Pros and Cons of the Game -- Writing an Essay



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Reika

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I'm working on an evaluation essay on Kingdom Hearts for my English class in college and thought I'd get some thoughts on the good and bad of the first Kingdom Hearts game.

So, what do y'all believe are the pros and cons to the first game of the series? o:
 

Not Ienzo

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Pros:

-It has great action-packed gameplay.
-The simplicity of the story works in it's favor. While I enjoy the convoluted-ness that comes later on, the simple (and clean) story of this game works well it has a lot of raw emotion in there during everything that happens in the endgame. Sora having to fight his possessed best friend, sacrificing himself, going through the End of the World with Destati in the background, stuff like that.
-The soundtrack was great (same with all KH games). It feels very nostalgic to me for some reason.
-The voice of Sora and Ansem SoD were better than their current ones (in my opinion. Then again Sora does have to age so I guess it's justified).
-I liked the Metroidvania feeling of returning to worlds when you're more powerful and explore new areas and such.
-Ansem SoD's final form was pretty badass. Yeah it was weird, but it really feels like you're going up against a super-powered final form, and it made me think of Castlevania for some reason.

Cons:

-I didn't like how the camera was panned so close to Sora during the game. When I played KH1 right after KH2, the difference was definitely there.
-Platforming felt kinda stiff at times. It was a great idea and I hope Square would refine it for later games, but with the camera and controls it was a little awkward in this game.
-Expanding on the last point it did make some of the worlds a little annoying to get through. Mostly Deep Jungle. I really didn't like that world at all. o~o It makes me happy that it didn't appear in any game after that.
 

Sora2016

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The Disney worlds are implemented at their best still, quite possibly because most of the villains were Disney. I feel like the story flowed the best because of this, even though to be honest, there were not nearly as many cutscenes as the later games. I feel like they did well with establishing rules for the universe (which they break lol) and having it feel interesting and new. Obviously the "new" feeling will be gone after the first installment, but still its nice. I also feel like Sora, Riku, Donald, and Goofy all developed well enough for main characters. In comparison to some other games in the series where people rarely change at all.

Honestly, narratively I think KH1 is just solid. A lot of "issues" come up with retcons they made for no reason later like the whole Ansem thing, or everyone not giving a diddly about keeping the world order and stay a secret anymore lol. Like people like Aladdin and Ariel still found about their secret but heck, at least they tried in KH1 lol.

Gameplay wise, it has more cons. Its a bit slower, and especially in the original release traversing the menu can be a pain, so adding reaction commands and making summon separate were welcome additions. The menus weren't as refined I suppose, and they didn't have as much work into item appearance or little things like the HUD getting more creative changes in the later games.

However, I do think the special attacks were neat, and they have never done them quite like that again. Also the summons were arguably at their most useful. Party members were also at their best, as even though their AI was honestly a little worse than KH2, their damage wasn't randomly scaled back for fake "balance" lol.
The worlds had way more platforming which was good and bad ha. Like since Sora was less mobile than later games, it made platforming a chore sometimes, but it also added depth to worlds. Like, places like Deep Jungle actually go UP instead of just forward forever like every world in KH2. You could also fall into different areas and stuff like that, which felt more natural.
I also think the puzzles and side-collection quests were done well, but KH2 FM did the latter well, too.

-It has great action-packed gameplay.
-The simplicity of the story works in it's favor. While I enjoy the convoluted-ness that comes later on, the simple (and clean) story of this game works well it has a lot of raw emotion in there during everything that happens in the endgame. Sora having to fight his possessed best friend, sacrificing himself, going through the End of the World with Destati in the background, stuff like that.
-The soundtrack was great (same with all KH games). It feels very nostalgic to me for some reason.
-The voice of Sora and Ansem SoD were better than their current ones (in my opinion. Then again Sora does have to age so I guess it's justified).
-I liked the Metroidvania feeling of returning to worlds when you're more powerful and explore new areas and such.
-Ansem SoD's final form was pretty badass. Yeah it was weird, but it really feels like you're going up against a super-powered final form, and it made me think of Castlevania for some reason.

