Review by MasterMapleBoy
There is an overabundant amount of really good games out there, but there are very few very great games out there. This game luckily enough holds the place as one of those scarce few great titles.
Never before has there been such a brilliant blend of numerous elements all in one game. This masterpiece mixes the worlds of so many different Disney stories with that of Final Fantasy, and this game's own, very original storyline. The story progresses slowly and surely, never quite leaving you feeling like you've missed something, nor does it give the feeling that you urgently need some progression. It's a tale with many twists and turns, and characters that you actually care about. It's an ending that you actually feel has affected you on some level. SquareSoft is famous for their moving stories and this addition is certainly no exception. Somehow each individual storyline for each Disney world are perfectly intertwined to affect the greater plotline, and it makes the ending generally much more rewarding.
Kingdom Hearts is rewarding on several different levels, for instance the different additional miscellaneous tangent stories, such as a multitude of collectible novelties. Summons, trinities, dalmations, and even pieces of an entire new world are all to be found across the universe, each of which providing incredible rewards, which can also help push the story forward, and help unlock easter eggs and bonus material. It gives for an idea, that even if its going kind of slow somewhere, there's always something else that you could do.
Kingdom Hearts introduces probably the most intelligently designed and easy-to-play third person combat system ever, introducing easy methods to target, evade, and unleash a variety of powerful attacks. Abilities broaden the horizon of several automatic and manual attacks that can be transformed into deathly combos, which allow for plowing through fields of enemies and battling bosses in epic displays of power. The only downside to the game's controls are the incredibly annoying methods of travel in the world of Atlantica, where swimming up, down, and round and round, quite slowly, trying to reach your enemy, can be extremely aggravating.
Mix some of the astounding scores from Disney veteran Alan Menken, master of quirky soundtracks, Danny Elfman, and just a general team of master musicians and end up with one of the greatest game soundtracks of all time. Variations of classic Disney music are mixed with entirely original new scores to achieve an overal enthralling effect through the overall experience of the game. Sound effects are another high mark in this game, with captivating battle sounds and pretty accurate effects for destruction. Of course, a few serious moments could be pretty badly ruined by the inclusion of a silly noise, but all is forgiven. The voice work is another perk in this game, as it includes some characters who originally voiced the characters such as Dan Castellenata and Susan Egan. Character impersonations are often spot-on, and additional voice work from rising starts Haley Joel Osment and Hayden Panettiere are a great bonus.
Although the graphics aren't quite on par with one of the game's predecessors, Final Fantasy X, they are quite exceptional for the time and meet almost the same cartoon drama feeling a lot of the base material had. Level design is spectacular, with such high points as great detail going into the backgrounds, and some places, such as the 100 Acre Wood, actually looking as though they were out of a picture book.
Play this game all you want, you will always be missing something. There are so many unlockables in this game that you will never quite be done. This is obviously a must-have for that singular purpose. Who wouldn't want a game you'd never get tired of?
Overall, despite some trivial flaws, this game is more or less perfect and unparalleled by most.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Kingdom Hearts (US, 09/16/02)
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