Kingdom Hearts...only for Disney nostalgia?

Avatar image for poprocksandsoda
#1 Edited by poprocksandsoda (83 posts) -

I've never played a Kingdom Hearts game but I've been eyeing the PS4 HD version of the first two games. Are they any good just purely as games? I'm not a huge Disney fan so do they stand on their own without relying on nostalgia? Also, are they super easy, geared towards kids, or can I expect a reasonable challenge?

Thanks in advance for the insight.

Avatar image for shadow
#2 Posted by Shadow (5356 posts) -

The first Kingdom Hearts game is mostly all about Disney stuff, except for the last 5% of the story and some extra bosses (I probably spent about 50% of my playtime just fighting Sepheroth)

The second game though, is different. It has its own original thing going on and honestly, the Disney parts of it seem more like etc sidequests to what's really going on in the plot.

After that, all the non-numbered games focus very little on anything relating to Disney.

It gets way more credit than it deserves for the quality of game that it is, but it's a solid JRPG as those things go.

Avatar image for frostyryan
#3 Posted by FrostyRyan (2921 posts) -

If you like joy and friendship, buy the collection

Avatar image for facelessvixen
#4 Edited by FacelessVixen (2601 posts) -

Prepare yourself for a Metal-Gear-ass-Metal-Gear-story dressed in Final Fantasy after finishing the first game. Everything else beyond that in release order starts to do its Kingdom Hearts voodoo that games do at varying success rates.

You might need a cork board and some string.

Avatar image for spiceninja
#5 Edited by spiceninja (3286 posts) -

I've always liked Kingdom Hearts because of Disney aspect. I was never a Final Fantasy or an anime guy so the Disney aspect always appealed to me. KH1 is about 90% Disney but the beginning and the end are heavy in the Final Fantasy/Anime bullshit and KH2 has even more. But I love the series and I think you should check it out if you're interested. Just keep in mind that if you get into it you're in for the long haul if you want to try and understand the story before KH3 comes out. The story is horrifically convoluted and every single game is cannon but thankfully the KH1 & 2 collection along with 2.8 have collected all the cannon games so they're all playable in one place.

Avatar image for bradbrains
#6 Posted by BradBrains (2269 posts) -

II especially just goes into a very non Disney route and becomes its own thing. A lot of people prefer the first one but I'm all about the second.

Both aren't really kiddie games but if you want a more jrpg type setting maybe even read about 1 and then go right to 2

Avatar image for flashflood_29
#7 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (4431 posts) -

Never had nostalgia for Disney but I loved the first game. It was still fun interacting w/ characters and playing through slightly altered Disney plots. Most enjoyable part was the combat because it plays exactly how it looks. There's no right way to approach combat, you can be as creative as you want. A lot of options. I enjoyed the adventure aspect of it as well, and tbh, the gummy ship part was a nice side game to me. Kh 2 gummy ship is a huge improvement.

The story is as convoluted or simple as you want it to be. You can enjoy it without knowing all the ins and outs.

I'd say if it looks enjoyable to you, it will probably be enjoyable to play. It's very flashy and just fun.

Avatar image for odinsmana
#8 Posted by odinsmana (982 posts) -

I don`t really have any Disney nosatlgia and I really like the games. The gameplay is both fun and challenging.

Avatar image for alick
#9 Posted by Alick (50 posts) -

@poprocksandsoda: only the first game is about the disney stuff and even that its not that bad. The entire story is just pure anime craziness

Avatar image for teddie
#10 Posted by Teddie (2145 posts) -

I mean, sure the Disney stuff takes a backseat in the plot in the later games but you're still spending 80% of the games reliving Disney movies and looking at Disney art design. If you don't care about that stuff at all then you're a bad person you might not enjoy it that much, but there is still a lot of dumb JRPG story in there if you like that.

KH2 has an added difficulty mode that halves your max HP, gives you and enemies double damage, and is just generally more difficult. It's really fun, especially with the ridiculous amount of superbosses they included. If you do pick this up and have a hard time getting into KH1, try KH2 because it plays a heck of a lot better. Also Chain of Memories is a weird card thing that sucks ass but maybe you'd enjoy it?

Avatar image for whitestripes09
#11 Posted by Whitestripes09 (918 posts) -

To be honest, this game banks on how much you like Disney. If you really don't like Disney stuff... then I'm not really sure how you're going to enjoy the game because the majority "meat" of the game is visiting different Disney worlds . You don't have to necessarily like Disney stuff to enjoy this game, but if it irks you and bothers you, just know you're basically binge playing through a bunch of quick synopsis's of Disney movies with a slight "twist".

I think it is best to know that the Disney stuff is prevalent at least 100% of the time throughout the series. It's never really gone and it's going to be in your face, alot. The later games do focus less on Disney oriented stuff, but there's still going to be characters in the background and heavily inspired art throughout the entire series even if it may not be a typical "Disney movie" world that you explore.

The gameplay is pretty fun and I think it still holds up very well. It definitely has its own issues that can get pretty frustrating. The first game is infamous for it's difficulty spikes while KH2 very much holds your hand for the main story content, but pretty much lets you go when you fight against the bonus bosses.

