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Falling in and out of love with Kingdom Hearts in a post-KH3 world



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Darkspawn

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I had to take a long break from KH after my initial playthrough of 3. I sincerely enjoyed much of the game, but there were so many missed opportunities and awkward storytelling/gameplay decisions that I was ultimately left disappointed when I finished. So after I beat the game and finished the battle gates, I stopped playing. Couldn’t even bring myself to get Ultimate Weapon or collect all the CK games/Lucky Emblems. I tried to start another playthrough when Critical Mode released, but I was getting destroyed and didn’t feel motivated enough to push through.

So I definitely thought I might have lost my love for KH at that point. But a couple weeks ago, I finally picked Critical Mode back up and I’ve honestly had more fun with KH3 now than I have had with any KH game since KH1. Most (not all) of my complaints from the initial playthrough seem trivial now.

Even Arendelle, which I didn’t care for at all the first time around, really grew on me when I realized that SDG taking a behind the scenes role in the Disney worlds is not really some unforgivable sin. I actually like that they didn’t take away from Elsa and Anna’s story by squeezing Sora into every scene with them and I loved the unexpected partnership with Marshmallow.

There are absolutely flaws in KH3’s design which have been fairly criticized, but there’s also a lot to make up for those shortcomings. So if you feel as disappointed by KH3 as I was, consider taking some time away from the franchise and take another shot at later down the line. You might find yourself enjoying it a lot more once you’ve processed your grievances. Of course, you have to be open to letting that enjoyment happen. There are some people who already had their minds made up about KH3 long before the game even came out (which is fine; don’t @ me,) so I don’t think this would be of any benefit to those people or change how they feel.

Overall, I’m still looking forward to seeing what’s next for the franchise. I think Nomura has a story he’s been itching to tell since Chi released and now he finally gets to let loose without being held back by the Xehanort stuff. So if that story ends up being good and Osaka team continues to build off what worked in KH3 and cut/improve what didn’t, I think good things are in store. Especially considering Square Enix might be willing to invest in more resources after KH3’s success.
 

Obiewantsanipod

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Kingdom hearts 3 has a lot of positives and negatives I won't get into except for the one that got under my skin the most, story pacing.

The whole story was squished at the end, and it was almost like they wrote themselves into a corner. I would've appreciated a mid-game climax of sorts where many characters come together in some kind of hub world to deal with some imminent danger and unveil some truths on what they should do next. The whole point of Sora visiting worlds was the power of waking, and they wrote themselves into a corner because if Ventus was to return midway through, Aqua would have had to be found prior to him, which would render the rest of the disney worlds moot.

In hindsight, they had to squeeze everything at the end as there was no room for anything in between other than phone calls and other ridiculous shenanigans like Riku and Mickey's random light bulb epiphanies. Aw Gawsh, he's a portal, we should trap him. Like when did you think of that your highness, while stopza was in play, what effective time management.

Or maybe the "midway climax" should've been Roxas related, or figuring out the forgotten tragedy that is the third heart inside of Sora.

Anyway, my experience with KH3 has it's ups and downs, as any game does, I can't be bothered to compare it to any previous titles. It's really just the story and its pacing that bugged me to hell and back, and don't get me started on organization "I didn't even want to join this club".
 

Face My Fears

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Kingdom hearts 3 has a lot of positives and negatives I won't get into except for the one that got under my skin the most, story pacing.

The whole story was squished at the end, and it was almost like they wrote themselves into a corner. I would've appreciated a mid-game climax of sorts where many characters come together in some kind of hub world to deal with some imminent danger and unveil some truths on what they should do next. The whole point of Sora visiting worlds was the power of waking, and they wrote themselves into a corner because if Ventus was to return midway through, Aqua would have had to be found prior to him, which would render the rest of the disney worlds moot.

In hindsight, they had to squeeze everything at the end as there was no room for anything in between other than phone calls and other ridiculous shenanigans like Riku and Mickey's random light bulb epiphanies. Aw Gawsh, he's a portal, we should trap him. Like when did you think of that your highness, while stopza was in play, what effective time management.

