[PS2] Kingdom Hearts

posted 5 Jan 2011, 00:47 by Thomas Vale   [ updated 5 Jan 2011, 00:47 ]
The game that really got me into RPGs was Secret of Mana on the snes. Kingdom Hearts is Secret of Mana with a rocket shoved firmly up it's rectum. I lost 3 days of my life simply playing this game. I bought it, Legalia 2 and Jade Cocoon 2 at the same time. I decided to give each game 10 minutes, then switch to the next. Jade Cocoon was first. Kingdom Hearts was second. It didn't get put down for 7 hours when I finally realised I needed to sleep.

The Graphics in this game are superb. Both Square and Disney characters are rendered as you would imagine. Square took some characters from the Playstation Final Fantasies and made them look so good I was begging to the almighty for them to do an FF7 remake. The most awesome of all was Sephiroth, who truly looked the mutts nuts. The Disney characters look like the cartoons without the need for Cell shading. My jaw dropped the first time I saw Jane from Tarzan. I was stunned at how good Ariel from The Little Mermaid looked. I only realised at the end of the game that there is very little fmv through out  the entire game (There are only 2 that I recall), and yet I would happily say that this game looks superior to Final Fantasy X. Lush environments, Well detailed characters. Excellent spell effects and summons. If Square can do this at this point in the PS2's life, I dread to think what the PS2's swansong will look like.

The Music is superb too. The Intro theme is a remix of Utada Hikaru's Hikari. Hikaru is one of my favourite J-Pop artists, and this tune has subsequently been on almost constant replay on my Winamp list hence. There are some fantastic tunes in this game, worked from the appropriate Disney films (Under the sea!!!!), and old Square games. The rendition of One Winged Angel in nothing short of spectacular. The musical score was left up to Yoko Shimomura, and I hope that this continues in a sequel (if it does appear).

The Voice acting is excellent too. Haley Joel Osmond not getting on my nerves as Sora, and David Borneaz's (Angel) rendition of Squall Leonheart (known in the game as Leon) is excellent, and as I imagined. The rest of the main cast are pretty darned good, well fitting their characters and giving them the right amount of emotion. What was, however, a disappointment was the secondary character's voices, such as the Genie form Aladdin and Sebastian from The Little Mermaid. No one did the genie like Robin Williams, and any attempt to do so would be an exercise in futility. Sebastian's 'Caribbean' voice was terrible, making me cringe every time he spoke. They are minor flaws to an otherwise spectacular cast though.

I cannot describe the plot here without spoiling it, and I vowed in these reviews to attempt not to do that. It is slightly simplistic in many ways, but has enough twists to keep you intrigued.
The Gameplay is another area in which Kingdom Hearts shines. It's an Action RPG, taking away the slow turn based battles of most Console RPGs with the now somewhat annoying battle transitions, and replacing it wit ha smooth flow to and from battle. Magic is accessed by a quick key combination, and the battle system utilises a 'lock-on' method to prevent you slicing away at empty air for a few hours. Specials are accessed by using the digital pad or the right analogue stick. The control method is intuitive and quick flowing. What will annoy you however, are some of the puzzles and the way the camera moves. On more than one occasion was I thumping my desk and screaming at the way the camera would decide to pan round at exactly the wrong moment in a jump, the manual camera not helping any. The Gummi ship section is a bit cack too. I really could be bothered with it, and still found it simple at best. The least they should do if they are going to make a compulsory minigame is make it so that you have to work at it a little. These are once again, minor flaws that I have picked out.

The game is short next to Final Fantasy X, but it is very enjoyable. So much so that I had to call up my brother and tell him to take my PS2 off me so that I can get down to some work! A superb mix of Square and Disney talent, and an excellent RPG. In my opinion, this seals Square's return to form. As a result, I am even more eagerly anticipating Final Fantasy X-2, 12 and the results of the Square-Enix merger. Don't let anyone tell you to scoff at this game because of it's Disney content. it resides in the upper echelons of great RPGs on it's own merits.

Graphics: 10/10
Jaw dropping. It's amazing what Square accomplished without resorting to their trademark spectacular fmvs
Sound: 9/10
Excellent renditions of all borrowed music with a good score on it's own merit. Excellent vocal cast with a couple of exceptions
Plot: 7/10
Slightly over Simplistic
Game-play: 8/10
Excellent battle system. Well concieved game engine, Slightly annoying puzzles and gummi games.
Longevity: 9/10
Not as long as Final Fantasy X, but will more than keep you amused a couple of times through.
Overall: 93%
If you like Action RPGs, get it. If you hate the slowness of Final Fantasy, get it. If you like RPGs get it......