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Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories

    Original release date: 03/29/2007

Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories is an HD Remake of Kingdom Hearts:Chain of Memories originally released on the PlayStation 2 in Japan (March 29, 2007) and North America (December 2, 2008). Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories would later then be released to Australia and Europe as part of the PlayStation 3 HD Remaster, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX


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    • By thatkingdomheartsguy
      So about a month ago I discovered Kingdom Hearts 1.5 on the PS3 and figured I'd give it a go, especially having seen a lot of love from fans of the Kingdom Hearts games all over the internet. I finished 1 Final mix and ReChain of Memories in about 3 weeks, and I think I've had enough time to digest the games to give a *quick* review of it. I figured this might be interesting to post on these Kingdom Hearts forums, since I doubt there's much newbies on here. Also I'm planning to play 2.5 and maybe make some review on it. Who knows, I might even consider a 358/2 Days and Re Coded (I hope I got those names right lol) playthrough after all this. For now though, I think I'll stick with the movies.
      Quick note: I played all the games so far on Standard Mode, although I might consider revisiting them on higher difficulties. 
      Kingdom Hearts 1 Final Mix was, overall, an excellent game. I've heard people calling the game a button masher, and I can see where they're coming from, at least to some degree. The attacking options are pretty primitive, and there's really not much you can do aside from spam physical attacks over and over. Magic is the other main option of attacking, and while it can be useful in areas, I don't see myself using it all that often. Perhaps there's some trick that I'm just not getting, but I find mashing out physical combos to be easier and it works just fine (at least on Standard Mode). 
      It's always cool to see action RPGs incorporate fancy combo abilities, as you get to see how your characters evolve and get stronger throughout the game. I think that's a big aspect in my liking of the game's gameplay; sure, it's simple, but it works and you get stronger as you go on. My personal favorite has to be Ripple Drive; I dunno, something about the flourish Sora does with his Keyblade at the end makes it look super awesome. Practically, it launches enemies into the air which allows me to usually follow up with some type of aerial combo. Pretty cool.
      I don't have much to say about the other gameplay elements; perhaps it requires more experimentation, but stuff like Magic, Limits, and such really didn't have too big of an impact on my gameplay. I will say that Cure is definitely the most useful Magic in my opinion, although its usefulness is so good that items such as Potions and Hi-Potions became kinda pointless, especially near the end. I ended up using a bunch of Ethers and Elixirs for the final world and final boss, mainly so I can Cure and maybe use Aero on myself. Otherwise, the other magics just sort of...sat there. The same can be said about the Limits. While they are flashy and cool looking, I never found myself using them too much because I really didn't need to, and I'd much rather conserve the MP in case of an emergency Cure. 
      The world design was...clunky at times (most notably, Agrabah). Platforming was attempted, but because you don't really get much movement options until the end of the game, it wasn't the best executed. Also, Atlantica swimming controls are godawful, and if you say otherwise, you're wrong. On the other hand, I did enjoy the typical exploration aspect that many action RPGs have, and the fact that these were my childhood Disney worlds made it all the more exciting. So yeah, while platforming in Agrabah or swimming in Atlantica may not have been the best, I damn well still enjoyed those worlds for the exploration and many things to interact with.
      The story was pretty typical and I don't have much to say; it was definitely interesting to see how they intertwined Disney stories with its own Kingdom Hearts plotline though, and I'd say they did a pretty decent job at it. The main game uses the whole "7 Princesses of Light" as its driving plot, and it works...kinda. While it did drag on sometimes, I think the most impressive part is they managed to fit individual Disney World stories into this overall "big" plotline. I was a big fan of Disney movies as a kid, so seeing them in this game created this air of nostalgia for me that I appreciated very much. The big problem however, is when the ending occurs. It feels very...rushed. You have Riku, who is taken over by Ansem, and then a giant clusterfiretruck of things occur in a short span of time (one world, mind you) and then suddenly Mickey's there, and Riku's behind the door, and wait what's Kindgom Hearts again? Overall, it felt really confusing and I actually had to personally go online and look it up to fully understand what happened (at the risk of finding spoilers; luckily, I came out unscathed). I would've enjoyed the ending a lot more if they just took more time to explain the whole thing, and maybe hint and build up at it a bit more.
      Overall, a solid 8.5/10. Pretty damn good.
      Re:CoM was apparently highly controversial on whether it's good or bad, and I can see why; it's so vastly different from the very first game that I was taken by surprise at first. What are all these cards doing here? What's with Sora's voice? wtf is happening man
      Okay, the incredible thing about this game is that you get immersed in the gameplay after you understand the concept, which is definitely not easy. However, I find myself understanding more and more as the game goes on, and eventually it all starts making sense to me. How to arrange my deck, how to use Sleights, how to manipulate my attacks in such way to deal maximum damage, etc. I'd say the gameplay is only for certain types of gamers, but it definitely hit my sweet spot and I loved it. On the otherhand, I can see why people would dislike it, especially with a LOT of the game time being spent on arranging your deck for bosses. Oh yeah, bosses. Some get REALLY damn hard near the end, such as the last Axel fight (took me a dozen attempts for that one). There's a pretty big difficulty spike within the last few floors, and it caught me kind of by surprise. Also, holy crap the Castle Oblivion map was ginormous. 
