The 4 Things that Made Kingdom Hearts Great

SakuChan goes back to basics to remember what made Kingdom Hearts great

Tetsuya Nomura, the creator of Kingdom Hearts, has gotten a lot of slack these days about his progress on KH, or rather, lack of progress in terms of the main storyline and gameplay progression.

Indeed, each successive spin-off appears to meet colder and more critical reception. The storyline becomes more convoluted, the worlds more repetitive, and the fans have long since wondered: where can all this be going?

On the other hand, with the arrival of Birth by Sleep to, we awake again to the magic that comes with being granted a giant key. It’s a good time to fan the embers and look back on our long-time relationship with KH and the things we fell in love with.

3, 2, 1, fight! Gameplay

KH is not an RPG, it is not an action game-it is the blissful, frantic union of two proven methods that will help you rise from zero to hero. Menu-based skill and accessory customization keeps you up to speed  with your personalized play, while those who eager for some active dodge-roll action are not disappointed.

As if that’s not enough, you can even take to the skies on a little fairy dust.

There is something for everybody and once you’ve hooked on, it’s hard to not look for the same system everywhere else. Luckily, KH will continue to deliver on its unique play style in future titles to come.

The House of Mouse Concept

I recently found youtube videos for episodes of House of Mouse, a non-canon cartoon that brings together a host of Disney heroes and villains on several occasions.

Almost like a reiteration of House of Mouse, KH re-imagines interactions between Disney characters without altering the formula of the plots themselves. The villainous alliance of Maleficient, Jafar, Ursula, Captain Hook and others are woven seamlessly into the larger KH universe. It doesn’t look like it’ll stop, either.

With Birth by Sleep, Disney continues to be central to our experience. I’m sure a bunch of us picked up this title to expect a chance to oust out the big bad bosses, and imagine ourselves personally bringing a happily-ever-after to our story of choice.

Character Design – Zips, frills, and chains

Elaborate yet clean seems to be Nomura’s mantra on character design. He transformed the Final Fantasy wardrobe from their original games to the Disney-friendly worlds of KH where Rikku is not allowed to show that much skin but can still look chic. The popular members of the Disney family like Donald and Goofy got makeovers too. Now, I get confused when I see them in anything but a wizard’s robes and a knight’s armor.

As  KHII rolled around, we see that Sora’s rather oddball clothing choice even makes sense-those pockets come in handy when you’ve got to lug around potions and power bands. KH practicality at its finest!

Sora the Boy Hero

He’s already been front and center in 4 of 6 KH titles as our happy go-lucky protaganist in his unending mission to rid the world of the evil doers.  He has rescued our heroines, freed his best friend and trumped Xehanort more than once. Are we tired of him yet? Or is there something endearing about his goofy, easygoing nature that keeps us rooting for him?

It’s easy to discount Sora’s never-changing attitude about life as naive, or say that his lack of personal conflict makes for a boring hero, but it’s nice to know that we can expect him to never be like Cloud or Kratos. Goodness knows that the gaming market is saturated with gloom-and-doom heroes!

That’s my top 4 list of things I’ve always appreciated in this game, things which I’ll go back and experience time and time again in KHI and II, because hey, it’ll be another 5 years for KH3, so might as well make the most of the wait.

What are you favourite moments of Kingdom Hearts?

Looking back over the past 8 years, what are the moments of the Kingdom Hearts series so far that you remember the most fondly? Storyline, Gameplay or simply the entire concept?

What's the best thing in Kingdom Hearts games?

  • Storyline (66%, 342 Votes)
  • Gameplay (16%, 80 Votes)
  • Character Developments (14%, 72 Votes)
  • Other (Leave Comment) (3%, 16 Votes)
  • Graphics (1%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 516

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Tidy Avatar“The 4 Things that Made Kingdom Hearts Great” was written by SakuChan, moderator on our KH Community Forums. Each Monday, we publish a Guest Blog from a member of the KH & Gaming Community – also co-ordinated by SakuChan.