Kingdom Hearts (Series Review): Kris’ Game of the Month, December Prt. II

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They have more in common than you know

Hey guys, its your girl KrisSimsters, with the second part of my Game of the Month, a persona favorite to not only me but to a whole generation of people Kingdom Hearts. And I’m not talking about just the first one and I’m not talking about just the second one, I’m talking about the whole franchise (excluding Re:Coded and Unchained X (chi) because if you get the secret ending of Birth by Sleep, then you don’t need to worry about Re:Coded and Unchained X hasn’t had an American release yet, so I haven’t had a chance to play it). Everything else that’s been released-and building up to the impending Kingdom Hearts III-is in fact canon (including 3D, though my thoughts on my game is that it screwed up the whole timeline, but that’s something for later on).

This is a warning now, this is a very long review, I mean its Kingdom Hearts in its full and I’m going to try my best to cover everything that needs to be covered, so if you aren’t up for reading this in one setting, then I strongly advise that you bookmark it for a later read. Also, if you haven’t played any Kingdom Hearts game AND you have no idea what I’m talking about, things will be super spoiled for you. Warning you now. Lets listen to some music, shall we?


 

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A Dusk

A Q&A Along with Terminology:

Before getting too far into the start with this review, I thought I’d get some things out the way.

1). Q: Why are you doing this? I am a huge fan of this franchise as I’d imagine all of you are. Also, Kingdom Hearts II will have its 10TH anniversary on my Mom’s birthday, December 22ND. Since I know I’ll be doing something with my Mom that day, I thought it would be cool if I got something about this game review out beforehand so that way I can just focus on her.

2). Q: If KHII is coming out on 12/22, then why focus on the whole series? Kingdom Hearts II is like understanding a small fraction of how big this game is. This game franchise is huge and its plot is confusing. You can’t have one without talking about all of them. That’s like taking a small part of One Piece and expecting that small part to explain the whole series. It can be done, but it really shouldn’t be. Also, I don’t half-ass things, especially not with this series.

3). Q: What’s some terminology I need to know about this series? I’m glad you asked that. Words in this universe are different than words you would hear everyday. Here are some:

Kingdom Hearts: Kingdom Hearts is known as the “true light.” The main antagonist, Xehanort, has created at least two sources of this, one that contains the heart of all worlds (a door leading to the Relam of Darkness) and the other contains the heart of all men (a heart with enough power to recomplete somebody’s lost heart).

Heartless and Nobodies: Once somebody is killed and their heart is strong enough, they turn into two forms. The first form is the Heartless, which is basically the darkness living inside of you. Heartless usually hunt for hearts because they no longer have hearts of their own. Nobodies can appear when a person is either robbed of their heart of if that person is strong-willed. These Nobodies retain their human form and their human memories are usually a reservoir of human emotion in their past lives.

Organization XIII: Nobodies who are strong-willed enough to retain their human form are recruited to join Organization XIII, a group started up by Xehanort while he was an apprentice for a man known as Ansem the Wise. Xehanort and six apprentices betrayed Ansem after he stopped researching the heart. They formed Organization XIII and recruited other members, the last two being keyblade wielders (something I’ll get into later).

Keyblade: A key-shaped weapon created by man, each keyblade can be one of three natures; light, darkness, and heart, though light has only been proven so far.


 

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Get Ready for a Long Plot

KINGDOM HEARTS PLOT (IN ITS ENTIRETY):

OK guys, get ready for me to explain this whole plot…kinda glad I’m not doing a YouTube video of this because I would cry during editing. Anyway, here goes. The story of Kingdom Hearts actually made sense into Dream Drop Distance, that was where stupidity happened. It starts out a long time ago, way before Birth By Sleep, people used to live together in different worlds and fight over this McGruffin known as Kingdom Hearts. Kingdom Hearts is, as I stated before, a true light. Anybody who was in the possession of this true light was of course, granted unlimited power and knowledge. So naturally, people want that.

In order to unlock it though, you would need an X-Blade, a weapon that could only by forged by light and darkness clashing. Because of this, people would make copies of the X-Blade known as the Keyblade. Because of this, the Keyblade War soon breaks out and its so awesome that the worlds are destroyed. The worlds are restored by the hearts of all children, but they are now seperate into different planets and most of them don’t even know about other each other nor do they want to find out.

