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Spoilers ► Is the story of Kingdom Hearts really that confusing?



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Guernsey

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You might have heard this many times before. Whether it is "The games story is convoluted!", "The games are confusing and bloated!" and "The story should be more simpler!". I am sure you might have heard those quotes or some variation of those quotes in your lifetime. To be fair, those memes do have some merit to them to a degree but it is not always accurate. The plot of the games is actually straightforward and easy to grasp but it can leave you lost if you go into detail. Do not get me wrong, I think the writing could be better. What I would like to know if you think the story is that confusing? Or has it been exaggerated?
 

AegisXIII

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Exagerated. It mostly comes from the fact that it is split across multiple games that happen in different point on the timeline. If it was one giant game, it wouldn't be feel confusing at all (minus except regular mysteries like Power of Waking).
I know a lot of people who see the side games as chores, then simply play 1,2 and 3 with some catchup on youtube and they then complain they are lost.
 

BufferAqua

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I think DDD is confusing as shit and I don't blame anyone for finding it convoluted. But the games before that are simple enough. KH3 isn't too bad, but it does have DDD's scuffiness.
 

vaderskywalker

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I think DDD is confusing as shit and I don't blame anyone for finding it convoluted. But the games before that are simple enough. KH3 isn't too bad, but it does have DDD's scuffiness.
How is DDD confusing? I have never understood that, as for the other games in the series, I'd recommend playing in chronological order, it's simpler that way.
 

BufferAqua

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How is DDD confusing?
It introduced time travel, the concept of YX is confusing, the Mark of Mastery was not well explained imo, and others. But that's just my opinion. And I have played in chronological order, it didn't make any different about DDD to me.

I get that people have unfair criticisms towards KH, but I'm not going to fault anyone for finding it convoluted. Many aspects of the series are not explained well. Plus, everyone is entitled to their opinion.
 

Chie

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There are confusing parts, but they are mainly in parts of the story that don't even enter into the public consciousness. The memes are all about the easy shit like "two xehanorts", not, say, the incredibly ambiguous situations presented in late UX, or the pointed emotional metafiction of Verum Rex.

The exact details of DDD are very confusing, this does not effect the overall plot but several specifics about the premise are still highly debated by fans, all of which think they know the real answer to things the game simply doesn't talk about at all.

It should be noted that I don't think "confusing" or "convoluted" are bad things whatsoever, and I think it says a lot that people use these words as such.
 

vaderskywalker

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It introduced time travel, the concept of YX is confusing, the Mark of Mastery was not well explained imo, and others. But that's just my opinion. And I have played in chronological order, it didn't make any different about DDD to me.

I get that people have unfair criticisms towards KH, but I'm not going to fault anyone for finding it convoluted. Many aspects of the series are not explained well. Plus, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

There are confusing parts, but they are mainly in parts of the story that don't even enter into the public consciousness. The memes are all about the easy shit like "two xehanorts", not, say, the incredibly ambiguous situations presented in late UX, or the pointed emotional metafiction of Verum Rex.

The exact details of DDD are very confusing, this does not effect the overall plot but several specifics about the premise are still highly debated by fans, all of which think they know the real answer to things the game simply doesn't talk about at all.

It should be noted that I don't think "confusing" or "convoluted" are bad things whatsoever, and I think it says a lot that people use these words as such.
It's probably just me because I don't really think about the plot of DDD that much, because to me, it's explained in the game what's going on, Xehanort pulled himself from the past, split himself into thirteen vesssels, and time travel is self-contained so there are no paradoxes, like you can't change the past, and once you get to your targeted time period you can only go forward as per the laws of time, think of Xehanort's time travel as basically the save points, each time you load a previous save, your basically going back in time in the game, but only the player is recalling these "time jumps" and the person you play as is unaware of the "time travel" that you just did, that's how I've always seen that way, at least since DDD, and I wouldn't put it past Nomura to base it on the save points.
 
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BufferAqua

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It should be noted that I don't think "confusing" or "convoluted" are bad things whatsoever, and I think it says a lot that people use these words as such.
I think it is perfectly okay for it to be a bad thing for someone. Confusing stories can be intriguing for me, so I get what you're saying, but it's fine for someone to dislike something they have issues following. Tho in my case I don't like DDD's story cuz it's boring af lol.
 
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Pandymint

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I don't think Kingdom Hearts as a whole is all that confusing, or convoluted, provided you follow the story as it was released and don't skip over anything. Even DDD isn't that bad once you just forget about the convoluted form of time travel. Sure there are other vagaries in the plot but it is what it is.

A lot of the "KH is confusing! It's so convoluted!" noise is exaggerated by people who don't understand that the 'spin offs' aren't actually spin offs and are all key parts of the story of the franchise.