Or maybe the "midway climax" should've been Roxas related, or figuring out the forgotten tragedy that is the third heart inside of Sora.

Anyway, my experience with KH3 has it's ups and downs, as any game does, I can't be bothered to compare it to any previous titles. It's really just the story and its pacing that bugged me to hell and back, and don't get me started on organization "I didn't even want to join this club".
When I first played KH3, that whole Xehanort's a portal thing felt like it came out of nowhere. When I played it again, I realized that Mickey/Riku had that planned when Mickey is tempted to use time magic during the 10,000 heartless fight and Riku stops him and says that he has to save it for later. It was very minor, but I like that it was at least somewhat touched upon.
 

Launchpad

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Potential logical fallacy ahead:

I think KH3 is more enjoyable to play through when you already know exactly what's wrong with it.

On a first playthrough, a game's major flaws can cast large shadows over a game's positive qualities. Once you're aware of these shortcomings, it's a lot easier to notice everything they did right.

This is how I got over my likely irrational KH2 disappointment that I held onto for so many years. Now when I play it, I just look forward to the stuff I like and slightly roll my eyes at the stuff that really just sucks... But the outcome ends up being positive, because they put so much effort into certain areas of the game, that those areas are unparalleled even now in the franchise.

My least favorite KH game(s)? Something that is not the best at anything. Characters, music, combat, levels, pacing... Something that is not leading the charge on any single facet of the experience. Something that goes no where new, introduces nothing of value, and comes and goes, EXPECTING you to be invested without doing the work.

That's right. BBS, baby!!!! Now I'm wondering where I was in 2010 to make the "Falling in and out of love with Kingdom Hearts in a post BBS world" thread.
 

The Kid

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Be as speechless and inflammatory as you want, but I'm sticking to my guns on this one. Here's why:

Even if it's conclusive, there's still way too many questions that are left unanswered. For example, sure, you could leave the message as the bottle alone and that would be fine. But, what about the can of worms that was opened with Xehanort? Once it was revealed that not only was Ansem's name stolen from Ansem the Wise, but it also revealed that Xemnas isn't Ansem either, it's Xehanort's Heartless. Once you destroy a Heartless and a Nobody, the body usually becomes Recompleted. If two halves of the original guy were already massive threats, what do you think the original Somebody is going to do? He's not gonna be on Destiny Islands drinking Paopu juice. This is literally the entire point of why we ended up getting BBS next. And like I said, it's not all that conclusive because the Secret Ending shows right then and there that there's more to what meets the eye.
Honestly, I'm not sure about everyone else but this never even crossed my mind until it was revealed that bodies are re completed. Wasn't it the Coded secret ending that revealed that anyway? In KH2, there was never any inclination that Xehanort would return with his heartless and nobody killed. In fact, I assumed that all the Org members who died like Axel were dead for good. I didn't see anything that suggested they would return to their original bodies after being killed

Really, the reason why many found the KH2 end so satisfying was that it was an end to most of the story arcs that were started in the first game and developed further in CoM. We got to see Sora finally reunite with Riku and Kairi, Riku fully become a good guy again who fought the final battle with Sora, Sora give Kairi her charm back, and everyone (Destiny trio + Mickey Mouse fam) together at the end. Regardless of the general story lore which itself wasn't as sequel baiting as KH3's ending, the general character endings felt like reached a proper conclusion if they decided to end it right there.

For what it's worth, I like KH3's conclusion more than most but there was too much stuff in the game that was clearly being set up for after the series. As opposed to just a line here or there, there were whole conversations clearly set up for future installments. Honestly, if the gacha game hints were removed, even KH3 could function as a good ending although a very bittersweet one where Sora dies but everyone else gets a happy ending.
 

redcrown

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You know I've noticed a lot that you use the term "fans" in quotations a lot, when referring to people who can still love the series or love what it meant to them in the past, that still have genuine criticisms and grievances over how it handled certain things. Am I wrong to assume that this has some insinuation of the "true fans" and "fake fans" belief, that dictates only people who accept absolutely everything about the series with no gripes about any aspect of it, are the "true fans", and all others "fake" fans?


