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  1. [THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS! THIS TITLE IS A PROLOGUE TO KH3 AND IT CONNECTS TO BIRTH BY SLEEP AND THE FIRST GAME, I RECOMMEND YOU UNDERSTAND THOSE TITLES BEFORE YOU READ THIS! PLEASE READ AT CAUTION! I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH!) - - - - - - - - - - - - - [We follow Aqua in her time in the Realm of Darkness after sacrificing herself to save her friend. During her time there, she struggles to keep her hopes strong as she tries to find a way to escape and reunite with her friends. All the while, she faces what darkness presents to her, including her own demons.] - - - - - - - - - - I remember anticipating this title since it was first announced. It was also the time I learned the importance of other titles I felt I should play other games, especially Birth by Sleep. And thank goodness I did because I was able to understand the context. As for how I feel about the game, it is a huge improvement from birth by sleep in terms of gameplay. It plays a lot like KH2 in a way. This title, as mentioned, is a prologue to KH3. So, based on what gameplay they are going for, this means no more command decks this time around. However, you are pre-selected with certain abilities and magic spells. You cannot change your abilities, but you can change your placement with magic. You also rely on a new game mechanic called "situation commands". It works Iike how these limit commands worked in birth by sleep. Using the same attacks or spells creates an upgrade of a said spell or combo attack. Another interesting feature was added and it was the first time in the series you have customization. Whenever you accomplish some objectives, you are rewarded an item to your wardrobe. For example, fighting a secret boss will give you a crown or simply seeing the stars will give you wings. I remembered being so surprised by this feature when I saw their last trailer. The boss battles in this title are interesting. Especially ranging from the Darkside heartless to new heartless boss like Demon Tide (which has a very catchy final boss tune). As for heartless in general, seeing old and new in different areas in one world is still fun. Ranging from shadows to elemental heartless always a treat to see. I would also love to straight out say, surprising no none, the graphics of this title are so beautiful! Everything you see in the realm of darkness is what you might expect in a way. It is a place of loneliness and unsettling environments, despite how familiar these worlds are. Everything is distorted, and crystallized. It lacked bright colors and seeing some light give you hope and joy. The look of magic spells makes me appreciate the use of magic since I am normally not a magic based player. Seeing the how it also effects environment was a neat touch. Example, shooting fire not only harms the enemy, but it also scorches the ground. The ice magic I think is one of my favorite spells in this particular title. This is where I will talk about Aqua and the story of this title. I will warn you again this will contain spoilers of the game and even from birth by sleep and a previous title if you have not played it yet. - - - Seeing where we left off from the secret episode in birth by sleep, it is as such Aqua continuing her journey finding a way to escape the realm of darkness. Throughout her time there, she talks to herself. Her thoughts on certain things are worth pondering about. Which again, Kingdom Hearts never fails to give me pondering thoughts that I think Disney themselves have yet to let us learn about. That is opening my eyes on a different kind of perspective and respecting that sight. For example, in this particular title, Aqua ponders and grieves on the predicaments of the world she is in that was taken from darkness. She flashes back to the times she's visited these worlds and realizes how saddening it was to see a lot of the most simple things, you never give thought about, gone. From a dog waiting for their owner, a cat napping on their nook, even things like trees and flowers: every small thing you know are gone. This is telling me that we take the simple things in life for granted. The grief she had for these simple things really hit me when I played this. That moment with Aqua is one of my favorites in the entire series. Moving on, we see Aqua go through illusions that look like her friends and even her own demons she had to fight. The grief she went through and the yearning of escaping to see her friends again is always heartbreaking to see. A lot of what we had to see was just Aqua surviving and sadly we the players had to play along. Here is where I speak of a moment that truly connects....story wise anyway. We actually meet with Terra...at least what Aqua wanted to see. He is in a way an illusion that heard her in the darkness and finally gets to speak to her of Xehanort's attempt to locate Ventus. This moment was actually kinda fascinating because it caused a big whoop and had a really cool semi-action sequence. We now come to a really big reveal of this game. Aqua finally reunites with Mickey Mouse. Through him, we learn Aqua has been in the Realm of Darkness for 10 years, at least in the realm of light since the time in the RoD does not move (I want to mention how heartbreaking it was when Mickey had to reveal that fact....it almost was relatable to us as fans when waiting for KH3). After Aqua finally having a conversation with an actually living person that is not an illusion, it became a relief seeing a form of light that made the moment kinda sweet. This then makes Mickey your temporary party member. It is as such as we head to the next important moments. We have our big battle with swarming piles of heartless known as demon tide at the remains of Destiny Islands (meaning at this time, Sora was fighting Ansem seeker of Darkness in KH1). After that cool battle, we then open a door leading to