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The Final Break

KHUX FINAL THOUGHTS Here is a review of my overall experience I had with this game since it’s release in the US. If you’d like to see my thoughts on the game prior to this, go to these links here for the following: [Unchained for story] and [Union Cross for gameplay]. I guess another thing to point out that there will be spoilers if you have not watched the cutscenes of UX yet. I highly recommend you do before you read this review. I’ll be generous this time around and say I will start with my artists notes before I dive into the actual review (maybe a bit of retrospect if that’s the right term to reflect certain moments). So, starting first: ARTIST NOTES So, it has been awhile since I’ve done artwork like this. Although, before this, I did draw Dark Road (which I will upload once DR is completed but I did post in the March Caprice event last year). I decided to make this the definitive poster for the overall story of Unchained χ/Union Cross. This here shows all the major characters and it was nice to step out of my comfort zone to draw them. They were quite a handful since this is the only poster with a pile of characters in one spot. Adding the title was a bit tricky. I originally was gonna add “End” or “Finale”. But considering of making a review in mind, I decided to leave it alone which I think is the better option (especially that I was reminded of Xehanort’s words when he said that “χ” is the letter that spell of endings or death. A slightly fitting way for this scenario. If you have looked at my Unchained poster, gotta say how incredibly proud I am of the improvement since 2018. Especially all things considered that this this is currently the final poster I’ve done of the series so far until a new KH game releases. In other words, I’m caught up to date after 4 years with this project and more to come. Again, while technically Dark Road is the next big project, I had the poster finished a few months ago. A review will be added once the game’s story is complete. So, keep your eyes peeled 👀 ————————————————————— I will talk about my experience with gameplay and it’s artistic presentation. Considering that we no longer can access any form of gameplay anymore for the app itself, I figured this is not a spoiler in that regard. The gameplay itself is certainly a big miss to many and I don’t blame them. However, if you look at it without the gacha system, there is a strategy to certain encounters. Whether it be big bosses, smaller bosses, even just semi-regular recolors. It relies on either uprights (light) or reverse (darkness), buffs and debuffs, power, magic, speed, etc. in a turn based gameplay of sorts. Sadly, because it has a gacha, aka pay to win, it was expected for you to rely on luck on the big promoted medals. And if you do not have any means of spending money on said promoted medals with better stats, that could leave you relying on other medals that may not work or will take a longer time to defeat an enemy. Another thing to point out that there was also the placing of being part of a union. I’ll be honest, it really has no affect on your gameplay. The only thing it serves is that it’s a team label and they are often rewarded places depending how willing you are to gather Lux (the amount of light that levels you up aka EXP). Will talk about this in my spoiler section, but your placement in a union actually effects a certain few missions for some accuracies I guess you could say. I was in the Union Vulpes case you were wondering. Funny that Vulpes was the #1 place through and through until Leopardos took it the last week (congrats to them BTW 🎊🎉) I gotta give props to the animation team for the presentation. Some fans are not fond of the artistic direction using these unique cute sprites. Truthfully, I think it is pleasing to look at. It’s nice to see a 2D animated-esque vibe that is somewhat what gave this game it’s identity. You can look at any other game all for the most part 3D, but you know it’s KHUX/Dark Road for it’s style. The animation itself of the characters I can see how they can be put off. However, there were plenty of moments I will bring up in my spoiler section where they were utilized to give you such an emotional impact with the facials expressions despite how small they are. ________________________________________ Now, we head over to the major spoiler section and a deep dive of how I felt about this game. So, I urge you to check out the cutscenes via downloading the app that has cutscenes with a customizable avatar or on YouTube (best place to find it is Everglow who has it covered). Alright….. Without further ado….. You have been warned….. HERE WE GO! ⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️ I have been with this particular app since it’s release respectfully in the U.S. I’ve seen every update, every glitch, a few upgrades, the many micro transactions, etc. I never thought the 5 years I played this game day to day would leave me emotional to see it go untouched without doing any missions or gather daily jewels. I’d like to point out that I’m not a huge fan of MMOs. However, if this game is in the same category as an MMO, then I’d say I can see why people enjoy them. Again, I never realized how attached I was to this game until it’s final moments as a game where I can no longer log in for daily jewels and missions. Not to mention how I managed to meet some of my party members in person at a KH concert back in October 2019 [shout out to you Amy and Rachel if you’re reading this!). Having a game to allow me to connect with other people is a really nice feeling, ya know? As for the story….I’d say it is one of the most compelling and consistent we had during our lack of major KH content (aka the KH dry seasons if you will). It was funny how all of us assumed it was just a funny cute idea to have your character you customize to be wielding a keyblade fighting darkness while being a cash grab of an app…by extension it is. But after the finale, heck just from the Ventus reveal alone back in 2017 is already a sign to look at any form of media with a title that ends up being crucial to the entirety of the series (if somehow the appearance of Maleficent in KHUX heck even CoM on GBA didn’t convince you). Onto the details, so there were some favorite moments I wish to share that stood out to me throughout this title. Before I do, I want to add on the major link on what makes these moments special to me. We know how twists and turns are no stranger in this series and yet we still end up in cardiac arrests. This game especially is no exception. Heck, I might even dare say how it has one of the bigger twists in the series so far. Not only one, but probably 3…maybe 4, in one sitting. Course, I am exaggerating. It just shows how much Nomura and his team could just flip our heads despite all the theories we can make. So, that being said, here are my favorites not in order. 