But, what about the can of worms that was opened with Xehanort? Once it was revealed that not only was Ansem's name stolen from Ansem the Wise, but it also revealed that Xemnas isn't Ansem either, it's Xehanort's Heartless. Once you destroy a Heartless and a Nobody, the body usually becomes Recompleted. If two halves of the original guy were already massive threats, what do you think the original Somebody is going to do?

Wasn't that only revealed in DDD? Or Coded as someone else mentioned. KH2 itself didn't introduce this lore element, so as far as the fans knew at the time, the organization and all the Xehanorts officially died and their threats vanquished for good. Even with BBS exploring who Master Xehanort was and Xigbar's knowledge of other keyblade wielders, it didn't itself imply that their revivals were even going to happen in future titles or KH3. The only "cliffhangers" BBS had was the fates of the trio and if they would ever be saved. I fully expected it to be a true prequel at the time, thinking Xehanort and the organization members were truly never coming back and that BBS was just a mostly self contained treat for fans who wanted to know what the KH2 secret ending was about.
 

NoWay

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I actually like KH3 more than KH2 vanilla. I won’t compare FM stuff with KH3’s vanilla version because it would be unfair.
So why do I prefer KH3?

In the last months I played KH3 two times. The first time on Normal and the second time on Critical mode. At first, I thought that the normal mode was sometimes surprisingly challenging. And I love KH3’s critical mode because for me the boss fights do not feel unfair or bad designed. They were challenging but not in a BBS-Terranort way. I needed to focus on the battle, the movements of the enemies etc. I also love Keyblade transformations, the summons, Attraction Flow (although I didn’t use it too often), magic and the situation commands in KH3. Furthermore, I really enjoyed the Disney worlds and the finale, which was also very satisfying for me. And I adore the soundtrack. In my point of view, KH3’s soundtrack is the best KH3 soundtrack because there are so many songs I love.

However, there are some points which I didn’t like in KH3. While replaying KH2, I realized how much I love Hollow Bastion/Radiant Garten and how much I loved the mid way point after completing the Disney worlds for the first time with the climax in Hollow Bastion and the 1000 Heartless fight. I also loved the introduction of Tron because his world felt relevant for the plot. This is a big point which I miss in KH3. I mean, Hollow Bastion & the first visit in Space Paranoids were amazing and are for me by far the best world experience in the KH franchise. I don’t think that KH3 needed Hollow Bastion again, but they could have used Twilight Town for more visits and a mid way climax after completing 4-5 Disney worlds. I also don’t understand why they did not have expanded the Data Twilight Town plot because it would have offered so much more good plot stuff like searching for Roxas’ data in Data Twilight Town. They also could have expanded TT but oh well don’t get me started on that.

The beginning of the finale after completing the last Disney world also felt a bit exhausting because of too many cutscenes without saving opportunities. For example I would have preferred to have a explorable Realm of Darkness after like 100 cutscenes without doing nothing before fighting Aqua. And the last cutscenes before going to KG were also too many. And they also missed the opportunity to expand the relationship between the Guardians of light. Here, I would have preferred having the Mysterious Tower or even Twilight Town as a world where all the GoL are located to go on some missions with them. I mean, it would have been really cool to go to Radiant Garden with Aqua and Ventus to search for some hints about Terras whereabouts etc.

However, I also have to admit that KH2FM also has many poorly designed gameplay decisions. For example the boss fights at the end of the second visits in the Disney worlds. I think that the majority of the second visit bosses are terrible. For example Jafar.. Controlling the carpet was horrible and not allowing to have Donald and Goofy was also terrible. I also hated the part where you need to get out of the ruins of Agrabah because there they didn’t even allow you to use magic. I died soooooo many times on critical mode.

My answer is really too long hahaha but yeah that’s in general my opinion. Although KH3 has it’s flaws, I would prefer it to KH2 vanilla.

Now I’m hoping that ReMind addresses some of my issues so I can also say that I like KH3’s “final mix” more than KH2 final mix.
 

