My Year of Gaming: Kingdom Hearts
I got a Playstation 4 at the beginning of 2017 and it is the first time I have had a console since Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword came out on the Wii. Naturally, I have a lot of catching up to do and my backlog is incredibly massive. During the course of a year, I played my way through 23 games, and I figured I would take the time to share a little bit about each game. Perhaps you’ve played them and want to hear another opinion, or maybe you’ve been holding off on investing in a particular game. Either way, it’s never a bad time to spread your love of gaming.
The entire reason I bought a PS4 was for the Kingdom Hearts series. For the first time ever, every single game in the franchise is available on one platform and I took this as a sign that the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts III would also find itself on the PS4.
Kingdom Hearts (2002) is a game that is very near and dear to my heart. It got me back into gaming when I was in high school. The game follows Sora, a young man who finds himself in a mysterious town following the destruction of his home. His journey to find his friends and restore his home will take him to worlds inspired by Disney films. Sora is joined by Donald and Goofy, who are searching for Mickey.
Kingdom Hearts has an intricate story line and it yet doesn’t all make sense because the series isn’t complete. But man, is it good. Even having played the game multiple times, I still get choked up at the end. The beautiful music and narrative come to a head in the final moments and it just smacks you in the face with emotion. I’m fairly certain that the first time I beat the game, I instantly started playing the second even though it was well past midnight.
This game is actually pretty difficult because the controls are so basic. The fighting system is straight-forward and as the battles get more difficult, the primitive system makes things frustrating. The final battles are incredibly hard, even on an easier game setting. It’s for this reason that the first game isn’t my favorite of the franchise. But don’t let that get you down because the hardest game by far is Chain of Memories, the only one that I have never completed. The good news is that each installment builds upon last and by the time you get to Dream Drop Distance, the controls are truly incredible.
If you’re a fan of Disney, you should definitely pick up this game because you get to explore the worlds of Aladdin, Little Mermaid, Hercules, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Tarzan (to name a few). It’s really fun to see how Sora, Donald, and Goofy fit into each of these narratives and the lessons that are learned from each along the way. You also have character appearances from the Final Fantasy games which is kinda cool, in my opinion. I was actually introduced to Final Fantasy because of Kingdom Hearts so I always liked that they were around.
The entire series is now available on PS4 in two releases, Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX and Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. If you have never played the games or are a fan and anxiously awaiting the theoretical 2018 release of Kingdom Hearts III, these releases are a must. Not only do the games look and sound amazing (the soundtrack was rerecorded using a live orchestra and is incredible), they have some bonus post-game material that is not available in the original game releases. It’s definitely worth it.
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