Generally favorable reviews - based on 46 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 46
  2. Negative: 0 out of 46
Buy On
  1. 100
    You’ll be hard pressed to find another game that even comes close to matching the quality found in Kingdom Hearts. Games just don’t come as beautiful and well thought out as this, it’s a virtual masterpiece that excels in every way possible.
  2. In the end this is THE game of the year as far as I am concerned and even exceeded the amount of fun I had with "Final Fantasy X" a year ago.
  3. netjak
    Each world is full of colors, whether it be lush green environments of a jungle, or the sandy feeling you get in the desert, each world is chock full of beautiful and vibrant colors that jump out at you more than Mexican jumping beans.
  4. Game Informer
    The battles that unfold are as beautful as they are intense, and as difficult as they are easy to manhandle. [Oct 2002, p.76]
  5. Despite the gummi ship craziness, I found this game to be completely addictive.
  6. I really don’t think anyone else could have woven as complex and enthralling a story into such enjoyable gameplay and kept it as true to both Square and especially Disney fans.
  7. Although the game’s graphics and music were as incredible as you can expect from these two very professional companies, the actual gameplay does get a tiny bit repetitive at times. Overall, Kingdom Hearts manages to be an incredible game.
  8. Has a few flaws, but its unique character pairings and jaw-dropping graphics make this a remarkable RPG.
  9. The moment I picked it up, it was hard to separate me from it. And as I've told many already, any game that can make me smile as much as this game does is definitely a gem of its own.
  10. GameNow
    This is the kind of game you'll play obsessively until you get to the end credits - and then you'll play it again to find all the godies you missed on the first go. [Oct 2002, p.46]
  11. The action nature of this game makes the length shorter as there is little to no strategy as there is in turn-based games. I doubt many will want to go through this game again, but for the first time through the game was quite rewarding.
  12. 90
    For something with a goofball camera like this to nevertheless remain a compelling action-RPG requires some substantial assets in other areas.
  13. The game is way fun, chock full o’ stars and actually a lengthy, deep game that’s appropriate for all ages.
  14. Composer Yoko Shimomura (his first Square title since Legend of Mana) creates a very impressive score that alternates between filling you with excitement as you start your next battle to pulling at the heartstrings when some of the game’s more poignant scenes are onscreen.
  15. Visually stunning, loaded with cameos and dripping with both Square and Disney nostalgia, Kingdom Hearts will grab you from the opening to the end.
  16. You’ll be particularly impressed with the recreation of the Disney characters, it seems as though they’ve been translated to videogame characters without any compromises.
  17. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    From its very first moments, Kingdom Hearts will grab you and won't let go until well after you've beaten it. [Oct 2002, p.140]
  18. 90
    Oh, if only those Gummi Ship segments didn’t exist! They’re the only blemish in what’s otherwise the best action/RPG since the two N64 Zeldas.
  19. A totally engrossing experience.
  20. With over 60 hours of gameplay and hundreds of animated characters both familiar and a new, Kingdom Hearts should prove a massive hit over the festive season.
  21. The depth and detail in this game is unbelievable and Disney and Square have thought of absolutely everything, down to every last detail in all the worlds and the appearances of the Disney and Final Fantasy characters.
  22. For all its faults [camera, linear progress], this is one of the most vividly imagined, sprawling and openly heart-warming games on PS2. [PSM2]
  23. The music is one of those touches that really remind you that this is a Disney property. All of the musical scores for the worlds are either originals or very strikingly similar ones.
  24. Such a well-crafted, polished (aside from the camera), and entertaining experience that it managed to win over this jaded gaming cynic, inevitable merchandising tie-ins and all.
  25. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Even with wussy characters and settings all over the place, the story and gameplay in Kingdom Hearts rivals the "Final Fantasy" series. [Oct 2002, p.182]
  26. It may not rival the grand stories of some past Final Fantasy’s or even some of the better Disney movies; however, it is a fine game that manages to combine each company’s strengths in a tapestry that is a joy to behold and an even greater one to play.
  27. If the game was not so brilliantly presented with such rich characters, story and astounding art and voice-work (best voice-work to date in a videogame), you would probably take more notice of the simple and boring adventure elements (go here, go there, find this, talk to that person...), and the too-heavy reliance on melee combat, and the constant battles, and the frustration of having to take two steps back to level up before being able to take the all-important third step forward in a world.
  28. 84
    While I would have liked more cohesion in the plot and more depth in the combat, the overall package is filled with enough fun and surprises to keep you playing through the end.
  29. The problem is that it just gets old quick. Lots of enemies, attack, cure, wash, rinse, repeat. It gets old.
  30. Boasts probably the most talented pool of voice actors ever collected for a video game, from several star-studded notables to Disney's fantastic stable of character actors. These voices vividly bring the characters to life.
  31. Entertainment Weekly
    Works surprisingly well on a creative level...Much less successful, however, is a poorly conceived in-game camera system that often gets stuck behind objects and orients itself in the wrong direction. [20 Sept 2002]
  32. For as few times that Kingdom Hearts made me frustrated with the camera and repeat visits, the number of times I was happy with my trip through the story more than made up for it.
  33. Great, largely because it successfully captures the spirit of both Square and Disney in a single game.
  34. Play Magazine
    To say that Kingdom Hearts is magical is an understatement. As cinematic experiences go, it's exquisite. It's not the finest in terms of action, but overall, it's wonderful. [Oct 2002, p.74]
  35. 80
    The renowned charm of Disney's characters, the stylistic panache of "Final Fantasy" folk, and a well-designed gameplay makes up for Kingdom Hearts' relatively few shortcomings.
  36. A fun and refreshingly accessible RPG that fuses Japanese storytelling and game play with an unprecedented repertoire of recognizable Disney icons.
  37. It’s as cryptic to begin with as any game ever conceived by Square, and it lures you in with some tremendous combat mechanics and a unique selling point (Disney), but it also tries to piss you off with a vacuous opening zone and the Chipmunks.
  38. Cheat Code Central
    My biggest, heartiest complaint regarding KH is the slap together shooting stages between levels. They are so out of place and so frustratingly poorly executed that they should have not only been left on the cutting room floor.
  39. GMR Magazine
    When the amazing, talented artists from Square join forces with the amazing, talented artists from Disney, good things happen. [Feb 2003, p.92]
  40. PSM Magazine
    This game has got to have on of the worst camera systems in an RPG ever. [Oct 2002, p.38]
  41. This enchanted kingdom certainly has its flaws, but it's still well worth a visit.
  42. Almost every individual aspect of the game except for the camera is well executed, but the two key components of the title still don't go seem to belong together.
  43. Despite the sometimes annoying, repetitive combat sequences, Kingdom Hearts is filled with plenty to see and do.
  44. Where the game begins to lose some of its luster is in the areas of sound and story, and a camera that suffers from a lack of intuition. The music is not so much repetitive as it is boring.
  45. It might have been possible to deal with such a ridiculously bad setup if melee was limited to bosses and occasional encounters, but in a wicked bit of irony, the miserable perspective is paired with an insanely ludicrous amount of battling.
  46. 60
    Gameplay is probably the most unremarkable aspect to Kingdom Hearts. The real-time combat consists of mashing the X button repeatedly as your one and only attack move, and also using magic once and a while.