Avatar image for teekomeeko
#12 Posted by teekomeeko (792 posts) -

I have almost zero Disney nostalgia, and avoided KH1 because of it for several months. I ended up borrowing it from someone and fell in love with how JRPG-brand heartwarming it was. It was just pure joy, and fun to play. KH2 to me (even though the apparently I might be quite wrong about this) felt like an advertisement for a DVD box set or something. The original aspects of the plot were so good, and the Disney stuff so pointless / extraneous, it's as if the company all of a sudden realized it made the right bet and doubled down. The combat is great, though, better and more varied than the first, and the characters have some real heart to them.

I recommend those games without reservation. Ignore my keyblade tattoos...

Avatar image for gunslingerpanda
#13 Posted by GunslingerPanda (5263 posts) -

I think I was 15 when it came out so I wasn't a massive Disney fan, but it might be my favourite game series along with MGS, so it definitely doesn't entirely rely on nostalgia. The gameplay is solid and fun, but appreciation of its story is hugely subjective. How do you feel about Metal Gear Solid's more bonkers moments?

Avatar image for dixavd
#14 Posted by Dixavd (2901 posts) -

I have always hated Disney and enjoy these games a whole lot despite that. Donald and Goofy are frequently annoying (which is part of the reason I prefer the side games - Birth By Sleep is currently my favourite handheld game of all time) but I think KH1 and KH2 hold up regardless. KH1 is sort of like a whimsical story-book in tone, whereas games post-KH1 have their own identity. Any reverence for Final Fantasy (even if, like me, it's not for characters in every game) will easily get you through the first game, and from then on the main draw comes from the original characters.

As for the challenge, if you pick the higher difficulties, or you try and take out the optional bosses, these games can get extremely tough. It's the only series where Sephiroth is actually intimidating to fight. KH1 left me crying as kid because of how difficult the final boss-fight is. If you're looking for difficulty, this series definitely has it (even if the critical path on Normal is usually a breeze).

Avatar image for afabs515
#15 Posted by afabs515 (2005 posts) -

At this point, all the Disney stuff is secondary, and, to me, kind of feels superfluous. While the first game was primarily Disney, they've become steadily more JRPG ever since. At this point, there are enough original KH characters in the main cast that I care about and the story has advanced to such a place that I honestly don't really need any Disney stuff in III. The plot is about as anime as they come and I love it. Also, the plot's insanity and retconning rivals MGS, so be aware of that going in.

Avatar image for justin258
#16 Edited by Justin258 (15650 posts) -

Because Sephiroth has been mentioned a few times already:

Loading Video...

I like Kingdom Hearts 1 way more than I'd like to admit. It's one of the few thirty hour games that I'm able to finish in a week - I did it last year, on the PS3 version. That said, it's not without its problems. Its camera can be complete garbage and the difficulty can get kinda crazy at some point - one boss fight in particular stands out to me because it took me several days to beat it the first time I played the game way back in the day, but the re-releases smoothed that fight out a bit I think.

Kingdom Hearts 2 is more of that, but with a vastly superior camera. As in, as soon as you get control of that game, the first thing you're going to say is WOW THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER WHY DIDN'T IT CONTROL THIS WELL IN THE FIRST PLACE before you realize that it's still not great, just something you can deal with. KH2 is also an easier game, sort of. I haven't played any Kingdom Hearts game that can be described as "easy throughout", they all have their moments. This is from playing on the Normal difficulty, I actually can't remember if they ever implemented an easy difficulty. Don't play on Proud the first time unless you're a masochist.

KH1 has the most Disney fanservice. Starting with Chain of Memories, the games start to be more about Kingdom Hearts and less about romping around Disney worlds and meeting the occasional Final Fantasy character. They're pure Saturday morning anime nonsense about friendship and joy and good things and happiness. "Just roll with it" is the phrase you'll need to stick to if you want to enjoy the story.

Avatar image for linkster7
#17 Posted by linkster7 (1371 posts) -

I've been eying that HD pack myself last week, wondering If I could get into this series. I'm going to take this post as a sign and buy it.
I'm a bit worried by people saying the story goes to MGS heights of convoluted, I have a tendency to get obsessed with that type of stuff.

Avatar image for facelessvixen
#18 Posted by FacelessVixen (2601 posts) -

@justin258 said:

I actually can't remember if they ever implemented an easy difficulty. Don't play on Proud the first time unless you're a masochist.

KH1 Final Mix introduced Beginner Mode, but everyone outside of Japan got it first in 2. Sure, the game is easier, but it does lock out your post credits stinger in some of the games. And yeah, you could cruse through the games on Standard, but Proud isn't all that bad. You just take some extra percentage of damage, which can be subverted by taking the time to grind a little in each zone and actually use your potions. I've seen beginners to the series take down KH1's Sephiroth on proud with enough tenacity and elixirs. Proud is just a little harder from normal. Not exactly Dante Must Die. The total completion time can still around 35 to 40 hours.

Critical Mode is masochist mode these days. I don't have first hand experience since I'm still workin' with PS2 copies of 1,2 and Re:Chain, but according to a few wikis, your health increases are cut in half, enemies do double the damage compared to Proud, and there are some other game-by-game tweaks. And you can also equip an ability that lets you not gain experience if you really need that extra challenge.

Avatar image for slag
#19 Posted by Slag (8157 posts) -

More like for Anime nostalgia

It feels more like an overwrought fan servicey Anime than anything Final Fantasy or Disney. It may have the veneer of those elements, but not the soul of them.

It plays alright, would actually say it plays a lot better than it is to experience the story.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.