With the anticipated release of Kingdom Hearts 3, I wanted to go back to the first game released back in 2002 for PS2 by SquareSoft now known as SquareEnix. This game has a lot of nostalgia for me but does this Disney/Final Fantasy crossover live up to it’s reputation. Lets dive into some Disney worlds and find out!
You play as a young boy, Sora, who lives on the Destiny Islands with his best friends Riku and Kairi. They plan on building a raft and venturing out into unknown lands. One day as they prepare to leave, a dark void appears in the sky and dark creatures known as the Heartless appear and attack Sora. Weapons have no effect on the creatures until Sora unleashes the weapon known as the Keyblade in order to defend himself. The island is soon rip asunder which separates Sora from his friends.
Sora soon finds himself in a new world known as Traverse Town where he meets his new traveling companions, Donald and Goofy. They are on a quest from their king, Mickey, in order to find the “key” which they find in the Keyblade wielded by Sora. They embark on a new quest to defeat the source of the Heartless before they corrupt other worlds. For the first game, Kingdom Hearts may seem a bit complex but compared to the games to come, this story is pretty simple.
Kingdom Hearts is plays like an Action game with RPG elements. Sora and his new friends venture to new worlds that are all based off Disney worlds like Hercules and The Little Mermaid. Sora is able to level up, learn new abilities and magic. He gains experience through battle with many different types of Heartless with Donald and Goofy being controlled by the computer to fight alongside you. But sometimes when in a new world you can be joined by a new party member from that world. These range from Tarzan to Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
The combat here feels pretty great as Sora’s attacks have a lot of variety behind them with swiping slashes and a good range of magic from Fire Magic and even controlling the gravity around enemies. A unique ability Sora has is the ability to summon more allies to aid him in battle. These summons take away Donald and Goofy from the field but the new ally can really pack a punch. Summons like Simba from the Lion King coming down and using his roar or Mushu from Mulan shooting small fire balls at enemies. The player has a lot to use against the Heartless. A video of the first areas of the game can be seen below from the World of Longplays
One major gripe I had when going back to the first Kingdom Hearts was the design of some of the world areas. Some areas like Deep Jungle from Tarzan are expansive which is usually a good thing but it becomes a maze as you try to understand where you are supposed to go or how in Agrabah from Aladdin, platforming becomes as pain as you try to get across rooftops with weird jumping controls. Sora has this very weird weight to him where the jumping feels too heavy for the kind of adventuring you are supposed to be doing.
Going along with the strange design of some worlds comes the areas where enemies appear. Most of the time, the player is given enough space to breath and figure out what they need to do in combat be it attack with the Keyblade or use magic from afar but some areas are so cramped that fighting becomes this cluster of character models that just is a mess. This happens especially with the larger enemies that come along with smaller ones. The guys take up some much space and have large attacks that hit in bigger areas. In these cases, combat can become somewhat frustrating.
The first Kingdom Hearts is still a very fun game with some issues that come along with the entertainment. The combat can feel like a mess at points and exploring some areas can be confusing. If you can get past some of these problems then Kingdom Hearts is a great time. Adventuring through familiar Disney Worlds while battling the Heartless is great fun along with a pretty intriguing plot that keeps the player interested through this 20 to 30 hour adventure. Kingdom Hearts is available for the PS2 or as part of the KH 1.5 collection on PS3 and PS4. What are your experiences with Kingdom Hearts? Have you played the first game? Are you going to play the first game? Comment down below with your thoughts.
World of Longplays Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVi6ofFy7QyJJrZ9l0-fwbQ