Kingdom Hearts (2002, PS4) Review


This was my first time with the game. It was part of the 1.5 + 2.5 Remix.

With a deep RPG system of a cast of Disney characters across some of your beloved franchises, Kingdom Hearts was the start of something beautiful. Something that was made just for a geek like me.

Merging the RPG system of a Final Fantasy with the charm of the Disney Universe (Disney Verse?), Kingdom Hearts tells the story of Sora (Haley Joel Osmont) who is whisked away into a multiverse to save reality from the threat of the heartless.

The narrative is solid. There’s young love, tragedy and to top it all off, the stories from all your favourite worlds are recycled or take place before their movies. Or, let’s just say we’re in an alternate timeline. Science Fiction, guys.

As a huge Disney fan, catching up with characters was a blast. Fighting Cook alongside Peter Pan, stepping into the Cave of Wonders, meeting up with Beast. It’s fan service at its finest and I enjoyed it immensely.

Accompanying your journey to worlds are some memorable tunes. This is Halloween gets to be on repeat while Under the Sea gets all jaunty in the ocean. There are some original compositions, I believe, and overall it’s memorable, catchy and fist-pumping music.

It IS weird that This is Halloween gets to go on repeat but there’s no Prince Ali for Agrabah. But I digress.

We’ve got the good out of the way; let’s get to the bad.

Level design is a mixed bag. I spent about twenty minutes trying to get to a chest surrounded by water because I couldn’t climb up on that one platform. I had to use the stepping-stones provided. If I fell off a stone, I’d have to swim back to shore to begin again. The platforming in this game is a bit off.

Enemy spawn is another brain melter. Want to collect all 101 Dalmatians? (I know I do), then you’re going to find yourself back tracking through areas where enemies keep spawning. This would be okay if you could interact with the chest when around enemies. But no. You have to clear the area. And by the time you’ve done that, I bet you that more will come in. It’s a pain.

Then there’s the difficulty spike mid-game. Which, fair enough, the game warns you about on more than one occasion, but my goodness I had some trouble overcoming bosses in the last part of the game.

But. The game’s story, coupled with its collectables and worlds make for addictive gaming. All up I spent 30+ hours going through the game, which took me away from titans like Mass Effect: Andromeda and Persona 5.

For all its couch tearing, teeth gritting flaws, the game has charm. It made me smile, laugh, and it made me want to revisit some of my favourite Disney films. There’s a wonder to its world that brought me back, kept me going even when I was ready to turn Hulk.

There’s a power to this game that stands the test of time. But time has also shed light on its problems.

J’s Verdict: ☆☆☆




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