      Despite that though, I loved the experimentation aspect of the game, and had a lot of fun with it. Trying new sleights, attack patterns, and just new combos; it was super fun to play around with, and I appreciate the game devs changing up the concepts between games just for a more diversified gameplay. On the other hand, I did find the repetition and layout of the worlds somewhat boring, especially in giant worlds such as Hollow Bastion or Castle Oblivion; by the end, you see the pattern and layout of each and every map card, so the feeling of exploration that the first game had sort of disappeared. 
       The story is excellent. I was wondering how they were going to expand upon the ending of Kingdom Hearts 1, because it clearly was not finished, especially with Riku being locked behind the door. Turns out, they were gonna have Sora and co. go into a castle and lose all their memories. Yeah, it sounds absurd, but after we reveal the whole Namine plot, it genuinely made sense. Some parts are still confusing though, although I assume that Kingdom Hearts 2 will answer all my questions. The Organization is a pretty cool group, and having only seen a few of them makes me excited to see the rest. I also got the whole thing about Axel kind of being an assassin for the group that's supposed to sniff out and disloyalty, and considering the whole gang in Castle Oblivion were plotting a plan to overthrow the leader or something, seeing Axel slowly change sides was one of my favorite parts.
      Sora is really damn angry in this game, way more than the first game where he was always this light hearted naive kid. It's nice to see this type of character development, especially since a lot of his anger is justified. His best friend is gone, he's just trying to save everyone, he's the Keyblade Master so he has a lot on his shoulders, and to top it all off, he's losing his memories thanks to Namine's shenanigans. Riku Replica was such an interesting character with really weird and philosophical motivations behind him, and that eventually lead to his demise; questioning his own existence, as he was a mere puppet. This was super cool to me, and I hope he would somehow return in the future games (although I don't personally see it happening). The other characters were interesting too; it's cool to see how they had individual personalities to them, although I did find Marluxia as sort of the "main villain" to be the cliche "cool, monologue" type. 
      Reverse/Rebirth was a post game thing that changed up the gameplay mechanics as you can no longer rearrange your deck, which is set in stone for you in each world. So yeah, while I enjoyed the whole Card Duel mechanic, I felt that it was merely an extension to further your understanding of the story and nothing more, so I dont' have much to say on it. I appreciate the effort, but I still enjoy Sora gameplay more. Sorry Riku!
      Really fun gameplay and excellent story, so it earns a 9/10 for me.
      So yeah, that's my "short" opinion on the two games I played so far. I have yet to watch the 358/2 Days movie (how do you SAY that name?) and I already have a copy of 2.5 ready to play. Honestly, I've enjoyed this series much more than I expected so far. Hope I can say the same for the rest of the games; but yeah. I might post something once I finish the others, but for now, this should suffice
    • By Soboz
      So with the release of the new screenshots and renders from famitsu, I decided to compare the renders of Mickey and Aqua to their Ps2 era models, to see how they look overall and to see a side by side comparison.
      Upon comparing them I have to say that my appreciation for the kingdom shader has gone up even more, due to the fact that they look like the character designs from the last generation but with major improvements of course and how the models actually look like they could've been from a Disney animated film.
      Anyways, seeing these new renders makes even more excited for the game's release in January.

    • By thatkingdomheartsguy
      So I watched a pretty old video by joshscorcher on "Top 10 Worst KH Bosses" and it was a pretty bad list imo; his explanations were subpar and felt more like complaints and salt from being unable to beat a boss (quote from the video "I HATE how [Demyx] keeps pelting me with attacks that I CAN'T COUNTER!"), and it really that informative. However it did get me thinking; KH has a bunch of awesome bosses (I'm looking at you, Mr. Zebra Xemnas), but it also had its fair share of bad bosses (as to be expected from every game series). So yah, here's my list (from least worst to worst worst). 
      1. Data Xigbar (KH2) - Honestly just a not very well designed fight in general. His bullets are so fast that it is pretty much impossible to react to them, unless you 100% understand his every pattern. Even then, you'll most likely have to spam Reflect to survive. It has redeeming qualities though; it's still a doable fight, and it's nowhere near as unfair as some of the later bosses you'll see on this list.
      2. Ursula 2 (KH1) - There is lightning everywhere, and they strike down insanely rapidly. You can at most get off two hits of your combo before having to move to avoid the lightning. Her other attacks are avoidable, but the main downfall of this fight was the lightning. Using a finisher would only result in finisher lag, where you cannot move in that instant and forces you to get hit by the lightning. It's honestly just a horribly designed fight overall.
      3. Chernabog (DDD) - Underwhelming and kind of pathetic. I remember in KH1 when we fought Chernabog; it was difficult fight, but hell yeah it was intense and epic.  This...does a lot less. Awesome, convert an awesome intense fight to a drop mission.
      4. Ruler of the Sky (Days) - Once again, this was just another boring fight; debatably the most boring in the entire game. This fight can take an absurd amount of time, and once over, you really don't feel any feelings of accomplishment. It's not even a hard fight; just tedious since the majority of the fight is just you chasing after him.
