Who's Diving Into Kingdom Hearts?

Yo what’s good, who’s out here making ill-advised decisions about Anime and Disney?

Kingdom_Hearts_Logo_KH

I figure there’s a decent number of us taking the plunge and making a real effort to get on board with this series right now, with 3 finally rearing it’s spikey-haired head after all these years. I comitted to this sinful venture myself a few days ago after Natalie did the same, so I figured I’d make a thread for anyone else taking a swing at it, since the other Kingdom Hearts thread(s) are likely full folks who are already neck deep in this whole buisness and want to talk spoilers freely. This is a zone for those of us new to the series.

Personally, I’m bypassing any discourse about what order to play the games in by just doing release order(I’ve had my fill of that sort of discussion from getting into Metal Gear). I’ve watched all of Kingdom Hearts 1 and Chain of Memories, both Sora and Riku’s stories, so far. It’s been fun! Those videos are a very good way to watch the games and I’ll be using that channel going forward I reckon.

Who else is playing and/or watching Kingdom Hearts then? Do we have questions to ask for the upcoming Waypoint podcast on the subject? When and where did Riku turn into a sniffer dog? What’s with the belts and zippers? All this and more, in the Kingdom Hearts Hell Pit!

1 Like

I’m definitely considering getting the collections that came out for PS4, but it will probably be after KH3 comes out due to money and all that stuff. But I’m interested in revisiting the games.

I played KH1 and 2 back on the PS2, but I never played the other games. So I’m looking forward to experiencing the bits of the story that I missed.

1 Like

I must admit I’m super curious about KH3. I rented KH1 when I was a kid, and while I loved it I didn’t get far in it and found it all completely inscrutable as kid who mostly played platformers and driving games.

I might watch all the cutscenes and dip into KH2 because a) I remember thinking that the box art fucking whipped and b) it seems the consensus pick as the best playing game in the series.

2 Likes

You’re on the right path there. Kingdom Hearts 2 is basically the starting point for the story to jump off in really convoluted directions. All of the games that came out after it are in some way referential to this more so than the first game of Chain of Memories. I would watch a recap for Chain of Memories before getting into 2, there’s some very important plot info that happens there that informs the start of KH2.

Also definitely the best playing (I haven’t played the 3DS one though).

I say this as a MEGA KH fan: If you have not been following this shit and actively invested in it, I have no idea why you would try to “catch up” before KH3. I’m a weirdo who needs to see a story I’ve been following since I was 8 years old reach it’s conclusion. If you are not in the same boat, just play KH3. You’ll have fun, you’ll see the Disney characters and worlds, you’ll beat the bad guy at the end, and everything will be great.

1 Like

I’m getting KH3 on xbone and not even the police will fucking stop me

4 Likes

Speaking for myself at least, I’m not doing this out of some sort of obligation or anything. I wouldn’t be doing it at all if I wasn’t well into this particular brand of melodrama and crossover weirdness. I’m sure I’d enjoy 3 perfectly well if I just got it without context! But I reckon I’ll enjoy it even more WITH that context because I know my tastes. I’m like an hour and half into the Kingdom Hearts 2 cutscene video and it’s becoming even more My Bullshit at a frankly alarming rate, it’s brill.

I was excited for KH3 after playing Dream Drop Distance, but the slew of rereleases that’s filled the gap between then and now (seven years, btw, holy shit) has left me feeling lethargic about finally putting Sora’s tale to rest. Like, the game seems to have the idea that I might enjoy returning to Pirates of the Caribbean and I can’t feel anything but exhaustion. Give me the 1000% pure anime bullshit. It’s the only thing that can wake me up. I want to be fucking bawling over every last one of those adorable children.

1 Like

I’ve caught up over the past year with the collections. Though I only had time to play KH1, KH 2, BBS x3, and fragmentary passage (erm Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage to be sure) and watched movies of the rest. I definitely did skip any scenes which appeared to just be part of the bad rehash of disney stories (which is probably the majority of them). I’m hoping KH3 is most similar to KH1 in that respect as the first game is actually pretty consistent in tying each disney villain to the overarching plot than the second.