Cons:

-I didn't like how the camera was panned so close to Sora during the game. When I played KH1 right after KH2, the difference was definitely there.
-Platforming felt kinda stiff at times. It was a great idea and I hope Square would refine it for later games, but with the camera and controls it was a little awkward in this game.
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif]-Expanding on the last point it did make some of the worlds a little annoying to get through. Mostly Deep Jungle. I really didn't like that world at all. o~o It makes me happy that it didn't appear in any game after that.
[/FONT]

[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif]Lol, I just used Deep Jungle as an example of something I liked ha, but I realize thats always been a divisive opinion...I still would rather have stiff platforming than flat plains forever.[/FONT]
 

DarkosOverlord

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Pros:

- Solid narrative and characters. Nothing needlessly complicated, a bit of cliché here and there but they were solid staples rather than boring and unoriginal ideas. Could go into details, but this is the gist of it.
At the same time the way certain elements are set (like Ansem's Reports) a deeper reading of the story and events is possible, should one demand such.
- Most world exploring/platforming. Get the feel of being rewarded for finding shortcuts to treasures and finally solving riddles ten whole years before Dark Souls became famous for it. Also, EVERY place you see in cutscenes is reachable, if it's part of an explorable world (so that doesn't include Kingdom Hearts, Realm of Darkness, Disney Castle), minus Sora's room. Seems a minor thing but it does wonders for the feeling of exploration.
- Overall atmoshpere, especially in dark places. Also the Heartless in the first title were able to feel creepy enough while still having a design suitable for children (although I've heard more than one person was scared of Darkside as a child). They truly were the embodiment of those little critters you think you see in a dark room and the subsequent fear of the unknown.
- A good chunk of the boss battles have a secret gimmick. Not a cheesy way to instawin the fight, but the fact that some of your actions might trigger a secret move or reaction in the boss. Like hitting the dice back at Oogie, setting Hook on fire, things like that.
- The Disney worlds mattered to the plot and almost always had an original plot, or at least Sora/the Heartless changed the plot enough to make it different. And they were connected: coherently with the narrative, Pinocchio and Geppetto end up at Traverse Town.
- The gummiship made possible to make a really fast ship to reduce the time for the missions to almost nothing.
- Soundtrack, obviously. And great BillyZane-included voice acting.

Cons:

- The camera is pretty awful. On ps2 especially, where you rotate it with the L2/R2 bumpers. Tremendous.
- Atlantica. Yet another water level that just doesn't work.
- Magic, or some form of magic, is useless in way too many situations.
- Not all areas were always great. Agrabah had five screens dedicated to an empty city, while the Cave of Wonders could've been bigger and better.
- Gathering materials is a chore due to having only three Luck increase skills at best. Pretty bad, considering you need to make everything just to make Ultima Weapon available.
- Despite its merits, the gummi missions are still a tad underwhelming. Its good point of making the missions amount to nothing is also a flaw, because... well, the missions amount to nothing and they might as well not be there anymore. Oh, and getting all the blueprints is annoying.
- The game has an old-school vibe of "I'm not going to tell you where to go, you have to explore" and most of the times it works out alright: some other times it doesn't. Getting the dolphin to the sunken ship is just dumb.

That's all I can think of right now.
Did I miss something? I probably have.
 

Veevee

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+The way the villains and Disney is worked into the story is at its best. It really feels natural in that game and you got the feeling that these villains were actually something and not just a b-class threat compared to Xehanort
+the story is simple, clean and a little predictable, but at the same time solid, heartfelt and understandable without browsing through countless threads and wikis to understand what even is going on
+ awesome soundtrack and voice acting
+ graphics were really nice for the time
+ the combat system was quite simple yet engaging
+ it was quite a clever idea to put the darker parts of the game into Ansem's Reports so you had some incentive to look for those while still making the game playable for children

- the platforming was not too well executed, Tarzan was quite a pain to play
- the constant heart / darkness / light blahblah is something that is defining the series, but not exactly defining good dialogue writing
- the gumi ship missions are awful and overall the gumi ship sequences felt a little forced
- the camera
 
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I largely agree with all the summations listed here, though I feel platforming feels a lot smoother once you get the High Jump (which I assume was deliberate).
 
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