Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Kingdom Hearts

Growing up I was totally into Nintendo. It was just the predominant system in the house for a long time. NES, SNES, N64, etc. The household had an Xbox later on, but we never really got into the Playstation. My brother had a PS3 and I remember playing some sweet games on it while I was older, but my childhood was never graced by the Sony PS1 or PS2. As a result, I feel like I probably missed a number of gems growing up.

"Nintendo is life."
Final Fantasy springs to mind. I was always enchanted by the artwork and characters, but never really got a chance to play it. Eventually I got FF8 for the PC and I loved it. However, it only made me realize how much I missed out on the others. Final Fantasy aside, there's another gem I can add to the list. One I've finally had a chance to experience! Kindgom Hearts.

It's a beautifully well crafted game that still holds up since it's release in 2002. The gameplay wasn't what I was expecting - I had always assumed it was another turn based RPG. My assumption was wrong. It's a basic real-time action RPG. Your character, Sora, runs around with Donald and Goofy and a whole other cast of characters from various Disney worlds.

There's the Jungle where you meet Tarzan, Halloween town where you meet Jack, Atlantis where you meet Ariel, and more. All the characters are well represented and most of them even have spot-on voice acting. There's even a segment of the game that takes place in the Hundred Acre Woods with Pooh bear and the whole gang. Not to be left out, there are some familiar faces from the Final Fantasy franchise as well including Cloud, Squall, and Selfie. It's a wonderful mashup.

"Oh Bother."
Each world has a sub-plot where you try to help the characters, and there is an over-arching plot where you're trying to find your friends and King Mickey. The gameplay is simple yet challenging enough to be fun. You have a basic attack where you swing a keyblade, some magic spells, and items. You get better items and equipment as you progress through the game and also upgrade your spells, gain levels, and equip abilities. Some of the boss battles are very original and exciting, and the optional bosses later in the game are particularly challenging!

Cerberus is pretty tough the first time you encounter him.
It's been a lot of fun playing Kingdom Hearts, and despite it's couple of flaws (Flying to new worlds in the Gummi Ship is annoying, and the jumping can be kind of finicky sometimes), it's a stellar game that I would recommend to anyone!

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