Twilight Lumiair

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When I first played KH3, that whole Xehanort's a portal thing felt like it came out of nowhere. When I played it again, I realized that Mickey/Riku had that planned when Mickey is tempted to use time magic during the 10,000 heartless fight and Riku stops him and says that he has to save it for later. It was very minor, but I like that it was at least somewhat touched upon.
Hm? How does "No, save your strength" translate to "Xehanort's a portal"? As far as I can tell, what happened was that Mickey was going to use an extremely taxing high level magic spell, didn't, then used another of those same high level magic spells on Xehanort directly (like Riku wanted), failed, and was in fact countered by the very attack he previously tried to launch.
It's really just the story and its pacing that bugged me to hell and back, and don't get me started on organization "I didn't even want to join this club".
Lol, this is so true it's actually funny. Like, how is the New Organization, a group that requires you to be trustworthy as one of it's main prerequisites, MORE dysfunctional than the original? (though I suppose once you get down to it, most of the requirements Xemnas listed didn't really mean much in the end, especially looking at who they freaking brought back) I mean, screw all the traitors, Ansem SoD didn't even give a shit about Xehanort's ambitions by the end of the game, and effectively became an accessory to Siax/Vexen's schemes. Heck, even YX and Luxu were implied to conspiring in the background too. It's embarrassing that Xehanort couldn't even keep control of the people that were supposed to be his vessels.
 
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SweetYetSalty

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Hm? How does "No, save your strength" translate to "Xehanort's a portal"? As far as I can tell, what happened was that Mickey was going to use an extremely taxing high level magic spell, didn't, then used another of those same high level magic spells on Xehanort directly (like Riku wanted), failed, and was in fact countered by the very attack he previously tried to launch.

Lol, this is so true it's actually funny. Like, how is the New Organization, a group that requires you to be trustworthy as one of it's main prerequisites, MORE dysfunctional than the original? (though I suppose once you get down to it, most of the requirements Xemnas listed didn't really mean much in the end, especially looking at who they freaking brought back) I mean, screw all the traitors, Ansem SoD didn't even give a shit about Xehanort's ambitions by the end of the game, and effectively became an accessory to Siax/Vexen's schemes. Heck, even YX and Luxu were implied to conspiring in the background too. It's embarrassing that Xehanort couldn't even keep control of the people that were supposed to be his vessels.

I'm convinced Xehanort did not want to win the Keyblade War. You mean to tell me Xaldin and Lexaeus, two big strong guys loyal to Organization XIII, were not worthy to join the new one, but Marluxia, Larxene and Demyx are? They only make sense if they got the full on "Terranort" treatment and were brought fully under his control. Same with Xion, another one who turned traitor on the Organization. The fact that these guys were not fully submitted into Xehanort's control makes me question if the old guy's heart was really in this. Pardon the pun there.
 

Veevee

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I think it's interesting that a lot of people think that people who don't like KH3 dislike it because of their own personal bucket list in their head. "You don't like it because you wanted xy to happen and it didn't" - well, that is only partly true. Personally, yes, I had a few things that I would've liked to happen, but in general I didn't have a clear idea of what would happen and honestly, didn't care. Not in a way of "well, whatever happens" but in a way of "I don't mind the specifics of what happens as long as it's consequent to former games and packs an emotional punch". People often act like you shouldn't have had expectations from the game in the first place when all the trailers and prior games did just that - raise expectations. KH3 is not my personal fanfic, but the trailers and previous games touched upon a lot of things: Kairi doing training, Lea getting a keyblade for the specific sake of aiding Roxas and Xion, Riku and Mickey going to the RoD to save Aqua, Sora looking for Roxas and the other Guardians, an epic all-out clash with high stakes. The trailers themselves were dictating what I could expect from KH3 and what I delivered was Kairi doing nearly nothing and getting killed, Lea being useless comedic relief, Riku and Mickey failing, Sora sometimes looking for Roxas, sometimes for Terra, sometimes for the Power of Waking and basically all three are handed to him more or less and the all-out clash was Sora butting into every fight to win it. And now, after the game, people tell me that I shouldn't have expected anything in the first place. I need to expect something, anything to get my hype up. I love the feeling of being hyped for something which is only possible if I have expectations and care. I didn't want my personal fanfic fulfilled, but I wanted what I was teased for.
 

