Starshine: Hello everyone! I’m Starshine!
Laevatein: And I’m Laevatein.
Starshine: And today we’re going to be looking at one of the most popular series of videogames to date, Kingdom Hearts. Laevatein, shall you start?
Laevatein: Yeah sure. Spoiler warning for the entire series, of course. I think the games are fun, but aren’t exactly good. They could use a lot of work though, I believe Birth By Sleep is a step in the right direction.
Starshine: I personally love the games, and while I can admit there are some glitches, I think for the most part they are well made, tons of fun, and well structured. But in regard to Birth by Sleep, please go on.
Laevatein: Well, I’d actually like to start with the basics. Let’s start with the first game. It was a fun title with a cliched story, though charming, and a slightly button mashy combat system, though it required careful use of tactics, as you have to know how to dodge many of the things thrown at you.
Starshine: Cliched story? Hardly – it is a little cheesy and Disney-esque but I’d never call it cliche. And I thought the combat was great – it was certainly more interactive than most Final Fantasy games and didn’t have the cement bucket feel of a lot of FPS game. Plus spells were easy to use, and recharge, and your side characters actually helped you kill things, so I going to label that a win in my book. I thought the game was maybe not super deep, but it was a touching story and the design of the game itself was amazing.
Laevatein: Well, the story is definitely a monomyth. I guess it’s cliched, in that respect. Though I see your point, I guess it wasn’t all that cliched. I wouldn’t say Kingdom Hearts has the most engaging plot, however.
Starshine: I wanted to see Sora win…or maybe I was more motivated by Disney characters. God, I love those world designs – I was always so excited to play each new level, even if it was hard. I’m not the best gamer ever but I liked how the game made me work for it. And damn, if that Nightmare Before Xmas house-boss wasn’t the most difficult thing ever.
Laevatein: Yeah, I guess I liked the designs as well. Now, the second game… wow, that game’s a doozy.
Starshine: How so? I thought it was the same, quality-wise.
Laevatein: I thought they oversimplified the gameplay, and overcomplicated the story.
Starshine: Oh yeah, with all those quick time events? I don’t know I like seeing all these cool actions and moves and the little jobs mini-game. So fun! And I don’t think it got complicated at all, though I was a little pissed off that it took me close to 6 hours of gameplay to get to Sora.
Laevatein: Well, I dunno about you, but there were way too many of those QTEs. I’d rather be doing those things myself rather than watching them. Engine limitations, I’m sure.
However, that’s not the reason why I think they oversimplified the gameplay. I think the problem arose from the fact that you get abilities that greatly extend the length of your combos, which, by the way, require next to no skill to pull off. So come the end of the game. Most of the time, you’re spamming X with occasional amounts of triangle. Hell, many of the game’s systems even support this. Summons? You mash X Magic? Well, unless you were in certain forms, they weren’t as useful as meleeing Forms? More mashing, though you can chain cast magic, so I guess that’s not too bad. But considering you have combos that last for two minutes in the best form.
Well…let’s put it this way: I ruined the X button on my controller by playing that game.
Starshine: Haha! I can see that but I’m one for beauty over gameplay. And I think they didnt wanna make it to crazy for the casual gamers either. But I wanna ask, why do you think the plot got overcomplicated?
Laevatein: Well, I guess it’d probably serve better as anime. But sure, let’s talk about the plot. Well, with the introduction of the Nobodies, things got a bit out of hand. They introduced a brand new concept but tried to mesh that concept in with the rest of the universe. However, to me, I don’t even think the Nobodies should’ve been added. To me, it felt like the Nobodies were added just for the hell of it. Aaand I couldn’t really care about the characters all too much.
Starshine: I feel like they needed to add a REAL villian, cause otherwise where could they go with it and it gives the audience something to think about – what would your doppleganger be, do they deserve to exist, what it must be like to be a shadow. I think it was some deep stuff and I was so invested in Sora, he’s just trying to save his friends AND ITS ALL RIKU’S FAULT. I was so mad at him though I was also pissed that Kairi got a keyblade. Way to not make it special anymore.
Laevatein: I dunno, the plot seems pretty messy to me. It’s hard to put all the dots together and that’s exactly what I’m talking about. They didn’t have much of a foundation to continue the series, despite a cliffhanger. However, as a result, they added things that don’t work in my mind. Though I don’t know if you can call them dopplegangers since the original is gone once a Nobody/Heartless is created. Then we have this game diluting the importance of the keyblade by giving it to like everyone… you know, I don’t even know why Xemnas was a villain. Actually, that’s probably a result of its messy nature.
Starshine: THEY FIGHT FOR THE RIGHT TO EXIST and of course you know take over the worlds and mess up everything just cause. I think the game looked way better than the first one and was still a ton of fun. Besides, DISNEY CHARACTERS! So much fun!
Laevatein: Well, I remember Xemnas is kind of a dick, too.
Starshine: Eh, what are you going to do? Guy’s got no heart. Well what did you think of the prequel?
Laevatein: Gameplay got better as a result of adding variation into the series. Story got EXTREMELY convoluted…Like, 100x more convoluted than KH2.
Starshine: …seriously? I think it at least gave us reasons why things exist as they do! I mean at least the keyblade is not just some magical random thing though…I didn’t like the levels at all. The plot was the only thing I liked!
Laevatein: But the plot involved like one character looking another but then another character not looking like the one we thought we knew. You know I don’t even fucking remember what happened in BBS. I think something like: Sora looks like Ventus, but Ventus got stuck inside Sora so that’s why Roxas looks like Ventus and then Xenahort, who is an old bald man and doesn’t look like Xemnas at all, has a buddy who looks like a shadow version of Sora and then somehow Tera winds up becoming the new Xenahort which is how he gets that body. Meanwhile, Aqua doesn’t do anything for 95% of the plot…I’m sorry, but what?
Starshine: Poor Aqua. Thrown in there for no reason. Honestly, it wasn’t so much the plot, it was the graphics and the level design that sincerely pissed me off. I got such a headache trying to navigate around. It was just so stupid. And you have to play them thrice over! I could forgive the plot cause at least it tried making sense and it was backwards, but at least they made a bit of sense.
Laevatein: I dunno about you, but that sounds like the complete opposite of sense. It got way too convoluted.
Starshine: Well, I’ve played, and heard, a lot worse stories. At least you can pick this one apart. Anyways, I think we’ve said all that can be said. Final thoughts?
Laevatein: While gameplay started off pretty simple, slowly but surely, the gameplay’s getting better. However, the plot is getting more and more convoluted by the game.
Starshine: As long as we never get another Birth By Sleep, I’m going to keep buying these games. The plot is comprehensible, at least to me and it’s a mix of the graphics, world design and characters that keeps me coming back for more.
Anyways, that’s it for this week’s Objection. Come back next week to see two more writers duke it out!