Well. Except V Cast. We don't talk about V Cast.
 

Pandymint

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I forgot why it was introduced to begin with.
At least partially to explain Brown Sack Man at the start of KH1. Which is all well and good, but then you get into the whole "only hearts can travel through time but a version of that person has to exist where you are going" makes some of the things that happen very confusing if we assume that is a rigid rule with no loopholes.
 

Chie

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I think it is perfectly okay for it to be a bad thing for someone. Confusing stories can be intriguing for me, so I get what you're saying, but it's fine for someone to dislike something they have issues following. Tho in my case I don't like DDD's story cuz it's boring af lol.
I'm not speaking on this to validate or invalidate peoples individual opinions, they have those opinions no matter what. I don't care about that.

But it absolutely is reflective of western society's values that it's accepted as true-by-default that in a story "confusing = bad", "unexplained = bad", "ambiguous = bad", "unresolved = bad", etc. and there is actual history about where these values come from and what they signify: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degenerate_art

It's probably just me because I don't really think about the plot of DDD that much, because to me, it's explained in the game what's going on, Xehanort pulled himself from the past, split himself into thirteen vesssels, [...]
You may be surprised to remember there is other stuff in that game besides Xehanort's time travel explanation, which indeed, is the easy part.

Here's some questions worth asking:
-are Sora and Riku's bodies physically in the world of dreams, or are they merely projecting themselves from within their own dreams? If it's the former, how were their bodies sent back in time to Destiny Islands?
-Sora and Riku must unlock seven Sleeping Keyholes. More than seven Sleeping Keyholes are shown in the game. Which ones are actual Sleeping Keyholes?
-does this actually have any correlation with obtaining the Power of Waking? If so, why?
-is The Grid even a sleeping world? If not, why?

These are issues I have seen very in-depth arguments over. People are certain they understand the answers - but the truth is, most of this is completely glossed over in-game, and there are no explicit answers.

Again, this isn't bad to me, it fits DDD's themes and doesn't matter after DDD ends. But it's very confusing if you think about it for longer than a second!
 

MoonRabbit

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IMO, a big reason why the story is so confusing now is all the retconning. There was retconning in the past, sure. But starting with KH2FM, Nomura seemed to have a set story he was building up to. BBS, Days, Coded, 0.2, even KHX and Back Cover, all seemed to be building up to KH3. Then…the story changed on a whim, previous plot lines being built up were discarded. Let’s use an example.

KHX started off as browser game, a prequel about the Keyblade War. It was a self-contained story with a defined ending. Your player avatar dies and goes to the Final World where they are living in a dream created by Chirithy. But, since the game was quite profitable after being ported to mobile, Square wanted to continue the story and they had to retcon everything. Union X even seemed to retroactively uncanonize the secret ending from KHX, and it was never even given an official localization. Turns out Player didn’t go to the Final World, they just uh, went to the datascape. And the Chririthy Sora met isn’t your Chirithy, it’s uh, VEN’S Chirithy (which will only be resolved in KH4 now!!).

Then Square planned for Dark Road to be the new mobile cash cow and they wanted to create a connection between those two games. So your player then dies AGAIN and they are…reincarnated into Xehanort? Uh, okay. But Dark Road flops and Missing Link is now the cash cow mobile successor to UX that Square is banking on. Now we learn that Player didn’t reincarnate into Xehanort. No, no. They actually reincarnated into the ML Avatar. Xehanort just uh…absorbed their memories by being in their proximity.

It’s very hard to follow a series when it feels like the writer doesn’t firmly know where the story is going and is just making things up as he goes and constantly changing his mind on certain details.
 

BufferAqua

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But it absolutely is reflective of western society's values that it's accepted as true-by-default that in a story "confusing = bad", "unexplained = bad", "ambiguous = bad", "unresolved = bad"
In that case I do agree with you yeah.
Being very indepth is seen as a flaw in western cultures moreso.
 

KudoTsurugi

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IMO, a big reason why the story is so confusing now is all the retconning. There was retconning in the past, sure. But starting with KH2FM, Nomura seemed to have a set story he was building up to. BBS, Days, Coded, 0.2, even KHX and Back Cover, all seemed to be building up to KH3. Then…the story changed on a whim, previous plot lines being built up were discarded. Let’s use an example.

KHX started off as browser game, a prequel about the Keyblade War. It was a self-contained story with a defined ending. Your player avatar dies and goes to the Final World where they are living in a dream created by Chirithy. But, since the game was quite profitable after being ported to mobile, Square wanted to continue the story and they had to retcon everything. Union X even seemed to retroactively uncanonize the secret ending from KHX, and it was never even given an official localization. Turns out Player didn’t go to the Final World, they just uh, went to the datascape. And the Chririthy Sora met isn’t your Chirithy, it’s uh, VEN’S Chirithy (which will only be resolved in KH4 now!!).

