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Kingdom Hearts

    Original release date: 03/28/2002

Kingdom Hearts is the first game in the Kingdom Hearts series, originally released on the PlayStation 2 on March 28, 2002.

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    • By Mykaila Shakespeare
      I uploaded this to my Twitter and few other social media. But I figured I should upload this here.
      I am working on a dedication project that's in a way related to a countdown. I will play every playable game (including the DS games + their movie counterparts...Union Cross is an acception because the story is not finished yet LOL) then I will draw them out based on that game and this will be monthly. Example: KH1 in June, Chain of Memories (including reverse/rebirth) in July, KH2 in August, etc etc.
      Starting with, of course, the beginning of the series, simply just Kingdom Hearts. We all remember: inserting the disc to our PlayStation 2, hearing dearly beloved, being blown away by the opening, going through the tutorial starting with out own choices (I know most of us chose the sword LOL), fighting the once terrifying Darkside, exploring Destiny Islands, hanging out as Sora with Riku and Kairi, fighting heartless, getting a Keybalde, meeting with Donald and Goofy, going to many Disney worlds, meeting a few Final Fantasy characters like Cloud, facing difficult bosses, solving puzzles, the final boss, the ending. All of that for the first time was magical. A mix of Disney with the aesthetics of Final Fantasy was what many of us would never dream of would exist. Here we are now with the many games after KH1 getting us prepared for KH3, a revolution we are ready to face.
      And here's my review and thoughts overall here (synopsis included):
      Our story begins with Sora, who lives on an island with his best friends Riku and Kairi. They attempt to build a raft to explore outside worlds. One night, the island is attacked by creatures if darkness, called Heartless, the forcibly separated Sora from his friends. Sora stumbles upon another world, with a strange weapon [the Keyblade] aside him. There in the new world, he stumbles upon Donald and Goofy (who are traveling looking for "the key" in hopes to find their missing King). They all travel together to many different worlds while fighting the heartless in hopes to find their friends.
      This is the game that started it all. I first discovered this game at a friend's home in 2004 or 2005. What attracted me was art work of the cover. To think that there is a beautiful art work featuring Donald Duck and Goofy. Another attractive feat is realizing it was a crossover. Since I was a kid, I've always LOVED the idea of crossovers. Discovering this was a whole other level. We were able to burrow it to play at home. I inserted the disc and this song plays at the menu screen https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8LXTui5vl6Y . Something about it was so indescribable. It was unique, gave me a new feeling which I have never felt before. If that couldn't anymore unique, we have the [opening|https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=29KHZ3jVguk]. This is just the song for now because I want you all to experience it yourselves at your own time (also hoping to avoid spoilers). I STILL listen to this song to this day. The opening was....breath taking. I have never seen anything like it before. Growing up with Disney and this was something even I think Disney wouldn't pull off. Then we have he tutorial section. Had to go through decisions and learning the basics of fighting. I even had to deal with a boss that terrified me the first time fighting it. Then there was Destiny Islands. Seriously y'all, this is an island I want to visit. A place like that looks perfect for exploration and imaginative adventures. A child's dream play ground. It was saddening that I eventually had to leave. However, visiting Traverse Town was like home in a way. Meeting Donald and Goofy was also a highlight, because Disney of course. Traveling to many worlds, the plot thickening, fighting difficult bosses and feel like a champion winning them. The music was also a great feat of the game, the entire series for that matter, thanks to Yoko Shimomura (to which she became my absolute favorite composer of all time
      This game was unique and strange but it was a good feeling. There was Disney magic, but this game had it's own magic that a mix of Disney and Final Fantasy. It was a truly magical experience I will never forget. Looking at it years later, the fact that it was possible to remaster the game that is over 15 years old, shows that it has aged well. 
      That being said, the gameplay is a mixed bag and it is heavily subjective. Sora did feel a bit clunky. But, I also felt this seemed appropriate for Sora honestly simply because it is the beginning of his massive journey. Of course you'd feel clunky jumping around swinging an oversized key (I'm sure this was not intentional from the developers) LOL. It was alright for me playing the game simply because my nostalgia was stronger than my own critique. 
      There was one thing that bothered me was the editing in transitioning via dialogue. The original had this issue before the final mix. However, I did know that there was one scene when a character made a deal and was offered the thing they were looking for. It took them about 5-6 seconds to respond....in the original it took them 3. Out of all the games, this game had the most awkward editing with dialogue. 
      This game is not perfect and I may be a bit biased because of nostalgia. But, in terms of gaming, his had changed me. When in was a kid, I remember my mother playing a lot of videogames growing up (particularly Ocarina of Time for example). I could never get past after the first round for most of the games. That is until I played Kingdom Hearts. This has me so invested in the story I had to work hard going through his game. It is all thanks to this game I managed to get through Ocarina of Time on my own. So, I gained independence for gaming LOL 
      The titles in the series is a journey in itself to reach to the one game we had waited for for so many years. I hope to entertain you with my thoughts and my artwork for this series. It is thanks to this series that I an doing this. I hope you all enjoy what I offer.

