In today's keybladed episode of the TAY-powered Speak Up on Kotaku, commenter FrogFro, who finally played Kingdom Hearts and has some thoughts on the game.
All right, since I've gotten my ps2 to work and not burn down my house I've been able to get into some of those games everyone is always talking about. The first being Kingdom Hearts!
Now I have played BBS and DDD so I'm not foreign to the series, but I had never gotten to play the first two before, and while I think that my expectations for this game, particularly the gameplay and music, where a bit high I did have an enjoyable time with it.
I clocked in around 35 hours to get through the story, beat all the optional bosses and collect almost all the items and weapons. The pacing felt good, and I was interested in finding out what would be the next surprise over the hill. There was also enough challenge in the game, particularly the colosseum and bonus boss fights, to give an actual reason to go the extra mile and get that really sweet weapon or item.
As for the gameplay, it felt really fun, a tad grindy in places, but overall it was fun to get into fights. Though I did find that the combat felt most at home when fighting a single or a small group of enemies in an open space. It really complemented the run, slash, combo feel of the game. Also, while fighting Disney characters will never get old I did find it annoying of how many instances I ran into, "Oh? You've beaten me once? Let me show you my true, bigger form!" It happened with Ursela, Jaffar, Oggie, Maleficient and to a degree, the final boss. It's just not as fun whaling on a giant target occasionally having to dodge their giant breath attack or what have you.
The story was generally likeable, if slightly silly at times but I guess thats just the power of the heart. Now what disappointed me is the way that they handled the Disney characters, it felt far too predictable and dumbed down. I understand that every single one of them is fighting for screen time, but they almost felt like props at times with how poorly explained their feelings and motivations were at times. I feel that this was a missed opportunity to expand on these characters outside of their standard setting, but it felt like the game creators or the people at Disney were too afraid and trying too hard to be respectful of the source material. Aside from that though I had fun with it and it is nice to play along with some of the more colourful characters like Jack Skellington.
Overall I think that this game has aged pretty well, I mean it's what, over 10 years old now isn't it? I'm really glad that I was able to play it and I think I'll jump into the second one after I get more done in Persona 4.
Also, I'm staring at the The End screen at this time and wow, not many games seem to go for a forever repeating song with a still image anymore. I'm kinda glad in a way, I dislike not being able to save after beating the game, all those levels and items I got just gone, forever....
*Edit, also the Gummi ship sections get my vote for the "Least enjoyable and least necessary segment in an otherwise enjoyable game" award.