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Finding a New Way to Enjoy Kingdom Hearts in 2021



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Pandymint

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Gonna preface this by saying: good god I haven't been here in years and the days I was feels like a lifetime ago even if it was only 5 years. I don't know why I came back, maybe boredom on this particular day, but what can you do. Thought I'd share this.


As title implies I've been a fan of Kingdom Hearts since the original release, and as you can imagine I've been through most of the games multiple times. I still love the games and its still one of my favorite franchises, but not a moment goes by where I wonder what it would be like to experience them all again for the first time. Feel it's safe to assume I'm far from the only person that experiences this. Around 2017 I met a new friend and in the last 4 years he's become one of my best friends. We often recommended things to each other: music, tv, games, etc. I told him for a long time "Hey, you should give Kingdom Hearts a shot. I think you'd like it." He always said he may do it, just depends on if he runs into it for a good price at a store since he prefers physical media. The only sticking point, as you may could guess, being the integration of Disney. Eventually I'd even get him to play Yakuza 0 by practically throwing it at him for Christmas, and he loved it. So I knew my intuition into his taste was good.


Finally after some time he grabbed The Story So Far... package with the intention of playing it at some point, but no clear idea of when he'd get around to it. He even grabbed Kingdom Hearts III when he found it for $10 brand new during a sale at the time. But he still had no concrete plans for when. Then around March 2021 he decided it was finally time to take the plunge. He started Kingdom Hearts 1 and I just let him enjoy the game, no backseating unless it was necessary, and just enjoyed fresh eyes experiencing this franchise for the first time. He had some valid issues stemming from the game's pure age, most notably being how close the camera is to Sora in that game but he persevered. Knowing how he is, I'd warn him of parts he wouldn't like. He skipped Atlantica entirely because of his distaste for water levels, and I told him it'd be fine in the end. He also skipped most of Olympus Coliseum since he doesn't like 'grinding' and still hadn't been grabbed by the game yet. It was fine. I already had an entire plan for how to tackle the series for him. During the course of KH1 I had been talking to another friend of mine in a KH-adjacent Discord server about the playthrough and he wanted in. So we started streaming it to the player's discord server and having a core group watching every session.


I'll never forget watching him get all the way to Final Rest in End of the World and starting the final fight with Ansem at sub-level 40, I wanna say around 37. He was on Standard difficulty, and well people level 1 these games so its absolutely possible, but as this was his first time he struggled and would call it bullshit. But I mean, you skipped two worlds and are at least 10 levels below what your average playthrough would be at. Regardless, he didn't give up and finally beat him.


And that's when it happened. That's when we got the pop. He spent the entire game liking it, but never loving it. Enter: Mickey Mouse, the Rat King himself. That moment where Mickey finally shows up and helps Sora close the door was when he finally went crazy with hype and it was one of the greatest experiences. He was now grabbed and wanted to continue, and continue we did.


To reiterate I know how he is with certain things and what will make him lose interest so I set up a plan moving forward. He won't like the combat of Re:CoM so lets watch cutscenes. Watch Days following that, because I'll be damned if he hates Roxas' tutorial prologue in II. Then play II. Watch Re:Coded. Play Birth By Sleep. Watch 3D because I new he'd hate the Drop mechanic. Watch Back Cover. Play 0.2. Play III and ReMind. Finish with watching the story of Melody of Memory cause holmes is trash at rhythm games, he's got no rhythm.


KH1 > (Re:CoM) > (Days) > KHII > (Re:Coded) > BBS > (DDD) > (Back Cover) > BBS 0.2 > KHIII/ReMind > (MoM) with ( ) denoting cutscenes only.


For the next two months between work schedules and the like we hammered through these games, most of us never missing a minute of it and it was such a grand time to have and I'm so glad we did it the way we did. By the time we got to BBS we even convinced him to spend some time grinding with Aqua to get access to her more ridiculous magic commandsWe had our fun here and there, our own jokes and gags. He even decided to try out DDD himself despite me and another saying "no dude you're gonna hate it." So we let him. He dropped it as soon as the Drop mechanic was introduced. Lols were had. He became a fan in the end, though. Despite someone in another server telling him "KH3 isn't fun unless you play on at least proud mode." He played on Standard, and KH3 is his favorite game in the series. But remember, he didn't have fun because he didn't play on Proud.



So thats a droning but quick rundown of what's probably the best thing about 2021 for me. I got to relive those first time experiences with this franchise at long last with my friends. And it forever will make me unable to understand gatekeeping. Sharing this with my friend was the best, why would you want to keep people from enjoying things?


Now I just have to get him to play TWEWY tbh.
 

Soldier

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Ah, been a while since I've seen you around here. Reading this reminded me of the first ever game trade I did with my friend. I had to play persona 5, he had to play through KH 1, 2 and 3. IIrc he loved 2, thought 1 was alright and 3 was meh (the true makings of a fan if I ever saw one). Unlike your friend he had the drive to complete every world (Even KH 2's Atlantica, which both of us despise) and even rank the worlds from worst to best. Still have some of the convos from that exchange, and I'll cherish them always. The first time he ever picked it up I was there, and the moment he was able to walk around in the station of awakening he tried to make Sora walk off the edge. Good times.

My advice for convincing him to try TWEWY, do what I did and do what he'd want in exchange.
 
D

Deleted member 246005

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I just look at fanart on DeviantArt. There are some cool concepts for new characters/enemies that reignite my interest in the series. The Xehanort saga killed my interest but fan art brought it back.

Ironically there's a cool fan pitch for a Xehanort prequel that I like.


This is a cool redesign of Kairi that I like.


Someone did a take on the cast in Zootopoia.


I'll replay the games one day but I'm backed up with other games. So these keep me interested.

@Pandymint
The new World Ends With You game had a free demo out. Have him try that.
 
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