Once upon a time there were a group of game developers that brought joy to those who could not get laid. Those that dwelled on the though of kissing a certain flower girl on the lips just once, those that unfortunately needed help. Squaresoft, a name among developers that has spawned many a debate and even more controversy than it probably should have. A company held on such a high pedestal by many for defining what we call the RPG genre. Just look at their track record, Final Fantasy (all seven million of them), Chrono Cross, Secret Of Mana, and now the highly anticipated Kingdom Hearts. Hark, this game is not a true RPG? Read on gamers as Square finally takes a turn for the better.
You take the role of Sora, a young adventurer about to embark on a journey with his two friends Riku and Kairi. A journey that Sora hopes will take him to places he has never been and perhaps even into Kairi’s pants, umm nevermind. Right before departure your hometown, or island as I like to refer to it as, is overcome by the heartless. In a small twist of fate you are about to embark on a sacred journey, oohh that was cheesy. The only dilemma is that you didn’t plan on this one. Thus begins Kingdom Hearts, a game with so much hype around it, you can practically smell the green stuff, and we ain’t talking about broccoli here folks!
Needless to say the PS2 is not limitless, Square has done an amazing job of recreating some of our most beloved Disney worlds with massive attention to detail. From Wonderland to the crazy land of The Nightmare Before Christmas this game truly gives the player a sense of being there. The character models are also superb, bumping into familiar favorites is not uncommon. Cloud, Hercules, Tarzan, Squall (or Leon as he likes to be called), the list goes on and on. It’s like a celebrity episode of The Simpsons that lasts 40 hours. All of them rendered flawlessly on your beloved PS2.
One thing Square can do is make some memorable music. I am sure the fanboys have the MP3 of Aeris’ song playing right now while reading this. It’s ok I forgive you, that song is classic! KH spares no expense in the audio category. A soundtrack to die for awaits the player around every corner. Of course what is a Disney game without character? Thus Square went to the trouble of hiring top talent for the voice-overs. Sure 40 hours of Haley Joel Osment will make any sane person go nuts, but all of your favorite Disney characters are voiced perfectly. Donald has his non-understandable lingo and even Gilbert Godfried joins in with his role as the parrot from Aladdin. The sound screams quality, kudos to Square!
This is where my comment on the whole RPG thing comes into play. Sure this game is made by Square, you are waiting for that flash screen followed by overdramatic music to induce a great round of virtual chess. Alas this game is NOT I repeat NOT turn based. The battle system is more reminiscent of Zelda or the even more recent Star Fox Adventures. You have the ability to lock onto one specific character or the game will lock onto the closest one by default. The main problem is that the camera system is lousy. You end up taking unfair hits because there is a wall in the way, and that sucks. Your partners in battle, which most of the time is Donald and Goofy are also a bit shaky on the AI side, sometimes they will get themselves killed if you do not arm them with potions. You can of course tweak the AI and trust me your better off to do that early in the game. The only other crappy part of this game has got to be the damn Gummi Ship, this is the most ridiculous waste of time in a game ever. Imagine a 3D version of Galaga with no sense of direction or space, yeah it sucks that bad. All said this game does just about everything right.
What? Did you think I was going to say “don’t buy this game it sucks”? Nah this is a fabulous game, something that should have been done years ago. If Square can fix the camera and a few other bugs this game would be damn near perfect. Make FF play like this game and it might re-kindle my love for the series (which I feel has sucked since FFVII). An overall stellar performance and a down right fun ass game. Not to mention you get to kick Disney characters asses, now who doesn’t want to do that??