Kingdom Hearts Review by: NVTaksKingdom Hearts I: I hope you like cutscenes
Growing up Disney movies were an integral part of my childhood. Yeah, I was that kid who was infinitely more obsessed with Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, and the Lion King as compared to basketball or football. Some might argue I still am. I had always dreamed of a crossover game between the Disney world and the video game world that was more than just a crummy game based on a movie. And thus, my passion for Kingdom Hearts began.
The brain child of a Sony system and Square Enix design, Kingdom Hearts revolves around the protagonist Sora, his friends Donald and Goofy, and their quest to locate the 7 Princesses of Heart and seal the keyhole to every world. What are worlds you might ask? Imagine every disney movie setting turned into a 3-D adventure wonderland. Agrabah, Atlantica, 100 Acre Woods, and even Halloween Town are all included. In order to perform his duties, Sora wields a key blade, giving him powers to unlock/lock any door and combat the enemies of the game, the Heartless. Who are controlled by various disney villains, and their overlord, Ansem.
So let's get reviewing!
The graphics in Kingdom Hearts I are superb.
The great part about Kingdom Hearts graphics is that the world isn't painstakingly detailed. The whole point of Kingdom Hearts is to create an atmosphere comparable to most disney movies, and the cartoony style of graphics greatly contribute to that feel.
What really sets the Kingdom Hearts graphics apart though, is how they dramatically change when you enter a cutscene. The graphics of the cutscenes are far superior to those seen in standard gameplay. What impressed me the most in the animation was how well the mouths were animated during cutscenes (of which there are a TON). I was also incredibly impressed with the graphics of the Keyblade. In game, you can collect different "keychains" which change the attributes and strength of your keyblade. These keychains also physically alter the appearance of your Keyblade, incorporating themes from various disney movies. And I must say, they make your keyblade look 100% pimped out. Little things like that are what really set game graphics apart for me.
The only issue I have with KH graphics is that the disney theme can occasionally make them blocky, and the clothing of the characters
(especially shirts) looked like they had been painted on to the skin without any 3-D qualities.
Sound / Music 9/10
Honestly, the music in Kingdom Hearts is some of my favorite, and I know some people may disagree.
The song "Sanctuary" by Utada Hikaru makes up the majority of cutscene, and non-gameplay music. And honestly, it's gotten to the point where if I hear that song outside of KH, memories of the game come flooding back to me and I might even tear up a bit. I know it sounds incredibly cheesy, but that song carries so much emotional impact throughout the game that it's hard to listen to it and NOT reflect on all of your actions thus far.
The voice acting however, is incredible. The wonderful thing about the voice acting in KH is that you've probably already heard almost all of the voices. Whether it be from disney films or saturday morning cartoons you watched as kid, you're probably familiar with most of the voices you'll hear in-game.
The battle noises are the only part of the music that stops it from getting a perfect 10. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of the music that starts playing up right before a battle. Battles in Kingdom Hearts tend to be pretty random. You walk through a room and then "BAM" suddenly there are heartless everywhere, and the music that accompanies their arrival really puts me on edge. Also, Sora's constant grunting and moaning every single time he swings the Keyblade gets really old. Really fast. Believe it or not fighting 50 enemies and hearing "whoa!" "hyaa!" every time you attack is impossibly annoying. Addictiveness 7/10
I'm going a little lower on the addictiveness level because of how long and convoluted the KH series as a whole is.
Yes, yes, I know that I shouldn't be basing this game's stats on other games in the series but since every Kingdom Hearts game ties directly into the next, it's kinda hard not to. In fact, if you just play the first Kingdom Hearts game then you won't even understand 50% of the total storyline.
The reason I put addictiveness so low is because many people who play this game are often confused and angry at the storyline. KH has an incredibly divided fan base in that there are those who love the story, and those who despise it. Even I got pretty tired after KH 3D:
DreamDropDistance introduced yet another form of enemy, and your entire adventure basically occurred within the subconscious.
I find it's imperative to consider all released sequels when considering addictiveness, because it's likely that future players have heard of every game in the series and that they're decision to start playing one game could be based on what they've heard about a game that occurs later on in the series.Story 10/10
As I previously said, there are some who love the story line, and other who hate it. If you can't read or for some reason don't understand what 10/10 means, then let me explain. I. LOVE. IT.
The story of Kingdom Hearts is just extraordinary. Now for all those diehard KH fans out there I'd like to point out that I'm only judging the story from game 1, not the entire series. As a whole the KH story can be incredibly confusing and convoluted, but that probably definitely doesn't start with the first game.
The first antagonists you meet is this council of Disney villains. However, you later learn that they are in fact henchman in controlled by Ansem, the most powerful heartless.
In the ultimate pursuit for power, Ansem opens up Kingdom Hearts (hey look it's the name) to fill himself with darkness, but in a massive plot twist Kingdom Hearts turns out to be made of light, and Ansem is obliterated.
The story ends with Kairi drifting off back to the Destiny Islands (their home), Sora being teleported along with Donald and Goofy to a field, and Riku being trapped in the realm of darkness. The ending leads into the sequel in which Sora finds himself fighting against the Nobodies, and searching for Riku.Depth 6/10
The reason I rank depth lower than the rest is because the plot line of every world you visit revolves around the same three things.
1. Kill heartless
2. Kill boss
3. Seal keyhole
That's basically it. The nuances and added interest come from the story line, not necessarily the depth. Also if you look at depth in terms of battles and fighting, well., good luck finding it. Basically battles in KH 1 can be won by doing almost nothing but pressing the attack button over and over again. Now, that's not to say there aren't other options while fighting. You can summon friends, and use magic, but they aren't crucial to victory to someone who can manage to dodge attacks and counter with a quick keyblade strike.
Normally I'd also consider extra things after the game to do, but considering the only one of those things that really exists is collecting freaking Dalmatians, it's not really helping the score here.
Let's make one thing clear. This is an easy game.
Kingdom Hearts was never meant to be that impossible gaming gem that you couldn't put down for hours, but at the same time could never move forwards in. The bosses aren't meant to be extremely difficult, because if they were it would distract and take away from the story line. Kingdom Hearts is a game that's meant to be enjoyed for the story it presents, not the level of difficulty of the boss battles.
I would like to add in though that playing the game on proud mode is insanely difficult. Like, seriously. Any one wanting to undertake that…..well….I wish you luck.9+8+7+10+6+7=46
Overall = 7.8
Kingdom Hearts is a brilliant game that marked the start of a brilliant series. For those of you wondering why a game I claim to love so much doesn't have a perfect ten, well, that's just not how I roll. For me, a review that gives a game around a 9.8 is just painfully unrealistic, and doesn't accurately show much of anything about the game itself.
And there's my first review! That was a ton of fun to write. I'd love to hear ideas on how to improve my writing so feel free to criticize (constructively of course :P)!