Kingdom Hearts Review

You'd think that combining a company such as Disney - light hearted, cartoon ridden and cute - with one like Square Enix - the biggest name in RPGs and father of the Final Fantasy series - would turn out to be pretty poor. You couldn't be more wrong if you tried.

KH is one of those games which you'd expect to be something, but it turns out to be something completely different. I mean, you just have to take one look at the graphics and make a huge wild assumption that it has something cutesy and vibrant for you to disregard it as a serious RPG. But beyond its hearty exterior lies something much darker with a depth to it that only some games can match.

As soon as you place the disc in its rightful place and the controller in your hand, you'll realize exactly how deeply involving it is. All this talk of heart, emotions, friendship - it's a genuinely human experience and time and time again, you'll try to put yourself in Sora's cartoon-like, oversized shoes.

Now, having Goofy and Squall (FFVIII) smacking seven bells out of each other in the middle of an arena reminiscent of the Coliseum deserves some explanation. The story is set in a series of parallel worlds, all intertwined by the same evil that faces them - a huge entity of bodies called the Heartless.

These beings devour the hearts of human beings, but they don't exactly look like a bunch of blood sucking monsters. In fact, for all you FF fans, think Vivi without his gear, shaped like Marvin the Martian from Looney Tunes. So despite the fact that the plot has some real edge to it, the younger ones amongst us won't have nightmares over all this.

The sound is also good in KH. This game is actually a good example of when lip syncing and voice overs are done with care and attention, they can produce an incredibly professional finish to any game. The score, however, does let it down.

Although the compositions themselves are perfectly reasonable and the music changes as you enter and leave battle mode for a more atmospheric gaming experience, they are far too short, leaving you with a very low tolerance level as you hear the annoying jingle in the Atlantica composition for the millionth time.

As far as little niggles go, I'm struggling to find any serious faults with this game. There are some points that need ironing out - for one, there are a few too many enemy encounters for anyone’s taste. If you think about the fuss that was created over the FF series and their random encounters, there are more of them in KH. Sure enough, they pop out of the floor and there’s no transition – but there’s still too many.

As well as this, trying to use items in battle can be hard. If you're perfectly capable of operating a menu, camera, movement and battling enemies at the same time, it's easy. However, for the most of us who don't have double jointed thumbs, it's difficult to say the least.

Overall, KH is a marvelous game. Certainly playable by everyone and anyone, enjoyable to say the least and deeply involving to boot. It's a shame this game is overlooked by a lot of people - it's a real hidden gem.

8 / 10

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