Review by Braben
"The kingdom of heart attacks."
When I heard that Square was going to make an action/rpg for the PS2 I thought, “it was about time”, at least a true action/rpg for the system, but I was wrong, I guess we’ll have to keep waiting for a new Secret/Legend of Mana, but seeing what Square is doing with all their emblematic series I don’t know if it is a good idea.
Needless to say that this is NOT an action/rpg by any means, it has some action/rpg elements, but the truth is that this game is a Super Mario 64 clone ( I am sorry Mario, I know this disgrace can’t compare with you, but it is only for this time). You do gain experience, but for no reason, leveling up goes to nowhere, you will NEVER have to level up, NEVER.
At the beginning the main idea wasn’t bad at all, I mean, Square did something similar years ago with Mario, to be honest when I heard about an rpg with Mario I didn’t knew exactly what to expect, but Mario RPG ended up being remembered as one of the greatest video games of all time. Kingdom Hearts I completely different story.
Bad, boring and uninteresting, the awful gameplay and ugly characters contribute a lot to make it a complete disaster. It is always the same, in every new world you’ll meet a Disney characters and help him or her to get rid of their respective enemies, and as we already know all Disney’s villains they won’t astound us. There is plot twist here and another one there but everything obvious and dull.
This is the only good thing in the whole game, the only thing that is free of flaws, the graphics are nothing short of amazing. The very few CG scenes are a dream come true and the 3D models of the Disney characters are simply breathtaking, but, even if they are well designed too, I can’t say the same about the rest of characters.
The characters created exclusively for the game and those from Final Fantasy however, are horrible, specially the ones from Final Fantasy, Squall looks terrible, as well as Aeris or Cid, the fist time I saw Tidus for example I didn’t recognize him, my sister told me that it was him and I didn’t believed her until I read the name at the dialogue box.
Mixing mythical Final Fantasy characters like Cloud, Squall or my beloved Aeris with those stupid Sora and Riku is something intolerable.
This was one of the biggest disappointments. The music is not bad by any means, but it isn’t good either. It is just mediocre there’s nothing really interesting to say about it because it is just there, doing nothing, everything is very typical. There is not even one single track that is worth mentioning, not even about the main theme, Simple & Clean, which is good but nothing out of this world. Or wait, maybe yes, I have to say that that techno version of it SUCKS, the original version isn’t bad at all, but nothing impressive.
The voice acting is great, that is true, performed by well known Hollywood actors like Haley Joe Osment or James Woods, excellent.
What is this!?, is this a Square game?, why is everything so badly done? Is this Vagrant Story II?, I just refuse to believe that this disaster comes from a company that has made some of the most perfect games of all time.
The battle system for example, is a complete mess, anyone, even a retarded five years old child could have thought about a more competent combat system. Square pretend us to jump, fight, aim, and use magic at the same time. Unlike the Secret of series we can’t pause the game to give orders to our party members, so if you are running out of energy you’ll have to try to defend yourself pressing desperately the attack button while with the other hand using the crossbars to select the items or magic spell available and then stop pressing the attack button to select two times which magic you want to use and then choose who do you want to heal and for that time you are probably dead.
It is unbelievable, I don’t know you Square but I only have two hands, and I can’t use my feet to hold the controller.
The summon abilities are a complete waste of time, like in Final Fantasy IX. I have only summoned them because I wanted to see their animation, and I have to admit that some of them are very funny, when you call Dumbo you will ride him start shooting water, or Mushu (that lithe dragon-thing from the Mulan movie) will start to attack with bubbles located over your head, but they are useless ( I am sorry but I am going to use the word useless a lot), those who attack are too weak and the others are useless because they will do basically nothing, they should attack and do a lot damage like in Final Fantasy VII or VIII and then disappear.
To go travel between worlds you will have to something unbelievably stupid, instead of using the typical and useful and nice looking map, in Kingdom Hearts every time we want to travel a another world we will have to ride the Gumi Ship and spend five minutes doing crap, killing Lego ships and stupid coloured meteorites and four-sided figures, everything to gaining stupid and useless jelly beans. So, at the beginning you will have to spend five minutes (sometimes even more) every time you want to go elsewhere. Thankfully, later in the game you will be able to teleport automatically to each world you have already been, but this “map system” stinks anyway.