Then Square planned for Dark Road to be the new mobile cash cow and they wanted to create a connection between those two games. So your player then dies AGAIN and they are…reincarnated into Xehanort? Uh, okay. But Dark Road flops and Missing Link is now the cash cow mobile successor to UX that Square is banking on. Now we learn that Player didn’t reincarnate into Xehanort. No, no. They actually reincarnated into the ML Avatar. Xehanort just uh…absorbed their memories by being in their proximity.

It’s very hard to follow a series when it feels like the writer doesn’t firmly know where the story is going and is just making things up as he goes and constantly changing his mind on certain details.
That would explain a lot actually. No wonder KH3 felt like a “To Be Continued” more than a finale.
 

vaderskywalker

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are Sora and Riku's bodies physically in the world of dreams, or are they merely projecting themselves from within their own dreams? If it's the former, how were their bodies sent back in time to Destiny Islands?
It is probably best not to think about that part too much, I mean yeah, it confuses me too, I have thought about that part of the game ever since it first came out, and if they're not going to explain what went on during that part, it's not worth thinking about, otherwise it is just headache inducing.
Sora and Riku must unlock seven Sleeping Keyholes. More than seven Sleeping Keyholes are shown in the game. Which ones are actual Sleeping Keyholes?
My theory for that is that Sora and Riku each unlocked half a keyhole, one half for Sora, one half for Riku, and yes I realise Riku was inside Sora's dreams, but this is the only way it makes sense otherwise Riku shouldn't have gotten the power of waking in the first place, and I have counted the keyholes, 2 for traverse town, 5 for the Disney worlds, obviously TWTNW doesn't count.
-is The Grid even a sleeping world? If not, why?
I think Xehanort was underestimating how data works, Quorra is made of data and she clearly has emotions, (Yes I know she's not a program by a technicality, but she still has data), and the grid being in the sleeping world should have been evidence of that to Xehanort, or maybe he was just trying to mess with Sora, which is very likely.
 
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Sonofjafar

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Honestly, I’d understand the plot a lot better if they didn’t so many rules to this universe’s lore (ie the world order and the limits of time travel)
 

AmaryllisMoth

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I never really thought anything in the main storyline was honestly ever THAT convoluted, assuming you actually played every game. I actually get confused at how other people seem to get so confused over it. Sure, sometimes there was a little bit of ambiguity here and there--and sometimes the answers to questions would change/expand as the characters (and by extension, the audience) learned a little bit more detail about a certain subject matter. And, granted, sometimes the writing introducing new stuff can be a little odd but so many key plot concepts are stated, reiterated, mentioned and explained again in other games, even written down in the Journal or narrative recaps for us to read over later that I scratch my head wondering how people miss all of that. I know I have a tad of an unfair advantage because I can understand the game in multiple languages which helps fill in some blanks now and again with translations but the game does explain things. Not well, but it does explain them.

I can understand maybe misunderstanding a concept or two but in terms of lore KH isn't "confusing" its just dense. Very dense and constantly evolving. And it gets entrenched in itself very quickly, so if you forget an important thread it can maybe result in confusion down the line because plot points are built on top of earlier ones.

It's just wild to me to STILL hear about people getting confused how there are "two Roxas' in KH3" or something similar. It can also get a tad frustrating when I hear someone say "KH is confusing", I ask why, and their reason is just "because it has time travel" (which is explicitly explained very directly in the game multiple times). There are many parts of lore that have not been well explained yet, or clarified so it's just odd to see that one come up so often instead of something currently unanswered.

It maybe sounds a bit strange to say but just because something is temporarily ambiguous, doesn't mean it is nonsensical and KH loves leaving things in a bit of an ambiguous state until it decides it wants to address them. If I don't really get something I just assume it's meant for later and move on/theorycraft until the answer is revealed and I have yet to really be let down in that regards.

To be honest in recent games there is actually very little subtlety in the writing in places I think could benefit from it. I worry that the reputation that many people perpetuate by saying the main story is confusing has made them go "oh shoot we gotta REALLY simplify this, gang!"

I always felt that KH was at its best when it left things more mysterious, and didn't fully write the rules out with stiff bullet points of "this is exactly how the lore works" which is what they started doing. Ironic that one of the few things they DO explain thoroughly with the rules and everything (like time travel) are the things I see people question the most.

All those complaints about the story being confusing are probably why we got that relatively needless explanation for how Mickey lost his shirt in the RoD. 😓
 

AegisXIII

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Haha. I guess the feeling with the mickey shirt event was:
"Oh so you create a full game to explain how Mickey lost his shirt, but never care to explain the mechanics and the rules of time travel?"
 
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