Reviews Comments: Kingdom Hearts: A Diverse Formula

Kingdom Hearts: A Diverse Formula
There are five things that can be expected in any given Kingdom Hearts game: 1. Sora, Riku, and sometimes Kairi will make some kind of appearance. 2. You will be with Disney characters and characters from a Square Enix Property. 3. Your main weapon will be a Keyblade. 4. Gameplay will mostly be built around some new innovative feature. 5. Your worst enemy will be the in-game camera.

The various Kingdom Hearts games (six of them to date, with a seventh on the way) all have this as the general framework, and while the gameplay changes, this core will be the same. And the six games are all completely awesome. While all of them are differing shades of awesome (i.e. Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories is generally seen as a lesser KH game, while Birth by Sleep is considered a greater one), but for the most part, the quality is very uniform and spread out.

The union of Disney and Square Enix (and soon The World Ends With You), added with lots of original, loveable characters makes for a setting that simply has no equal in the current day and age of gaming. In a medium where brown space marines shoot brown aliens in brown corridors, KH's bright, colorful visuals and simple, aesthetically-pleasing graphics are a breath of fresh air. Gameplay is, for the most part, easy to learn, but requires true skill to master - the hallmark of a great game. Lastly, the all-star voice cast (with most actors from Disney movies reprising their roles), coupled with Yoko Shimonura's amazingly awesome soundtrack, makes for an experience that your ears will most certainly thank you for.

If Kingdom Hearts has any flaws, it would be that the story, while rewarding for those following along, suffers greatly from Kudzu Plot and Continuity Lockout. Pick up Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2, and you'll wonder what a Nobody is or why you should care about the characters. Play Kingdom Hearts II before Kingdom Hearts or Kingdom Hearts Chain Of Memories, and you'll wonder who all the people are in the opening movie. However, for those that are willing to invest their time, the story is one of the best and most fulfilling ones on the market these days, and after playing all six games, you'll look back and go, "That was a great story."

Bottom Line: Kingdom Hearts is one of the best franchises on the market right now, for everything I've said above. You owe it to yourself to play it.


I think maybe you give this franchise too much credit at some points, mainly the "rewarding" story. I'll always stand by the opinion that the story of the first three Kingdom Hearts games ever made (Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts Chain Of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts II) had a very great and fulfilling story when viewed as a whole. But not only is any ongoing storyline that forces you to have to play or know about multiple games on multiple different gaming platforms to understand not worth investment (in short, Continuity Lockout sucks), but it's such a Ret Con filled, Fan Service heavy clusterfuck of a Kudzu Plot that's gotten further removed from anything Disney by now that NO ONE, not even people who do invest their time in following the whole series, can understand the story. The story doesn't even seem to understand itself because Tetsuya Nomura and the others have no clue what they're doing anymore. So I cannot say that the overall story of the series is "one of the best and most fulfilling ones on the market". Not even close.

Sora, Riku, and sometimes Kairi will make some kind of appearance.

And Xehanort. You can't forget about him.

And the six games are all completely awesome.

Except that Coded isn't awesome at all and I'd hardly call 358/2 Days completely awesome either.

and after playing all six games, you'll look back and go, "That was a great story."

Seeing as Coded was the last one chronologically and ended on a pure Sequel Hook, no, I can't say I can look back at it that way.
comment #12091 ManwiththePlan 29th Dec 11 (edited by: ManwiththePlan)
^ It's stating to look like you can't let anyone like games you don't like.
comment #12093 marcellX 29th Dec 11
Look, Manwiththe Plan is looking to be disappointed. I understand the story well enough and don't get why everyone is always saying Kingdom Hearts has a Kudzu Plot.

I agree with this review.
comment #12099 Lightflame 30th Dec 11
^^ No, I've stated before that it's perfectly okay to like what I don't like and that I hate the Spoony mentality of "X sucks and you suck for liking it." I was just arguing my point about the games story and why it's not as fulfilling as the reviewer thinks it is. Or is this about the last comment about Coded and Days. To which I'll just say it's a disagreement of opinion. I never said anything about the reviewer personally other than disagreeing with what he's stated, so kindly stop being a dick please.