The “companion system” is so bad that I makes me want to puke every time I remember, it is probably the most nauseating I ever experienced. Why would I want to use Aladdin or Beast, or Tarzan and improve them, buy them weapons, armor and stuff if I am only going to be able to use them only, and I repeat, ONLY in their respective scenarios?, and when that scenario is finished what?, what about all the time is spent leveling them up?, is a joke?. I have never used any other friend aside from Donald and Goofy during the whole game.
Then, unlike Secret of Mana or any other Square game that deserves to be played, we can’t control our companions, we can’t use their magic abilities or order them to attack a certain enemy, or anything, they will do it automatically, and of course it is not the same. I just can’t believe it.
That takes me to the weapons, armor, and items. Like everything in this game they are useless, u-s-e-l-e-s-s. They are so utterly stupid because they work in the same way than in Final Fantasy X, that is: for example, instead of having a Ring +3 we have ring electro which (guess!) gives us protection against electric magic, for God’s sake I DON’T WANT PROTECTION AGAINST ELECTRIC ATTACKS DAMMIT I WANT A NEAT ARMOR BECAUSE THERE ARE ONLY TWO OR THREE ENEMIES IN WHOLE DAMNED GAME WITH ELECTRIC POWERS!!!. Everything works in the same way, instead of a stronger sword you will get a sword that makes more money when you use it or that makes bubbles in the bath, just crap. So shopping is futile, that simple, and there are only two or three shops in the first world and that is all, no more during the rest of the game, I have never bought anything on the them, not even a potion.
Something that gets on my nerves are those stupid and useless gumis, you will get tons and tons of them, they are everywhere, like Microsoft: gumi +, gumi++, gumi electro, gumi light, fire, ice, gumi garbage… and I repeat, they are useless. Oh!, I can use them to build a new ship you say?, but answer me: why would I want to build a ridiculous new ship if I think that traveling inside of it to reach a new world is the most boring and silly attempt of map system that I have ever seen?.
The gameplay is terrible, so terrible that it looks like that Square called a first timer company to create it. How is it possible that having made TRUE action/rpgs like the Secret of series, now they come with this, with this, I don’t know what to say, the gameplay is so bad that words just can’t describe all the flaws it has. But at least I have to admit that the game is still playable, unlike Vagrant Story, oh well…
While Kingdom Hearts is fun for a while, I have not finished it and I am probably never going to do it, but for me it lasted more than others games, maybe Kingdom Hearts is worst for what could have been than for what it is, but it is undeniable that it is terribly badly made, I could have never imagined Square making a game with so many stupid and annoying flaws (well, almost since Vagrant Story).
I’ll conclude saying that Square hasn’t made a decent game for the PS2 yet, Final Fantasy X was an excellent game but a very poor Final Fantasy, The Bouncer was interesting but it had terrible gameplay problems, Final Fantasy XI is online, so I am never going to play it, and I don’t even want to think about what they are going to do with Final Fantasy X-2, because first of all is going to have a non-linear gameplay, one of the worst things that can happen to an rpg, and then those traitors have broken the tradition to make every new Final Fantasy completely different from each other, and everything just for the money. Please Square, I beg you, don’t mess up with the future Legend of Mana, please don’t mess up Chrono Break (if that is the final title), please we want rpgs, true rpgs, not action games with rpg elements or kiddie crap like this Kingdom Crap to make easy money. But I don’t know why I am saying all of this, if Square merged with Enix was to make money, not better games like in the Snes era, so I guess we will have to take our rusty Snes and play the classics again to remember that in the past Square and Enix used make most of the best games available. Kingdom Hearts is a sad example of what video games are going to be in the future, poorly made crap to satisfy kids with fancy graphics. But, you know, what I hate the most is that I am going to buy Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II like a moron. I’m afraid seeing the name of Square, or Enix or Square-Enix in a game cover is no longer a sign of “new masterpiece”.
””My lack of vocabulary and grammatical errors (if there’s any) are because I’m not from an English speaking country, sorry.””
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 11/29/03, Updated 11/29/03
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