Face My Fears

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Hm? How does "No, save your strength" translate to "Xehanort's a portal"? As far as I can tell, what happened was that Mickey was going to use an extremely taxing high level magic spell, didn't, then used another of those same high level magic spells on Xehanort directly (like Riku wanted), failed, and was in fact countered by the very attack he previously tried to launch.

Lol, this is so true it's actually funny. Like, how is the New Organization, a group that requires you to be trustworthy as one of it's main prerequisites, MORE dysfunctional than the original? (though I suppose once you get down to it, most of the requirements Xemnas listed didn't really mean much in the end, especially looking at who they freaking brought back) I mean, screw all the traitors, Ansem SoD didn't even give a shit about Xehanort's ambitions by the end of the game, and effectively became an accessory to Siax/Vexen's schemes. Heck, even YX and Luxu were implied to conspiring in the background too. It's embarrassing that Xehanort couldn't even keep control of the people that were supposed to be his vessels.
Didn't Riku say to not use time magic and to save it for later? It is a bit of a stretch, but looking back on what happens it seems to suggest that Riku/Mickey were anticipating using time magic against Xehanort (probably because he is a "portal"). Obviously this needs more explaining, but at least they hinted at Mickey using time magic.

You know I've noticed a lot that you use the term "fans" in quotations a lot, when referring to people who can still love the series or love what it meant to them in the past, that still have genuine criticisms and grievances over how it handled certain things. Am I wrong to assume that this has some insinuation of the "true fans" and "fake fans" belief, that dictates only people who accept absolutely everything about the series with no gripes about any aspect of it, are the "true fans", and all others "fake" fans?
No, I'm talking about "fans" that only got into KH3 because of the mega hype then make videos and posts hating on it for likes/views. Basically people that only care about KH because it was a popular topic that would guarantee views/likes. You might disagree, but there are a lot of people like that on YouTube and other platforms. Those are the "fans" I cannot stand because they get majority of attention and their negativity for a game they don't genuinely care about ends up creating this atmosphere of hatred towards KH3 that isn't really reflective of other players of the game.
 

Darkspawn

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Didn't Riku say to not use time magic and to save it for later? It is a bit of a stretch, but looking back on what happens it seems to suggest that Riku/Mickey were anticipating using time magic against Xehanort (probably because he is a "portal"). Obviously this needs more explaining, but at least they hinted at Mickey using time magic.

Riku’s quote: “If you try to use time magic against these numbers, you won’t have enough strength for the final battle.”

I don’t think it had anything to do with the portal stuff. They just needed to establish that the group’s hands were tied and they were hopeless until Yen Sid showed up.
 

Face My Fears

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Riku’s quote: “If you try to use time magic against these numbers, you won’t have enough strength for the final battle.”

I don’t think it had anything to do with the portal stuff. They just needed to establish that the group’s hands were tied and they were hopeless until Yen Sid showed up.
The way I look at it, Mickey can only use time magic once before being drained. Riku/Mickey were expecting an all out assault from Xehanort for the final battle -- which meant that they may have to use time magic to manipulate the "portal" that is Xehanort. It's all in their heads, but the fact that Riku went out of his way to say "time magic" and "not enough strength for the final battle" meant that they were trying to allude to something and makes it clear that Riku/Mickey had a plan for Xehanort. Again, I'll say that it should have been fleshed out more (maybe a scene between Riku/Mickey discussing their plans for the final battle), but it seems intentional to me. Riku could have easily said, "Don't waste your energy on these heartless, we need it for the final battle".

Anyway, that's just how I interpreted it.
 