Awards & Rankings

#2 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2002
#5 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2002
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 685 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 41 out of 685
  1. May 21, 2011
    Is Kingdom Hearts a flawed game? Yes it is. The combat is lacking and simple and the set camera is atrocious. But there's a quality to it thatIs Kingdom Hearts a flawed game? Yes it is. The combat is lacking and simple and the set camera is atrocious. But there's a quality to it that can't be explained. The worlds can only be described as magical, the characters are timeless and the story, although just typical Japanese crazyness, is beautiful to behold. Its a package that is much more than the sum of its parts and it gives me a feeling of wonder and serenity that nothing has given me before, let alone a video game. Full Review »
  2. AnonymousMC
    Dec 30, 2005
    Here are the pros of Kingdom Hearts:
    - It has good graphics.
    - The Disney characters' voices are authentic. The cons of Kingdom
    Here are the pros of Kingdom Hearts:
    - It has good graphics.
    - The Disney characters' voices are authentic.

    The cons of Kingdom Hearts:
    - "Gameplay" consists of mashing buttons in the general direction of enemies, which appear way too often.
    - Knowing what to do/where to go at any given time is impossible due to the poorly executed story sequences
    - Stages are LIFELESS and utterly mind-numbingly boring.
    - The inter-world trasportation mini-game adds nothing to the game and is unfathomably annoying.
    - There are so many mini-games in this game that are completely unrelated to one another and add very little if anything to the rest of the game.
    - Parts where the story is revealed are few and far between, and they certainly don't make all the work of getting through the various worlds worth it.

    I love Square, but I think this game is a clear indication that they are abusing the fame that they have earned in the past with games that are actually GOOD. It is a chore to play, with little reward. Don't get it.
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 18, 2012
    One of my favorite games of all time!! I think it's safe to say that this game will stand the test of time!! It's that amazing! A merging ofOne of my favorite games of all time!! I think it's safe to say that this game will stand the test of time!! It's that amazing! A merging of Square and Disney seems unlikely, but once you've played it, you'll be engrossed in this spellbinding adventure. The story is whimsical and heartwarming, traveling to a different Disney world feels wonderful, and the combat, though it may be simple, is very fun, though it would be much better with major readjustments to the camera. With that little flaw aside, this is a game that your PS2 cannot be without!! Full Review »