Thursday, May 13, 2010
Top 50 Games - 36. Kingdom Hearts
Kingdom Hearts is the 21st century's greatest testament to the magic of Disney. Then again, it's also a testament to the magic of Square. So despite its initial reputation as an unholy abomination, it's really got a lot going for it. While the Square-Disney partnership at one point seemed like a joke, its fruit, Kingdom Hearts, proves that it was actually somewhat logical and Square's best cooperative idea since Chrono Trigger. The game wraps you up in childish sweetness from the start on Destiny Island, and continues to do so as you relive the good ol' days in Wonderland, Neverland, and other fantastical lands. KH focuses on the ever-cheesy, always affecting theme of friendship, with goofy-looking protagonist Sora searching for his buddies Kairi and Riku across distant worlds, away from his tropical home. If you let go of pretensions and get invested in the game's events and emotions, a richly empathetic experience awaits you. The mechanics (save for that damnable gummi ship) work fine, balancing RPG depth, accessible action, and platforming rather successfully, but the nuts and bolts fall to the wayside when you find yourself really, surprisingly, caring about the characters on screen. Also, this game makes Mickey Mouse a certifiable badass. Now that's the power of video games.