      This was simply fun to do. I had some struggle trying to pose Sora the way I want him to. The shoes were especially difficult (I am not used to drawing huge shoes LOL). The water was my most favorite to do. The shore bit was something I am extremely proud of. [UPDATE: had to fix up one of his shoes and did some editing.] 
      Sora from Kingdom Hearts © Square Enix and Disney
      You can check the other posters hrough this link in my deviantART: https://www.deviantart.com/mns-prime-21/gallery/67100545/Kingdom-Hearts-III-Countdown
    • By OrpheusJoshua
      In Japan today, the broadcaster TV Asahi hosted a special program called “50,000 people vote for it! Video game general election”. As its name implies, 50,000 individuals from across Japan voted on which games were their favorites of all time, with the results having been steadily rolling out from #100 to #1.
      Aside from TV, the program's official Twitter account has also been sharing the announcements. As it turns out, the original Kingdom Hearts was voted the top 49th game of all time, and Kingdom Hearts II was voted to be the top 16th game of all time. 
      Several other Square Enix games also made notable placements, like Dragon Quest V being ranked #2, Final Fantasy VII being ranked third, and much more. Congratulations to Square Enix for these lofty voting rankings. 
    • By OrpheusJoshua
      In Japan today, the broadcaster TV Asahi hosted a special program called “50,000 people vote for it! Video game general election”. As its name implies, 50,000 individuals from across Japan voted on which games were their favorites of all time, with the results having been steadily rolling out from #100 to #1.
      Aside from TV, the program's official Twitter account has also been sharing the announcements. As it turns out, the original Kingdom Hearts was voted the top 49th game of all time, and Kingdom Hearts II was voted to be the top 16th game of all time. 
      Several other Square Enix games also made notable placements, like Dragon Quest V being ranked #2, Final Fantasy VII being ranked third, and much more. Congratulations to Square Enix for these lofty voting rankings. 

      View full article
    • By Power Jusho
      What costume will you use for Sora in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate?
    • By DemonDominator
      Man... I had totally forgot about this place after almost 8-9 years since I last logged in. I remember it use to be booming with all kinds of posts years ago. I guess it died down a bunch since then.
      1.) Introduction and Explanation
      Anywho, for those who don't know me. I'm the crazy guy that attempted, Raged hard, raged some more, almost lost my sanity, completed, and proved to everyone on gamefaqs over 8-9ish years ago that it's 100% possible, and legit to be able to complete BOTH (Well... Now 3 is added as well, so more than 2)(NAMELY 2.5, and reasons will be listed next) Kingdom Hearts games at Level 1 Proud Mode for KH1.5(which, if you DIDN'T know, because of the way the mechanics work, Proud mode is actually the harder difficulty for a Level 1 run in KH1.5 instead of Critical because you ALWAYS do chip damage in Proud. Critical is actually a little easier because Sora can do more damage in that difficulty) and Critical Mode(2.5 + 3), but not just complete them at Level 1; (that's been done by a handful of people. However, everybody that has completed the Lvl 1 run always labels their run "complete" Yet, they all stopped at SILVER Crown.) But, I decided, and wanted to take it all a step further, and be the standout of them all. As well as debunking the most ridiculous, yet shockingly widespread belief beyond the masses: the before thought "Impossible" Holy Grail of Kingdom Heart challenges: Completing Level 1 critical mode... AS WELL as obtaining 100% completion in the Jiminy Journal, including completion of EVERY Mushroom XIII challenges, and actually having the GOLD Crown! Which was considered literally impossible. (Yeah, I know. Insane, isn't it?)

