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Defending Kindgom Hearts 2



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pap64

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This is an essay/editorial I wrote during my free time. It is about all the complains I have heard during the game's developmentb ibn fan sites, news sites and friends of mine. I know I will probably get flamed by my opinions, disagree heavily with some points and probably end up hating me for it, but this is what I feel and think on the subject matter. I am a big Kingdom Hearts fan and I am doing my best defending it from the sometimes unfair accusations. This is version 1.0. There might be updated versions in the future depending on changing opinions, the eventual release of the game and such.

Oh, this is also a pretty long read. Bear with it...

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Defending Kingdom hearts 2
By: Pedro Hernandez

Even though the game has yet to be released many fans are already frowning upon Kingdom Hearts 2, the sequel to the 2002 smash hit Kingdom Hearts. Kingdom Hearts 2 is one of the most anticipated games of the season, and for a reason. It’s one of Square’s last games before the release of the Playstation 3. While many fans are still anticipating the game, it seems that they are already upset due to the features announced through various game magazines and websites. It’s a practice I find rather upsetting because first of all, the game hasn’t been released yet. Also, fans are missing the point about the type of game Kingdom Hearts is. So I will try the best I can to sum up all the complaints I have heard about the game and give my own explanation on the matter. So without any further delay I will start defending Kingdom Hearts 2.

Complain number 1:
All of these new additions are weird! Steamboat Willie world?! LIVE ACTION MOVIES?? What the crap?!?

Recently Square was daring to announce that they are creating worlds based on just animated Disney films and shorts, they have made a world based on the live action smash, “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Not only that, the world is going to look EXACTLY like the movie! The characters will not be anime/cartoon versions; they will be modeled after the actors that portrayed them in the movie! Sure, all of these additions are weird, but are you forgetting that the first Kingdom Hearts was a weird game in itself? Let’s go back to the start of the new millennium…

Square announces that they will be teaming up with Disney to make an RPG based on many of their franchises. While Disney’s franchises have been turned into a lot of game genres (racing, platforming, adventure, edu-tainment titles), the RPG is a genre not many envisioned a Disney franchise being turned into. The idea was weird but everybody moved on. Then Square finally shows off the Disney RPG under the name “Kingdom Hearts”. The first gameplay footage featured classic Disney characters Donald and Goofy in their classic costumes running around in random, nameless worlds and the appearance of three new characters, Sora, Kairi and Riku. The three of them were silly dressed kids featuring big heads, wacky hairstyles, big shoes and major bling bling. Not only that, Sora’s weapon of choice was a giant key…Then Square revealed that the key was going to be used to close the doors in the worlds he visits. Surely the game sounds pretty far out by now. But we are not done yet…

Square then shows off a more complete version of Kingdom Hearts at a Japanese gaming show. Further details was released and now the game featured worlds based on all kinds of Disney movies, everything from Alice in wonderland to even The Nightmare Before Christmas! And now Goofy and Donald were decked out in major Square clothing. The game, despite how promising it is, still sounds like one weird mess of a game…BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!

When the game neared release, it was announced that characters from Square’s famous Final Fantasy series would make cameo appearances in the game, with updated cartoon looks to boot! So now everyone is going from being weirded out to being pissed off!

Let’s sum up the game once more; Kingdom Hearts features a kid named Sora, who wears really big shoes, weird clothing and a very crazy hairstyle, his main weapon is a giant key, fights against these shadow enemies called “the heartless”, his two partners are Donald and Goofy, they travel to worlds based on famous Disney movies, they fight these monsters in order to close the door to the world’s hearts and you get to talk to Cloud from Final Fantasy VII…A REALLY weird mix, don’t you think? More importantly, how is all going to work? In the hands of an un-capable developer, the concept of Kingdom Hearts would’ve been the perfect recipe for disaster. But luckily, Square was behind this one hundred percent and the end results couldn’t have been better!

Kingdom Hearts was released in Japan and the US in 2002 to major critical and commercial success. While the game featured an annoying camera system that plagued the game, battle system was top notch and the story and presentation was one of the most inspired of the year. The main story was masterfully combined with the weird concept, making it a nostalgic and unforgettable role playing journey. The graphics and sound were superb; Disney characters that have never been rendered in the 3D world looked astounding and the soundtrack was a delight combination of whimsy and drama. Simply put, Kingdom Hearts is one of the best cross over projects since Nintendo’s “Smash Bros.” series.

So why are people complaining about how Kingdom Hearts 2 is getting too weird with these live action movie worlds, music games and 1920s cartoons? If anything, these weird additions should’ve been expected by fans of the game. Square pulled no punches when they created Kingdom Hearts, and they will not stop now with the sequel!

