Kingdom Hearts is an action role-playing video game for the PlayStation 2 developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) in collaboration with The Walt Disney Company. It was released in Japan on March 28, 2002 and in America on September 16, 2002.
There is also an updated version of the game known as Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, which adds additional content which was released in Japan on December 26, 2002 and wouldn't see a release in the West until it was included in Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix for the PlayStation 3 on March 14, 2013 in Japan and September 10, 2013 in America, which also included Kingdom Hearts: Re:Chain of Memories which was the PS2 3D remake of Chain of Memories on the Game Boy Advance. The Final Mix version of the game was later rereleased along with the Final Mix versions of Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts 2, and Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, and Kingdom Hearts: Re:Chain of Memories in the PlayStation 4 game Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix.
A sequel to this game, Kingdom Hearts 2, was released in 2006.
Sora, a young boy on the Destiny Islands, wishes to see other worlds with his friends, Kairi (also his love interest) and Riku. That day comes when the Heartless, creatures of pure darkness, born when a heart is consumed by darkness, attack his island and destroy his world. Sora is able to escape with a magic weapon known as the Keyblade and must now travel other worlds with his new allies, Donald and Goofy, find the keyholes and seal them, and fight the Disney Villains controlling the Heartless and the force behind it all.
Why It Rocks
- Characters from classic Disney movies and franchises crossover with characters from the Final Fantasy franchise.
- Amazing soundtrack, especially the final boss theme, courtesy of Yoko Shimomura (who had also composed for games like Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Street Fighter 2, and the Mario and Luigi series, and has composed for every game in this series since). The music is also remixed in the PS3 and PS4 versions of the game for a less MIDI sounding soundtrack.
- Combines hack and slash with RPG elements.
- Many Disney characters have their voice actors reprise their roles, such as Jonathon Freeman as Jafar and Pat Carrol as Ursula.
- Fight against various Disney Villains.
- Customize your own Gummi Ship to travel to other worlds.
- Near the end of the game, the story becomes darker and more serious.
- A tech points system is implemented into the game where you're rewarded with experience points for exploiting the weaknesses of enemies and successfully defending attacks, thus incentivizing you to play the game better.
- The Olympus Coliseum is a great way to level up Sora.
- An optional super-boss is Sephiroth, the main villain of Final Fantasy 7 (who was added in the international and Final Mix versions of the game and includes his theme song). Other optional bosses include the Ice and Rock Titans in Olympus Coliseum, The Phantom in Neverland, Kurt Zisa in Agrabah (who was named after the winner of Square's "Kingdom Hearts Name-in-Game" contest, which was held 2 months prior to the American release of the game), and Xemnas (then known as "The Unknown") in the Final Mix version.
- Moogles are able to synthesize items you find by defeating Heartless and acts as a crafting system. The most powerful Keyblade, the Ultima Weapon is made by doing this.
- Scattered throughout the worlds are the Dalmatian puppies from 101 Dalmatians. Finding them will earn you rewards from Pongo and Perdita.
- Sora is able to work alongside several Disney heroes like Aladdin, Ariel, and the Beast.
- Sora can summon characters such as Tinker Bell, Bambi, The Genie, and the Lion King.
- Amazing story.
- The CGI opening cutscene is amazing for the time and it still looks nice today.
- The opening song "Simple and Clean" is considered one of the best video game songs, courtesy of Utada Hikaru, It even spawned many remixes like Ray of Hope and Planitb mixes.
- The version of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix found in Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix increases the resolution of textures found in game to make the game look much better to the point the game looks like it was made specifically for the seventh/eighth generation of consoles. Future games in the series with re-releases of this kind also has been improved in this way.
- The personalities of the Final Fantasy characters are messed up in the game, most notably Cloud from Final Fantasy VII, who was made much more of an angsty, brooding loner than he was in the original game (where he was surprisingly quite the opposite). This may be why some people think that Cloud is an "emo". Also, Sephiroth is depicted as being the dark side of Cloud when in Final Fantasy VII this is not the case.
During the first two months of its release, Kingdom Hearts was among the top three best selling games in North America.