Years later, our antagonist, Xehanort is living in a world called Destiny Islands and fed up of being there, he escapes and explores the other worlds. During his travels, he meets a man named Eraqus and they both decide to become Keyblade Masters because Keyblades are still around after the Keyblade War has ended. Its not long before Xehanort learns about the Keyblade War and its history, making the worlds what they are today. Because of the scientist that Xehanort is, he wants to get destroy the worlds again, something that Eraqus wants no part in. The two have a falling out and they soon part ways.

BBS: Xehanort finds an apprentice in a young man named Ventus, Ven for short, but Ven isn’t turning out the way Xehanort wants him too. To solve this problem, Xehanort extracts all the darkness from Ven’s heart and creates Vanitas. Weak and useless to Xehanort, Xehanort drops Ven’s body off in Destiny Islands. But as Xehanort is leaving, Ven’s heart encounters a heart that belong will soon go to a newborn. Because of the hole in Ven’s heart, the newborn heart decides to share part of its heart with Ven, making him whole again. But Ven still needs to train, so he sends him to Master Eraqus with the impression that he’s sorry about their falling out.

Master Eraqus knows that Master Xehanort is secretly up to something, but nonetheless, he still takes in Ven. Ven meets and befriends two of Master Eraqus students, Terra and Aqua, who are training to become Keyblade Masters like Master Eraqus. On the day of the Mark of Mastery Exam, Aqua is promoted to Keyblade Master while Terra isn’t because of the darkness in his heart. Master Xehanort uses this to his advantage, promising to train Terra to control the darkness within him. This leads to a whole screw up of things as Terra goes on to do Master Xehanort’s bidding, Vanitas sends Ven to go after Terra (and to get stronger for Xehanort’s master plan) and because Master Eraqus doesn’t particularly trust Xehanort and his intentions, he sends Aqua after Ven and possibly Terra.

Along his travels, Terra meets Maleficent who, under Master Xehanort’s instructions, has enlisted in her as an ally to help lure the darkness within Terra. Another ally he uses is Braig, one of the original six apprentices of Ansem, but more on him later. An ally that Ven and Aqua come across is Mickey (he’s not King Mickey yet), he also wields a Keyblade, but his teacher is Master Yen Sid.

It soon comes to the point where Master Eraqus has no choice, but to kill Ven in order to stop Master Xehanort’s plan from coming to fruition. Terra, who has been influenced by Master Xehanort long enough and doesn’t understand what’s going on, battles and defeats Master Eraqus, killing him and destroying the home he basically grew up in. Realizing that he’s been fooled along, Terra; along with Ven and Aqua, go and battle Master Xehanort and Vanitas.

Even though Terra was strong enough to defeat Master Xehanort, Xehanort is still able to shove his own heart into Terra’s creating Terranort. Ven and Vanitas are also fighting, forging the X-Blade, but they have to battle within their shared heart. Ven defeats Vanitas, destroying the X-Blade, but Ven’s heart also gets wrecked in the process, putting him in a deep comatose. Aqua barely makes it out alive, thanks to Mickey, but when she takes Ven to Yen Sid, he says that he’s unable to help Ven because he needs to heal. She hides Ven deep inside Castle Oblivion. Once he’s hidden, Aqua goes and find Terra not realizing that he’s turned into Terranort.

In Aqua’s attempt to try and save Terra, Aqua traps herself in the darkness, not knowing that her efforts to free Terra was all for naught as Terranort (I mean Xehanort) is soon discovered in Radiant Garden by Ansem the Wise, the world’s leader and scientist. To get on Ansem the Wise’s good side, he feigns amnesia so he could do more information on the heart. Meanwhile, Ven’s heart comes in contact with the newborn who lent Ven a piece of his heart. The newborn is known as a young boy named Sora. Sora feels something isn’t right and decides to keep Ven’s heart inside him as Ven heals.

It isn’t long before Ansem the Wise starts to get suspicious of Xehanort, resulting in Xehanort and six other apprentices; Braig, Dilan, Even, Aeleus, and Ienzo staging a coop and overthrowing Ansem the Wise. Once Ansem the Wise is out the way (disguising himself as a man named DiZ), Xehanort (who’s name is now Ansem) continues his research on hearts, discovering the creatures known as the Heartless and even turning his own apprentices into Humanized Nobodies, forming the first members of Organization XIII.

