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Does DDD actually have the best story-telling in the franchise?



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Dast

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Did Riku really interact with Sora's reality that much? I only remember it happening in Traverse Town (where they use a portal), Symphony of Sorcery (where it's something like hearts tuned to each other) and The world that never was (Sleeping Sora hear's Riku's voice because he's right there next to him).
I remember there being a particularly weird interaction in the Country of the Musketeers where Riku disables a trap Pete and the Beagle Boys had prepared and somehow this stops the trap crushing the good guys on Sora's side or something like that.
 

Clue.Less

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I remember there being a particularly weird interaction in the Country of the Musketeers where Riku disables a trap Pete and the Beagle Boys had prepared and somehow this stops the trap crushing the good guys on Sora's side or something like that.
Oh right!!!

Hmm.

EDIT 1: (I like that XD)

EDIT 2: Actually it makes as much sense to me as when in KH1 we learn that Kairi's heart's literally been in Sora's all along, and then Kairi can turn Sora back to himself because she loves him. Turning the metaphor into literal cause/consequences stuff. It's pretty and cute so OK I believe you \o/ In DDD they are apart and it's frustrating and you want them to be able to interact, so when it miraculously happens, it's like YAY (whatever! it worked!).

This being said, there seems to be a theme of Sleeping worlds ("reality") bending to adapt to the person who experiences them (hence the different versions of the Disney subplots), so it's not surprising that once Sora and Riku have decided that yeah they're apart but actually no they aren't because of how close friends they are, their realities would start to touch at some points.
 
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Xickin

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Yes, the plot was so complex, they should have spent more time walking us through it IN the game. Especially the entering the Realm of Sleep part and why the f*** were there two separate versions? I still don't understand WHERE they are...

Did Riku really interact with Sora's reality that much? I only remember it happening in Traverse Town (where they use a portal), Symphony of Sorcery (where it's something like hearts tuned to each other) and The world that never was (Sleeping Sora hear's Riku's voice because he's right there next to him).
Well they begin in RoS, then Riku enters Sora's dreams to protect him because he saw Ansem in his brown robe. Sora wakes up, Riku wakes up, and remember when Riku SOMEHOW interacted with Sora's dream reality in the Three Musketeers world when Riku got rid of that huge box Pete was going to use to crush them? Like, it literally vanishes from existence, despite Sora being in like the first level of sleep and Riku is in basically another plane of reality (or whatever). How does that work? Then somehow at some point Sora is brought back to the RoL but still looks like a kid (same with Riku).
 

Clue.Less

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Well they begin in RoS, then Riku enters Sora's dreams to protect him because he saw Ansem in his brown robe. Sora wakes up, Riku wakes up, and remember when Riku SOMEHOW interacted with Sora's dream reality in the Three Musketeers world when Riku got rid of that huge box Pete was going to use to crush them? Like, it literally vanishes from existence, despite Sora being in like the first level of sleep and Riku is in basically another plane of reality (or whatever). How does that work? Then somehow at some point Sora is brought back to the RoL but still looks like a kid (same with Riku).
I need a map. None of this makes sense to me 😂
 

Xickin

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I need a map. None of this makes sense to me 😂
Kingdom Hearts lost me in terms of plot after Coded I think (358/2 Days is second though on account of its rampant anime-nesia [still one of my favourite games in the series though]).
 

SweetYetSalty

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I still haven't actually played DDD yet. I've watched playthroughs and read the story but I didn't have a 3DS at the time it launched. I have it now on PS4 but have been lazy about playing it. I should get to that.

As far as storytelling goes, I can't go into how the gameplay made it but. But from just watching the story via cutscenes DDD went the route that KH3 would take. All Disney stuff first, plot story last, with little bits teased in the worlds. It's not the preferred storytelling I would go for but for this game I think it worked on the context of Sora and Riku are taking a exam so it makes more sense to do it with DDD then KH3.