      2.) The False Rumor And The Mission To Prove The World Wrong
      To actually 100% the Jiminy Journal, and Obtain Gold Crown in 2.5 which involves the Mushroom XIII challenges. Everybody, and their momma back then swore, and pushed the notion of "You can't complete atleast 1 or 2 of the mushroom challenges (most notably, Agrabah mushroom, Twilight Town, and Port Royal mushroom, respectively) without leveling up, it's totally impossible" As well as the old fable of "It's impossible to get Ultima Weapon in 1.5 at Level 1 because you don't get lucky strike abilities to grind synthesis materials without leveling" etc. Nah, it's all do-able. A huge pain in the ass? Yes. Definitely. But, achievable.
      3.) Hype Yourself Up/Believe In Your Ability
      Like myself before attempting, I'm sure most people would just shake their head, and say to themselves "nope. Never. Cant do it"

      I was that guy. Then one day, I told myself "Hey... they put the option to void any EXP gain.. I'm gonna try it.. Let's see what happens, and how it goes at level 1. I mean, it can't be IMPOSSIBLE; They obviously added it as a feature for a reason."

      4.) The Beginning of Doubt
      Of course, I begin. I start treading along, beginning my journey into my first attempt into a Kingdom Hearts game without leveling up. Everything goes smoothly, up until you start getting demolished left, and right every second, and the bosses annihilate you in a single hit. Making you re-evaluate, and question your ability, and if you can do it.

      5.) Opening Your Perception/Total Realization
      The KH series, AND the series' difficulty as a whole; drastically, and dramatically changed for me once my eyes opened, and I seen the blatant "slap you in the face" obvious, and stopped trying to play Kingdom Hearts like an Action/Adventure RPG like a normal/casual playthrough would basically literally be. Instead, gaining the Square Enix perspective, and knowing their past; made me realize that it's supposed to actually be played like, (and get ready for a mind blown moment) a friggin' Turn Based RPG...