      5. Phantom (KH1) - This fight, like Ruler of the Sky, is boring and tedious. What's with flying bosses having bad design? You can only use a specific attack on Phantom at a certain time: Fire, Blizzard, Thunder, and Attack. Phantom has a bunch of health, and the fight overall just takes a long time. You'll once again be flying around for the most part and Curing when you get hit. Also, you have to cast Stop periodically on the Clock Tower to prevent him from casting Doom on your party members, which will remove them from the battle forever. Boring, long, and tedious. But at least we aren't at the frustrating ones yet.
      6. Young Xehanort (DDD) - Speaking of frustrating bosses, here's one for you. Imagine all the issues with DDD, regarding boss stun, difficulty spikes, unfair AI; roll them all together, and you get this. YX is relentless, and barely has openings.  Even when you do attack him, you'll just end up getting obliterated by him randomly retaliating out of your combo. Welp, time to stick to spamming Balloon to win again. I don't even have a grudge against his time reverse thing at the end; in fact, I thought that was pretty cool. However, the fact that the fight empahsizes on the problems in DDD really just makes me hate it.
      7. Armor of the Master (BBS) - Can't be stunned, once again. It's a long and boring fight. Sure, his attacks are flashy, but when you realized that all of them can be dodged by mashing Square as Aqua and Ven, the fight really doesn't do much else. Once again, use Surges! Because that's how you beat every single optional boss in BBS.
      8. No Heart (BBS) - You cannot stun him. His attacks are brutal. The only way to win is to Dodge like hell, use Surges, get hit, run away, Cure, repeat. The fight also took FOREVER on the PSP version; luckily, Square nerfed him on the PS3 version. But that still doesn't make it any better.
      9. All Vanitas Fights (BBS) - Vanitas is the epitome of bad boss design. He, like many others in BBS and DDD, cannot get stunned (and if he does, he teleports out before you can hit him again). He is the most inconsistent boss in the series; he does whatever he wants, whenever he wants, quite literally breaking the game's rules. Finally stunned him with a possible opening? Nope, teleport. Finally got two hits on him and is about to use a finisher? Nope, break out in the middle of your combo and teleport behind you, hitting you. The fight isn't hard once you get used to it; just don't use finishers. That's right, the way to win that fight is literally to attack once, roll away, and slowly chip away at his health forever and ever. A boss that is frustrating and tedious is one thing; however, a boss that breaks its own set of rules that the game has set up is a completely new level of bad design. What were you thinking Square?
      10. Mysterious Figure (BBS) - As Aqua and Ven, this fight is almost pathetic once you know how to beat him. Mash Square until your thumb breaks, and Surges in his openings. As Terra, you hope and pray to the KH RNG Gods that they don't let you die. The issue with this fight rests in the intention. Square quite literally programmed the fight to act after the most broken mechanics in the entire series that is found in BBS. You spam Aqua and Ven's invincible dodges to win, you spam the OP command Thunder Surge, and everything else, including Terra and his crappy slide, is completely, utterly, useless. What a great fight. Vanitas broke its own rules, but Mysterious Figure literally breaks its own rules in order to force the player to also break the game's "intended rules" to win. Unbelievable; I can't believe people actually designed this garbage.
      And yeah, I got pretty brutal with the last few ones there, but my point still stands; they were bad fights. Anyways, I'd like to see all of your opinion so yay discussion!
    • By thatkingdomheartsguy
      I never particularly understood people's reasoning for this. What is it about the card battle system in CoM that people hate so much? I absolutely adore it; it's a pleasant change of pace from the button mash-y action that was KH1. It required legitimate strategy and thinking; you can't mash X to win, because every attack you do has a cost to it that you must consider the repercussions to.  Do people just not like it because it's not a button masher? And if that's the reason, does that mean these people dislike all games that aren't button mashers and require thinking?I really don't understand. People love games like Dark Souls, which forces you to fight cautiously and conservatively, which can almost be kind of compared to Chain of Memories' battle system. Yet the majority of the KH community that I've seen absolutely despises this game, and with no particular reason either. Can someone please tell me why? I really do want to know, because from what I can tell so far, it's just blind hate because the game is "different", and personally, I don't consider that as a valid reason at all.
    • By thatkingdomheartsguy
      Hi. I'm new to these forums. And I can't believe how long it took for me to find such an amazing thing exists on the interwebz. A place where you can talk all you want about Kingdom Hearts? Sounds like dream heaven. And so with that, I will start my long intro/rant thing. Probably gonna type this up over a few days, just because it's gonna be a looong post (and hopefully not too boring).
      So what exactly did I want to do for my first post ever? Make a review. Not just any short and crappy review; a review on every single KH game that I've played. So as you might expect, y'all who are reading this are in for a long one.
      Another incentive is because I've literally had people **** on my opinion before because they think *insert KH game* is the best, and apparently I'm the devil for not liking it or something. But hey, that's the internet for you, so I guess there's not much I can do about that. Therefore, I've chosen a forum full of people with the same nerdy addiction as I do to talk about these games
      Now keep in mind many of these things are heavily opinion based, so feel free to comment on your own opinions. For simplicity, let's go in chronological release date order (or something close to that, I don't remember the exact release dates for all the games). Also for simplicity, I'll be considering all Final Mixes and their original counterparts as one game, so if I say KH2, I'm also referring to KH2FM (PS2). However, I will be having a separate section for Remakes/HD Remasters (i.e. ReCoM, 1.5, 2.5). So yeah. Let's start. I guess.
