A Review of Kingdom Hearts via PlayStation 2
Summary for Kingdom Hearts
Guide a young boy named Sora, and his friends Riku and Kairi, as he saves the world from destruction at the hands of an evil group known as the Heartless. Set off from Sora’s island paradise home with the help of Disney characters such as Donald and Goofy, who are on their way to find their missing king, the one and only Mickey Mouse. Use Sora’s secret weapon, the keyblade, in an adventure that takes you through familiar Disney worlds. You will also run into many of Squaresoft’s favorite characters as they join the struggle.
It’s been years since I watched a Disney movie–well, at least the older ones I grew up on–and once I set my eyes on the first Kingdom Hearts for PlayStation 2, I had to virtually inject myself with some nostalgia.
I was surprised a lot of the characters retained their initial voice actors (and saddened when Genie from Aladdin showed up, who wasn’t voiced by the ever-loved Robin Williams), and the different worlds you visit have, of course, their theme music going on.
Talk about a blast from the past.
I won’t give the nitty gritty on what worlds there are to visit, just in case you haven’t snuck a peak at the game (though it’s older, and a lot of people are probably giving me that Really? look, because they’re on the PS4 end of things), but after playing through so many worlds, it made me wish there was even more of them to dive into.
|FYI:||► Patreon supporters are first to see in-depth guides and YouTube videos|
|► Check my YouTube for the playthrough.|
|► Kingdom Hearts is available via Amazon.|
|► This game was streamed on Twitch.|
I’m going to start this official review off by punching Kingdom Hearts in the face.
You can’t skip the cutscenes.
I mean, not like you would want to in the first place, but after you keep losing a boss battle and have to listen through it for the tenth time, it becomes pretty droll. The cutscenes are never terribly long though, so don’t go thinking it’s like sitting through a Final Fantasy cinematic.
The camera movements are terrible. Whether you’re trying to achieve it by looking somewhere manually or automatic with however you turn Sora. Sometimes it just doesn’t want to do what you say. And I get that, because sometimes there are solid objects in your path that are hindering your visual capabilities. But when you’re running and you have to jump to a certain position, not knowing exactly where to land can be frustrating.
Speaking of frustrating: While in combat, there’s a “lock on” system. You lock onto an enemy and can keep going after them, and also switch to another if that enemy becomes too far to chase. Sometimes it’s a blessing, while other times it’s a curse. When not locked on, Sora typically goes after the closest thing to him. So if you’re in a battle, and there happens to be a clam by your side, you’re going to be yelling at Sora’s incompetence for hitting the clam instead of the enemy right beside him.
(I’m looking at you, Atlantica.)
With those bits out of the way, the gameplay was pretty smooth going. You get different abilities to do different things as the game progresses, but there never seemed to be any flaws in their designs that I could see. I think one of the more fun scenarios was being able to fly the Gummi Ship and collect different designs for future ships.
Here’s part one of the nostalgia coming at you. Some of the voice actors for the characters have stayed the same, and if you remember the show they’re from, you’re going to recognize them right off the bat. Or tilt your head at the ones you can’t quite recall. The characters who don’t use their original actors stand out. I’ll tell you that right now.
There are a lot of cutscenes in this game, but they never go on and on. I like the short skits, because, while we know a lot of the characters, it still brings insight on their personalities, especially to the newer characters, such as Sora, Riku, and Kairi.
Here’s part two of the nostalgia. Every world you enter will have a specific soundtrack that you’ll have heard many times before if you’ve seen the movie it’s connected to. The music doesn’t repeat itself so much that it becomes annoying. At times it simply faded into the background while I was trying to figure out what to do.
And even if it does start to become a broken record, you can always switch to another world via a save point.
Not only that, but the boss battles and enemy events switch to a different music theme so as not to tire you out. They did good with this, guys. Trust me.
The graphics have sustained themselves over the years. They aren’t as smooth as today’s graphically enhanced games; instead, they have a chiseled edge to the characters and environments. There’s nothing wrong with them, no awkwardness, just the reminiscence of a well-done, dated PS2 game.
I really like this game despite the flaws in the camera and targeting design. It’s got a variety of great soundtracks, it’s got a ton of cutscenes so you can see what’s going on in action format–and so it doesn’t become a droll game of trying to find out what to do next–, you’ve got some of your favorite and non-favorite characters speaking, and you get to kick some evil Disney characters’ asses.
Yeah, there’s a lot of remakes. But I believe this one still holds up, even if the remakes touched things up for us.
What’s not to like about an older game?
(Don’t answer that.)