      Honestly, I think once you guys get this realization, and mindset in your head like I did while you're playing through; every one of you, and I mean EVERYONE of you guys, no matter how "gud" you ARE or AREN'T at the Kingdom Hearts games in a casual, normal playthrough. You can be absolute dirt at the (falsely assumed random, seemingly "unpredictable", ever-constant flow of combat) but start trying to take a slightly different approach/('s) towards the way you actually play games like this, and even open up your mind, and perceive, and acknowledge the gameplay in a different way altogether than what you, and probably, most people normally would have absolutely no idea or even fathom that there's more to, and many more ways to go into a Kingdom Hearts game than the basic, "normal" DmC-esque style combat that we all experience/('d) and most of us, are even conditioned to.
      6.) Breaking Old Habits/Adopting New Ones
      However, once you change the perception/habits you have of the game already, and change the rules ever so slightly, and subtly to merely change towards a playstyle that of the old-school, traditional turn based views, and start planning strategies, and changing your playstyle around a "turn-based rpg mindset" instead of our pre-conditioned, already accustomed, and comfortable free flow combat that most of us are already "comfortable" with or use to.
      7.) Acknowledge Game Mechanics/Learn Everything
      Any of you guys without a doubt in my mind would be able to Level 1 the game as it then becomes almost trivially easy once you decide to perceive KH in just a slightly different way (Turn Based instead of Free Combat) and start to play in an entirely different way accordingly (Having a turn based view/play style really helps not only by helping you learn to better/more accurately time your attacks, guards, dodge rolls, reflects, and etc. But, also makes you a lot more aware, and attentive as you're going to be learning to take it slow, and not rush battles, but to stay on your toes, closely watch for any, even if very subtle visual clues: motions with an enemy's hands, AND their body language. As well as listening for any audio clues or catch phrases; these are everything you are looking for to expect, and anticipate the next move of your opponent. Get a hit in when you can, and defend all the counter attacks that will be delivered back afterwards. Learn the timing to perfect guard; it's going to be the key to your survival, and the timing of each attack you learn never changes. So you don't have to ever expect or assume that a certain attack is ever going to be slower/faster than when previously used. You finally learn the timing for perfect guarding an attack, and you'll always be able to perfect guard it, as it will never be change the rate of speed.
      8.) Truth of Developer's 100% Intended Game Design And The Public's Blindness
      So yes. After stating this, and the way certain mechanics work. Know it or not, even believe it or not. Even though it does EVERYTHING to make you "think" it's an action RPG. Which is semi-true, and fully the case to the masses. It was fully meant, and intended as a Turn Based RPG, and I'm going to open your eyes, and convince you.
      9.) How The Kingdom Hearts Series Hides It's True Intended Design, and Disguises Itself As An Action RPG
      Any casual player gets the action RPG style in a normal playthrough. Just as every first time, 2nd time, etc. player always does. Nothing about the gameplay comes off as "turn based". And is more than often considered the polar opposite of a Turn Based game. Which, was presented this way to appeal to a wider audience such as younger aged, Disney lovers who didn't grow up with RPGs, or just jumped into the game world. As leveling makes it where you literally never have to learn or even use guard, reflect or parry the counters you receive if you really never even wanted to. As taking damage is hardly worrisome, or trivial, and easily tended to with a Cure, and Potions. You can even just carelessly attack, and attack anytime you want. Even if it isn't the best time, and you take a hit. You can still beat the game, and everything in it regardless.  - No Turn Based Elements seen/felt whatsoever
      10.) Awakening Into Reality/Acknowledging The Hidden Truth: Turn-Based Gameplay
      In comparison, Level 1: Any hit you take can 1 shot you. If you get caught in a combo attack, you WILL die. There's no possible way to constantly spam attacks, and tank hits. You gotta learn how to properly utilize things that you probably hardly, if ever even used: Guard, Reflect, Dodge Roll, Aerial Recovery, etc. and to learn timing. All this coupled along with the Revenge Counter mechanic (Which, I will explain in more detail below) is how it becomes a Turn Based game; as there is only a certain amount of attacks you can deliver before the enemy counters. - Turn Based RPG
      11.) Notice The Signs/Process Everything/Uncover The Veil 
      The first mentioned; is the game probably 90% or more of the masses experience, and perceive. People just don't see the alternative, and it's funny because I just seen a thread on another forum where the OP literally posted "I absolutely love Kingdom Hearts, because it's not just another cliche Turn Based RPG. I despise them."
      That was almost laughable, and cringe to read, and goes to show just how many people can overlook major things that are hidden in plain sight.

      However, if one is to attempt a Level 1 run, and play Kingdom Hearts the true way the developers intended; fact is, it's nothing more than a regular Square-Enix FF style "TURN BASED RPG" with complete movement, and control of character at all times.
      12.) The Main Mechanics And Physics: The Enemy's "Revenge Counter"
      Seriously, when you get down into the physics, mechanics, and all the equations that go into every single boss fight, you begin to see it. Just ONE example is this: You're in the middle of a fight, let's say with Data Roxas; just for an example. Soon as the battle begins, and you gain control of Sora, you need to cast a reflect to counter Roxas' Keyblade Spin. After the successful reflect you are granted a small window where you're allowed to attack, and land up to (and let's just say for instance in this example, maybe 3-4 hits) 3-4 hits on Roxas before he is scripted to automatically counter attack. These counter attacks are termed "Revenge Counter" or just simply "RC" abbreviated. if you ever see the term in guides or posts, or in future research, but didn't know what it meant.
      13.1) Explaining "Revenge Counters" And "Revenge Values"/Looping Bosses And Minimizing Danger
      Ah, Revenge Counter. The key to winning, and main mechanic of a level 1 run tbh. Every enemy has always been scripted to counter attack after a few hits, and this was so everybody at level 100 with Sora couldn't just endlessly wail on an opponent non-stop, and make it even easier than what it already was to begin with. Now, once you actually learn about, and study the revenge counter mechanic, and how each enemy works; you actually can use it 100% in your favor in completing, hell, I'd even go so far as to say even almost cheesing a Lvl 1 crit run. As in, learn to read the small signals before attacks. Nothing is unpredictable. There's ALWAYS a signal/warning. Learn how many hits you can throw before they counter attack Sora.
      13.2) Deeper Breakdown Of "Revenge" Mechanics/Examples Of "Baiting" Attacks

