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?