These additions also prove that Square isn’t just making a quick sequel to cash in on the success of Kingdom Hearts like many do in the industry. Square is making an unforgettable follow up to one amazing game. For a while though, it seemed that Square was on the track to creating a safe sequel; a new world here, an addition there and continue the story from where it left off. But when Square announced these new worlds and characters it proved that they were still as crazy about the game as they were back in 2000.

Now, let’s try looking at these new worlds using the game’s logic. I’m also going to be using logic from CLAMP’s latest anime, “Tsubasa Chronicles”.

In the first game, Aerith explains to Donald and Goofy that there are many worlds besides our own, but that was kept a secret in order to keep the world order and prevent a disaster. So, if worlds ruled by humanoid animals can exist, so can worlds ruled by angst ridden Final Fantasy characters, monsters in eternal Halloween and even real human beings! So, worlds like the Steamboat willie world and the Pirates of the Caribbean world can exist and still be logical to the game. This “multiple world/dimension” logic is also mentioned in Tsubasa Chronicles. When the characters gather for the first time in front of the dimensional witch, she says this: “There are many dimensions unlike our own. You may stumble upon a dimension in a different time period from your own. You may find a dimension where you are different from whom you are. There are dimensions with people with different looks, lives and even clothing. So be careful”. OK, so this isn’t exactly what she says to the characters, but what she says not only sums up that series’ multiple world logic, it sums up the logic of Kingdom Hearts!

Complain number 2:
What about these transformations?! Sora in black and white?? Jack Sparrow looks REAL while Sora is still a cartoon?? WHY IS SORA A LION????????

First, I will tackle these complains using the Disney/Square and Kingdom Hearts logic.

Remember what I just wrote about the game’s multiple world logic. If a world ruled by humanoid animals can exist, why not a world full of live action humans? It’s logic explained in Tsubasa Chronicles, that a world can be different from your own. So a cartoon world can indeed exist in the same universe as a human world. I mention this because way back when the Pirates of the Caribbean world was first unveiled many complained that it ruined the game because the game was all cartoon based. If you go back to the first game, while the worlds were indeed inspired by the Disney animated films each film was different in terms of look, style and story. For example, Agrabah was based on the movie Aladdin, which in itself was a post modern take on the 1001 Arabian tales inspired by artwork from the legendary cartoonist Al Hirschfield. And Wonderland was inspired by Alice in wonderland, a movie ruled by the non sense and surreal elements. So even if the game’s worlds were inspired by animated Disney films, all of them are different from each other.

Now let’s tackle the issue of transforming in certain worlds. As I already explained and those that played the game understand clearly in the game’s story, the inhabitants of the many worlds must not know that there are other worlds besides their own in order to keep the order of worlds. Sora, Donald and Goofy are breaking that rule in order to protect the worlds being destroyed by the heartless. So Sora and crew must not tell the inhabitants where they are from. Let’s imagine that you are in a top secret mission in a foreign country. One of the things that they tell you is that you must not reveal who you really are and they tell you that you must blend in with the local in order to not wake any suspicion. So, you will try your best in order not to fail your mission. In some case, this applies to Sora’s mission. If he enters a world inhabited by merpeople, is he going to swim around in his old clothes? Not only would he look out of place, he would stand out badly and would wake suspicion of who he really is. Same with the Lion King world; if the world is ruled by animals that have probably never seen a human figure before, what would you do?

Let’s look at this issue artistically. I think Square should be applauded for their efforts here. Why? These things are not easy to make. For the transformations they could’ve taken the easy route and just let the characters be. Yet they went the extra mile and re-designed the characters so they would look like they belonged in those worlds. They could’ve just taken Sora’s model and make it black and white, take Donald and Goofy away and just have the world be Mickey, Pete and Sora. But they went ahead and made all 3 characters look like their 1920s counterparts and Sora a black and white cartoon. And he looks great too! Same logic with the Pirates of the Caribbean world. They could’ve just made all the characters into cartoon characters and let it be. But they took all their processing power and made sure the characters looked exactly like the actors in the movie. It’s not an easy thing to do because modeling a realistic human in 3D take a lot of time and patience. So Square should be applauded for doing a great job on the characters models in the Pirates of the Caribbean world.

The mix of styles also makes the graphics in Kingdom hearts 2 unique. No other game can perfectly pull many graphic styles, save for Nintendo’s Wario ware series. Square was able to make the style transition believable.