 

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KH I: Ten years later, Sora is living in Destiny Island along with his best friend, Riku, who basically wants to leave Destiny Islands like Xehanort did and Kairi, who was washed ashore after her home in Radiant Garden was destroyed and she lost her memories. She becomes friends with Riku and Sora, joining in their plans in leaving their home.

 

Destiny Islands is soon destroyed by the Heartless and separates Sora, Kairi, and Riku. Sora teams up with Donald Duck and Goofy (King Mickey’s magician and knight of the royal guards) in order to protect and seal the worlds using the Keyblade that was given to Sora. Sora also wants to look for Riku and Kairi, he wants to head back home with them. Riku, on the other hand, is working for Maleficent because he wants to find Kairi’s heart. Her body is physically there, but her heart is not. The reason Kairi isn’t a Nobody is because she’s one of the Seven Princesses of Light (which in the KH universe is Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Alice (from Alice in Wonderland), and also Kairi) and because of this, the rule isn’t applicable. This also causes some bull down the line, but don’t worry, we’ll get there.

Sora, Donald, and Goofy soon arrive at the ruined Radiant Garden, where they battle and defeat Maleficent and finds Kairi. Riku, at this point is discovered to be the one behind everything and has taken over Riku’s body. Where is Riku, you might want to know? He’s trapped within Ansem. Anyway, Ansem tells Sora that his heart combined with Kairi’s heart during the destruction of Destiny Islands and Sora releases both hearts, turning him into a Heartless and Kairi’s heart returning to her. When the Heartless version of Sora catches up, Kairi restores him back to his normal self by hugging him basically. (The power of boners is strong).

Once Sora is restored to his human form; he, Donlad, and Goofy go and defeat Ansem, locking King Mickey and Riku in the Realm of Darkness. Destiny Islands is restored and Sora, Donald, and Goofy go off to search for Riku and the King.

khcomwall021024x768COM & DAYS: These two solely focus on Organization XIII and even though its started that Chain of Memories chronically came before Days, I need to tell you about some special Nobodies. As I’ve stated before, there are special kinds of Nobodies who take human form. The first Nobody I want to introduce you to is Sora’s Nobody, Roxas.

As I’ve stated before, when a human has their heart taken out of their body, and if their strong enough…their turn into forms. This happens, but not only with Sora, but with Kairi too (don’t worry, I’ll get there). Anyway, Roxas is Sora’s Nobody and just like Sora, he too can wield a Keyblade. Kairi’s Nobody is a girl named Naminè, who has the ability to control your memories. In Chain of Memories, Naminè is forced to use this ability to the Orangization’s advantage.

For the past ten years since Organization begun, they have added members. In Days, Roxas and another mysterious member named Xion were the last two members to join. Weirdly enough, just like Roxas and Sora, Xion can wield a Keyblade. You might want to know why Xion has a Keyblade if Roxas is Sora’s Nobody? Well, hold on to that thought, I still need to talk about Chain of Memories.

Back to Chain of Memories. Because being a Nobody and being in the Organization wasn’t the best idea in the world, so two recruits, Marluxia and Larxene decide to throw a coop using Sora as their puppet. Why did they decide to throw a coop? Nobody really knows, I mean I understand that they wanted to be human again too, but that was the Organization’s main goal. I guess the series needed that “you betrayed our master trope” and that’s why this nonsense coop existed. Anyway, senior members of the Organization (Zexion, Lexaeus, and Vexen) tried to oppose them, but in the end, all of them are thwarted out. The only Organization member left is Axel, the Kingdom Hearts fanboy.

Now I can tell you more about Roxas and Xion. Well, more about Xion, really. Xion is an imperfect perfection of Sora, but she looks a lot like Kairi because at the time, Kairi was Sora’s highest memory. Xion wasn’t supposed to exist and because of this, it put a huge flaw in restoring Sora’s memories. Oh yeah, I forgot the mention that. Basically because of the Organization in Chain of Memories, the only way for Sora to get his memories back, Naminè has to put Sora to sleep for at least a year. Naminè needs Sora’s memories from Xion and the only way to do that is by Xion not existing or dying if we’re being frank. Xion agrees to this, but she isn’t happy about. Then again, who would be happy about not existing and needing to die in order to restore somebody else’s memories?

