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Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Retrospective



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Blackdrazon

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I like what you're saying about the difference in personality between Roxas and Xion, especially since we're coming up on their fight after her encounter with Riku and how she accuses them of being different, but I still think the devs made a mistake by having Roxas both go away from his friend when they are just about to make a point about him wanting to go with his friend? Moreover, while I know where you're coming from with Roxas being a creature of routine, I personally don't find their attempts to convey his constant routine to be very engaging or entertaining, and this is my personal breaking point with that character trait. While I want to put myself in a position to support the developer's intent, doldrums are Days' most common narrative critique, and for me that's where the doldrums break to the fore.

Thanks for the gameplay info. I haven't had much experience with Aeroga because of its synth-based requirements, it's good to get some detailed insight into it. As for the Limit Break, I did know that they largely didn't count for no-miss Challenges but I didn't know the specific detail about having to hit just once? That definitely confused me with the flighty Morning Star! I'm glad to have the clarification!
 

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I'm surprised you think Leech Grave is a terrible boss, it's a pretty simple one.

Tentacles take increased damage from magic you can either block them to stun them so they take even MORE damage from magic which depending on your setup means you can OHKO the tentacles. You can fire magic at the tentacles without stunning them and it's generally 2HKO magic then per tentacle. Or you can stun them and follow up with a melee combo since again while stunned they take increased damage. My favorite two spells for this fight are fire and Blizzara though if you're feeling confident with your aim fira is probably the most effective spell.

Once the tentacles are down you should be able to finish off the boss in just a minute or so. Rush up as it's getting ready to fall, activate your limit, and let loose. You'll have enough time to get off two full limits and that's all it should take it kill it. Getting low HP in this fight quickly is super easy to since it lays HP draining mist down and it deals like chip damage anyway.

The optional missions for it really suck though..well the timed one does the don't get hit x number of time one is a joke and a slog. I do agree though that Halloween Town is the world I would of cut. The game and movie both try to sell that Roxas learned what "fun" was here but...

A. That wasn't something Roxas needed to learn as he had been having fun the whole game and if anything this is a concept he should of learned early game in Twilight Town or you know just last mission during the vacation episode.

B. The plot does a bad job conveying that "Fun" is the lesson of this world, it's mostly just Roxas being hit in the face by pumpkin bombs again and again and again while learning about pranks more than anything.

I'm 90% certain the only real reason this world was kept was because of Halloween Town being in KH2 and because it was filled with fun gimmicks like the exploding pumpkins of fire and ice as well the heartless hide n' seek. But honestly those gimmicks could all of been put into the pinocchio world and who the heck cares what Locke, Shock, and Barrel were doing while Sora slept? Also whoever decided "Hey guys you know what's important than a new world that will flesh out the concept of puppets/empty vessels that gained hearts and would teach Roxas and Xion the lesson of hope? Hitting Roxas in the face with pumpkin bombs teaching him what fun is." Needs to be rethinking their story priorities big time..

Also the reason Roxas is sent on pureblood hunts is because even if they send the others the others can't actually destroy the purebloods, they can only remove them temporarily. Instead of having the same mission have to be constantly redone it's just more efficient to send Roxas to clean out the purebloods so they are gone for good. Besides while he's kept busy this way they have time to go create more emblem heartless for him to kill. I like to think given heartless making isn't a precise art that these emblem missions are basically the consequence of them mass converting citizens into heartless, they end up with a surpluss of pureblood heartless and have to have Roxas take them out so they don't overwhelm/skew the heartless population. Since purebloods produce more purebloods and thus having lots of purebloods running around is a huge detriment to their goal. And Saix won't send Xion to go do this mission because she already failed her other mission, and I think it says a lot that next time we join Xion for one her missions it's just an Org Sigil collection mission, aka the missions that are used for training. It's basically Saix hammering in that Xion isn't good enough to do any worthwhile work.

