Monday, May 19, 2014

Kingdom Hearts [2002]

"The Heart may be weak, and sometimes it may even give in. But I've learned that deep down there's a light that never goes out!"

Here's the post where all of you automatically think less of me after reading. ;)
Anyhoo, Kingdom Hearts is a RPG [role-playing game] from Japan, made by the same people who develop those popular Final Fantasy games. Kingdom Hearts has become quite famous in gaming circles too, and also has an abominable amount of sequels. But today I'm just reviewing the first game, because it's arguably the best. (though I did really like KH2, and the prequel one. Haven't played the others though)
I suppose I should explain the plot a little bit. Kingdom Hearts (Or as it's known as in Japan: Kingudamu Hatsu) is sort of a Final Fantasy/Disney mash up, and should be disastrous, but isn't. Each Disney movie is a 'world', and all the worlds are separate from each other, but share the same sky (they all just look like stars to one and other). One of these worlds, Destiny Islands (silly name, lol) is where Sora and his two friends Riku and Kairi are plotting to make a raft and explore the vast ocean, looking for another one of these worlds that they've heard so much about. Then, the night before they were going to set sail, these strange shadow monsters called 'Heartless' attack, and destroy the world. Sora is flung to another world, and in the process gets ahold of some mystical weapon thing called a Keyblade. He teams up with Donald and Goofy, who are looking for the King of their world who went missing (guess who their king is), and they set off to rescue the worlds from the Heartless. In short, it makes about as much sense as your average episode of Lost.

That's the plot in a nutshell. It sounds quite ridiculous and silly, but it works surprisingly well and is a really fun game to play. The controls are easy to get the hang of (especially in the ps3 re-release), but it still requires lots of strategy and what not. It's by no means an easy game (which you might be led into thinking, due to the E rating), and actually gets infuriatingly difficult. I'm looking at you, Pooh's Swing mini-game! You're also able to swap out Donald or Goofy for a Disney character from the world you're in. For example, in Agrabah, you can team up with Aladdin if you want.

I love the world design in this game. Aside from the Disney worlds, there are original locations, like Destiny Islands, Traverse Town, and Hollow Bastion. They're well designed, and there's always a lot of detail to the scenery.

And before I get onto a verdict, I feel I should rant about the music. Because this game has beautiful music. Seriously. Even if you think video games are silly wastes of time, the music itself warrants a listen. I mean, just the menu music is enough to get me all nostalgic and misty-eyed... then after about five minutes of that my siblings get impatient and click something for me. And there's a very wide range of emotion in the music, it can be sentimental, eerie, haunting, cheerful, the whole ten miles. Of course, there's always the exception. The track that is just kind of silly and always makes me laugh is the background music for Atlantica (The Little Mermaid). It's an arrangement of Under the Sea, but it sounds like the dorky grocery-store version. If that makes any sense?

And something else that is a little irritating is that there are one or two instances of minor plot holes that could have been easily fixed with a line or two of dialogue, or additional exposition. Arguably it's not that bad, I mean, my brain filled in the bits that made no sense, but still. Your brain shouldn't have to fill stuff in.

The Verdict: A
Maybe I'm not being fair, since this game is something from when I was little that I really liked, and I have nice memories associated with it. But even without all that, I think I would like it. Kingdom Hearts has a decent plot, lovely music, and good characters. Kind of cheesy sometimes, but it's all very charming, if you get what I mean. It's a fun game that is never too easy, and overall, I recommend it. :)

Content Advisory: Nothing really bad. I just thought it would be a good idea since this is a game you know, and people have a lot of differing opinions on what's okay in a game and what's not. Pretty much the only enemies you fight are little monsters called heartless. There's no language, and nothing very suggestive. A few lady characters have skimpy outfits though, be forewarned.

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