Saturday, September 17, 2011

Top 50 Video Games: Number 33

Stats of Import

Platform: PS2
Absurdly Specific Genre: Hell, I don't have any idea what it was about. Something about darkness... and hearts... and Donald Duck.
Difficulty: I jotted a '5' here, but I died quite a bit in some places, so I think a 6 or even a 7 is probably more warranted.
Beaten: Yes, indeed.

It's kind of hard to quantify my love for Kingdom Hearts. On the surface, it would seem to tap into the nostalgia I have for both Disney canon and characters from the Final Fantasy series. In reality. since it rips all these characters out of context and tosses them in only vaguely familiar surroundings, it doesn't actually cash in on much of that promised nostalgia (hearing Donald Duck and Goofy talk about the plot can occasionally be weirdly jarring).

Gawrsh, Sora... If them Heartless catch up to us, they'll probably rip our souls out of our dead bodies. Ar-yuck!
The plot is nonsensical to the point where I was autopilot toward the end. It sort of ends up going like this: something, something, Big Bad, something, something, darkness... Mickey Mouse (that last part is kind of a spoiler, but seriously... if you expected that perhaps Mickey Mouse would not be showing up in this game after being referred to from pretty much the first half hour on, then you need to hand in your "Awareness of Popular Media Plotting" merit badge). The battles are fun and engaging. In fact, 'fun' is a pretty common thread throughout the game.

Take this battle, for instance. There is very little that is not awesome about fighting a Cerberus as Hercules runs away like a scared sissy.
It seems obvious that 'fun' would be a pretty consistent thread in a video game "best of" list, but it really bears saying for this one. Even when the plot goes off the rails, the game is still fun to play at all times. It's a hack'n'slash with soul and more than its fair share of entertainment. It took my expectations and tossed them out the window - and made me love it in the process.


  1. This one, for me, is an interesting case. I loved it beyond words the first time and similarly loved the second (I think I liked the second more; I found the story about the Heartless siblings more engaging, even if it still doesn't really make any sense). Then I played the first again a couple of years later, and I was annoyed at how hack'n'slash it was. Most of the time, I didn't feel like I was doing anything, with the exception of the Gummi Ships on the second one, which are amazing - which is weird because they suck on the first one, but that's a whole other kettle of fish.

    I think I still like this game, and there's still fun to be had, but it's rarely a rewarding kind of fun. It's just sort of a..."Press X and win" game.

  2. "Press X and win."

    Kind of like the lego games?

  3. Exactly like that. They're great for playing with my wife and kid, though.

    I thoroughly enjoyed every LEGO game I've played as well as both of the two main Kingdom Hearts games, but replaying them really drives home how little I'm doing.