I do feel DDD is underrated storywise. This game did something I wish KH2 did in the past. I may put that in the unpopular thread at some point lol.
 
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Clue.Less

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I still haven't actually played DDD yet. I've watched playthroughs and read the story but I didn't have a 3DS at the time it launched. I have it now on PS4 but have been lazy about playing it. I should get to that.
Oh! Do share your thoughts here after you've played!


As far as storytelling goes (...) from just watching the story via cutscenes DDD went the route that KH3 would take. All Disney stuff first, plot story last, with little bits teased in the worlds. It's not the preferred storytelling I would go for but for this game I think it worked on the context of Sora and Riku are taking a exam so it makes more sense to do it with DDD then KH3.
That's true.

I do feel DDD is underrated storywise. This game did something I wish KH2 did in the past. I may put that in the unpopular thread at some point lol.
What thing?
 

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Let me break it down, every world but the Grid has one instance of Sora being knocked out in the plot and whatever he's thinking about is then where his dream sets Riku at.

- Traverse Town Sora falls asleep in 3rd District and Riku wakes up in Sora's dream of Traverse Town 3rd District

- La Cite Des Cloches Sora learns about Quasi living in the Cathedral because Frollo manipulated his heart, Phoebus objection getting him banished from the guards and reaches the court of miracles where he hears about Frollo holding a bonfire in the square then is knocked out off screen by Wargoyle. Riku wakes up and meets Quasi having not left it because in Sora's mind he's still imprisoned by his heart, he experiences Phoebus's objection Sora heard about, and then he watches Frollo turn the entire square into a literal sea of flames as the "bonfire".

- Prankster's Paradise Sora gets knocked out by Monstro's sneeze and when he wakes up he understands what he just experienced was what came before Jiminy and them had their world swallowed by darkness, before they met Sora. What Prankster's Paradise made Sora dream about was those memories, his memories of monstro in KH1. This is why Riku feels like he's reliving the past, because he is in Sora's memories of KH1 monstro. Except dreams fill in only what is missing to make a full picture. There are no SDG because Riku and his DE's are filling in that role and no evil KH1 Riku because Dark Riku of the Org was already filling in the role of the kidnapper of Pinocchio. Dream eaters replace the heartless and Sora's memory of Chill clawbster being swallowed resulted in Char clawbster spawning inside replacing parasite cage.

-The reason the Grid is the exception is because they kinda messily rewrote the plot as the plan was for Sora to visit a duplicate of Space Paranoids, the real original system, and RIKU was going to experience Tron Legacy. So it's kinda all over the place and doesn't make too much sense but essentially Sora dreams of the stuff he didn't get to see. Like he wanted to check out the Recognizer but never got to nor did he get to see what happened with Flynn, Quorra, and Sam. He also knows Rinzler returned to being Tron and the CLU was going to save retrieve him. So Riku's segment starts out with the Recognizer picking him and then all the stuff he never got to experience.

-Country of the Musketeers Sora arrives first and see Minnie being kidnapped by the Beagle Boys and then learns that Pete was the one behind everything. He's then knocked out by dream eaters Pete summons and then dreams of Pete's scheme of kidnapping Minnie with the help of the beagle boys which is where Riku arrives.

-SoS while Sora arrives there first he is actually knocked out immediately. He sees Mickey casting spells as he arrived pursuing spellican then got knocked out into mysterious tower which is where he actually ends up sleeping. So Riku arrives in the mysterious tower while Sora is taking a snoozle.

-TWTNW Sora arrives first but ultimately after his multiple dream dives he settles in his memory of TWTNW from KH2. This is why he is in KH2 form and why near the end he sees KH2 Riku and Kairi and talks about how he finally found them, of course Roxas, Xion, and Ventus's own sleeping memories/dreams also mesh in and cause a huge mess. Riku wakes up in Sora's dream mess but of course in the castle because that's where most of Sora's KH2 experience took place, Roxas and Xion's as well. Another big clue is that when you can finally see the sky Kingdom Hearts from Days/KH2 is hanging right there right above where Riku found Sora because it's conjured from their memory mush.

