Content Warning: Kingdom Hearts is rated E10+ for Fantasy Violence. There is no inappropriate content in Kingdom Hearts besides the violence. There is no blood or gore.
Kingdom Hearts was originally released in North America for the Playstation 2, just shortly after its Japan release, back in 2002. Thus began the magical and heartfelt story that Square Enix and Disney have been telling for over ten years, across six platforms, and through seven different games. Soon after the North American release, Kingdom Hearts Final Mix was released in Japan, which added new items and bosses to the original game. However, in 2013, Square Enix released the Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX which brought Kingdom Hearts Final Mix to North America for the first time, in HD, and with full Trophy Support.
Sora, Kairi, and Riku live in a small world called Destiny Islands. After the trio decides to make a raft and go see other worlds, Destiny Islands is attacked by creatures known as the Heartless. The Heartless are creatures that go around to different worlds stealing the inhabitants’ hearts and then engulfing the worlds in darkness. During the Heartless attack on Destiny Islands, while Sora tries to track down his friends Riku and Kairi, he is chosen by a magical weapon known as the Keyblade. After the islands are engulfed in darkness, Sora wakes up in a different world and soon meets his new companions Donald and Goofy. Sora is told that his weapon, the Keyblade, can vanquish the Heartless, as well as seal the Keyholes of the worlds. By sealing these Keyholes, Sora can protect the worlds from being destroyed by the Heartless. Sora goes to different worlds, looking for his friends Riku and Kairi, while Donald and Goofy looking for their King, Mickey Mouse.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Kingdom Hearts progresses linearly from event to event in the storyline. Meanwhile, different side-quests to keep the player busy. You can choose which worlds you want to go to in whatever order pleases you (as long as they are accessible). You can unlock new worlds by progressing through the story. There are several side-quests and combat tournaments throughout the game, not to mention collectables like special items, reports, and powerful weapons.
Combat in Kingdom Hearts is an action-based, hack-and-slash system. As you level up yourself and your party, you will gain new combat abilities, as well as new magic abilities and the ability to summon helpful characters in battle. You can also unlock combat abilities by gaining ability points. Kingdom Hearts also has a party system. For most of the game, your original party contains Sora, Donald, and Goofy. As you travel to different worlds, you can gain different party members. For example, when you travel to the world Deep Jungle, you can replace Donald or Goofy with Tarzan. Or, if you go to Neverland, you can replace one of your original party members with Peter Pan.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
In 2002, Kingdom Hearts was released on the PS2. Looking back, it still holds up beautifully for a 12-year-old game. However, in 2013, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 collection was released, bringing us Kingdom Hearts in beautiful, 1080p high definition. The only thing that looks graphically-dated in this re-release is of the character’s eyes.
As far as the music goes, 66 tracks were re-recorded live for the entire 1.5 collection, with the majority of them focused on Kingdom Hearts Final Mix HD. Square Enix knows how to touch your heart by combining music with important dialogue, making you feel what the characters are feeling.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Kingdom Hearts has held a special place in my heart for many, many years. While not every Kingdom Hearts game is perfect, it is uniquely special in its story. I, personally, am invested in the characters of Kingdom Hearts, and I hope this review will allow the magic of the Kingdom Hearts series to reach even more people who have never heard of this very special game. You will not be disappointed by Kingdom Hearts Final Mix HD.
Final Rating: 9.7 out of 10
The Bottom Line