I'm also glad you pointed out that they focused on a forcefield coming up to block a....already blocked wall. >_<
 
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Axel says Nobodies can’t love, which shouldn’t be striking Roxas as surprising by now, but apparently is. You know, I can’t help but wonder if this confusion is supposed to be happening because Roxas is experiencing emotions and doesn’t realize it himself since he has no context for what an emotion is?? But it doesn’t seem that way, Roxas really doesn’t seem to get it even after it’s explained to him."
Actually, I think it is like that. I mean, the Org members clearly show things like anger and fear, even Saix. KH3D shows that Xemnas lied to the members about having no hearts, so maybe he lied about the emotion thing as well.
Roxas doesn't realize that the feelings he is experiencing are emotions.
....What's odd is that Axel and the others have memories of their former lives and can remember emotion, so they should be able to realize they are still experiencing those same emotions, but I guess Xemnas must have convinced them otherwise?

"If you were to run around the forest, you’d discover that all the upper-level doors, which used to lead to other places in this loopy-doopy world, now mostly eject you to the Bizarre Room, right-side up."
That's where they originally led in the first KH, but only before the trial and fight with the card solders.
In Days, I use them as shortcuts to get back to the portal during mission mode.

----

It's a shame they scrapped the Pinocchio world, as the planned plot there would've been interesting. Pinocchio was also a real boy, which would've made it more interesting still.
It was supposed to be in a "circus", and presumably after the events of the film.
There was no circus shown anywhere in the Disney film, but Pleasure Island has one in the KH canon (Dream Drop Distance)
Did they mean an actual circus, or did they just mean a carnival/fairground in general?
I wonder if the design of Pleasure Island shown in DDD (which is rather inaccurate to how it was in the film, mind you) had been planned for years and was going to be put in Days as well?

----
 
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Blackdrazon

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That's where they originally led in the first KH, but only before the trial and fight with the card solders.
In Days, I use them as shortcuts to get back to the portal during mission mode.
Ah, okay, that explains it then, I'm getting things jumbled up. I'll correct that.

And that's a good way to use them, yeah!
 

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So here is thing about the balloons you need to be thinking of them through "real life" perspective not a "limited DS graphics" perspective. The particle effect is creepy green misty and bugs, the idea is when someone touches the balloon bugs are popping out onto them in an eerie green mist which is definitely a shock. Unfortunately limited graphic capabilities make it unable to be shown, also I don't think the balloons were ever meant for anything special just to be the easy mode/red herring for finding heartless. Like compared to where the heartless are hiding everywhere else the balloons stick out like a sore thumb so you don't need zero to point you to them.

The heartless are hiding to foreshadow Leech Grave. It's a heartless that feeds on heartless so they are hiding to prevent being eaten by it, right now Leech Grave is tiny so the amount of heartless hiding is minimal and mostly weaklings. As the missions progress bigger heartless go into hiding and in greater numbers. Likewise Leech Grave grows large enough to feed in public uncontested and that's when the heartless population starts to take a huge drop, not even hiding can keep them safe anymore.

Also there is exactly enough bones to find every heartless in every missions EXCEPT for the one or two halloween town missions which have or two specially programmed heartless spot that Zero can't track/uncover. Generally the only reason you'll know they exist is because Demyx and I think someone else makes a request for you to find "all the hidden heartless" in those missions. Which is your clue there were hidden heartless not even Zero can find...it's a complete dick move.

I notice you didn't mention on how weak Demyx's excuse of splitting into two tasks forces is. Demyx can't collect hearts so them splitting up to speed up a heart collection mission makes no sense, but that goes over a lot of people's heads which goes to show how good Demyx is at coming up with excuses that sound logical until you sit and think about them. Anyway it's not that Roxas doesn't learn it's that if Roxas doesn't get ice cream then....what is he going to do? Haven't you ever done a routine with a friend but then that friend went away for awhile and you kept doing the routine even while they were gone simply because it made you miss your friend a little less/was so ingrained into your lifestyle? That's what's going on here, not going for ice cream be even more lonely and painful than eating it alone.

For Wonderland you're not supposed to run at the wizard heartless, you're suppose to fight magic with magic. They are only programmed to run away from you if move towards them which for mages is logical. What you're suppose to do is fight them from where you are standing, because they are programmed to circle you like sharks. Sapphire Elgies don't teleport at random they teleport if hit while not stunned. For Blizzara don't set the mist instead use it as a close range melee style spell and unleash it right on the enemy's face, that's the real way to use the spell as it's the best close range spell in the game. Also I don't think level up affects its freeze chance only it's blast radius.

