Hi friends! I’m here to talk about the only game I’ve finished this year but gosh dang was it a banger. Let’s talk about it!
so uh…what’s this strange little game about?
To quote myself in my Kingdom Hearts 1 review:
The basic premise of Kingdom Hearts is “hey, what if we mix Final Fantasy characters with DISNEY???” And voila, Kingdom Hearts was born. This follows a boy named Sora and his two friends, Riku and Kairi. They want to run far far FAR away from their home, Destiny Islands, to explore other worlds. Of course, before that happens, their home is destroyed and the three friends are separated and thrown into other worlds. Our main character, Sora, awakes in Traverse Town, desperate to find his friends. Are you with me so far?
Okay good. Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, we have Donald and Goody who have just received a letter from their missing king (three guesses as to who he is!) who orders them to “find the Keyblade Master” and then come and join him. So they hop aboard their gummi ship and end up in Traverse Town, looking for the one who holds the key.
That’s what the first game is about! The second one uh…is a little more complicated. It comes after Re:Chain of Memories which means that there’s a bunch of characters belonging to Organization XIII. WHICH WE WILL TALK ABOUT.
Kingdom Hearts 2 starts out with a 4-5 confusing prologue. Sora is nowhere in sight; instead you’re playing as this random character named Roxas who’s in this random town called Twilight Town. At first, I couldn’t understand what the heck was going on. And I played Re:Chain of Memories. However, not only does the prologue introduce you to Roxas’s character, it serves as a welcome to one of the best worlds in the game and one of my personal favorite characters. AKA FREAKING AXEL. I have to take deep breaths because wow, I love Axel. I thought I liked him in Re:Chain but now I understand that I’m utter trash for him. Anyways, by the end of the prologue, I was in tears. It became instantly clear to me that this was a game darker in nature than the first, and far more complex.
In an effort to shut up about Axel, let’s talk about the highlights of this game compared to the first!!
This game that has some of the most famous moments in the entire franchise. They’re epic, insane, emotional, and exciting. BUT THANK GOD, THERE IS NO RIKU FIGHT. There was one I definitely struggled with more than the others, but it wasn’t the cursed KH1 fight.
- The worlds have their own pros and cons. On the one hand, they’re more linear. That means I don’t have to (a) walk around randomly for two hours hoping to trigger an event or (b) give up and Google everything and get spoiled. Unfortunately, that also means the worlds lose a bit of their Disney magic: the childlike wonder of discovery and exploration. However, Atlantica is an optional world!!!! Like heck yeah to whoever made that choice!!! Even if KH2 Atlantica is extremely cringey. But we also get to see some new worlds! For example, the Pride Lands were disappointing but the second boss fight and the combat? Perfection. And while some aspects were done better than others, I still generally enjoyed the whole experience.
- Combat is SO much better. It’s still not complicated, but it feels so much more fluid. Also, there are some pretty good interactions utilizing the triangle button when fighting certain Heartless and bosses.
- On that note, I actually much preferred these boss fights!! I mean, yeah, they were definitely easier, but I thought that each one had their own gimmick that wasn’t too annoying. Some worked better than others, but I had a good time overall.
The plot of this is…more complicated than the first. The lore gets deeper as we discover that creatures called Nobodies are formed when a Heartless is created. Organization XIII is made up of advanced Nobodies including Axel!!!! After the prologue ends, you get a bittersweet reunion with Sora and friends, and they’re off on more adventures! One small personal thing: I started this game before finishing Final Fantasy X. Then I took like an eight month break, finished FFX, and came back. And I have to say, Auron’s story arc in Kingdom Hearts fits SO well with his character arc in FFX. The writers really understood how to make me feel 1001 emotions.
Speaking of Final Fantasy, RIP to me not having played VII or VIII. I love how I’m just sitting there feeling all this history between characters, but meanwhile all I understand is that King Mickey just appeared as three foot tall short stack with a skater hood meeska-mousing about the “door to darkness”. Also, Yuna’s from FFX is a fairy now. There was one insanely epic fight where you’re making your way down a path and in each room, a new Final Fantasy character comes to help you fight. And then you fight 1000 Heartless. I’m not joking when I say it’s in my top video game moments of all time (not that there’s a lot).
axel. to summarize.
AXEL IS SUCH A LEGEND. I have to say, that after this game, Axel, Sora, and Riku are my favorites. Yes, Riku does redeem himself after traumatizing me as a twelve year old. While the dialogue and plot does get somewhat cheesy at times, Kingdom Hearts 2 just truly makes you feel so much. Everything feels like an adventure, a perfect combination of original, Final Fantasy story and Disney magic. Even the final boss fight and ending scene is just packed with a unique sort of vibe. I finished this game and immediately wanted to experience it all over again. But no, now I have to go watch cinematics and play Birth By Sleep. Poor me.
So that’s it! If this was spoilery, it most certainly would have reached at least 3000 words LOL. I don’t know if I totally prefer this game over 1, even though it is…technically better? All I can say is that the moment I finished it, I wanted to replay it instantly! Tell me your thoughts!