Now there are a couple extra things in mind. The first is while Sora and Riku are absolutely alternating they are also acting simultaneously because there is a time axis discrepancy. Time in Sora's worlds run at a different rate than Riku's ergo there is a period of time in which while Sora is awake Riku's world hasn't caught up to that point in which Sora woke up. This is part of what they are trying to explain with the timer talk in traverse town, Riku's worlds run at a slower rate. Which makes sense when you sleep your perception of time becomes distorted and the brain waves slow down. Since everything is running at a slower rate no one inside the world notices anything but once you compare timers from other worlds the truth is revealed.

The second is that dreams are connected and dreamers can dream together. When Sora falls asleep and dreams he isn't just dreaming alone he's connecting and sleeping side by side with the sleeping world, Sora and the world dream together and sleep together. Sora's dreams are connected to the dreams of the world so information is shared between them like places Sora couldn't possibly dream about, things the characters in the world know that he couldn't, and most importantly what's going on in them together. That's how the dreams are able to interact and affect one another, the shared dreamer principle if you will gets used in several obvious places as well. Like how Riku and Sora share dream eaters, literally sharing creatures made from their shared dreams.

The most obvert example of this principle in effect is actually in TWTNW when Sora first arrives. Young Xehanort tells Sora to come with him and what he means is that he's going to sleep and pulling Sora to sleep with him, Sora and Young Xehanort are sleeping together and dreaming together and they will now experience their memories together. That's why Sora starts out inside of YX's dream, YX's memory of meeting AnsemSoD. Then they go from the memory of YX's first meeting with AnsemSoD to the night Sora tmet AnsemSoD in DDD that Xigbar mentioned to him. Which was also the night he lost his home world and met Donald and Goofy and as a result leads us to his memory of that, and so on.

As Xigbar said they can't put stuff in Sora's head but they show Sora what's going on in the heads of others. They didn't need to put YX's memories into Sora to experience them. They merely needed to put Sora into a dream, dreams are the worlds where people's memories are held, so Sora can experience them that way.
 

SweetYetSalty

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Oh! Do share your thoughts here after you've played!



That's true.


What thing?
If I ever play I shall. I did read the novel of DDD and wrote a mini review in the manga/novel section on the story of DDD.

As for what thing, I'll be posting that in the 'Unpopular opinions' thread sometime this week...hopefully lol.
 

Foxycian

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THE most about DDD is the unnecessary time travel. I'll never get over it.

We've had examples of time travel in the series before. Strange doors that traverse time and can affect the future. Why notttt stick with that? Why did Nomura draw up this weirdo "Ok so you gotta leave your body behind and then use clones to store your heart but eventually you have to go back in time anyway and you'll forget everything, but also you can't even change the past or future so the time travel is pretty irrelevant and yet it obviously DOES affect the timeline no matter how much we say it doesn't so there's that."

Just write up this cool plot where Xehanort/Xemnas/Ansem or whoever found or created this super cool fantasy doors of doom that he can control to move him backward and forward in time, just like the Timeless River doors? There can still be weird data scifi elements with that. Could work great with the whole book and data concept too. Sticks with the themes of doors. Sora and team could even revisit pst events from a new perspective! (and not in a CoD or Coded way where it's a rerun of past events) Sora and team trying to trace where the doors are to destroy/lock them? Maleficent trying to butt in and mess things up? What an awesome subplot --> main plot transition that would've been (just like Pooh's book is to the whole data worlds situation)

Why go through the trouble of bringing back your old selves, just make more clones, let them develop an identity, and go from there? I mean, I know Xion broke her leash multiple times but you still tried to use her in the end anyway soooo?