For Infernal engine...
-Infernal Engine is more likely to use cannon the further away it is from you and the castle door, I've never had a problem getting it to use the cannon when I want it to.
-The hammer attack will end instantly after it's blocked once and thus is actually it's least threatening attack.
-Infernal Engine is earnestly one of my favorite bosses in the series, I've never had a struggle to take it down quickly and it just has so much thought in its patterns and attacks that we don't normally get in bosses in the series.

I can't believe you're so harsh on the love scenes...like to each their own but Roxas learning about Love was easily one of my favorite things in the game. Especially with how there are such contrasting explanations...Xaldin is talking about love like a chemical reaction in the brain using a very scientific view of it and in the process further hinting Xaldin's view on any sort of emotional connection period. Axel on the other hand is talking about love as most people view it, from an emotional perspective and how you convey something like what that feels like to a being that shouldn't have any emotions. The thing is the writing is trying to acknowledge that love as an emotion is far more complex than something that can be conveyed by words, which few forms of media ever address. Love is in a sense a step above friendship...but not really because love comes in so many different flavors. Love of your stuff, love of your friends, love of your family, love of a romantic sense. And there is no real way to rank these as it's a person by person basis...you just have to feel it to understand. It was just such a great contrast of personalities and better highlights Xaldin and Axel's different ways of teaching Roxas. Where Xaldin never bothers with any concepts he deems unnecessary for Roxas but Axel humors Roxas and tries to legit teach him things even if they are pointless to a being who can't feel emotions.

As for Saix while the promotion thing IS a gameplay thing I actually felt it was fitting after the scene. It's like Saix is so disconnected that he thinks that he can pacify Roxas by promoting him, as if he still thinks Roxas cares jack anything about his standing in the Organization. I mean I know that's not what they intended but that's how I always chose to read it.

Hook never could control the heartless that's why after dropping Sora and co with Peter Pan in the ship he didn't bother with them because he didn't want to deal with the teaming heartless all over the place. Hook basically is a clayton style villain as you said, a person who can attract heartless but can't really command them. Likewise this is also a carry over of how in KH1 NO ONE ON HER COUNCIL LISTENS TO HER! She warns them all time and time again about the dangers of the heart's darkness and the heartless and literally not one villain paid any mind to that, not even Riku. Maleficent was the most effective ineffective leader ever because she was actually a really good leader but everyone who joins her, except Pete, never listens to a word she says. I mean they are villains so it makes sense but I kinda feel bad that she got told to get lost so much... Anyway it's not that line was indicative of it being a generic heartless hunt at one point, it's that Roxas is not forgetting one of the basic lesson he was taught near the start of the game and that's that no matter what his objective is taking out heartless needs to always be his primary goal. Ergo he just saw some heartless get summoned and now he knows his job is to take them out before hunting down the target. Oh and you should always have one airslide on because if you hit glide after hitting air slide you start at your Glide's max momentum making that glide rush ability totally useless.

Also I have to say I'm very confused on why you keep talking about the cymbal-monkey heartless as if you have to put effort into kill them. As soon as you click to open the chest just hit block, you'll immediately block their attack and send it back into them killing them instantly. I don't think I've ever actually "fought" one of these things I rebound their attacks and move on with my life. Even the larger variants only take two reflects you just stand there till they attack, block, they lose a chunk of their health and rinse and repeat. It's the second easiest heartless family in the game second only to creeperworms.

Keep up the good work!
 

FudgemintGuardian

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[FONT=Lucida Grande, Lucida Sans Unicode, Lucida Sans, Geneva, Verdana, sans-serif]
Maybe it's supposed to imply that Roxas... thinks of Demyx... the same way Sora thinks of Donald? Huh?
[/FONT]Well, they are both useless. XD
 

Blackdrazon

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Okay all - I just now completed parcelling and uploading the last of the Days updates. As stands, they should be finished by the end of January, with the (yet unwritten) manga and (already written) Magical Puzzle Clash reviews going up on February 3rd. Just within sight of Valentine's Day! Happy Valentines Day, Roxas.



...Yes, well.