1. Strelitzia’s death, by far, the saddest death in the series. She has been alive for only 2-3 episodes since her introduction. We know so little of her, that it was saddening that we were never given a chance to interact with her properly. It’s also incredibly tragic that she had little to no friends aside from her brother and her Chirithy. So, in a way, she died alone with no human to lean on. I’d dare say that Xion, while her death was sad, she at least had Roxas by her side as she faded. Not only was she not as known and incredibly alone, Strelitzia was trying to make at least one friend with the Player character and for that to slip away leaving her with regret makes it to the most tragic for anyone. She died alone with regret and with no one by her side. Kinda shows life is so short and anything can take you away from our world. 2. Many scenes with Lauriam (Marluxia) was certainly a surprise how much I liked him, a lot more than before. When he first appeared in KHUX, we all immediately jumped the gun assuming he was the one that took Strelitzia’ life. Turns out, it was in fact his sister. It hit me hard when he sprinted into the vacant house where Strelitzia was last seen via projection, Elrena (Larxene) being the witness. To see him so emotionally vulnerable in his search of his sister was investing. Never thought I would love him more just from that scene alone. This is more so seeing him fight against his friends despite his injury from his fight against Maleficent. He was well animated and had the best emotional tensioned scenes in the story. 3. The Player’s speech towards Ava’s projection of [name Foreteller here] of their feelings toward the “death” of Ephemer. Something about this scene stuck with me. I think consider we can change the look of the Player and project them as ourselves despite Player having their own character and motivations. Not much else to say, I just think it’s really cool. 4. The progression of the Keyblade War was also a crucial event many of us wanted to see come to life in the series. While it’s treatment is preferred a more fully produced quality, I think this served it well. Especially creating an atmosphere of these cute sprite key kids going to war and to perish in it, leaving their keyblades lifeless graveyard we’ve come to know and tragically love. Seeing the player character fight against the Foretellers (aside from one of your Union of choice) is certainly something to behold. I speak as someone who did fight them in the game myself and they were no pushovers. Each of them has you sit down and strategize your keyblade setups with medals that have appropriate attributes due to the fights being reasonably challenging. To top of the combat against powerful leaders, Player watching their friends and just fellow wielders taken down one by one is saddening. It is in fact a reminder that the many wielders we saw were incredibly young. Only to see them be put to their graves like this is incredibly tragic, giving the Keyblade Graveyard a far more somber tone than before. 5. The finale of course was also just incredibly bonkers. If I were to pick my favorite from the finale, the one I pick is without a doubt was one biggest twist in the series. The player character sacrifices themselves to protect their friends and the World from the rogues gallery of surviving darknesses trying to spread themselves like a plague outside the data world the dandelion leaders resided in. That sacrifice lead them to a white void surrounded by remnants of keyblade wielders, alongside their Chirithies, that were lost in the war. Player was given a choice by their Chirithy to let their heart sleep and be protected by Chirithy becoming a Dream Eater spirit. The other choice was refusing to sleep and melt their heart anew. Player chose the latter and their heart begins another journey. This new heart becomes a young boy who was given away as a newborn to a small isolated island, grows up to find a way out to Scala Ad Caelum, trains as a student to be a powerful keyblade master who happens to follow the road to darkness that eventually lead him to continuously research for the rest of his life to learn the secrets of Kingdom Hearts to ultimately become the villain known as the Dark Seeker, Master Xehanort! This twist was the most meta I have seen in the series. Nomura really went out of his way to make the “Eveyone is Xehanort” meme a reality therefore I consider this my favorite twist in the series. 6. On the topic of Xehanort, seeing him as a baby being held by a beautiful woman which I assume is his mother gave me so many questions on who she is and why she gave him away (seriously, their urge of wanting to learn more about her is strong). It’s also worth noting that there is a possibility that it’s not his mother. But I still firmly stand that it is, considering her face says a lot the moment she gave him away to the blue-robed stranger. From their, a string of flash forwards seeing Xehanort grow up to eventually playing chess with Eraqus gave me some tears. ____________________________________ I could go on and on about how the game has a cool string of mystery that kept growing for 5 years (respectfully in the west) to lead us to the answers we seek while giving us more questions in the end, as is tradition for KH at this point. The story was incredibly engaging and the gameplay, personally, was pretty decent despite relying on micro transaction via gacha luck. It certainly was a great distraction of KH content during the dry seasons for 8 years in my opinion. Now, obviously, this is clearly not the best way to consume this particular content especially on how big the story is. I mean, incredibly big and crucial content that should have proper production quality like a movie or somehow an MMO or sorts. But for now, as I post this before the KH anniversary event, the best way to consume this content is watching the recorded footage of the mobile game story that’ll last 10 hours. *UPDATE: [will add it if Square mentions anything about KHUX having better treatment] Now we have Dark Road….whenever that may be…

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