      These hits, the attacks, the number, whatever you're most comfortable calling it; for future reference or research of your own are termed "Revenge Values" or simply "RV" if abbreviated. After you learn how many hits you can land (the number of hits it takes to bait an RC is the opponent's RV) learn the timing to guard the counter attack/(s) after, and retaliating in the enemy's small, brief recovery window. All you do is, count your hits, after you land that 4th hit (or whatever number of hits the current boss' Revenge Counter activates) you need to automatically hit guard so you can negate his RC, and guard his other 2-3 hits he dishes out before leaving another open window to land another 3-4 hits on him. It's literally rinse, and repeat: Attack 3-4 times to force or "bait" the enemy to counter attack-> Guard incoming revenge counter attacks from the enemy -> Throw another 3-4 strikes to hit his Revenge Value again to force another auto-counter. And it's just repeat steps over again. Essentially, what you're trying to do is put an enemy into a neverending loop that you can fully predict. You will see evidence of this in every fight in every video I'm going to post below. You pay attention, and you'll notice that I'll always hit an X amount of times (factor of X is the actual RV. Determined differently with each enemy. Could be 6 hits, like Marluxia's RV. Could be only 4 hits like Roxas' RV) but I ALWAYS land no more, and (hopefully) no less than the exact number of attacks needed to bait them into a RC, and guard it.
      14.) Always Land The Exact Revenge Values. No More
      Any attempt to, or if you accidentally deliver an extra attack that is higher than the actual RV, you might as well retry; because you're not going to be guarding that counter, get caught in a combo you can't escape, and face the 1 hit death.