In any event, some bad news: I haven't made any progress on the BBS Journal, and am not likely to be able to do so in January. I've got enough to do as it is and on top of that, I have to go looking for new work. God knows if February will even be better. The BBS Retrospective is currently only finished for a single character, meaning there's a lot left to go. Given this is the case, I'm very likely to cut Kingdom Hearts updates down to one day a week after Days is complete. It's probably going to be Tuesdays only, since that's by far the more popular of the two days.

I'll probably post a confirmation to the blog later in January when I'm more certain. Sorry about the bad news!
 

FudgemintGuardian

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It's a bit of a bummer that BBS will only be once a week, but it's no problem, Blackdrazon. You've spoiled us rotten with how much you've done so far. Your life is more important than trying to get the Retrospective done. :)
Good luck in looking for new work!


And now...
but St. John delivers the line in a way that's almost fatherly and gentle,
Who the frack is St. JOHN?!

I believe you mean St. Peter. XD
 

Blackdrazon

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Do you want to know who St. John is, honestly? Who I think of when I'm thinking of a video game voice actor and type "St.," to the degree that I made the mistake over and over again during KH2?

Jon St. John

Now just picture Xemnas' face on that body. There you go.
 
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rokudamia2

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Do you want to know who St. John is, honestly? Who I think of when I'm thinking of a video game voice actor and type "St.," to the degree that I made the mistake over and over again during KH2?

Jon St. John

Now just picture Xemnas' face on that body. There you go.
First thing I thought of was this.

[video=youtube;G-F6YRkU-vo]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-F6YRkU-vo[/video]

Anyways it's interesting to point out that during the paupu fruit scene in kh1 Kairi sits in the middle but, in the kh2 opening fmv Sora sits in the middle. It's just interesting to pint out considering Xions ties to both of them.
 

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I finally caught up with this retrospective. Excellent as always. I really appreciate and love the work you've put into these.
 

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Started off strong with the last entry but personally I felt your sentiment on depression, suicide, and some of the fandom's dislike of Xion as a character just desolved into morally biased identity politics. Most of your point was focused on how anyone who doesn't support the narrative direction of a character then they must be an "ignorant victim blaming mysoginist". This ideological approach to viewing media is counter intuitive by perpetuating issues that might not exist in the examples presented.
 

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Started off strong with the last entry but personally I felt your sentiment on depression, suicide, and some of the fandom's dislike of Xion as a character just desolved into morally biased identity politics. Most of your point was focused on how anyone who doesn't support the narrative direction of a character then they must be an "ignorant victim blaming mysoginist". This ideological approach to viewing media is counter intuitive by perpetuating issues that might not exist in the examples presented.
Took the words right out of my mouth. I mean, if I could form coherent sentences, that is.

I couldn't believe how you acted here, Drazon.
I don't mind the talk of how Xion's feelings and actions can be that of a suicidal person, whether it was intentional on unintentional, but...well, see above.

I was baffled by your uncharacteristic behavior. You went after, I would even say viciously so, fans who simply disagree with the writers on how something was written. Yes, some fans are...more vocal about their hate for Xion, but fans who dislike her have every right to, yet here you act like there's something wrong about these people for their opinions on Xion's character and how it effect the story.

I.... Look, maybe Xion's possibly unintentional writing struck a chord with you. I don't know you. What I do know is what you did was uncalled for.
 

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I am super late on this but I kinda am surprised this goes over so many people's heads. Xion's wonderland design is made to reflect Trick Master and the card soldiers. Her wings contain cards, they deliberately have her weapon be extra long in this form with the top of the blade shaped in a way that if feels more like a spear/halberd, and most obvious of all the sword itself is designed to look like a metalized version of a flaming torch.

Also the erasure from memory wasn't instant. To Xemnas and Saix who barely knew "Xion" as anything more than the puppet she was before memories got involved, their memories are slower to fade with little to actually fade. Roxas had forced his memories awake temporarily but they had already partly faded by the next day. Riku had some vague memory which Xion forcibly jogged awake but even those memories faded. It's sort of like the one advantage of Xemnas and Saix's contempt for Xion's existence, they never saw her as a person (Xemnas saw her as several of his tools while Saix never sees anything period) which means they don't have a lot of "Xion" to be erased from their minds. Meanwhile Axel doesn't meet Xion until after Xion had become "Xion" so his erasure was more complete, and Roxas could remember only the vague recollection of a girl who hung out with him and Axel.
 