      Hey look at that, I used bold and underlined font for organization. I am officially better at organization than 90% of the internet
      So yeah, going first with the game that started it all. The game that got me into this series, and perhaps even gaming in general. And it's pretty clear to see why; it's a good game.
      I think the most charming part about this game for me is the story and nostalgia. The story was so simplistic, yet you feel so involved in the Disney Worlds that it's as if you're actually in them, interacting with all your favorite Disney childhood characters. Combined with nostalgia, it makes this game unforgettable. And I'd say lots of people would agree with me.
      The gameplay is simplistic, but it shows that you don't need complicated game mechanics for a game to be good. Many people refer to this game as a button masher, and in some way, it was. However, it wasn't the "mash one button for senseless destruction" kind of button masher, but more so "mash one button carefully with strategy (or at least some degree of it)". The game was difficult. Exceptionally difficult as a child, and even now, it's not easy to go through the thing on Proud Mode. Yet, you learn stuff as you go on, and conquering fights always has this odd feeling of satisfaction to it. Remember Riku 2? Remember Dragon Maleficent? We've all failed those fights so many times as a kid that we've literally memorized the cutscenes. I remember jumping out of my chair and freaking out when I finally beat Riku 2 (despite having to grind several weeks to beat him). And something about that feeling of happiness and accomplishment will never leave me, which is perhaps why I love this game so much.
      So KH1 isn't flawless, and it does receive a fair amount of criticism from others, especially people who've just played it for their first times in the 1.5 HD Remaster. And it is completely understandable why too: the story pacing, looking at it now, is pretty bad. They throw you in the game, you know absolutely nothing, then you learn a little bit about who you are but everything is still really vague. Then you learn little to nothing for 20 hours of gameplay until you reach Hollow Bastion, where they just dump the story at you. So much story. And then you have some emotional scenes, get even more story, and then you reach the end of the game where it feels kind of rushed. Suddenly, Kingdom Hearts! Wait...what was Kingdom Hearts again? The game fails to explain to you clearly, and it leaves many questions unanswered. King Mickey makes his only debut in the final scene of the game, and it happens all so fast that when the credits roll around, many people are left confused and wondering what the **** just happened.
      Gameplay isn't perfect either, but this part is a bit more opinionated. Some may despise the button mashing feel the game has, but I for one love it and the feeling of senseless destruction you can have when you're overpowered. There's also strategy involved in it too; mashing X will not get you through the game on Proud Mode. World design is pretty wonky *cough cough Agrabah cough cough* and controls can be a LITTLE bit clumsy feeling (lol Atlantica). So I can see why these things can turn people away from the game. However, for me, this will always be a favorite of mine purely because of the fact that it was such a nostalgic factor in my childhood that even now, I'll never forget the fun I had playing through Kingdom Hearts 1.
      I'm gunna combine these two into one section, but I'll be talking about them separately (sort of):
      So firstly, GBA CoM. The fact that this is a handheld game turns people away from it. I've seen way to many people say "I never played original CoM because it was on the gameboy". However, if you haven't played it, I'd suggest giving it a try; especially if you've played and enjoyed ReCoM, because it is similar, but at the same time, different from ReCoM. Believe it or not, I like the original GBA CoM better than ReCoM, and I'll get to that in a bit.
      The general public's view of the Chain of Memories games are negative. People in general despise the new "card system", saying it was bad or poorly implemented, and that attacking things were too difficult in comparison to KH1. Yet, I've seen the same people complain about KH1 being a button masher. Wtf guys? Make up your damn mind.
      I liked the Chain of Memories games. Actually, I enjoyed them so much that I'd say it's on par with how much I like KH1. I loved the new card system; it gave the battle system a strategy and you needed legitimate skill to plan out your every move, unlike KH1 which had a more button mashing type of feeling. Some people don't like this type of gameplay, and that's completely fine. I for one, love the fact that you have your own choice of different attacks and cards. Mashing X will not get you through this game; instead, you must learn to strategize.
      That's another genius part about the CoM series: how they teach you to use your resources. I have to admit, this is easily the best game in the series in terms of how they introduce you to the card system. Every player starts off confused, but once you get past that stage, you start learning an unbelievable amount about how you can manipulate the cards to your advantage. And it's not like the game tells you everything; but the fights and enemies are designed in such ways that you're pretty much forced to figure out a way to go through the game as efficiently as possible for you.
      The story is very well done too, and the pacing was far better than KH1. After every floor, you learn a bit more about what the mystery of Castle Oblivion is, and as you near the end, the information comes a bit more rapidly. It was very well distributed, and made story enthusiasts keep wanting to play the game to find out what happens.
