On Friday I was browsing the PS Store. No intent to buy anything just having a quick look at what was available. I then spotted a crazy deal, Kingdom Hearts the full set available for a mere £25. I couldn’t resist since I enjoyed Dream Drop Distance on the 3DS. Kingdom Hearts 1, the first game I had previously attempted to complete and let’s just say I got more than I bargained for. I had bought it originally with Dark Souls and proceeded to complete that, rather than a Disney game.
Kingdom Hearts is what happens when JRPG and Disney combine into one mighty title. Back when it first came out I wanted a copy and never got one until I could finally buy my own.
The series two creators (From Square), Shinji Hashimoto and Hironobu Sakaguchi wanted to create a 3D plat-former to compete with Super Mario 64. However, they had one problem. They didn’t have a mascot big enough to take on the video game juggernaut that is Mario, the only mascot big enough would be Disney’s catalogue of characters. Enter Tetsuya Nomura who volunteered to lead the game. Hashimoto then bumped into a Disney executive and the rest is history.
The basic premise is that various Disney and Final Fantasy characters live on ‘worlds’. One world is Atlantica, another is Wonderland Etc. You play as Sora, a fourteen-year-old boy who lives on a beach island along with Riku, Kairi and the cast of Final Fantasy X. The three of them what to go out and explore, and you spend the first hour preparing a raft to go on said adventure. Things don’t go to plan and you are whisked off on an adventure armed with a Keyblade. A sword-shaped in the shape of the key that has the power to close the world doors. Your main enemy is the Heartless which are monsters that do not possess a heart.
This was made in parallel with my favourite game ever, Final Fantasy X, and you can see certain effects that have been used across both games. The game is an action RPG, no waiting around here like FFX, you fight enemies gain Exp and then level up. When you level up you either receive a stat increase or a new ability. You can only have a certain number of abilities depending on the AP each character has. There are many difficulty spikes throughout the game and the party runs on an AI which can be largely dumb at times, which is the main reason why I stopped playing the first time. However, together with my fiance, we persevered to the final world. We are now going around the world completing the last remaining parts before finally confronting the end boss. I have enjoyed it this time around, but there are some mechanics, like the platforming, that the game could do without. There is also a spaceship that you use to travel between worlds, and though it brings variety to the gameplay it’s not exactly fun. The music is beautiful and the graphics are timeless. I like that the enemies grow with you, and even when you visit previous lands, new enemies appear that are closer to your level, but it does feel like an endless gauntlet when having to fight a bunch of the characters.
So to end this review, it deserves a 4/5, if it wasn’t for the massive difficulty spike and the gummi ship it would easily have gotten full marks.