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Blackdrazon

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@KHHacker, FudgemintGuardian: I have no problem with anyone's dislike of Xion as a character, but the decision of many members of the fandom to couch that dislike in violent, threatening imagery has been a blight on this whole fandom for eight and a half years, and the reason I stayed away from the fandom until the launch of KHX. This repeat and deliberate use of violent and threatening imagery is no legitimate criticism and deserves no defence as some sort of criticism. The KH fandom has been, for the past eight and a half years, a place where one is constantly reminded that to be suicidal and of limited value to others is punishable by insults, attacks, and threats of death, if not worse as some fans have felt the needs to elaborate (torture, rape). To say that one dislikes Xion is more than acceptable. To go out of one's way to say that she deserves to die a violent death for one's dislike is beyond the pall for "criticism." To go out of one's way to attack anyone who likes her character with insinuations that she deserves to die a violent death is likewise.

This is the single worst fandom I have ever had the displeasure of treating with on the subject of a disabled character, with a thorough eagerness to wish death on not only the character and her defenders, but to specifically outline which traits they feel are deserving of death in a human being to remind any fellow fans of similar mental makeup that they too deserve to die and for which particular reasons. It has been an unsettling and quite often frightening place to be, and so I have chosen to address the practice.


@Hirokey: Thanks, I'll try to address those details.
 

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Something else is I disagree here, Roxas absolute DID have a reason to ask about the keyblade. To Roxas the thing that had connected him and Xion, the thing that made them so similar, the thing that they shared with one another that no one in the organization else had was the keyblade. A point that was hammered in on him more than once and so you can see where his train of thought leads. "No one would tell me anything about her because she was a replica, a replica the organization made to use the keyblade....I can use the keyblade to and that's sort of our primary similarity does that mean this whole time I've been a replica as well? But wait there is something more than the keyblade connects us, Xemnas also said Sora connects us so who is Sora and what does he have to do with this?" It's a very clear organic line of thought and then it leads into Axel quickly clarifying to Roxas he wasn't a replica because that was a super off base thought. Which of course just makes Roxas even more antsy for answers because if Xion could use the keyblade because she is a replica, then what on earth is Roxas if he can use the keyblade but isn't a replica. Ultimately since no one gives him the answer he leaves the organization following the only clues he has, "sora".

Fittingly he gets Axel caught in crossfire, the obvious thing would be to explain to Roxas the truth about Sora but Axel believes Roxas will leave if he does that. Yet at the same time it's clear Roxas will leave if doesn't say anything so in theory Axel has nothing to lose....but the thing is it's easier for Axel as a person to lie than it is to tell the truth. Axel will lie at every chance he can get when he has the option, even if it's not necessary and even if it make things worse, because for Axel telling the truth is harder and unnatural. Axel is flat out a chronic liar and you know this is clearly an intended part of his character. Because a lot of chronic liars start out as children or teens who simply tell a small lie here or there regularly until it evolves into a way of life they can't break out of. They made sure in BBS to show this, that Lea would rather have Isa lie to him about the reality of losing his bout against Ventus and also was subtly denying the reality that Ventus beat him asking him to "call it a draw". These are friendly little gestures which alone don't mean much but they were a symptom of a much bigger problem that would snowball from this. Lea's views now would eventually lead to Axel developing into a chronic liar.

Likewise I think you're missing the context of that Roxas and Axel parting scene in the city. When Roxas says "no one would miss me" what he actually means is "No one I personally care about would miss me because there is no one left in the organization I feel for". His anger is fully justified in having learned that Axel lied to his face for pretty much his entire life, for all he knows most of the lessons he taught by Axel were lies. The fact is that Roxas simply can not trust Axel anymore, he gave Axel one last chance to be a good friend and tell him the truth....correction practically begged him but Axel turned him down. That's why the following scene is Roxas in his room talking about how he tried but there is nothing left keeping him at the organization anymore. He also has an interesting line of foreshadowing inserted just a bit earlier as he leaves the room with Axel saying that "somewhere out there is someone who will tell me the truth and that is the person I will trust". It foreshadows in the future his meeting with his sorta-half-sister Namine and how because she is doing something no one else did, tell him the truth, he latches onto her like a lost puppy and drinks in every word she says.