I know many people place BbS as the start of convoluted plot, but for me, it starts with DDD. Not necessarily because of how the plot presents itself (splitting the story between two people), but because of unnecessary story elements when they could've just used already existing ones. I can't think of anything in Birth by Sleep that was a brand new concept/idea except the idea of "Keyblade school", keyblade armor, Vanitas, and Old fart Xehanort as the true main villain. And none of those elements require deep thought, they're just supplementing things we already know (except Vanitas maybe?)

To this day I still struggle with Nomura's rules of time travel. I've accepted that KH is "soft magic", but it bothers me that he spends long cutscenes trying to explain how things work and then one game later those rules don't even matter or become even more complicated.
Tbh they could have went with a Better route, here’s what I would have done instead of time travel,

who is this guy with white hair? Plot twist it’s Xehanort!!! But how? Why is he young? Here’s how!

there are two answers for this Actually

1. Cause it’s the dream world so master xehanort can just make himself younger, and since it’s the dream world every illusion can become a reality

the second answer

2. during kh3D old master xehanort can’t do anything but wait till his old body is recomplete so he choose a different method to sabotage the test, by going the realm of sleep by dreaming! Or maybe Send his heart in the realm of sleep, and there he can create new body or basically dream himself a new body his own self when he was younger stronger and healthier, and since anything could happen in the dream worlds any dream can become a reality

just like Ansem seeker of darkness, he casted his form away to time travel, so if xehanort casted his form away to enter the realm of sleep as just a heart then he can just dream himself to be younger and stronger etc

I honestly prefer this or anything more then the time travel.
 

Rydgea

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I find it interesting that many players don't like the auto switching, but prefer it when comparing it playing the BBS trio, when there are a lot of simple exploits to accommodate different styles of play for both games. For BBS, simply save and load the next character (for which there is a timeline) after each world or whatever stopping point you prefer. Obviously, you need three saves: one each for TAV. In DDD, preemptively drop, wait patiently for the drop or use the Drop-Me-Not. The only game that doesn't allow any flexibility is Reverse/Rebirth. Out of the games that offer us multiple POVs, BBS offers the most freedom.

There is something to be said, as another user worded differently, having that nip at the heels with the DDD timer. It's a sort of rush. It's not my favorite though.
 

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So if it isn't already obvious, BBS was definitely my favorite story, and I feel that the way it was told was genius. I was able to keep track of each of the threes individual journeys and I remember being so excited to see how things would go down for other characters in the disney worlds. It definitely made the disney filler worlds a lot more interesting since it kinda turned them into a big puzzle to solve. The reveals of the three tragic fates was also so epic and how it ties into the "future" of the series with where each ends up. To me TAV had the best development as an actual trio of all the trios because you actually get to see the growth and decisions of each character.

With that being said I also loved the way DDD handled dual characters. Scenes like watching the wargoyle lose its wings and fall into the battle with Sora were super cool, or how they each gathered a music piece for SoS. I actually liked the challenge of the drop mechanic. Whenever it interrupted a boss fight it felt to me like something I deserved, rather than an unfair mechanic. The WTNW was also epic with the feeling of urgency in having to save Sora. The presentation of this game makes it seem like it would pretty low stakes compared to previous titles, but they definitely pull that rug from right under you when you realize the trap they have fallen into.

But as great as all that is, this game definitely suffers for its placement in the overarching series and its introduction of both time travel and sleeping worlds. There was a lot for players to wrap their heads around in this game, and a lot of it was explained very late in the game. I agree with many others that the time travel element should have never been introduced into the series. There were so many other ways they could have gone about it, but this? It weakens older antagonists character integrity, confused the hell out of the plot, retconned the order of events, and ultimately took away from a lot of character interactions. I mean, one of my favorite parts of BBS was how evil and dark it was for Xehanort to literally steal Terra's body away from him, but in DDD that whole effort felt so unnecessary when he reforms as old man Xehanort again anyways. Another thing that really irks me is that in KH2 the whole idea of Xemans is that he is neither light nor darkness but the nothingness in between. It was literally his sole character trait. And now he is suddenly a SoD?