Anyway, Xion wants Roxas to fight her knowing that once she dies, everybody’s memories of her will vanish, including her two best friends, Roxas and Axel. This also causes a rift between Roxas and Axel when Roxas wants to leave the Organization shortly after Xion’s death. Axel tries to convince Roxas not to leave, but Roxas needs answers about who he is and nobody in the Organization (not even Axel) will tell him what he needs to know, so he has no choice but to leave. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get far though before he’s caught by Riku, who has decided to let the darkness of Ansem inside him grow. Riku-Ansem takes him to DiZ and DiZ puts Roxas into an computer generated town known as Twilight Town until Naminè has finished with Sora’s memories.

kingdom_hearts_ii_wallpaper_by_klarthkunKHII: A year has passed since Sora has been put to sleep and now that Naminè is almost finished with Sora’s memories, its time for Roxas to go back inside Sora’s heart. But it isn’t as easy since Axel tries to get Roxas to remember him, but Roxas doesn’t remember anything about his past. With no other means, Axel is forced to eliminate him. But luckily Axel’s attempts to eliminate Sora are futile, so he retreats and Roxas has no other choice but to return to Sora.

Once woken up; Sora, Donald, and Goofy have a mission by Yen Sid to stop the rest of Organization XIII (Xemnas, Demyx, Xaldin, Luxlord, and Saïx). Their also helping rebuild Radiant Garden. Axel soon begins to defect from the Organization and decides to use Kairi has leverage to separate Roxas and Sora once again. Though he catches her in Twilight Town, she is soon caught by Saïx, who locks her up in the Castle that Never Was because she is the, “Fire that feeds Sora’s Anger.” Sora, meanwhile, has fond a pathway to the World that Never Was and fights alongside Axel, who is killed in the battle. With the last of his power, Axel creates a portal for Sora, Donald, Goofy, and King Mickey to enter.

Now before I got any further in this, I want to explain how logic doesn’t exist in this game. OK, I know Kairi touched Aqua’s Keyblade in BBS and I know that because of that she can wield a Keyblade and I have no problems processing that. What I can’t process is the fact that Kairi says that Sora is hopeless without her. Yes, she’s talking to Riku-Ansem and that might be true with Riku-Ansem, but what has Kairi been doing this whole time? She’s been kidnapped at least three times throughout this series. What I’m saying is Kairi doesn’t have the character development to say stuff like that.

Moving on, we can also touch on the fact that Xehanort has been a Heartless and a Nobody. You see, there are four versions of Xehanort; Xehanort in his original form, Terranort, his second form, Ansem, his Heartless, and Xemnas, the Nobody. Sora, Donald, and Goofy has already killed Ansem, his heartless in KHI and Sora and Riku kill Xemnas in KHII. Which means Xehanort is somewhere in his original form. This is another reason why I don’t want to talk about 3D because 3D just screws up this already convoluted story.

CTR_AKHP_UKV_inlay.indd3D: The whole point of Dream Drop Distance is that Sora and Riku go through their Mark of Mastery Exams with Ruki passing and Sora failing because Sora couldn’t fight the darkness. Yeah, I understand that, but what I don’t understand-nor like-is the fact they brought back Axel again, but this time he’s no longer Axel, he Lea and made him a Keyblade wielder. Also, why bring Kairi and tell her that she needs to learn how to wield her Keyblade. If she was that important of a character, then why wasn’t she in the game in the beginning? Especially if she’s a Guardian of Light, shouldn’t she have been trained in advanced, like in the beginning of the game? Prior to the moment that Yen Sid has Riku bring her in? And also, are you telling me that since Aqua gave Kairi the power to wield a Keyblade, she’s technically stronger than Sora, because if that’s the case then I refuse to believe it. Refuse to believe it. I have no problem with Kairi, she’s an amazing girl, but her character is so under-developed that its frustrating.


 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

If you regard the fact that this game’s plot is so frustrating, then you realize that this game is a good game. Its a game you have to play or at least experience once in your life. Yes, we’ve waited years of Kingdom Hearts III and we’re still waiting, but the reason why so many KH fans are still stick to this series is because of how colorful this game is, despite its dark plot.

You get to play with Donald and Goofy while traveling to different worlds on a ship made of blocks. Yes, opening new pathways in KHI and KHII were frustrating, but it was still fun. And I loved switching out different commands in BBS, it brought something new. And so Swim Squad fans, I bid you ado for 2015. This is literally my last article for 2015 and I can’t wait to give you new stuff in 2016. Have a great holiday!!

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