What is so Good About Kingdom Hearts?

Image By Flickr user: mattjerome_88 (cc)

Does anybody else find it a little strange that it’s been over 12 years since the original Kingdom Hearts made it’s debut on the PS2 and we’re still no closer to figuring out what exactly is so good about it?!

I absolutely love Kingdom Hearts! I’ve been a fan since I bought it used from the local gamestop back in 2004! I was intrigued by it ever since I first saw the tv teaser:

And yet, I could not tell you a single standout thing about that I really love about it, and I don’t think I’m the only one.

Kingdom Hearts is a competent game. The battle system is simple, the story is was easy to follow, the characters were likeable, and the worlds felt unique from just about everything else that gaming had to offer at the time. It was all good, but none were really stand-out features, certainly there’s nothing in its basic make up that justifies its massive popularity.

I don’t buy that it’s the Disney/Final Fantasy crossover aspect of it either, as the game managed to attract many a player who did not care for Disney nor were all that experienced with Final Fantasy, I know I certainly wasn’t. With all that in mind, I have come up with a theory. I think it must be Kingdom Heart’s quality of being more than the sum of its parts, not to mention a brilliant hook.

The idea of Disney meets Final Fantasy was enough to get the first players in the door and then WHAM! it turns out to be a very surprisingly competent game with a decent plot, good original characters, which managed to make Disney interesting again by giving its characters and worlds altered histories informed by Kingdom Heart’s own universe. Who could have seen that coming? I think it’s that surprise that really allowed the game to work it’s way into the hearts of its players (pun definitely intended!). And what cemented it was just how earnest the game was about the scenario and its message. No jokes were made at the expense of the crossover, no comments were made about how ludicrous the whole scenario was. The game took it seriously, so naturally those of us who were playing went along for the ride. As a result, it all came together in such an unexpected and enjoyable way that the result was (and still is) something we can’t help but love.

Whatever the reason, the series’ popularity at this point is undeniable. It’s been eight years since the series has gotten a proper home-console release and somehow, even without playing the handheld installments, the prospect of Kingdom Hearts III is just as exciting a thought as Kingdom Hearts II was all the way back when it was still just being hinted at! There may not be a definitive reason for it’s success, but it’s not like we’re going to let that get in the way right?

(Just listen to that crowd!)

Why do you think Kingdom Hearts took off like it did? What is it about the the game that made you a fan?

8 Comments Add yours

  1. renxkyoko says:

    I watched my brother play it. Maybe I have to play it myself to appreciate the game, because , don’t hate me, I found it boring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Yeah, it’s really not a game that’s all that much fun to watch. Definitely something you need to experience yourself. Though that won’t save the story. The story got pretty messed up aft Kingdom Hearts 2.

      Like

  2. As a fan of the games, I have to say that the plot is terrible and the character’s motivations and “developments” make little sense. I think the plot falls through because instead of playing it straight, the story wants to make things more faux interesting with added complication. (For instance, it could be assumed that the “Darkness” in KH is negativity and the “light” is positivity, but it makes no attempt to actually say this. Instead all the characters just take “darknesss” and “light” without batting an eye. It’s just dumb Star Wars logic).

    What the game does excel at is its battle system, over the top fights, playing on nostalgia, making the players feel increasingly powerful, and exploration. Everything else I feel everyone is just convincing themselves is good (or great even).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      You make good points. The gameplay was always the highlight, but I wonder if would still have felt as good without its Kingdom Hearts wrapper you know?

      As for the plot, I actually didn’t mind it when I could follow it. However once Kindom Hearts II hit, the plot disappeared into Square’s Void of Insanity and took everything but the gameplay with it so…yeah, story stinks now.

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  3. cary says:

    For me the draw to KH was all about Disney. As a long-time fan, when KH came out, I was so excited about the prospect of traveling in and around a Disney-inspired universe. For me, it wouldn’t have mattered if they had crossed over with any other series, FF or otherwise, because my love of Disney was/is just that strong. Though it’s a bit one-note, that Disney draw is the one thing that keeps me interested in the series.

    I do have agree with Mr. Detrick above — KH does have a stellar and fun battle system, which is definitely one of its biggest strengths, but its story is pretty lackluster. (If it didn’t have the Disney or FF ties, it would probably just be another mediocre RPG.) Speaking primarily to the original KH, it also has solid controls and is a very pretty game with interesting environments. And it was one of the better, more unique RPG offerings on the PS2.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Funny how that Disney angle wound up being a big hook isn’t it? Even if it wasn’t the full draw for some, the whole “worlds collide” set up was too interesting to pass up. Though after KH2 it felt like they were just riding the wave as far as the plot and story went. (I may not have played the handhelds but I did look up the plot and it still sounds confusing.)

      Like

  4. duckofindeed says:

    I don’t know why I love KH as much as I do, either. It’s just…really good…. I suppose you pretty much summed it all up. On the outside, it looks downright silly with the Disney characters intermingling with what is often a very serious plot, and yet they make it work that you don’t think twice watching a serious cut scene with Donald Duck in it.

    I think the handhelds ruined the series a bit for me, though. They add nothing to the story, but only serve to make money and keep their fans busy as we wait for a new game. I seriously hope they do a good job with KH3, as I almost worry that after all these years, they might forget how to make a good KH game. The first two main games were fantastic, and I sure hope this game lives up to my expectations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      I just want that nice simple-yet-fun combat we got in KH1 and KH2. I’ve tried [almost] all the handhelds (never finished one) and they’ve ALL had some goofy gimmick to the combat which just wound up being annoying. Even Dream Drop Distance suffered from it a bit.

      Like

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