Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Game Whining: Kingdom Hearts

So I'm not great at "gaming" although I spend many hours in the activity. I'm not trying to be awesome or really think too much about the game play or strategy until I get stuck.
I've started playing Kingdom Hearts which I got for Christmas a couple years back. I started it and had to put it down for school and other games. I have been meaning to play it and now I am.

But there is so much I HATE about this game that I must complain about here. We're going into rant mode.

Controls
This is a classic example of a game where there are too many control options for battles. I've played the game for several hours and usually after the first couple of hours things become second nature. I fear it may take more like 10 hours or more before I get used to these blasted controls.

First off they don't make much sense. It's as if they were trying to combine action based combat with menu-based JRPG battle. Which CAN work, in certain cases but usually there's a problem with that but I'll get into that later. Controls are which buttons you press.

Left analog moves you. Fine. Direction pad changes menu options. Okay. X is excuting an action. Acceptable. L1 changes a menu to a magic menu. R1 turns on the Lock On enemy option. L2 and R2 control camera.
Okay now you're getting into some WTF schemes.
This is the WORST camera control system EVER. I've gotten trained in the fact that Right analog stick controls camera or holding down an "R" button and Right analog stick. The camera is NEVER where it needs to be to be optimal which is sucky in a 3D game. Camera is SO important. (Ooh I feel an idea for a blog topic on that. :3)

Battle System
Okay this is the REAL booger in the works. Menus are great if you can pause your battle and switch equipment or grab a potion. But there are so many nested menus in the battle system, it's ridiculous and you can't access them when the game is paused!!
So here I am mashing my X button to swing the keyblade at shit. Suddenly I need potion quick. I have to use the directional pad instead of moving my character to select "Item" and then select potion (IF I remembered to equip Sora before battle...which doesn't always happen. My bad) and went I select potion, I have to select who to give it to...JUST MAKE IT SIMPLE!! That's 3 menus to go through before I can sucessfully heal myself and continue fighting if I'm not already dead cuz the camera was in such a position for me NOT to see an enemy punk me from behind.
BALLS!

You can't combine action and menu systems LIKE THAT. Menu systems of JRPGs suggest strategy or quick access. Another game I've played that combines some menu and action is the Tales of Symphonia. But the battle was at a mostly fixed camera angle. You had pretty good visuals. The battle PAUSES while you access an item menu. You can select the item and who to use it on and then battle starts up. Granted your item doesn't take effect until battle restarts where your character pauses and throws the item. THAT is how you combine menu systems with action battle.

Another thing that pisses me off is the magic menu. Okay the INSTRUCTIONS in the game say you can attach magic to a button for quick access. Guess I misread somewhere that you need to hold down L1 at the same time and then you can fire magic. No, BAD. But not terrible.
Most other games I've played allow you to equip spells to buttons and then all you have to do is push the button and voila. It fires. This game not so much. You assign some skills to the buttons for one effect (actions like rolling) and magic to them for others. (Thus pressing L1).

Like I said, it's not "terrible" but it's not great. And when your in battle trying to fire off magic, it doesn't help that there's a tiny extra action that is needed before you fire. Because timing is everything.

Menus
Speaking of menus jeez the cheese there are TONS. And okay I think its something from Final Fantasy that has come through. It just feels superfilous. Some menus I understand.
Items, Save, Options/Config, Equipment.
Those are expected in an action rpg game. Customization...okay this is perhaps just a bad "naming flaw". And now I'm just being picky right? Customization doesn't tell me much...I could confuse that with Config. But it's not that it's assigning your spells to buttons. "Magic/Skills" would have been a better name. PICKY.

It's the Gummi ship crap. I really DON'T care about building my own ships even if I can make a flying dick. (Everyone has I'm sure). That's something cool for like a PC game. Where you have more control. Sort of. It's just I don't like it and it needs to go. I want to collect parts of ships and then just select new ones or have the upgrades added on automatically when I choose them. I don't care WHERE they go on the ship just put it on.

I think it's really the layout and format that bothers me. It doesn't feel "neat" or friendly.
I'm also pissed you can really only access these menues at a SAVE point. This is a little tedious. I understand that to SAVE my game I have to be at the save points.
Actually I think I can access the item menu anywhere. I forget.

I prefer "save anywhere" options and then just starting me at some save point.

Story
Part of the draw of this game is playing with Disney characters. That's WHY I got this game. But the cinematics...sweet lord. I know they're trying to go for this lucid dream sort of feel...but they over achieved. The opening sequence tells me NOTHING about my character or makes me sympathize with him. It's all this bizarre dream sequence and they ask me weird questions that might affect my game play but I don't know. Then we have these kids on an island building a raft to sail to another world. Fine. I still know nothing about the main character except that he lives here and has friends and has a pre-teen crush on the girl and competitive relationship with the guy.

I don't know it's presented all in a very bizarre way and not storytelling methods. It looks cool. but it's not.

Oh and not to mention cinematics are LONG as FECK! You can't skip them and if you die during a boss battle...you get to see them again and again. (This makes me NOT want to finish the game because I KNOW this will happen a lot).
Your dialog is stupid. Makes no sense. And some of the imitation voices suck. (Which is to be expected.) Do not want.
(I hear in KH2 that there are skipping options. Yay they learned!)

Summary
I know this could have been done better. And several people I know have finished the game so I know it's possible. But I'm concerned how long it'll take me to get there. Especially since the leveling up is NOT obvious. No you only do that if levels don't really matter like in Legend of Zelda. They DO matter in KH. But because they're downplayed, I don't notice.

Anyway, I forsee many frustrating hours ahead and I'm kind of sad because this is supposedly a "classic" for the PS2. I liked Chain of Memories. That's fun. This...this is just worrisome. And full of nonsense. I really hope I can finish this game. :(

1 comment:

  1. Ah, I agree. Finally one person who isn't "OH MY GOD KINGDOM HEARTS IS THE BEST GAME EVER!!!". I found it had a great many flaws which led it to be a rather annoying experience rather than a fun one which it could have been.

    I was attracted to it by the disney stuff. But I had the same concerns. Battle doesn't pause when you're trying to look through a menu for what you want. Most action RPGs let you pause the action so you can see what you're doing in the menu. Secret of Mana and Seiken Densetsu 3 are very good action RPGs and have done exactly that. Camera rotates and screws you up. The spells are pretty useless except for Cure (Who uses Demi when you could just keyblade the enemy?).

    Gummiship assembling... I tried it and I couldn't make sense of the thing. I was placing my best blocks where I think they should go, and the control scheme didn't cooperate. Then also I don't think I was able to pick what ship I wanted to use. Also, it was made entirely irrelevant when you could use the warp system to skip the gummiship levels which I was happy for. It's fun the first time, not every time thereafter.

    "I still know nothing about the kid except he has a pre-teen crush with a girl and a competitive relationship with a guy"
    - To which eventually it ends up being "Pre-teen crush on the guy who wants to kill you and completely ignore or downplay the girl that you've presumably been travelling to find this whole time.

    How far in are you? I beat the game, but only because I wanted to beat a game and I felt like quitting a bunch of times. I really hate how enemies just keep popping up after you kill some, and then they keep popping up again.

    So that's why I didn't buy 2. They say it's bigger and everything but I don't feel up to it.

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