Reviewed on PS2


Reviewed By: Robin Tan

Computer Platform: Playstation 2
Produced by: Squaresoft and Disney
Price Range: $50-$45
Age level: 6 and up
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone

Genre: Role-Playing/RPG
Christian Rating: 4 of 5
   (slightly offensive)
Gameplay: 5 of 5

Kingdom Hearts.  Illustration copyrighted.
Take the first successful animation company, and throw in the game franchise with the most sequels and, what do you get? A result of what some call a perfect (or unholy, to some) marriage between Disney and Squaresoft, "Kingdom Hearts" has turned out to be one of the years best titles. The seemingly akward title mixes classic “Final Fantasy” style exploration, coupled with real-time combat, 101 dalmations, and of course the ability to summon Dumbo, and Bambi.

Sounds bizzarre? Well, it is. You play Sora, a boy who has been living on a peaceful island with his family and two friends, Riku and Kairi. The discovery of a mysterious doors sets the adventure into motion, unleashing strange monsters known as the “Heartless” who steal people's hearts. Sora soons learn that he has been chosen to, surprise, save the worlds consisting of the classic Disney characters.

Speaking of Disney, Sora is joined by party members by Donald and Goofy, as well as several other Disney characters. To cut things short, lots of people get kidnapped, the bad guys try to destroy the world, and he's suppose to stop them.

The controls are easy with the much needed lock-on, auto-target, and one-button-attack combo functions. Gameplay feels fun and refreshing as each of the worlds feel familiar, yet new. The only part that some may find annoying (or fun) is a spaceship shooting game.

The cute 3D graphics and voice-acting is top-notch, with people like Haley Joel Osment (Sixth Sense), Hayden Panettiere (Remember the Titans), David Gallagher (7th Heaven), Mandy Moore, and Lance Bass ('Nsync) on the list.

The contents that some may find offensive is the usage of magic. Like in many Disney and Squaresoft media, spells like Fireballs, Timestop, and Blizzard are aplenty, with Donald as a wizard. The concept of summoning characters such as Simba, Dumbo, and Bambi for battle may also be offensive to some.

With the surprisingly well blend and charm of Disney and Square, Kingdom Hearts should please both young gamers and older RPG veterans alike.

Year of Release—2002

Positive - An incredible game for any fan of Disney, Squaresoft, and Real-time RPG's. As a fan of all three, I can call this game nothing but fantastic. Some aspects of the game are quite silly, a few even stupid (Running around whacking people with an overgrown key, Donald as the Court Magician, Sora's gigantic yellow shoes, etc.) but many of these things actually add to the fun. The storyline is so brilliant that you know it has to be Square, with great new characters (Sora, Riku, Kairi, Ansem…) plus some fun cameos for Final Fantasy fans (Squall, Cloud, Sephiroth, Yuffie…) you can't help being drawn into the world of Kingdom Hearts. Also, many of the classic Disney characters show up, ranging from the stars of Alladin, to The Little Mermaid, To Alice in Wonderland, and too many more to count. Overall, this game is good clean fun. But, like everything, there are downfalls; Many New Age elements come up (easily mistaken for Christian content) the use of magic is frequent (Fireballs, calling Thunder from the sky, freezing opponents in time, creating a magical shield of wind around you…) but when compared to many other RPG's this is easily taken. Overall, Kingdom Hearts must have for any RPG fan. Even if you don't like RPG's, buy it anyway, it's that good. My Ratings: [4/5] --Drew Hodges, age 13

Negative—I liked playing the game at first, but after playing it for a while and really looking back on it, I felt it had a lot to dislike. It shows children fighting each other with wooden swords, which in real life a child could get hurt by doing this with a friend. Then you have the spells you can cast after you learn theme from completing a task or reaching a level. One really disturbing scene which effected me is that a child stabbed himself with the main weapon in the game called the keyblade. It was far off in the game and it was one of the many cut scenes in the game. Just because a game is rated E for everyone, doesn't mean that it's the right rating of that game. Parents be warned that the rating system today on movies and games are light. My Ratings: [1/5]
   —Timothy W. Cocke, age 31

Neutral—This game is amazing. Although some Christians who are weak in their Faith may find the use of magic disturbing. The good-natured characters in the game seem much more to be heroes, fighting for Friendship, Honor, and Loyalty to their lost king, and not practicers of the occult. Also, the main character, Sora, has to deal with many things that children and adolescents might have to deal with (A friend who starts going against him, a crush on a girl), and he comes off as a moral person who will try no matter what to stand up for his friends. In short, I think that this game should not be portrayed as non-Christian in any way, and shows Children how to stand up for what's right.My Ratings: [5 / 5]
   —Andrew, age 16

Positive—I love the kingdom hearts game for the awesome graphics and great storyline. I think it is a great game and with the Disney characters was great for everyone. My Ratings: [5 / 5]
   —n/a, age 10

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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