The Rise & Fall (And Rise Again?) Of Kingdom Hearts

by Peter

 

Several years ago I was convinced into playing a game that didn’t interest me at all, Kingdom Hearts. I don’t play Final Fantasy games since I’m not a fan of turn based RPG and at the time, I was “too mature” to be a Disney Fan, so what interest should I have in wanting to pick up Kingdom Hearts? I would remove my foot from my mouth after a few short hours!

Kingdom Hearts is set in a universe where all the Disney films take place on their own respective worlds and the Final Fantasy characters are blended into worlds of their own. We are introduced to the characters of Sora, Riku and Kair, three friends who are destined for big things before our story even begins. A darkness is sweeping across the worlds and with the disappearence of King Mickey, Royal Guard Goofy and Head Magician Donald set out to find his Royal Majesty only to join forces with Sora, who’s friends have also disappeared. You will travel to worlds based on such Disney classics as Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin and even into the belly of Monstro the Whale where you will encounter Pinnochio and Geppeto! Fans of Final Fantasy will find familiar faces in Cloud, Leon and even the Moogles spread across the various worlds.

Kingdom Hearts is your basic “hack and slash” style of game that integrates combos, summons, and spells into your arsenal of weapons. Kingdom Hearts above all else, tells a great story. It successfully blends two products better than I thought would have ever worked, to where it almost seems natural for these characters to be interacting. Though the levels can be tedious at times and even downright frustrating, the cut scenes between levels and the overall story keep you playing for hours on end. Though I will completely admit, the end of the game gets kind of ridiculous as you find yourself fighting boss after boss, wondering if the game in fact will ever end. The pay off is well worth it!

The game itself is so fun and addicting, it carries over well into Kingdom Hearts II (which is actually the THIRD game, after Chain of Memories for Game Boy Advance) which is where the series starts to lose it’s steam. If you are a casual gaming fan who only owns one system, which would be the Playstation in this case since Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II are exclusive to this system, you are doomed to become lost in the overall mythology of the series. Like I said, Kingdom Hearts main strength is it’s story and it’s ability to make you care for the characters. So when you take that story and cross it out over a main system and onto multiple handhelds and even mobile phones, you are going to find you’ve isolated you’re audience to die hard gamers, kids, and rich people who can afford all the systems they want. I have only played the console games, I havent even picked up RE: Chain of Memories which is a completely 3D rendering of the Game Boy Advance game made specifically for the Playstation. Since Kingdom Hearts II, which came out in early 2006 I have not played a single one of the offshoot games. There are currently SIX titles in the Kingdom Hearts series, and the story has become so complex that I don’t have the slightest clue as to what’s going on anymore.

Kingdom Hearts III has been pushed back time and time again, as the creator of the series is too busy working on new Final Fantasy games. With that said, will we ever get Kingdom Hearts III? And if we do, will i be completely lost because I haven’t played the 4 other titles for Game Boy Advance, VCast mobile phones, PSP and the Nintendo DS? I have a feeling with that much story out there, fans of the console games have officially been shut out. Is there a way to fix this? Yes. Sadly, they’re going to have to do what they did for Chain of Memories and reissue the games for consoles if they want to successfully bring fans back to the series. Kingdom Hearts has seen dwindling sales, reviews and interest the past few years because they don’t seem to have a clue as to what the fans really want.

Also, just so you’re aware, there will be ANOTHER new Kingdom Hearts game for the new Nintendo 3DS before there is ever a Kingdom Hearts “III”.

Peter Jurewicz is an editor and writer for BigDamnGeeks.com. He loves cartoons, science fiction, and zombies. He wrote this entire article because his PS3 isn’t backwards compatible so he couldn’t replay Kingdom Hearts today. He also likes puppies.

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