I’d always sort of known about Kingdom Hearts and once I got into blogging it would crop up at some point or another so the other day I finally decided to give it a go to see what all the fuss was about. Now keep in mind I didn’t know anything about this game other than it’s a Disney/Final Fantasy game (so no spoilers please!). I quite liked the thought of playing a Disney game, I used to love Donald Duck: Goin’ Quackers and Sheep Dog ‘n’ Wolf (I know! I know that’s Looney Tunes and not Disney but they’re kind of similar, right?). Unfortunately for me Kingdom Hearts is literally nothing like either of those games. I’m not sure what I expected but it wasn’t this.
If, like me, you are new to Kingdom Hearts then allow me to paint you a picture of my understanding of the plot so far… All the planets (most of which are themed around Disney movies, which is awesome. Currently on the first world, Alice in Wonderland) are disappearing after being invaded by creepy shadow creatures that steal people’s hearts. You are given a sword that looks like a key and take on the role of the keymaster but I don’t know what that means yet… If I was told I don’t remember… Anyway, so also going on somewhere else in the Universe, King Mickey Mouse has set off alone to presumably stop the planets from disappearing and Donald Duck and Goofy set out to find and help him. Goofy, Donald and you all end up running into each other and they help you out in battles and become your companions. My theory so far is that Mickey is the final boss, why would he go off by himself? Awfully convenient that HIS world is still intact so far… hmmmmm…
I am enjoying this game so far but it’s weird… there’s some things that really frustrate me about it and I just have to get it off my chest… Time for a ranty post!
I’ll get the obvious thing out the way first: the Final Fantasy/Disney mashup. I’d been aware of this before I started and was curious to see how that worked out, turns out I don’t think it works at all. Sorry Kingdom Hearts fans. There’s just something so jarring about speaking to Gunblade wielding badass Squall (still stupid name, no matter how badass he looks), standing there all dark and brooding, dramatically telling you about the planets winking out of existence and shadow creatures stealing people’s hearts then the camera pans around and Goofy’s derpy face is there looking so out of place it’s like he’s a mod you can get to do a “silly” playthrough of the game. Oh, and not to mention one of the first Final Fantasy characters you meet is this fucking guy:
My video game arch-nemesis Tidus… If you’re new to my on-going feud with this character check out a couple of my previous posts for context (here, and here). I tried to beat the shit out of him with a stick but unfortunately I suck at this game so he beat me up instead, only fuelling my hate. The one good thing though is that I actually heard a character say his name for the first time, I had no idea it was pronounced ‘Tee-dus’ I’d been pronouncing it as ‘Tie-dus’ and now I feel a bit smug over the fact that he has a stupider name than I thought. At least he hasn’t found his leather lederhosen yet so there’s one less evil in the world (so far as I know anyway… Who knows? Evil leather lederhosen could be a mini boss in a game this wacky… Really hoping that’s a thing now).
Going back to my FF/Disney comparison… Why? I want to hear the pitch meeting for this game. Was it just two guys from each company that became friends and one night they had a few drinks and said something like “dude… my game franchise is super successful and your franchise is super successful… We smoosh the two together and they become double successful!” I mean apparently it worked because this game has a huge fanbase but you know… Each to their own. It just doesn’t make sense to me. In the first part of the game where Sora is having an acid trip and running around mosaics of the Disney princesses I assume he was thinking something along the lines of “wow, look at these poor, deformed women. Their arms are so skinny and their features are soft and delicate, why is their hair not spiky?” I guess I assumed they’d do something to the characters to make it look like they belong in the same game but no. It looks like they should be freaked out by each other’s appearance but Sora, who has never left his island and has therefore never seen anyone but the people that live with him there, shows no surprise at running into his future companions: a giant, talking dog and duck whose features are so unlike any dog or duck he would have seen before. Maybe I just need to get used to it…
Another thing that’s been kind of bugging me: Sora’s feet. It’s not just me, right? They are MASSIVE. Either he’s got huge feet or he just took to wearing clown shoes. I can only think that giving him some weird deformity like that is meant to be a way to get him to blend in a little more with Donald Duck and Goofy. All it does it makes me wonder how he isn’t constantly tripping over though. Right at the beginning when your creepy, misogynistic friend is like “hey, let’s race! The winner gets to share a paupu fruit with our friend who is a girl so that we can bind our souls together, forcing her to link her destiny with ours!” there is no contest. Of course he’s going to win. Have you seen Sora’s feet? It’s a miracle the poor boy can even walk, let alone run. (That fruit they have growing on the island is some hardcore stuff, if you think I exaggerated that thing about linking their destinies together by the way that is basically what he says, and they say romance is dead. Why bother seducing her when you can just trick her into sharing a destiny bonding fruit with you?)
Speaking of misogynistic people (which I kind of was), Donald Duck surprised me a little by pulling the ultimate “you look so much prettier when you smile” thing on Sora. Sora’s just found out his planet’s been destroyed, his friends are most likely dead. His parents and everyone else that was on the island are dead and he’s been thrown into some quest to destroy shadow creatures that like to steal people’s hearts… He’s understandably a bit upset. But Donald Duck doesn’t want sad people on his space ship! Goodness no! Can you imagine?! So, in a manner which is all too familiar to me as a woman with a severe case of resting bitch face which seems to attract men that think they have any right to tell me what to do (although, thankfully this hasn’t happened recently), Donald tells Soma “no unhappy faces are allowed on the ship! You’ve got to smile!”. To my delight Sora then pulls this face:
I might adopt this as a future deterrent.
My last sort of bad point about this game (sorry, it’s all been a bit negative so far) is that I am finding it really hard to control. I find fighting quite difficult, the targeting system is a bit confusing and I seem to die very quickly. On top of that the jumping is also hard, he seems to only jump properly if I hold the button in for quite a long time and it seems kind of unnatural. That’s probably just something I need to get used to though, I haven’t played on a PS2 for a while and despite being a regular PS4 player the controllers have evolved discreetly, but enough to feel quite different.
Much like in many of my rants I sound like I hate this game. I don’t, I’m actually weirdly enjoying it in a way, there are just many parts of it that I dislike quite intensely. On to the positive side though!
I like what I understand of the story (so far) and the shadow creature things (aka the Heartless) are really cool, the way they sort of melt into the ground and re-form is a really good effect. Looking forward to seeing more of them…
I’m also a bit of a Disney fan so I am loving the cast of villains and all the different worlds you can visit. I may have only been to Alice in Wonderland’s world so far but again, I’m interested to see where they go with it.
Those are the redeeming features. Yes, that’s it. It’s hard to write a lot about the positive things when I’m still reeling over the madness that is this game, OK? I’ve only played it for a couple of hours and the negative/bizarre things always stick out more than the positives first off in games like this for me. I need a while to warm to it. Maybe if I keep up with it in the future I’ll have a bit more to say. Again, I like it and I want to see where it goes.
Have you played Kingdom Hearts? What do you think of the FF/Disney mashup?