      So I've addressed the pros, now to move on to the cons:
      The gameplay does get somewhat repetitive, I'll give it that. For the most part, it's "go through rooms, get key cards, and progress on with story." Therefore, there's not much replay value in it. However, it's still fun to play once in a while. There are also balancing issues in ReCoM. In CoM on the GBA, sleights were powerful and used, but there was no one sleight that can overshadow everything. In ReCoM, there are quite a few overpowered chosen slights that will basically make other sleights obsolete, i.e. Lethal Frame, Sonic Blade, Ars Arcanum, Firaga/Blizzaga, etc. This argument however, can be countered with the fact that abilities like Sonic Blade and Lethal Frame can only be obtained mid-late game, so you can't exactly abuse their powers. Plus, bosses technically had the ability to break your cards too, so these weren't always the best choice (maybe except for Lethal Frame). There's also the possiblity to restrict yourself from using such overpowered abilities, as that won't make the game unplayable, just slightly harder (unfortunately, this is something you'll see in recent KH games that I'll get into.)
      So yeah, that's my view on the CoM series. I enjoy GBA CoM a bit more just because of the slightly more balanced gameplay, which means that I can actually attack bosses with different strategy instead of being forced to spam Lethal Frame over and over again.
      Oh boy, here we go. The Kingdom Hearts game that got the lowest score from IGN out of all the KH games they've reviewed.
      Buut it's IGN, and that means that we don't listen to them. KH2 Vanilla may be mediocre, but boy oh boy, KH2FM is by far, and I mean BY FAR, the best Kingdom Hearts game that we have, and probably will ever have. (No seriously, if KH3 tops this, I'll be very very impressed, but I'm not counting on it.)
      People liked KH2 for the most part, but some people also seemed to hate it. Looking at the game technically, it is the best designed game in the series. The balancing in KH2FM is almost perfect, and the combat is beautiful, fluid, and just fun to play (although that last part is an opinion lol). The post-game is by far the best in the entire series, and I don't think anyone can really argue against that. It's just such a masterpiece of a game, and makes you wish that all other KH games could be like this.
      That being said, it does have its flaws. No game is perfect, and KH2 is no different. But yeah, let's delve into the nitty gritty details of this game and see what exactly makes it so good and loved by many people.
      Storywise, the game does fine. It's not the most intriguing story in the series, nor is it the most well paced (although considerably better than KH1). It's story, in my opinion, is sort of in the middle. However, it does wrap up everything nicely in the end, and it also introduces my favorite enemies in the series so far, which are the Nobodies. Also, Organization XIII is sick, and no other villain will top these groups of villains for me. But hey, that's my opinion, so many people may differ.
      I don't have much else to say for story. It's good, but not amazing. What makes this game for me is the gameplay, which is also, the most important part of any game.
      Let's start off with the combat options. By the end of the game, you are given a TON of different options: Attack, 6 Magic spells, healing items, 4(5 in FM) Drive forms, 4 Summons, and a TON of Limits. There are so many options to choose from, and the types of combos you can pull of is endless. Not only that, but there are also physical combo modifiers as Abilities, allowing you to enhance your combos even more. Don't like the normal combo? Time a press of Square the finish with the ability "Finishing Leap" equipped, and you'll create a shockwave that will send enemies spiraling into the air. Jump up and press some more Square with "Horizontal Slash" and you can slash the enemies rapidly, dealing enormous damage, then ending your combo with several finishers completely obliterating the foe.
      ...sorry, I may have gotten a little bit carried away there. But you can see that you have a ton of options with just physical attacks alone. When combined with Magic, Summons, Drives, and Limits, you are basically given this endless array of options that you can choose from for the best situation. This is done even better in the FM version since they added new finishers and abilities, as well as Limit Form (which I'm gonna mention, is soooo good).
      The gameplay is balanced. You'll notice I said something about unbalanced gameplay for ReCoM; meaning, some sleights are so good that it overshadows other attacks because of their power, making these other attacks completely obsolete and useless. In KH2, Square has perfected this system of balancing. No attack, out of ANY of the options you have, are extremely overpowered and can work for every situation. Every single attack has a form of use, whether it's for taking care of a mob of enemies, or just a single boss, or a giant Heartless that appeared out of nowhere. The closest thing to OP in this game is Reflega, and even then, you obtain it at the dead end of the game, and it spamming it will not guarantee a win for any fight.
      Boss AI complexity is at its culmination in this game for the series. You might've heard of these things called "Revenge Value" or "Flinch Count" before. These things are essentially in-game counters to force the boss to behave in a certain way. It provides a form of strategy; the bosses cannot be infinitely stunned (for the most part), and spamming one attack will not net you a win. The boss retaliates according to these in-game counters, and reacting accordingly is part of the strategy. That's what makes this game's bosses so satisfying to beat. Say you come across an exceptionally difficult boss; you get completely destroyed the first time around. However, the more you attempt it, the more you learn about it, and as the more you learn about, the more you see how the boss works and retaliates to certain combos, and how many hits it takes for the boss to retaliate, etc. To an experienced player like me, this is unbelievably intricate and makes the game so much more fun to me. I know how bosses work, so a lot of the strategy comes from me doing certain combos, then reacting accordingly to avoid getting punished. The fluid style of gameplay helps this a lot, and all this stuff just mashes up into a big ball of amazingness and fun. I cannot emphasize enough how enjoyable it is to refight the Data Organization members in the Cavern of Remembrance; the reaction speed that I need, and the amount of strategy put into the fight is almost absurd, and I love every second of it.