something Mickey was looking for: a Keyblade from the dark realm known as the the Kingdom Key D. Finding it, an unexpected light takes them to a familiar site to the players: the other side of the door to Kingdom Hearts....sort of. This was where Mickey and Sora lock the door on both sides. During this sequence, we see Riku running towards the door to help close it. from here is where gets interesting. Aqua saves him (he not realizing till Mickey told him) from a tornado of heartless. As such, this resulted keeping Aqua trapped despite being close to escape. This truly shows how she can be incredibly selfless, which is hard to see that she had to face the consequences. Aqua urging Mickey to go without her, she sacrifices herself to remain in the RoD to finish off the swarm of heartless, promising herself she would guide those in the dark and one day return to Terra and Ventus. Leaving off with the ending of KH1, locking both sides of the door and the worlds are now restored. We then finish the segment with Mickey's perspective (the ending of dream drop distance). Upset of the being kept secret for so long, Riku is now determined to rescue Aqua. Both are tasked as such while Kairi goes off to train with Lea to learn the ways of the keyblade. Meanwhile, Sora returns from a secret mission of sorts. Yen Sid speaks to Sora his strength is once again sapped away from him due to the predicament in Dream Drop Distance. He is tasked to meet someone, a true hero, who also lost his strength and hot it back again. Sora, Donald, and Goofy are set off to their next destination leading to the beginning of kingdom hearts 3. There is an issue for some dealing with this title, in terms of the connection. There was a lot of retcon in this series, and I guess this title drew the line on concluding that statement. There was a moment when Mickey was attacked enough to take off his shirt. There is a reason why that was added. In Kingdom Hearts 1, we see Mickey at the end of the game, we see him in his ultra classic outfit (just the red pants). So, adding why he had no short into the continuity is a bit interesting but it lead to people saying that it is a sample of Nomura making things up as this story goes along. Another sample was with Aqua In the mix of it. She learns of these 2 boys saving the worlds during her time in the Realm of Darkness. We then remember her meeting with Ansem the Wise he talks about a boy with a Keyblade saving the worlds. She asked if it was Ven or Terra. This leaves a confusion on this. Why did she ask that? Mickey told her they are out of commission instead it was Sora and Riku. So, Aqua questioning this shows that it was not planned. That being said, personally, I don't actually have that problem. Yes, the shirt situation was a bit silly (heck I was only weirded out he had no shirt on which is strange because it was his classic look ROFL), but the story being connected to KH1 is pretty harmless in a way to me. I'm not saying that this connection was properly planned, but I say Union Cross takes the cake on being an example of making up things to connect and the ultra surprises so far. This was treated and respected better than, for example, the Michael Bay Transformers (even though I did enjoy them for the laughs now a days....and Optimus Prime, but that's a discussion for another day). - - - - - - - - - - - - - - I find this a really great edition to this series. While it was meant to be attached to KH3, the had to add something to Dream Drop Distance for their collection edition. I find this awesome since it is, in a way, a demo to KH3's new engine. I love the graphics and I love Aqua's development. I look forward to where this leads in KH3, especially with Aqua's predicaments hopefully coming to an end. Play this game if you are already further in the series. It will be worth it especially for KH3. ARTIST'S NOTES: This is kinda easy since I just used an already drawn Aqua and just added her to the Dark Margin. Drawing this area was bit simple too. So, sadly, I don't think I have much to add other than I am happy how I added to prints in the sand and the text of the title was the most proud I had for it. {{{. As of this post, this is it. That is the last of the posters...until I finish KH3. Yes, I actually have one more being none other than the big honcho itself. However, my thoughts will be raw and scrambled when doing a review and I do plan to make it a spoiler filled review. I will make sure to warn you when I get to it. Please look forward to it when that time comes.mi do not know how long it will take to finish the game. It will be however long it takes to have a fun experience. I will be off Social Media starting the day KH3 releases in Japan on the 25th, being the 24th for us. That being said, I hope you enjoyed the poster's I've done. I truly had a fun time doing them. 6 months worth of work and while my thoughts are not well constructed, I feel I've done my best to speak of them. Doing this project gave me a reason to play these games again, all l the more than enough to make me more excited for the promised day. I will see you all when I finish KH3 I also wish you luck with your choices on how you prepare for this upcoming important time of our fandom lives. Till then, May your hearts be your guiding key! }}} Please check out the other posters for this project: https://www.deviantart.com/mns-prime-21/gallery/67100545/Kingdom-Hearts-III-Countdown
  2. I was just thinking about music for HD2.8. We all know that in HD 2.5 Remix BbSFM secret episode, Night in the Dark Dream is the main theme since it takes place in the Realm of Darkness. Now with some of that story about to be revealed, what will Yoko Shimomura do with 0.2's music? Discuss what you think. I think Night in the Dark Dream will be remade and maybe some themes from the fallen worlds will be remade in a darker feel. Note: this is the 100th topic for the HD2.8 section.
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