But really you have to think of the full ramifications of what Roxas learning Axel has been telling constant lies to him means. Most of his information and understanding of the world comes from Axel and now he's realizing that literally almost everything he knows in life could be nothing but a series of lies Axel told him. That Axel may of simply told him whatever he needed to mold Roxas into the person he wanted Roxas to be for him, that Axel may never have actually cared about his well being at all. Which is fair, Axel had a disgustingly large amount of power over Roxas's world and he abused it majorly. The realization has rightfully horrified Roxas and the fact remains Axel spurred that chance Roxas gave him to set things right. But I wouldn't call this any sort of temper tantrum, that's disrespectful to the graveness of this. He's not fuming over a lost toy he is literally realizing both how much he has been depending on others (specifically Axel) and how literally everyone he depended on has done nothing but lie to him no matter if they were friend or foe. So he tries to strike out for his answers on his own, Axel and Xion did so why can't he? And the answer is that Roxas was always so dependant on his friends or the organization that Roxas doesn't know HOW. Which is sort of the crux of causing Roxas to become the character we see (well that and DiZ inserting a new life into him, which mind you is why Days was never going to line up perfectly since the Roxas we see in Days is a Roxas who has memories of an entire regular life cycle on top of his own real ones) and why even in KH2 Roxas is still dependant it's just in that game he's dependant on Namine and HPO.

And of course Roxas slips back into mopping, anger doesn't last long no matter how white hot it eventually cools and Roxas had a full day to cool down and realize he has literally no where to go and no idea how to find this "sora". He acted entirely out of anger and now he realized that his anger adrenaline had blinded him to the reality, a reality that is only just now sinking in. So of course he's gone to the one place he knows he can always come back to, and of course he's huddled up basically ready to cry. He basically just had everything he ever knew come crashing down, suffered from a huge rush of anger, and now that it's faded he's just left more empty and alone than ever.

So I find Days is an overwhelming success connecting the Roxas we know from that game with the Roxas we know in KH2, and lining up with the cutscenes about him.

Also uh just throwing it out there but when you talk about Pandora gear and how it gives Donald and Goofy the organization weapons...you wrote that Donald gets the shield of Vexen's and Goofy gets the magic staff
 
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  • The Freeshooter
  • 15th Anniversary
  • Superior of the In-Between
Yeah, those are all good points. I'll think on them and see what comes out.

I'll fix the weapon swap. Oh, and by the way I also fixed my numerous complaints about sending Keyblade wielders after Purebloods, you were right about that and I was wrong, it just took a long time to wrap them all up. Sorry I didn't acknowledge the intent earlier.
 
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Was anybody else really dissapointed at how giving Xion the Zero Gear in Mission Mode didn't let you play as her armored form? (like how you could play as dual-wield Roxas)
Shame she becomes nothing more than an inferior clone of Roxas by endgame.
 
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rokudamia2

Dream eater ally.
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  • News Hound
Saïx makes an inexplicable reference to “the next lot” of Replicas on Day 171, even though Axel and more importantly Vexen mentioned there only being two Replicas in previous Secret Reports! If there are more Replicas, they certainly haven’t been mentioned in three games since!
Huh I completely forgot about this. Probably because the devs did too.
 

Blackdrazon

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  • Taciturn Stalwart
  • Chilly Academic
  • Whirlwind Lancer
  • The Freeshooter
  • 15th Anniversary
  • Superior of the In-Between
Was anybody else really dissapointed at how giving Xion the Zero Gear in Mission Mode didn't let you play as her armored form? (like how you could play as dual-wield Roxas)
Shame she becomes nothing more than an inferior clone of Roxas by endgame.
You know, I kind of like the fact that they let you play as plain Xion, but I would happily get behind this instead.

Huh I completely forgot about this. Probably because the devs did too.
Plot twist: there have been two Goofys running around and no one has noticed.
 
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