Look, Manwiththe Plan is looking to be disappointed

I don't "look to be disappointed". If I'm disappointed, I think Square Enix and Tetsuya Nomura have more to do with it than I do.

I understand the story well enough and don't get why everyone is always saying Kingdom Hearts has a Kudzu Plot.

Well, here's my take on it: (WARNING: Epic Wall Of Text ahead!)

In A World containing many different worlds that are based around Disney and Square Enix, Sora is the wielder of the keyblade which is a weapon that has existed for a while now and had a whole Jedi Order dedicated to it and he uses it to fight the Heartless, the personifications of the darkness in people's hearts. People and worlds have hearts and the universe and all hearts are made of light and darkness; light is good and dark is bad, except when it's not bad and can be used for good but with negative consequences on whomever uses it so it still is bad. Kingdom Hearts is the heart of all worlds which can be reached through a door that can only be opened through the power of seven princesses pure hearts but it can also be reached by capturing hearts and sending them into a heart shaped moon, or it can ALSO be unlocked by the "X-Blade", which is a keyblade made from pure light and darkness that was represented by Ventus and Vanitas, who is Ventus' clone made from the darkness in his heart so he is thus made of darkness and from this darkness he creates monsters that feed on negative emotions. Oh and the empty shell left behind when a dark heart becomes a Heartless becomes a Nobody, a being with no heart, no feelings, and apparently no emotions except when they visibly express emotions, but supposedly they only pretend to have hearts by acting out personalities based on their memories, excpet that it was established before that memories were inside people's hearts and they don't have hearts, so...and Sora and his girlfriend Kairi have special Nobodies created when both their hearts left Sora's body even though Kairi's heart went right back inside of her and Sora became a Heartless only to get turned back through vague means. Sora's Nobody Roxas had no memory of Sora and was part of Organization XIII until he quit due to something involving a gender confused replica cloned from Sora but with Kairi's appearance due to her being Sora's strongest memories or whatnot....Roxas was captured and put in a virtual reality simulation under a false identity but couldn't live there because he had to merge back inside of Sora in order for Sora to be "complete" again...Kairi's Nobody Namine has special powers to manipulate memories within people's heart or even wipe someone's mind and create false memories for them, but then it turns out that since she was born from Sora, she can only do this with people close to Sora, but then it turns out that she can see into the minds of people who are far away and have little to do with Sora whatsoever, and then it turns out that she's omnipotent and has psychic abilities and...and Riku has many different clones that have taken his shape. Oh, and the villain behind the Heartless in the first game was Ansem, formerly a researcher and ruler of his world before he was driven mad by darkness, but then it turns out that he wasn't really Ansem at all but his apprentice Xehanort who took his name and split himself into a Heartless and a Nobody. Before he was Ansem's apprentice, Xehanort was a boy who just happened to come from the same world as Sora and Riku and grew up to be a Keyblade Master who went mad and tried to take over Terra's body only for darkness to take them both but Terra/Xehanort was pulled out of it and became an amnesiac when Ansem found him. His henchman set up an experiment with darkness that enabled Xehanort's heart to swallow Terra's and give Xehanort his memory back, and he betrayed Ansem by casting him away in darkness. The real Ansem became the character Di Z who at one point impersonated the fake Ansem to get Riku to embrace his darkness, which led to Riku taking on the appearance of the fake Ansem. Ansem learns that "a heart is more than any data system", except apparently it can be contained by data in Coded, and now we're set to learn that some worlds that Sora saved on his first journey never "woke up" and have fallen into sleep. And Sora actually isn't an otherwise normal boy with a strong heart filled with light who got chosen by the keyblade only because it un-chose Riku; he's actually The Messiah who , even from birth, everything in the freaking universe was connected to and was destined to now "reconnect" all hearts and worlds back and save the universe and bring everyone together to "heal their sadness" and give great light to the worlds. He also has the hearts of many different entities that are all him somehow (Roxas, Xion, Ventus) inside of his own heart and light shall sink into darkness turning darkness into light and the light will darken the darkness of the heart's light and...AAAH, see where this is going? And that's not even everything there is to the storyline and world this franchise has set up. How is this not a Kudzu Plot? It's barely comprehensible as it is, all questions lead to more questions with contradictory answers, and you have to get all of it on different titles on different systems! It's a pretentious, convoluted mess of a story that's trying desperately to be deep. It's a freaking Disney game series! We DO NOT NEED all this crap!