      There are flaws for this game too, don't get me wrong. So far, I've been basically fan-gasming over the game and ranting about how amazing it is, but I'll also address the flaws. The exploration factor of KH1 is completely gone; worlds are flat and linear. They sort of make this up in the Cavern of Remembrance in the FM version (which is also my favorite area in the game), but the fact remains that the main story worlds lost a lot of their exploration to it, which may be disappointing to some. Some also say the game is too easy, although I'd beg to differ on that. You have the option to challenge yourself, and I've known absolutely no one who has every played KH2FM Critical Mode Level 1 say it was easy, even the most experienced of players.
      The thing is, once you dive into the small details and really get to understand this game, you start realizing how much though Square Enix had put into this game, that they will never do for any other KH game after this one. Let's just hope KH3 has just as much thought put into it. To be completely honest, if KH3 can even come close to getting to the level of intricacy in KH2, I'll be very satisfied with my product. For now though, KH2FM is by far my favorite game in the series....no...of all time.
      KH 358/2 Days
      Having not played this game for quite a while, I'll try to keep this short and sweet.
      Days is, for the most part, praised for its emotional story, but crapped on for its boring and repetitive gameplay. After playing the fluid gameplay of KH2, I have to say, I agree with most of the people.
      The story is nice, but also badly paced. The middle of the game is filled with repetition, which is also reflected in the gameplay. "Roxas does mission. He finishes. He eats ice cream with Axel and Xion." That's like 60% of the game right there, explained in a few sentences. It does give us a nice view of the bond Roxas created with Axel and Xion, but otherwise, it felt boring and repetitive.
      The gameplay is very repetitive. Select mission, do mission (which is always very similar to each other), finish. Repeat. The combat options are nowhere near as intricate as KH2, although it is a DS game so I can't expect as much as KH2. However, I did think the Panel system was a pretty cool idea, even if it was a bit annoying that you had to take up space inside the panels just to level up.
      Days kind of pisses me off. The game had such an amazing amount of potential behind it, but the way they made it just doesn't make it a fun game. Just think of the potential this game had; you're literally playing as the villains, and you get to see what exactly happened within the Organization. It would answer all your questions about the Organization in KH2, and you would see how Axel and Roxas became friends, and it would be a blast and an amazing game. And the game does that...to a degree. It does well in explaining the events of KH2, but the other Organization members felt like side characters opposed to actual characters that was involved in the story. In the end, you really don't learn much about the Organization aside from Roxas, Axel, and Xion, and it makes the whole game's potential feel wasted.
      Birth by Sleep is loved by so many people. It is definitely ranked, by most, as one of their top KH games. The first time I played through BBS, I loved it. It felt so fun, all the different combat options, even if I had no idea what I was melding at the time. The Command Styles were like pseudo KH2 Drive Forms, and there were so many options that I couldn't hate them.
      And yet....something seemed off. The second playthrough of the game felt significantly less exciting for me. The game begins to feel repetitive, even boring...
      And then I played through Critical Mode, and the game just turned outright tedious. I barely finished that playthrough before I decided to never play the game again.
      What happened? What happened to this game that I thought may be competition for KH2 on my first playthrough, what exactly made me get tired of it so much more quickly than KH2?
      Well let's start off from the story. The story of BBS acts as a prequel to KH1, 10-11 years before the events of KH1 occurred. There are 3 main characters: Terra, Aqua, and Ven. The issue with these main characters are that...they aren't exciting. Perhaps its because I've stuck with Sora for so long, but I didn't have an issue with accepting Roxas as a good pseudo-main character; mainly because he had so much backstory and was a genuinely interesting character. Yet, I just can't seem to get myself to LIKE even one of the main characters in BBS. Aqua is a girl. A Keyblade master. Nothing more to it. Ventus is a boy, whose darkness comes in the being of Vanitas, and that he's somehow a chain between the legendary X-Blade. That's it, no deeper backstory or emotions. Terra, by far the most interesting, is nothing but a young lad that has darkness lingering in his heart. He's gullible, and eager. That's all we know about them. Compared to Sora, who we learn as the boy from Destiny Islands, chosen by the keyblade, with a personality of eagerness and courage, powerful, a true hero, happy, and all these other personalities, these 3 characters seem significantly more mundane. They don't feel like they're in the story at all, they're just sort of...there. For the story to work.
      The story also begins introducing ideas of previous Keyblade Wielders. Its really at this point that the idea of "wielding a keyblade" started to bother me in the direction it was going. I've seen people make this analogy before, and I'm gonna try to connect it here. Ever watched Dragon Ball Z? The Super Saiyan was a legend passed down milleniums. Goku manages to ascend to this level, this supposed legendary status that grants the Saiyan who obtains it an unbelievable amount of power, and the only supposed reason for his ascension was because of his unique peaceful personality and his compassion, added with his anger of losing a friend. This makes him special, and different from the other coldblooded and murderous Saiyans. It gives him this status, of being the only one who is able to achieve this, thus making Goku special. It makes the main character so much more intriguing, and really brings them to life. And then, as the show went on, more and more people began being able to transform into this "Super Saiyan". By the end of the Buu Saga, you see 7 year old kids transforming into one when having a sparring match with their mothers. And it sucks. It makes this supposed "legend" not very legendary, and makes the main character seem...normal. Granted, in DBZ, Goku does surpass everyone even more with even more absurd transformations "beyond" the level of a Super Saiyan, but I'm not gonna get too much in detail about that. After all, we're talking Kingdom Hearts here.
