Critical reception of the Kingdom Hearts series
Generally, reception of the Kingdom Hearts series has been highly positive; the titles's success has given the series of games a cult following. Many gaming sites, shows, and magazines have praised the series for its innovation and great RPG style. Before Kingdom Hearts II was released, X-Play had a Kingdom Hearts special.
When Square Enix and Disney announced that they were trying to make a game combining the elements of both Final Fantasy and the Disney franchise of films and merchandise, many were confused, leading many fans to believe that the project would backfire. But to many's surprise, the series did in fact take off, and it was one of the top three highest-grossing games of the month of its release.
Kingdom Hearts received very positive reviews. IGN gave the game a 9.0 out of 10, and recently named it the seventh-best PlayStation 2 game ever made. The gameplay and story were especially highly praised by reviewers. However, a few parts of the game were criticized, such as the Gummi Ship aspect of the game, which was called pointless and boring. Others noted that the camera angle made it hard for players to maneuver.
The release of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix was limited to Japan. However, the game still sold exceptionally well. New features and events, especially the battle with the Unknown and additional cinematics, garnered the game many positive reviews.
Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories received largely mixed reviews. While the story was highly praised, and Riku's segment of the story was highly lauded by fans, the card-based battle system was generally disliked. Due to its initial release on the Game Boy Advance, many fans were upset, as they had to purchase a new gaming system for the sequel. Nevertheless, the game sold well, with 1.5 million copies being sold worldwide.
Although Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories was yet again criticized for the card-based battle system, it still received positive reviews. It sold extremely well in North America.
Kingdom Hearts II has received numerous awards and high ratings. It tied with Resident Evil 4 for best game of 2005. In the highly regarded Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, it received an almost perfect rating: 39/40. The game also received a 9.5/10 in the North American Game Informer magazine. G4 awarded it Best Soundtrack and Best Voice Work. However, the gameplay aspect of the game was criticized on some levels, as many did not like the AI system or the fact that the game was so much easier than its predecessor. Most reviewers commented that the game was fun to play. It currently stands as the highest selling game in the franchise.
The Japanese remake of the second game, Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix was highly regarded, and all the new features were praised by fans. Many in other regions of the worlds hoped for the game to be released in North America and PAL regions, but this did not come to be. The battles against the old Organization members and against Roxas, as well as the battle against the Lingering Will, were especially well-regarded.
When the Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days demo was released, it was highly praised as being fun and an improvement over Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, its predecessor in the handheld platforms. In Japan, it received positive reviews. In North America, GameStop had many early pre-orders, and the game was received quite well. Game Informer gave it an 8.5 out of 10. In Japan, it sold 397,000 copies in the last week of May and June. The game won seven different 2009 Nintendo Power Awards in the reader's vote: Nintendo DS Game of the Year, Best Sound/Voice Acting, Best Adventure Game, Best Nintendo DS Graphics, Best New Character (Xion), Best Story/Writing, and Overall Game of the Year.
Kingdom Hearts coded released eight playable episodes, for Japanese mobile phones. As of yet, the game hasn't received any reviews.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep has been highly praised by fans and critics alike. The game was released in January 2010 in Japan and September 2010 for North America and Europe. The game received high reviews in both Japan and North America.
Critical reception of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded has been mixed, and is currently the least critically successful game in the series. Many reviewers criticized the game for its narrative, platforming, and its camera. However, it was given good reviews by quite a few sources, like IGN and Nintendo Power.