I do NOT mean to say anything personally to or about you here and I don't even hate everything that I described up there. I'm just wanting you to understand why many people see the story as convoluted as they do because really, it's pretty easy to see why.
comment #12102 ManwiththePlan 30th Dec 11 (edited by: ManwiththePlan)
Ok so explain to me how was I being a dick? specially since you are the one who started name calling. There is a difference between saying something on the side and disproving it what you say.

it's not as fulfilling as the reviewer thinks it is.
NO ONE, not even people who do invest their time in following the whole series, can understand the story.
comment #12110 marcellX 30th Dec 11
it's not as fulfilling as the reviewer thinks it is.

You're misquoting me there. The full quote is:

I was just arguing my point about the games story and why it's not as fulfilling as the reviewer thinks it is.

I said right there it was my personal opinion to argue, not solid fact (though I may think it is, but that's kind of how opinions work, no?)

What I was saying is basically that there's a difference between enjoying something and understanding it. I'm sorry, but I just have to call bull on people saying "I enjoy KH, therefore it's plot is perfectly understandable when taken as a whole". It really seems like a pointless rationalization to prove why they find it enjoyable, which really needn't be done at all.

I might have been exaggerating with the "NO ONE", but a great many in the KH fandom freely admit the story has gone down the crapper and is incomprehensible. The ones trying to argue otherwise can't put up a convincing argument other than "it makes sense because I like the series!" And again, that's pointless. You can like something even if it's not understandable. I happen to like Neon Genesis Evangelion. Do you honestly think I'm going to start saying it has a perfectly coherant, understandable storyline? Hell no! It's one of the most gratutious mind-fucks ever, and at many points it's frusturating to me. But I enjoy Evangelion nonetheless, and I feel that's a perfectly fine attitude to have, rather than try to say the story is "fulfilling".
comment #12140 ManwiththePlan 1st Jan 12 (edited by: ManwiththePlan)
first of all the rest of the quote doesn't change that you came out as implying that it wasn't fulfilling to him/her despite what he said, don't you think that's more up to him/her. The reason I said you're starting to look like you can't let people like things you don't is that looking at the reviews, you have taken the habit of counter replying to almost anyone who dares say something good about them.
comment #12144 marcellX 1st Jan 12
^ I said it wasn't fulfilling because the review claims that the story is fulfilling "for those willing to invest their time in it", even though there have been and always will be many instances of people investing their time in it and coming out unfulfilled by the mess of a story that all six titles have been telling. The reviwer was talking about more than just personal feelings.

And isn't that allowed in the comments, though? I sometimes give agreeing or disagreeing opinions on the subject of the review or other times critique the review itself. I think that sort of thing is what the comments are for.
comment #12157 ManwiththePlan 2nd Jan 12 (edited by: ManwiththePlan)
oh no I'm not saying you broke any kind or rule or anything of the sort, I'm explaining that when you start sniping for any wording that might say something positive or even indirectly imply something positive about something you didn't like you come out as not being able to let anyone like that thing that you don't like.

The ones trying to argue otherwise can't put up a convincing argument other than "it makes sense because I like the series!" And again, that's pointless.

No one here has said that they understood it only because they like it (and I highly doubt that is the case mainly because of Confirmation Bias) in fact the reviwer called it out on it's Kudzu Plot but called it rewarding and as you pointed out you can like something even if you didn't fully understood it
comment #12160 marcellX 2nd Jan 12 (edited by: marcellX)
I didn't say I understood the plot because I liked it either. I love complex plotlines, and I understand the plot of Kingdom Hearts perfectly.

I do agree that coded sucked (I even wrote a review about how terrible it was), but I don't like how you always get ticked off when somebody likes something you don't.