      So this BBS section has gone on for a long time and I haven't even began on story, so I should probably hurry this up a bit. Simply put; BBS did the same thing as DBZ with the Super Saiyan thing, except this time with Keyblades. In KH1, I loved playing as Sora because of the fact that he was special; he was a Keyblade wielder, the only one in the world with the power to vanquish the Darkness. And yet, in BBS, we discover Sora isn't special at all. There are literally thousands of other Keyblade wielders, that may or may not have done even greater deeds than Sora has. He's no one, just a normal one in thousands of others. This ruins my image of Sora's character, and makes me despise BBS for bringing something like this in.
      So those aren't all my issues with the story, but it's the general idea. The fact that characters are boring and uninspired, and the fact that it messes up my image of Sora, the main character I actually (used to) liked, just makes me hate the story of BBS. I will give it this though; even though I don't like the direction it took, it does act as a decent explanation of what happened before the main story of KH1 and KH2, and why everything happened the way it did. MOVING ON TO GAMEPLAY:
      So remember those balancing issues in ReCoM that I said KH2 has fixed and almost mastered? Well, they screwed it up again for BBS, and even worse this time. The reason why I felt the game got more and more boring the more I played it was because that I realized there were certain commands that were so good, that there was no use for using any other ones. The notable ones are: Thunder/Fire Surge, Magnet, Mine Square, Ignite, Sleep. That's all you need to beat the game. No fancy big commands that take up 2 slots; why would you bother making those when something cheaper, easier to make and find, is better in almost every way possible?
      Using the argument of "just don't use these commands" is a bad argument because the game offers you these options, therefore expects you to use it. What's more, is the fact that the game turns UNPLAYABLE on difficulties like LV1 Critical Mode without these commands. It's like the game is edging you on to spam these certain commands, just to make the gameplay more repetitive and boring. The reason why ReCoM doesn't suffer from the same problem is the fact that the game is playable with restrictions; opposedly, BBS turns impossibly tedious and difficulty without these overpowered commmands. The more I play this game, the more boring it gets, because of the fact that I'm just repeating the same actions over and over and over again, just to avoid dying on higher difficulties. Underneath all these types of commands that you can create and use, only few are useful for actual gameplay. The game gives you a false impression of how much combat option you have, and that, to say the least, kind of annoys me. Just a bit.
      Complex AI from KH2 is completely gone. Bosses randomly retaliate for no reason. Vanitas, one of the most infamous for this issue, is a stupid fight. Why? The fight goes like this: hit once-twice, dodge. Wait for opening, hit once or twice, dodge. Wow, what a fun boss that's so innovative. There is no strategy involved; you can't even learn from experience because the entire fight is completely random. That's just one example of the AI complexity being gone, but you can see how majorly it affects the gameplay. The fights went from strategic and adrenaline rushing to a clusterf*** of attack a few times, dodge, attack a few times, dodge....and all this makes you want to use these overpowered commands even more, just to end the fight quickly so you don't need to sit through this reptitious bull****.
      BBS makes me angry as you can see (lol), because, like Days, its combat system and story had so much potential, which was wasted in a badly designed and messy Command Deck. Unfortunately, the Command Deck doesn't stop here...a few other KH games after BBS seems to have also fallen in love with this system.
      I've actually never played Re:Coded before. Yeah I know, I know, there's gonna be thousands of people at my house's front door the next day burning my house down, "YOUR NOT A TRUE KINGDOM HEARTS FAN, HOW DARE YOU CALL YOURSELF ONE OF US?!?!??!?!"
      In all seriousness though, because I haven't played the game, I can't exactly judge it. However, from what I've heard, Re:Coded actually does the best job with the Command Deck in any KH game we've seen so far; it's far more balanced than the other KH games with the Command System, and actually has some interesting Commands.
      The story is the story, and yes, I know its insignificant and has little to nothing to contribute to the actual lore of Kingdom Hearts itself. Sooo that's that. Nothing more to say, as I can't exactly judge for myself. Maybe one day I'll get my hands on this game and play it, and then I can make a final judgement about how much I like/hate the game. For now though, I'm gonna keep silent.
      Ohhhh boy. Dream Drop Distance. This game is a woozy, I'll tell you that. It also happens to be my least favorite Kingdom Hearts game! WOO! Basically, imagine all the issues I have with BBS. Then add "Confusing and stupidly complex story", "screwing up my image of Sora even more", "even WORSE balancing issues than BBS", and "even WORSE Boss AI than BBS", and you have Dream Drop Distance on a silver platter.
      I'll try to make this brief, as I explained most of my issues with the Command Deck I had in the BBS section.
      STORY! Time travel. Why why why why why. WHY OSAKA. WHY WOULD YOU INCLUDE TIME TRAVEL. Time travel was NEVER hinted at before in any games, so therefore, its a great element to add to the story right? No Osaka, it makes it seem like you're desperately grasping on to an idea just to extend the story even more. The complexity of the story in DDD is absurd, and even I, as a seasoned KH player who has played MOST of the games in the series multiple times, barely understand what's going on. There are plotholes, inconsistencies, and nothing makes sense.
