and atmosphere.
- Characters' appearances are impressive.
- Great secret system and unwashed sceneries.

*DISADVANTAGES
- The controls and characters' designs should be done a little better.

Gameplay : 9/10
Storyline : 10/10
Controls : 8/10
Battle & Atmosphere : 9/10
Characters : 8/10
Enemies : 10/10
Secrets : 10/10
Graphic : 9.5/10
Music & Sound : 8/10

Final Score : 9.1/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/12/03, Updated 02/12/03


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