Don't worry though, I don't hate you, Manwiththe Plan. The only troper I really dislike is Megadoomer who stalks the Awesome Moments pages for Bleach and Naruto, then deletes all examples that he doesn't think are awesome.
comment #12166 Lightflame 3rd Jan 12 (edited by: Lightflame)
^ There's a difference between complex and convoluted, though. Complex plotlines are difficult to follow due to all the deep and heavy stuff but in the end, everything comes together so that they make some sort of sense. Convoluted plotlines (Kudzu Plot) are plots that are difficult they follow because they don't make sense and all the plot points ultimately lead nowhere.

And I'd rather we not bring up personal dislikes of tropers into this, please?
comment #12168 ManwiththePlan 3rd Jan 12 (edited by: ManwiththePlan)
@Lightflame: why does he do that?
comment #12172 VeryMelon 3rd Jan 12
@ Very Melon: Because apparently he missed the part on the page for Crowning Moment Of Awesome that specifically says not to do that.
comment #12174 Lightflame 3rd Jan 12
I'll be honest, I thought that Manwiththe Plan was perfectly right. The storyline was pretty solid in Kingdom Hearts, because, well... it was Kingdom Hearts— the first game in the franchise. It had the space to create as many concepts as it wanted, and it did to great effect. Kingdom Hearts II was a sequel to the first (yes, I know about Co M), and even though it had less concept-creating space to work with because of the fact that it was a related sequel, even though the concept of Nobodies wasn't expected at all... it was a great game with a great story and great resolution.

You're probably wondering what I mean by "concept-creating space". When you start a story, you can create as many concepts as you want in said story, because there's nothing preceding it to compare it to— if you're a good author, you'll lay out concrete yet understandable concepts. When you make a sequel, however, that's not your only problem. Now you have to (again, if you're a good author) create a story line with concepts that are consistent to the original. If you introduce new concepts, then they cannot contradict any other concepts in the first installment. As the plot continues past the sequel installment, this becomes harder and harder. I didn't care about the randomly introduced concept of "Nobodies", because it was the sequel, and there wasn't much else to compare it to and nothing that contradicted it. I didn't care about the fact that the "Ansem" you fought in the first installment being the Heartless of the actual Ansem's disciple. Why? Because it was the second installment— sure, it was a jump, but they didn't jump the shark.

Birth by Sleep. There are Unversed. Uh— THAT'S NOT ALL! the Unversed exist because Vanitas exists, and Vanitas exists because Master Xehanort extracted the darkness from Ventus' heart. You're probably wondering about Master Xehanort, and why he shares the same name with the Xehanort (the Nobody of which became Xemnas) Well, that's easily explainable. You see, Xehanort possessed Terra's body, giving Xehanort his form as we see him in the KH 2 flashbacks. Since this functions as a prequel, we can let it slide, but nothing can excuse what we get in Dream Drop Distance.

In Kingdom Hearts II, we learn that the Nobodies that comprise Organization XIII are other Nobodies that were created and then gathered by Xemnas. In Dream Drop Distance we learn that all of Organization XIII is part Xemnas. What. This is where I stop trying to make sense of the plot because... it's become a Kudzu Plot. It becomes a Kudzu Plot because this revelation is out of the blue... but the franchise is already decently aged, and there's a fair amount of games. Remember what I said about "concept-creating space"? Yeah, they ran out of that by Dream Drop Distance. If something functions as a prequel, then as long as the concepts introduced aren't too out of the blue, then it's alright. But prequels are meant to clarify— these prequels open up a can of tangled phone wires! They're creating new plot as the franchise demands! Plot which ends up sounding horribly contrived. The worst part? It's easy to create something like this when you keep adding stipulations to a/the central concept each installment, and if you're not careful, you end up (or you end up having to) retcon— no, you end up having to rewrite concepts you already established. That's exactly what's happening here. That's exactly what's happening here. Not that it's a bad game, but the storyline has already become less and less comprehensible, and I think they jumped a shark or two.
comment #16124 seg162 14th Sep 12
Oh, jeez. I ended up typing a phrase twice.

Sorry about that.
comment #16125 seg162 14th Sep 12

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