RPG Index: Single player Role Playing Games

Monday, 18 March 2013

Kingdom Hearts

The original Kingdom Hearts game ushered the JRPG genre into a new era. It took a step aside from the average turn based and slow paced RPG. Instead, you get to take a more pivotal role in combat, using a hack and slash based system incorporated into the usual Roleplaying blend.

Who would of thought Square-Enix and Disney could come together to create such a ground breaking game? There are many reasons to experience Kingdom Hearts. At a first look, it seems laughable to put Final Fantasy and Disney characters in the same sentence, never mind the same game! But it works, because it's one of the best damn games I've ever played.

Sora and Kairi, before everything turns to darkness.

Genre: JRPG
Release Date: 28th March, 2002
Platforms: PS2, PC, PS4, Android, Iphone
Score: 9/10
Similar Titles: Final Fantasy, Zenonia, Xenosaga

Kingdom Hearts Review

After a monstrous tide of darkness sweeps over Sora's home, he is revealed to be the Keyblade wielder, one of the only people with the power to fight the darkness with a giant key. Cool, huh. Creatures called the Heartless are consuming entire worlds and the inhabitants, one by one. Donald Duck and Goofy are tasked by king Mickey to follow Sora, and find a way to stop the Heartless from consuming all of the worlds.

Donald and Goofy, they are quite amusing together.

For a PS2 game the graphics are fantastic, it feels exactly like a Disney movie. The story is divided into segments, each piece being a new Disney world. You get to see many characters from your favorite storytales, heroes and villains in all their glory. I was quite intoxicated by the plot, even though I feel such a sophisticated game could be better with a less childish story. However, you get to experience that Disney charm, so you can't but love it. The music suits the atmosphere, and after a few hours playing you will feel at home in the universe of Kingdom Hearts.

Taking control of Sora is easy. By selecting actions from the menu you can perform actions such as combo attacks with your Keyblade, or using items and casting magic. Sometimes the engine can be a little sluggish in combat, and you can miss attacks that should of landed. But it's only an inconvenience. Donald and Goofy are your party members, and are uncontrollable aside from a few options on the pause menu. They don't really provide much in a battle aside from being meat shields that toss you the occasional heal. In some of the worlds you visit, you can swap Donald or Goofy out for a character that resides in that area, such as Tarzan or Ariel.

Beating down kid Wakka from FFX.

As with the majority of RPG games, you may level up by gaining experience after defeating enemies. As your level increases you gain new abilities to use in combat. This can range from an extended Keyblade combo to an increase in magic damage. Donald and Goofy also learn their own abilities, and you have to make a choice on which ones to equip. You will also periodically unlock more powerful versions of spells and sometimes a new utiltiy, such as High jump or Glide. Usually these utility spells allow you to backtrack through previous areas to unlock new stuff.

As you progress, you will also unlock new summons. Activating a summon removes your party members for a short period of time, but replaces them with a character such as the Genie from Aladdin or Tinkerbell from Peter Pan. Calling a summon invokes a really cool animation, but aside from that they are pretty much useless. For the most part, magic isn't very good either aside from using heals. It's a shame that the most effective tactic in many situations is to just whack away at your foes with a giant key.

The heartless come in all forms, even monkey scum.

There is endless amounts of side content for the avid completionist, including lots of hidden items, unlockable weapons, and a very difficult series of matches in Hercules' Colosseum. Hell, you can even fight Sephiroth and that's going to take you a while. 

Aside from the few annoying little issues, such as the tacked on Gummi ship mini-game which is fun yet pathetically easy or the fact you can't skip any cutscenes- I thought Kingdom Hearts was an almost perfect game. It slowed the descent of Square-Enix into mediocrity and was incredibly fun. It provides a challenge even for veteran gamers when you put it on expert mode. I would honestly recommend this game to anyone, even the people who scoff at a Final Fantasy x Disney game.

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