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A Chain of Memories deep dive

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Sup guys! I had anticipated that there would’ve been a few more topics in the time it took me to whip up this new video, so apologies for clogging up the tippy-top of the General with my mug. I’d been thinking about Chain of Memories a lot recently, and decided it deserved a bit of a deep dive. If I were to assign the “Most Underrated” superlative to any game in the series, I think it’s CoM with a bullet. So I mostly just blabber on about what I think its strong suits are. Hope y’all enjoy!

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I never played the original GBA version, but from what I've seen of it, it definitely seems like it works better as a GBA game than a PS2 game.  However, since I never played the GBA version, I can only judge the PS2 version.  The story is great, and even the Disney worlds, like you said, do attempt to connect to the bigger themes of the game.  I'm not a fan of the world designs, since they were just the same rooms over and over again with different skins depending on which world you were in.  I think I'm in the same camp as you in regards to the card system: I don't mind it; I just prefer the gameplay of the other games.  One thing I can thank the PS2 remake for though is Lord of the Castle, aka one of the best boss themes in the entire series.  Overall, I think Chain of Memories is a fine game, just not one of the best.

I do have a question for you though.  You seem to mostly focus on Sora's story in this video.  What do you think of Riku's story and Riku's gameplay, since his gameplay is a bit different from Sora's?

Edited by Dagesh Lene

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22 hours ago, Dagesh Lene said:

it definitely seems like it works better as a GBA game than a PS2 game.  However, since I never played the GBA version, I can only judge the PS2 version.

I played the GBA and I found it difficult at times to see where I was aiming during a battle particularly when there were multiple foes as in a random heartless battle so I while I'm not a fan of this installment at all I disagree that it's better on GBA. I was a bit more comfortable with it on PS3 in 1.5. 

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Chain of Memories and Re:Chain of Memories are weird ones for me. Not because I feel any particular way about gameplay or story elements, but because I never really made the time to play either of them properly. GBA CoM I've only played maybe half an hour of it and never picked it up again haha, and then Re:CoM I've completed Sora's story, and went partially through Riku's but I played the game so sporadically it was always hard to remember where I last left off. 

Like others have said, this is a very well thought out video, and like your other ones, I really enjoyed your take on the game. :D I especially liked how you highlighted that this was the first game to introduce Organization XIII and how well it executed that. I think that's something that gets overlooked, and personally didn't think of things that way myself, until you mentioned it. I'm going to have to echo the sentiment for your take on Riku's story as well, but yeah great job once again! xD

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On 7/12/2020 at 3:58 PM, Dagesh Lene said:

I do have a question for you though.  You seem to mostly focus on Sora's story in this video.  What do you think of Riku's story and Riku's gameplay, since his gameplay is a bit different from Sora's?

 

16 hours ago, WakelessDream said:

I'm going to have to echo the sentiment for your take on Riku's story as well, but yeah great job once again! xD

 

First off, thank you all for the kind words! I wavered on covering the Riku campaign in depth mostly because I felt like I didn't have too many outstanding points to make, positively or negatively, but I do have a scattershot of thoughts about it. The relative loneliness felt during Sora's campaign is ramped up to 11 in Riku's, and the game is definitely aware of that and references that in the Hollow Bastion floor. Considering Riku primarily interacts with villains both in the simulated worlds and in the CO interludes, it's that much more exciting and comforting to finally get to interact with a friendly character by way of Michael Mouse (also the first time we get to see him for more than a few seconds, which I feel is often overlooked.) Both Sora and Riku's campaigns are pretty introspective, but I think Riku's even more so. Sora is dealing with his own memory-related crisis, but not something he brought on to himself. Riku's campaign is the start of his attempt at seeking redemption and resolving his frankly self-inflicted crisis that he imposed on himself by giving into Ansem in KH1, due to his lust for power. Riku deals with Org members and his Ansem apparition, but he's also fighting a battle against his own demons, which I think is a natural progression for his type of character.

The meat of Riku's campaign is funny in that it really is the recycled bits of already recycled material. Break KH1 down into Sora's CoM campaign, and then break Sora's CoM campaign down into Riku's. Having Riku exclusively fight the bosses through the Key to Beginnings is actually some decent story and gameplay integration, although your satisfaction with that may vary; just because these things integrate doesn't mean it's fun or super compelling. But yeah, having him only fight the villains to illustrate his ties to darkness is equal parts clever and a great cost-cutting measure. 

I know Riku's campaign is already considerably shorter than Sora's (which I never really minded, considering I actually had no idea it was coming despite my remark about his health bar during my video's cold open, and it was an awesome surprise when I first unlocked it) but it also doesn't make 100% sense contextually. It makes sense for Sora to revisit every KH1 world, since he's experiencing his memories (RIP Tarzan) but the same can't exactly be said for Riku. And I think the game knows this; the first batch of world cards you receive after HB are all worlds that Riku is physically seen in (sans HB itself and Destiny Islands). But you've got TT (from his meeting up with SDG in 3rd District), Agrabah (from kidnapping Jasmine), Monstro (messing around with Pinoke) and Neverland (being an asshole and creating shadow doppelgangers). Makes total sense to revisit these places. Idk why we're have him go to Wonderland, OC, Atlantica, and HT. But again, it's already so short, so cutting those doesn't leave you with much. Even if he had fleshed out stories in the first batch of worlds with all three Key cards, it's still quite short, but maybe that would've been fine. I'd rather it make sense than have more game to play, but that take may vary from player to player.

Gameplay-wise, I'm pretty torn. Riku's playstyle is much more similar to something like a KH1 in that there isn't really any strategic deck-building to be done, and usually the answer to any battle is popping an Enemy Card with a good buff and just mashing. The duel system in specifically ReCoM is a great addition, and in fact it would've been nice to have in Sora's campaign as well. Although, the duel system usually does just amount to mashing, since actually shuffling through your deck to find the right card is liable to get ya killed. On a totally superficial, 3rd grader level, the addition of Dark Mode is SOOOOO cool. Wow. I was so hyped when I first got to whip out Dark Aura in 2004. It's not often that a game lets you essentially roleplay as one of the hardest bosses from the last installment and use his skills to devastate random enemies.

 

 

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