      The story worsens my image of Sora further. So it turns out he isn't a Keyblade master after all. HAH. I've been playing as a joke the entire series? Thanks Osaka, really appreciate it.
      So according to DDD logic, you need to take the "Mark of Mastery" exam to become a "true Keyblade Master". Otherwise you're just a wielder. And anyone can be a wielder, as shown by the thousands in BBS. Oh yeah, also Lea is a Keyblade Wielder now. WTF?!
      Sora conquered thousands of obstacles, saved the world multiple times, defeated thousands of Heartless, took down an ENTIRE ORGANIZATION of powerful Nobodies, and now you're telling me that he has to take a Mark of Mastery exam to be truely qualified? Must I remind you that Aqua became a Keyblade Master by attacking balls? This is absolutely ridiculous, and it reduces Sora to nothing but a normal person. And why would I want to play as a normal character with no unique characteristics anymore? It's like they turned the "special-heroic Sora" from KH1 to a "BBS character", and that angers me to no end.
      Oh yeah, you know what else was never before mentioned in any games? Organization XIII had hearts. It was all a LIE.
      I'm not gonna even go into detail on that one, I think it's pretty self explanatory.
      GAMEPLAY! Balloon Balloon Balloon. No enemy can withstand it. No command is better. No combat option is better. Level 1 Critical is impossible without Balloon. Good game design Osaka, take BBS and make it even worse. Didn't think that was possible.
      Bosses all have brick wall now, meaning they cannot be staggered. They're like a chunk of rock, just sitting there taking damage and attacking. This prompts you to use Balloon even more, because Balloon is like one of two commands in the entire game that has a high stagger rate. It's as if Osaka team was like "hey, lets create the game in such way that everything revolves around this one move, and that if you don't have it, then lol have fun dying." IT. DOESN'T. MAKE. THE. GAME. GOOD.
      *By Osaka, I'm referring to Osaka Team, aka the team in Square Enix that created ReCoM, BBS, DDD, and the HDRemixes. I also affectionately call them as "Downfall of KH-Team".
      I get a bit emotional when talking about DDD, because it pisses me off so much. So apologies for the anger, let's move on now shall we?
      KH1.5 HD ReMix
      KH1 is relatively unchanged, aside from the addition of EXP Zero in Proud Mode, which, as the name suggests, you don't gain any EXP with the thing equipped. This makes it possible to do a Level 1 playthrough of the game, and it is quite challenging, but also somewhat tedious as bosses can take a very long time to beat. It's pretty obvious to see that KH1 was clearly not designed around having to play at Level 1 (unlike KH2). Also KH1 has cutscene skips now, so that's awesome.
      ReCoM is unchanged too I believe, so nothing much to say there.
      Days cinematics was cool, although I wish they included some fight scenes in there. Luckily, they fix this in the 2.5 version of Re:Coded.
      One thing that does bother some people however, is the stability of the game. In the JP version of KH1.5, 1FMHD is very prone to crashing. This isn't a disc problem like some people claim it to be; it happens in all copies of the game. It's pretty obnoxious to most people, especially if they made a lot of progress without saving. All this is a result of poor porting and just carelessness/laziness from Osaka Team.
      KH2.5 HD ReMix
      2FM has finally been released in America, and now every gets to experience the full glory of this wonderful game. Unfortunately, the game is plagued with crashes, glitches, bad loading, bugs, and instability. Sure, they're minor issues, and most likely won't interfere with most people's view of the game, but it still does take away from the full experience that KH2FM gave to players. Flaws, however minor, are flaws nonetheless, and can be fixed through testing and not-being-careless. Once again, lazy porting from Osaka Team. I really wish they weren't in charge of KH3....
      BBSHD retains its issues that the original PSP had, but it is an upgrade in graphics and controls are significantly better and more responsive. They also buffed EXP Zero in the game; due to complaints about Level 1 chip damage in BBS PSP, the HD version now has some hidden properties of EXP Zero, like in KH1. For example, certain combo attacks deal more damage with EXP Zero equipped. However, they did go a little bit overboard; to the point where certain attacks are so powerful that not even Beginner Mode can top it. If you've never seen Peter Pan D-Link's Swordbill finisher, look it up right now. It's pretty ridiculous. Overall, I like it way better than the PSP, but that doesn't eliminate its issues.
      Re:Coded movie was nice, and had some nice cinematics. Cool addition.
      KH2.8 HD ReMix
      One can only hope they at least attempt to fix the issues with DDD. And don't make it worse. If they nerf Balloon but don't do anything else, that'll make the game impossible to play on Level 1 and make it even worse.
      In my wildest dreams, this game tops KH2FM. But alas, only time will tell.
      And FINALLY, I am done. This is literally the longest post ever (I better get a world record for this); I was not expecting this to go on for so long, but here we are. I spent approximately 4 hours on it. Hope you guys have a fun read (or not because it's so long). Let me know of your opinions. With that, I need some sleep and rest for my fingers, peace ~
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