Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Adventure
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PS4
Tested on: PS4

Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Disney! Good for all ages. Big Collection.
Bad: Still sometimes repetitive, chaotic story since the beginning
User Score
7.3
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.3/10 (3 votes cast)

When Kingdom Hearts III still had to make its long-awaited release, some remixes were previously brought out since almost two decades of Kingdom Hearts games were a lot to take in. On the PS3, this previously started with the HD remix versions that already had some of these games on them. As the release of Kingdom Hearts III grew closer, it was decided to eventually put all the nine previously released games together in a single package called The Story So Far, allowing players to either get hyped or update their game knowledge in time. 

Story

Kingdom Hearts essentially boils down to that whatever character you play with, which will mostly be the main character Sora accompanied by Goofy and Donald Duck. You will find yourself traveling between multiple Disney worlds that are related to each Disney character’s universe and they also include some Final Fantasy characters. Every one of these worlds has its own little story where you generally become friends with its respective character and solve an issue that’s often related to the movies we got to know and love. It’s a mix of nostalgia with a story that has key themes such as love and friendship. It’s also a story that often confuses people due to its lack of a clear core storyline.

It’s pretty much impossible to sum up everything that happens in the Kingdom Hearts saga in a few lines. The Story So Far has nine games that were previously released on PS2, PS3, DS, and 3DS, and it’s a chaotic combination of original based Disney stories and revisiting old worlds from the previous games to continue the winding story that this saga brings. Basically, it’s about fighting back the darkness, which is represented by the Heartless, little and big black creatures that come from people’s darkness in their hearts. Using a Keyblade, a special sword-like weapon in the shape of a key, Sora and his fellow Keyblade wielders function as those who are able to travel through dimensions, and open or seal gateways to places of dark and light. This can be seen through many narrated cutscenes, but only a few players are able to properly understand what is going on other than a fight between good vs evil since the story is utterly complicated. It often pulls new possibilities or rules out of its magician’s hat like a kid who is creating his own universe where everything is possible but also randomly decides that new things happen that make you lose track of the initial story in the first place.

Graphics

The graphics do have a slight difference, meaning the 3DS/DS games look a tad worse and the newest addition, Birth by Sleep – A fragmentary passage, a bit better. But in general, it’s what you could expect from a collection of partially remastered games. The textures are higher and aside from certain animations, the game goes along great in the current age. As expected from Disney universes, there’s a lot of popping bright colors and some recognizable elements that stay true to their original artwork. Visually, combining all these different universes and somehow making it work, it’s what made Kingdom Hearts such a recognizable and enjoyable series to begin with. The Story So Far does not make this any different.

Sound

Square Enix is well-known for the sounds it has produced over the years. With battle music for Final Fantasy or emotional piano songs, it all comes together in Kingdom Hearts. A collection like this is bound to come up with some memories, even just by booting up the menu and its theme. The voice acting is done well, though sometimes a bit off-timed with pauses that feel too long in-between, and the sound effect design is rather simple yet effective. It’s either as expected because you played it before, or done well in what’s a new experience to you.

Gameplay

Kingdom Hearts games are games that are derived from what someday started as a 3D action-adventure genre. You will follow a piece of the story as you traverse a local map that is divided into multiple areas, which on itself is part of a bigger world map with multiple locations. The storyline can either be a small story where you help a specific Disney character or part of the bigger main story where you try to work towards end goals. During the progression of these stories, you will find yourself either fighting multiple small creatures and bosses or running around and trying to progress by either solving puzzles or simply finding the next part you are supposed to go to. It’s a rather easy setup for a game, which makes it largely suitable for all audiences.

That doesn’t mean the game will always be easy on you. Generally, you will find yourself having your Keyblade that can change to a different one as you obtain it, and you will have some magic. Magic can be either attacks, such as a ball of fire or a blizzard, or something to support your character (and team) by healing them. Often you try to hit the attack button while trying to select magic at the same time. And a slight difference in tactics might be needed for certain bosses, making it slightly harder. You won’t make everything by mashing the attack button till you win. Each of the games in this collection also has some unique type of gameplay element. Where Birth by Sleep – A fragmentary passage allows you to lock on enemies in slow-motion to burst them with a barrage of projectiles, Dream Drop Distance uses the environment such as lamp posts for special attacks. And there are special attacks where you either use a powerful combo with the character of the universe you find yourself in, or where you shift to a different, often more powerful stance to do some carnage yourself.

Now, besides the types of attacks, you can also arrange your equipment the way you like in most of the games, or at least in the classic Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2. This might give you that bit of advantage versus a boss that previously seemed too hard for your liking. That being said, a lot of the games can still feel like a repetitive grind, even though there are multiple options to shift, jump, shoot and attack. The simple controls will still mainly make you mash the attack button most of all, and a lot of areas have the same mobs spawning over and over again. The boss fights are the most challenging and probably most fun to do, and the biggest reason why you will want to keep on playing is that the story at least offers some unique experiences and objectives. And it’s Disney! Yay!

Conclusion

Kingdom Hearts is one of those classic games that you might have never played because of the console restriction to PS2 in the past. The Story So Far is a good collection of endless hours of gameplay to satisfy either your nostalgia or your curiosity. The formula of Kingdom Hearts never changed, meaning the gameplay itself might sometimes be a bit repetitive, but you get a lot of great games in the Disney/Square Enix universe for a reasonable price. Fun for all ages, especially if you have love for the original Disney cartoons.

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Rating: 7.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far - Review, 7.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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