Complain number 3:
Music games in Kingdom hearts?? THAT’S A BLASPHEMY! KINGDOM HEARTS IS ALL ABOUT BATTLES, BATTLES, BATTLES!!!!!!!!!

Whoah! Don’t cream your shorts there, fanboy. Yes, I know that one of the things that made Kingdom hearts so fun were the hectic and often pulse pounding battles, and it’s perfectly clear that Kingdom hearts 2 is going be even more battle happy than before thanks to wisdom and valor forms and team up attacks. So why the fuss over one world being music based?

It was recently announced that Atlantica, the world from The Little Mermaid, was going to be music based instead of battle based. This made fans scream their hearts out. I ask again, why the fuss?

In case you don’t remember, Kingdom Hearts is a love letter to Disney from Disney hand written by Square. One of the things that made Disney movies so unforgettable was the music. From Snow white and the seven dwarfs to Tarzan, music helped develop the characters and enhance the story. The Little Mermaid is no exception. Come on, stop being so bitchy or macho man, You know damn well that when you were kid and watched Little mermaid for the first time, you couldn’t get “Under the sea” our of your head or thought that Ariel’s ballad “Part of your world” was a hopeful love tune. So, having a mini game which celebrates Disney’s music in Kingdom hearts 2 sounds very logical and adds to the tribute and nostalgia aspect of the game.

Besides, we have more than 10 worlds already, almost all of them being battle based, including the Steamboat Willie world. And from what we have seen in the trailers, there is going to be a scene where you fight countless of heartless! You can’t let a song and dance number ruin the action element of the game…Besides, lighten up a bit! You know you secretly want to dance with Ariel…

Complain number 4:
Kingdom hearts 2 was supposed to be even darker than the first one! Yet Square is doing these silly additions like music games, Winnie the Pooh, Steamboat Willie and Lion King!

OK, so this isn’t really the general opinion. This is a complaint made by a friend of mine when he analyzed the game. I told him this and I will tell you this; Kingdom Hearts has always been a combination of whimsy and drama.

Kingdom hearts had many elements of fun yet they didn’t take away from the drama of the game. Riku’s betrayal of Sora in order to pursue darkness didn’t lack passion just because Donald and Goofy were in a majority of the scenes. The scene where Sora stabs his heart with the dark keyblade was still shocking, even though moments before that scene Sora was hanging out with Winnie the Pooh. And even thought Sora was trying to find his friends, he was saving Dalmatian puppies along the way. The game was still dramatic and sad, even though there were many instances of Disney charm. The ending is a bittersweet example of this belief. In fact, this combination is what made the game even better!

In a review of Disney’s Tarzan at Ultimate Disney, they said that the best Disney movies are those that have many elements rolled into one, and I agree with that. The Disney films have always featured elements of darkness and horror along with the fun and whimsical. Take for example, Snow White and the seven dwarfs. Sure, the movie featured a very cute princess, her animal friends are cuddly baby animals and her companions are cartoony men. But, there was darkness involved in all of it. Snow White’s stepmother the queen wanted her killed just so she could be the most beautiful woman in the land. And for proof, she wanted her heart. Then Snow White was stalked by a hunter, and then ran across a terrifying forest, which ended in her fainting. Then after we spend some time with the dwarfs the queen becomes the ugly peddler. The scene itself is a dark and sinister transformation, once in which we see the queen in pain and shock. Then goes off to visit Snow White; killing her with the poisoned apple. The Dwarfs are shocked to hear of what had happened and chase the queen. The entire chase sequence ends with the queen falling off a cliff then being crushed by a boulder. A pretty nasty way to die, no? Then we see the dwarfs mourn the death of Snow White is a painful and sad funeral scene, a scene that moved many back on it’s premiere thanks to the amount of emotion put into that scene. But it all ends in high hopes as the kiss from the prince saves her and she goes off to live happily ever after. The movie may have looked cute, but there sure were many scenes where it was dark and dramatic, one of the reasons this movie became a classic. This tradition carried on to the other Disney films. Bambi? It’s stars are cute baby animals, yet it shows one of the most realistic and raw scenes put in any movie up to date. Fantasia? While it opened with surreal, amusing and fun segments it ended with a celebration of the dark and occult, which lead to public criticism by angry mothers. Want more proof of how the best Disney movies are the darkest ones? Master film maker Steven Spielberg has confessed that he was scared of Disney movies when he was a kid and walked out of many theaters.