Darkspawn

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The way I look at it, Mickey can only use time magic once before being drained. Riku/Mickey were expecting an all out assault from Xehanort for the final battle -- which meant that they may have to use time magic to manipulate the "portal" that is Xehanort. It's all in their heads, but the fact that Riku went out of his way to say "time magic" and "not enough strength for the final battle" meant that they were trying to allude to something and makes it clear that Riku/Mickey had a plan for Xehanort. Again, I'll say that it should have been fleshed out more (maybe a scene between Riku/Mickey discussing their plans for the final battle), but it seems intentional to me. Riku could have easily said, "Don't waste your energy on these heartless, we need it for the final battle".

Anyway, that's just how I interpreted it.

“Don’t waste your energy on these Heartless, we need it for the final battle” is exactly what Riku meant. They just wrote the dialogue to include a more specific idea from the KH series that also calls back to Mickey using it in DDD, (an instance which didn’t seem to drain Mickey at all, btw.) Riku knows that Stopza is one of Mickey’s go-to moves and picked up on what he was about to do. If he had used Stopza in that moment against that many creatures, he would have ended up like Donald after using Zettaflare, which is what Riku wanted to prevent because they’d need Mickey in fighting shape. You can also tell by Mickey’s expression that he was about to make a sacrifice play.

Besides, Xehanort being a Portal is exactly the reason the Stopza spell didn’t work on him in DDD. Why would they think time magic would affect him this time?
 

Face My Fears

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“Don’t waste your energy on these Heartless, we need it for the final battle” is exactly what Riku meant. They just wrote the dialogue to include a more specific idea from the KH series that also calls back to Mickey using it in DDD, (an instance which didn’t seem to drain Mickey at all, btw.) Riku knows that Stopza is one of Mickey’s go-to moves and picked up on what he was about to do. If he had used Stopza in that moment against that many creatures, he would have ended up like Donald after using Zettaflare, which is what Riku wanted to prevent because they’d need Mickey in fighting shape. You can also tell by Mickey’s expression that he was about to make a sacrifice play.

Besides, Xehanort being a Portal is exactly the reason the Stopza spell didn’t work on him in DDD. Why would they think time magic would affect him this time?
I have no idea. The whole portal thing needed more explanation, like I said before. I was just saying that because Mickey used time magic and then the portal thing is brought up right after seems to indicate that they were somehow linked and it was planned by Riku/Mickey as a back-up if things went wrong.
 

Darkspawn

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I have no idea. The whole portal thing needed more explanation, like I said before. I was just saying that because Mickey used time magic and then the portal thing is brought up right after seems to indicate that they were somehow linked and it was planned by Riku/Mickey as a back-up if things went wrong.

I don’t remember Mickey ever actually using any time magic in KH3. He uses Ultima against MX who counters with Stopza. Then once the spell wears off, he and Riku rejoin the others and suggest the idea of using Xehanort as a portal. Maybe it was Xehanort’s use of time magic that made them think of it?

Idk. I think it was just a bit of an asspull, tbh. I think they should have had MX enter KH with it taking on the appearance of Scala ad Caelum due to Xehanort’s connection with it. Then SDG could have gone through a door of no return like in KH1 and 2. I personally missed that concept of a last reprieve and warning that you’re about to enter the endgame. I guess the theme of “opening the door” ended with KH2, but still.
 

Face My Fears

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I don’t remember Mickey ever actually using any time magic in KH3. He uses Ultima against MX who counters with Stopza. Then once the spell wears off, he and Riku rejoin the others and suggest the idea of using Xehanort as a portal. Maybe it was Xehanort’s use of time magic that made them think of it?

Idk. I think it was just a bit of an asspull, tbh. I think they should have had MX enter KH with it taking on the appearance of Scala ad Caelum due to Xehanort’s connection with it. Then SDG could have gone through a door of no return like in KH1 and 2. I personally missed that concept of a last reprieve and warning that you’re about to enter the endgame. I guess the theme of “opening the door” ended with KH2, but still.
I miss the door motif as well. It would have been a great opportunity to have all the characters have dialogue/you could talk to them before entering the video before the end of the game. No one's even there if you go back from Scala to the Keyblade Graveyard.
 
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