I’m Tired Of The Overly Drawn Hatred Towards Kingdom Hearts

Put the entitlement aside for a minute and hear me out.

Story Highlights

  • Despite a convoluted narrative, Kingdom Hearts boasts an incredible combat system, especially the 2nd entry.
  • Most of the disdain for the series stems from the childish elements and Disney characters or worlds.
  • If given proper attention, Kingdom Hearts is a series full of childlike wonder and cherishable moments.

Before you raise your angry Vidya pitchforks at me for saying this, I understand that Kingdom Hearts isn’t a series made to cater to everybody. In fact, not every kind of game is either (most of the time).

But what I’m here to discuss today won’t be me justifying the game as objectively better than anything you played, but for you to realize why it’s so special and endearing to me.

The series has plenty of highs and lows. Even as a fan of the franchise since Kingdom Hearts 2 on the PS2, where I just skateboarded across Twilight Town without any clue, I think I have enough credibility to tell you why you should give the series a chance, even if the narrative becomes a convoluted mess or (somehow) the Disney stuff makes you cringe.

An Ambitious And Engaging Action Gameplay

Kingdom Hearts 2 final mix combat
Kingdom Hearts 2 will forever have the best action combat systems. | Source: PowerButton

Before I present a critical case for the franchise’s narrative, I think it’s important to acknowledge Kingdom Hearts’ intricate battle system. Be mindful that I’ll discuss the ‘Final Mix,’ AKA the definitive version of each game that was initially launched in Japan.

It’s easily one of my favorite things when suggesting the franchise to someone because what initially started as a floaty and slightly janky mess for me in Kingdom Hearts 1 instantly turned into a highly engaging action galore in Kingdom Hearts 2, almost reminiscent of when I played Devil May Cry 5.

The combat of Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix deserves way, way more recognition
byu/Ultimatesaber27 inpatientgamers

For many hardcore players, the real appreciation for the combat comes full circle during the endgame of KH2, where the Data battles against Organization XIII require precise strategy or just midway problem-solving skills to win against each member cleanly.

I know a minority may say that you can ‘cheese’ certain secret fights like Sephiroth and Lingering Will, but trust me, the heart and soul of the franchise for many is in its combat.

Why Kingdom Hearts 2 Combat had to Change.
byu/Practical-Date-8063 inKingdomHearts

It’s probably best I left it up for debate for many. Still, to those who dipped their toes as I have in a variety of titles, I’ll stand by when I say that I consider Kingdom Hearts’ combat, specifically of KH2 and KH3, to be equivalent to a challenge and adrenaline rush-inducing as Sekiro, DMC, or any acclaimed action video game out there. If you give it a chance, as I said, it’ll (hopefully) give you a reasonable perspective of my adoration here.

The Overflowing Charm Of Disney And Pixar

Kingdom Heart 3 Remind
Kingdom Heart 3 had a rough reception, but the Remind DLC was its lifesaver. | Source: eXputer

Who would have thought that the core idea of Kingdom Hearts, this unique collaboration between Square Enix and Disney, would have originated in the company’s building elevator?

Shinji Hashimoto, a former Square Enix employee who was brand manager of the Final Fantasy franchise for a decade, met a Disney executive one day by chance in an elevator, leading to a conversation that allowed him to pitch the idea to Disney’s higher-ups for Kingdom Hearts. Then, the legend himself, Tetsuya Nomura, ultimately followed up with both to lead this project by designing the characters, world-building, and storytelling.

YouTube video

Now, I know the whole narrative philosophy of Kingdom Hearts stemming from Hearts or Heartless people being called ‘Nobodies’ may instantly turn you off, but be realistic with me.

For an early 2000s JRPG, these terms or ideas would resonate vividly with kids of all ages. I mean, ‘logic’ was honestly anyone could care less about here since the game was mostly marketed on the idea of a magical ‘Disney x Final Fantasy’ adventure in the first place.

Hundred acre wood is one of my favorite worlds in both KH1 and KH2.
Hundred-acre wood is one of my favorite worlds in both KH1 and KH2. | Source: eXputer

Now let me clarify: without the Disney collab, I don’t think Kingdom Hearts would’ve had an identity; for all I care, it could’ve just felt like another Final Fantasy spinoff slop. But it didn’t, and I’m glad that I played the franchise again as an adolescent teen since it had all my favorite Disney characters to adore, like Ariel, Tarzan, Simba, Jack Skellington, Winnie The Pooh, and many more that interact with Sora in wholesome scenarios.

YouTube video

The additions of these otherwise iconic characters and worlds from both Pixar and Disney have added nothing but the utmost allure; sure, it’s sparked some hilarious memes, but as a kid who grew up watching Disney Channel and its cinematic stuff, I do not mind a single bit of the on-screen stuff whether it’s Mickey Mouse statically smiling in a heated moment or Donald Duck being the most insufferable poultry being in a video game.

The Love For Childlike Curiosity Or Wonder Is A Rare Feeling

Roxas prologue in Kingdom Hearts 2 is one of many heartfelt moments in the franchise.
Roxas’s prologue in Kingdom Hearts 2 is one of many heartfelt moments in the franchise. | Source: eXputer

Without going too sentimental here, I experienced Kingdom Hearts during a very dark time of my life. I shoved my loved ones and friends away, and the only coping mechanism was the entire All-in-One edition I had bought and kept in my PS4 backlog. Understandably, you may not like the overly childish elements of this franchise, and that’s fine, but given a chance, Kingdom Hearts has everything that makes it the most captivating JRPG series.

You may not like what I say, but if you look past the excessively convoluted storytelling in later entries, Kingdom Hearts is a franchise that’s right up there with the GOATs of the JRPG genre, like Chrono Trigger. As such, the second mainline iteration in the series happens to be one of the best-selling titles on the PS2 as well, marking itself as effectively “timeless” throughout time.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that video games are supposed to invoke fun. Of course, I can’t force any of my friends or readers here to like the franchise. Still, if it’s enough to tell you that this series reminded me of shutting my elitist brain off and taking in the joy that came from playing video games, then I assure you I’ve done the best job I could today to convince you to play Kingdom Hearts.

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Usama Mehmood is a Games Specialist, and writer on eXputer who's either hunting for the richest loot in Destiny 2 or endlessly playing his favorite games such as Yakuza or Final Fantasy. Usama has been gaming for 15+ years during which he has accumulated 4000+ hours on Destiny 1 & 2. His constant adoration for video games has allowed him to pursue eXputer as a platform to showcase his striving talents in writing helpful articles. Get familiar with Usama's extensive gaming library on his Steam, PSN, and Xbox profiles.

Experience: 2+ Years || Mainly Covers Reviews And Guides || Education: Bachelors in Physiotherapy.

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