I guess my overall feelings are that I am fan of how the protagonists were handled in this game, but not at all a fan of how the antagonists were.
 

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Drop system was good except for during Xemnas fight. Like...if Sora falls asleep during the fight, does YX win and vesselize him? Or do they wait to wake him up?
 
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What ultimately dragged DDD's storytelling down wasn't any specific gaming or plot device like the Drop Gauge or even the time travel elements, it was the fact that the story itself was so meandering, unfocused and fraught as a narrative that the entirety of it ended up being dissected through rote exposition on the backend just to create the illusion that the game was attempting to convey anything approaching a coherent set of ideas and themes-- when in reality it was a filler title that was desperately seeking some way to justify its own existence (unlike Coded, which at least had the decency not to pretend).

I get that subjective experiences will differ and certain elements will stand out to everyone (I was and am largely ambivalent towards the play mechanics but I liked a lot of what got done with Riku in isolation), but when the story is analyzed on its own merits it looks a lot like a series of line items on a spreadsheet, mapped inorganically to the mouth of whichever villain Nomura has decided should deliver the bad news this time. And most of it ends up going unaddressed until the final avalanche of overwrought, "plot relevant" scenes.

When compared to games like CoM and Days, both of which are similarly character-centered but primarily utilize symbolism and suggestion to argue their core concepts in fully formed fashion-- that is, integrating a motif throughout the narrative so as to shape the storytelling in a reciprocal fashion, rather than siphoning out character beats from "main plot" in the structurally disorienting mold of a game like DDD-- it's clear what makes them better told stories. They both contain an uninterrupted emotional and thematic throughline which carries multiple character arcs to completion (in the case of Days, three!) whereas DDD dallies with character building (again, some of which manages to be effective) as a method to fill in the time between hamfisted plot drops (no pun intended). It's not even as organically managed as KH2, and there are words to be had about that game's structural inadequacies as a story.

Overall, I'd say I can understand why the drop mechanic feels like a singularly interesting sort of experiment on how to play with perspective in the context of a video game, but that doesn't make for compelling story telling-- especially when it could just as easily be argued that it makes the whole experience feel needlessly busy, given that there is actually a method for this which has been extant in literature for a very long time: it's called chapters.

Ultimately, I don't see the necessity for it, despite OP making some persuasive points: it's best analogized to a movie that's directed using a method that's interesting but unrefined (and whoever actually thinks watching film is a "passive" activity, just FYI, you're doing it wrong). Novelty is not the same as innovation, and at the end of the day a story told straight and with conviction is preferable to one that overshoots its mark trying to compensate for a lack of inherent substance-- even if it is fair to give it some points for ambition.
 

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Honestly I hated DDD's story and it made me give up on Kingdom Hearts.

The best way to describe it is a "bad first draft no one looked over". There's some good ideas here so hopefully they can fix if they ever adapt it. Someone mentioned that it was originally part of KH3 in the other thread so that could be why.

Looking back, I actually had more problems with Sora as he became downright unbearable. Thats harder to fix and it could just be me.

Oh well.
 
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cakito123

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The problem about the drop gauge was how you could not make it change that much, except if you use a Drop me not. But to use this item you first need to equip it as a command, use it, and then put your command (the one that is really useful) back and keep playing.

They should have made the system a little more flexible and/or make the drop-me-not faster and easier to use.

When playing the game I had a really good time. The drop gauge surprised me a lot of times but I always faced it as a challenge from the game itself - it was really fun. I think the best fight I had in the game was with that Spellican Heartless - it was so great! The battle takes a lot of time to finish it and I used to drop before I copould finish it, so I played it like a 1000 times trying to rush it until I realized that I COULD, and I HAD to have at least one or two Drop-me-not equipped through the battle in order to succeed.

Yeah It can be nasty for someone else in that exact situation I faced... that's subjective
 
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