      Just follow those simple steps, and it then repeats the pattern if you're doing it correctly, and won't be unpredictable. What you're really trying to do is just try to keep everything in a never-ending loop so any unpredictability, and danger is eliminated.
      15.) Explanation of "I-Frames" and How To Use Them For An Advantage
      Also, another biggie is learning I-Frames. Or, "Invincibility Frames" meaning the tiny few frames where Sora is invincible for instance: when you use a Drive Form, there are a few brief seconds of frames where you will not take any damage in the middle of using a form. Or using a skill like Donald's Duck Flare, and using it to your advantage, as you will see me do a bunch against Lingering Will at Level 1 to avoid being skill/attack/item locked, whip locked, and to stay safe during his DM or "Desperation Move" (Every boss has a DM which is expressed by the screen going dark, and the boss does their "finisher" per se.)
      16.) The Biggest Slept On/Underestimated Skills In The Game: Reflect/ra/ga And Guard
      To probably over 90% of the KH community that sleeps on, and probably have never once used the spell Reflect-Reflectga. You have no idea just how busted, how necessary it is, and how brokenly powerful that spell is. Especially in a Level 1 run. It's pretty much an absolute MUST in it to do any real damage at that level. Not only that, but if you're not a master or not use to timing your guard precisely yet, Reflect/ga is an alternative that is safe, and don't need to be facing any particular direction to guard anything. Only downside to spamming reflect constantly instead of mixing up guards, and reflects is that if you don't rely on using guard, and spam reflect instead; you're going to be struggling to keep, and have MP when you want/need it.
      17.) Short Summary/Review Of Everything So Far/Convinced Yet?
      Convinced yet? Literally. Turn-Based RPG. Except think of each of your 3-4 chain attacks as a "turn" and you know that as soon as you land your 4th keyblade hit, your turn is over, and it's automatically going to be the opponent's "turn", and since you're expecting this, and know this, you block perfectly in time with his counter attacks, and learn their pattern. The key is to try to just keep it in a constant, simple, loop-ish kinda fight. Making sure to force the counter attack yourself so you know precisely when to guard; rather than having to randomly guess/pray when their next attack is going to be, and if you're going to be able to read it quick enough.
      18.) Opening Up Your Mindset/Perception/Planning Strategies Toward The Hidden Turn-Based Gameplay Is Key
      This was the biggest, and most obvious "eye-opening" realization that helped me tremendously once I started looking at it as a Turn Based game. Respectfully like most of Square Enix's works prior. Which, I believe if most people started having that mindset of playing it like it's turn-based, just about everyone that truly wanted to would be able to complete the level 1 challenge a lot easier than ever initially thought. Literally every boss has their own respectful number of attacks they can receive before being scripted to auto-counter attack. Don't matter who you're facing. Don't care if it's a regular ol' Heartless, and Nobody, or if it's the friggin' One-Winged Angel, Sephiroth or the "Seemingly impossible, even at Level 100" Lingering Will himself... They all can be read, and baited into an auto-counter. All of them.
      19.) Outro/Final Messages/My Video Proof
      If anyone is interested in watching a few of my Level 1 Crit 2.5 Organization fights for entertainment or maybe to study for your own future level 1 run, I'm going to be posting links to them below. I just wish like hell that I had a good camera back then... I'm so sorry, and apologize from the bottom of my soul about the quality, but... It's literally all I had. My crap phone camera, and setting it up to point directly at my TV while I'm actually playing live in the moment, as you can probably tell by the noise of all the button mashing  but, at that time, all I was worried about was having proof so all the board back then stopped saying that I was a liar, and showing that I actually did it... Recorded most of the highlight battles anyway 
      Level 1 Crit Run .vs Sephiroth - https://youtu.be/GtBcldOxgIg
      Level 1 Crit Run .vs Marluxia - https://youtu.be/mDz2O8CZxFo
      Level 1 Crit Run .vs Larxene (THIS BITCH RIGHT HERE...) - https://youtu.be/nf684D52Mwc
      Level 1 Crit Run .vs Axel (w/ Restrictions) - https://youtu.be/vztQYNIeT4U
      Level 1 Crit Run .vs Lexaeus (No Damage) - https://youtu.be/ad58PWJmt80
      Level 1 Crit Run .vs Roxas (w/ Restrictions) - https://youtu.be/TTaMJpxxxJM
      Level 1 Crit Run .vs Lingering Will + Silver Crown (Evidence of me using I-Frames to my advantage, and how you can utilize it) - https://youtu.be/dTm215sIhmI
      Obtaining Crown From All Data Battles Lvl 1 - https://youtu.be/IydQ7qub5-w
      Obtaining The Elusive and "Impossible" Gold Crown Lvl 1 Proof - https://youtu.be/YdbUuJd5JM8
      Then the creme de la creme. 100% Jiminy Journal At Level 1 Proof - https://youtu.be/I0d1_Ec_UdY
      Bonus: My proof of getting Ultima Weapon on Level 1 PROUD Mode (Ultra Difficult) in KH 1.5 (Was hilariously, also considered impossible at first) - https://youtu.be/ye2ZsgQWI_Y
      20.) Final Words Of Encouragement/Faith In You All
      Hope others may find help, and for others, even courage to attempt this challenge. If anyone is interested in trying it, and maybe have questions, I'd be more than happy to help out in any way that I possibly can, and any feedback, comments, questions, and anything is welcome, and wanted. Thanks guys! Like I said earlier, don't ever doubt yourself in anything. If myself, of all people can beat every KH game at Level 1; then I KNOW for a FACT anybody at all can. I promise you.
      As for the brave souls that will be attempting this seemingly impossible task anytime in the upcoming future, I leave you all with 1 final, and important message:
      "May Your Heart, Be Your Guiding Key"
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