This can be applied to Kingdom Hearts. The story may have it’s instances of humor, fun, whimsy and surreal elements but the core element, the part that makes the story a great and unforgettable one is the passion the characters have for each other. Riku betrayed Sora just so he could save Kairi. He manipulated Sora just so he could rescue her. Sora had to sacrifice his life and home just so he could rescue his friends. He even lost his memories caring for a person he never even met! So I have faith that even if we go all goofy (no pun intended) during the steamboat willie sequence or how flamboyant the musical elements in Atlantica are going to be the story will still a triumphant tale of the eternal struggle between light and darkness and the people caught in the crossfire.

Final thoughts
In some ways, the complaints and concerns are understandable. Kingdom hearts 2 is a highly anticipated sequel. Many want to return to the Disney inspired worlds and meet up with the characters we grew up with, the characters we are getting to know and battle hundreds of monsters in heart pounding battles just to see what happens. But passing judgment without giving it a real try is unfair and could end up ruining what could be one of the best games of the year.

I would recommend skipping all the info and ignore any scans or rumors if any information revealed disturbs you towards an early hatred of the game. That way when you go into the game you will be fresh and open minded, ready to take on the surprises the game has to offer, because this is what the game is all about…

You never know who you will run into next…

-pap64
 

Puck

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I fully agree with your comments. Very well said. By the way, I bet all my money that all those complaints came from Riku fanboy. They seem to have a strange definition and vision on what KH should be.
 

KHandBritney

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I have to say that I think everythin in Kingdom Hearts 2 is 99% of what I like about the game....The reason why its not a 100 % is because I hate pooh bear but other wise I love everyting about that game.
 
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Mitsukai

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That was very good, Its the truth too, I don't know why people enjoy making complaints about the game, especially when they haven't played it.

My only concern was the bit about Riku saving Kairi, I know it was like an example but I don't really believe that Riku liked Kairi. I think that he was jealous of her and how much Sora liked her. RIku and Sora had been best friends all their life and then Kairi comes along and takes that away. Riku probably just wanted to save Kairi to impress Sora.
 

sora is the best

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That was really well thought out and written very good, this is so good a mod should read this and make it a sticky.
 

dark_palladin

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All i can say about this is....it's been a long time coming. For too long I've had to endure people's complaints that are unfounded. After a while i just got tired of trying to convince people that you can't judge the game before it has even come out. I am glad that someone has decided to take up the fight again though, so i say kudos to you.
 

AinzX

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What is the point of writing an essay (Whoh!) about the game when its release date is not far off???
 
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Orochi Yashiro

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Ainxz appreciate somthin' once in a while. It must of taken some thought.
 
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Mitsukai

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well don't post then... it's not that long at all... you have to read it all to fully appreciate it.
 

Dentim

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I can't find any good words, so I'll just say that you're absolutely right.
And to say that I never complement anyone. (There's got to be something wrong with me)
Anyways, nicely done!
 

IF_IL_II_IP

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KHandBritney said:
I have to say that I think everythin in Kingdom Hearts 2 is 99% of what I like about the game....The reason why its not a 100 % is because I hate pooh bear but other wise I love everyting about that game.
lol haha.....i totally agree with u there was no significance whatsoever of that world in comparison to the game. there were no heartless in that world so what the f#ck was the point of having that world in the game in the first place:confused:
 

sephirot_rules

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I only read like 7 paragraphs till' I got tired *scratches head, but from what I read I think that people that say "mean" things about KH2 aren't really fans. It seems that KH2 will be an awesome/original game and I don't think anyone should say otherwise.
 

pap64

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IF_IL_II_IP said:
lol haha.....i totally agree with u there was no significance whatsoever of that world in comparison to the game. there were no heartless in that world so what the f#ck was the point of having that world in the game in the first place:confused:

Corporate synergy, my friend. I read that Winnie the Pooh is a HUGE franchise in Japan, almost rivaling japanese series when it comes to merchandise sales and such.

I may be wrong though, but I do know Pooh is really liked in Japan.

And thanks a lot everybody for the responses! It means a lot to me. Yeah, I spend a lot time writting this. I used the skills I recently learned in a writting class in school to make it coherent and logical. Like I said, the essay might change depending on the opinions and the eventual release of the game.

-pap64
 

LishatheAeroMage

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Bravo, bravo!! An amazing job! I completely agree with all of this. Even if I hadn't before, the points you made were so valid and solid that I would have aggreed in the end anyway! *throws a rose onto the stage*
 

pap64

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pwn3d to the max said:
1) they aren't his comments so don't give him props for it
2) good job finding this thing

If you are talking about the "Pedro Hernandez" at the beggining of the essay, that's my real name. I used my name with intentions of using it on my website and other places.

If you're being "funny"/sarcastic, screw you.

-pap64
 
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