Also, apparently the mobile gacha Kingdom Hearts Union X has some huge story beats with the keyblade war, where the Backcover movie in the 2.8 collection is only one side of the story. People think it also shows what will be next for Kingdom Hearts after Sora’s story is over as they have plot updates every month. I found this video to be an actually compelling telling of the story and its mysteries. It’s told chronologically so you will see the Back Cover scenes spliced in with the mobile game since they coincide.

Fair warning: That’s like jumping into the middle of the Spider-Man clone saga, which was about on the same level as “WHAT” as the ongoing KH story is.

I started playing a little last night. I played through KH ~16 years ago when it was first released. Started into KHII, but for some reason didn’t stick with it. I can’t really remember why, but it was either down to life, or I was pulled into some other game, or both.

My thing with Kingdom Hearts is I love the world, but I’m not in love with the actual game play. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either. The division of content between home console and handheld at the time was pretty annoying to me. Back when the first title launched, I was still far more into turn-based games, so Suikoden IV, Shadow Hearts: Covenant, Persona 3, Atelier Iris all felt more my speed. Over the years, I’ve become more accustomed to the general type of combat in Kingdom Hearts. It’s still not my preference, but it doesn’t feel as jarring and alien to me as it once did. So I’m excited to step back into the KH Universe. It’s come a long way since 2002, so even having beaten the first game, I’m some weird mix of a nostalgic player and the uninitiated.

Watching 1 and Chain of Memories, the latter especially, was definitely validating my choice to not actually play these things. 2 has been fighting back against that a little bit, but I reckon I can hold out for 3 at this point since it’s doubtless improve further on what I’m seeing in 2.

Plus watching rather than playing lets me focus more on what’s been the real highlight of everything I’ve seen so far: the cutscene animation. It’s such a joy! Everyone is super expressive, and the way it seamlessly switches between talking statues and full animation is so clever, it really tickles my game designer brain.

1 Like

I would actually recommend playing 2. It’s absolutely RIDICULOUS. Just watching the cutscenes of that is like just watching the cutscenes of a Yakuza game. You’re missing all the best parts. It’s also pretty breezy to get through.

1 Like

It’ll come down to if I see the collection for under 15 quid or so when I go shopping tomorrow, I might just grab it on a whim. I’ve finished the Roxas section and it’s incredibly managed to send me from “this is pretty good, I’m really enjoying this” to “holy fuck this is incredible”. I’ve never seen anything deploy the idea of a plot “forgetting” a character deliberately before, let alone leverage it so well. The little dialogue tics are making me pull some fucking faces at the screen. And the Sora-Donald-Goofy group dynamic is so much better realised so far too!

Good Videogames.

Dream Drop Distance has some of the best game feel of the series, the Flowmotion mechanic literally gives you Anime Parkour powers and makes the platforming actually enjoyable for the first time.

But on the other hand, the Drop system is irritatingly arbitrary to deal with, there’s a massive spike in difficulty at the very end, and it’s where the extended lore of the series starts to come into focus, leading to some real “what the christ” moments.

It is the best and worst of the series.

By the way, with Kingdom Hearts III impending like the meteor in Final Fantasy VII, I’d just want to point out that we have a thread for that game explicitly which is more of a pro-spoiler zone. When the game drops, I think it’d be a good move to split folks between that & this thread, so we can this thread have a little more thought for people jumping into the series & the other thread for a more III-centric discussion.

3 Likes

Definitely: I think I’d be happy to watch someone play through the Kingdom Hearts series because of this (and also because my one try at KH1 back in the day was super-confusing, and I am not sure I am down for more of that, control-system-wise).

My two cents on this is that 1 is by far and away the roughest version of the series’ action RPG formula, both because it slow-paces the action with the Destiny Islands opening & because I think it didn’t really know what it wanted to be. Every system has its eccentricities, but 2 and Birth by Sleep (at least – I have not played far beyond those games) are imminently playable games.

Damn near bolted upright in bed when it hit me that part of why I love the cutscene animation so much is that it reminds me of the old Bionicle movies.

3 Likes

Yeah, I don’t think I actually got past that really. I remember, vaguely, mostly there being a lot of cutscenes, it being hard to navigate around the place, and losing a race against some annoying “friendly rival” guy.

Looking into this more, I see that basically there’s no releases of any KH games on PC, and I don’t own the (second hand) PS2 I played KH on now… so I guess I’m going to watch people playing it anyway.