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Does one bother me when people call KH the most complex and poorly written franchise of all?



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Nukara

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I don’t know how others do, but I generally understand the plot of KH, with the exception of some interweaving in DDD. Franchise Digimon, for example, is much more confused and has more retcons and contradictions. It’s just that people sometimes confuse the terms “bad” and “disadvantages”, and KH due to its popularity is given the most. Although it has no less problems than similar large franchises with an intricate plot.
 

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I'm honestly not offended, but just curious how KH fandom seem to tell Nomura is a wack of writers, when I have been into other fandoms of other complicated plots and those authors are instead praised for their complexity, like CLAMP was praised for the complexity of TRC and XXXHolic when the group themselves are so lost they had to re-read TRC-basically, they admit they didn't knw what are they doing. imo from what I see, KH fandom actually has MORE problem than most complicated plot work.
 

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Not to piss off anyone, but it bothers me more when people actually call it complex and start "bragging" about how easy it is to understand and whatnot. KH is not easy to understand and when you have a good understanding of it that's great, but that doesn't mean it's easy to understand. KH's plot is not necessarily complex, but it's convoluted because it's told in a way that makes it hard to grasp. People often make it sound like convoluted = complex when it isn't the same. Seriously, a lot of plot points in the series are either vague, poorly explained or don't make any sense, but that's okay. It's still a good franchise. It bothers me more that you have to search your answers everywhere - ultimanias, interviews, wikis, word of god from Nomura - but not in the games themselves. In that sense it IS poorly written - the story should make sense on its own and not require to puzzle pieces and bits together (which is not bad per se) by using a ton of external sources. The basic story of each of the games isn't that hard to understand, but with all the "that person is actually that person's other person", alternative worldlines / timelines, wonky space / time concepts and whatnot that are introduced in one game and dropped / altered in another, it IS hard to keep track and nearly impossible without keeping up with Nomura's explanations. Nomura gets critisized often because he makes it seem and sound like he's been planning everything from the beginning, resulting in trying to connecting every single piece forcefully instead of simply admitting concepts have changed and and actually explaining how some things actually work. For example, the power of waking went from being a power to wake hearts in a sleeping state to some crazy kind of power to bend time and space (that Sora, who had just aquired it, obviously immediately knew how to abuse) that was used to rewind history and somehow made Xehanort into a portal that Sora could enter to fight him. (I didn't play ReMind, I don't know if it explains anything, but my point still stands, you shouldn't need DLC to get a grasp of what a concept actually does in the first place.) No one can convince me that makes a lot of sense or was really planned that way.

All in all, I think Kingdom Hearts is a good franchise with a good story at its core, but that story is often told in a poor and purposefully vague, convoluted and misleading fashion. I understand it and at the same time I don't - because some things really don't make much sense to me, even by knowing the official explanations.

And as a huge fan of Digimon - Digimon had the advantage that it didn't connect most of its stuff. All the entries, games, the anime seasons and other stuff are vaguely connected by the same common lore, but Digimon Tamers is a complete different universe from Digimon Adventure - the only major connection is the existence of Digimon - and the seasons treat it that way. There's no mention of the DigiDestined in Tamers, no mention of Tai and the others, the design of the Digital World is completely different and the basic story of Tamers is easy to understand, so I don't think you can really compare it to Kingdom Hearts. You can play Digimon Cyber Sleuth without having seen any Digimon season; same with the Digimon World games; on the other side, you do not need to watch Digimon Adventure to understand Cyber Sleuth; this is not the case with KH where every entry contributes something to the overall plot. Yeah, later entries of Digimon were a bit more tricky (for example Tri), but Tri is being critisized as being a hot mess (I consider it garbage), so it's not like people praise Digimon and dislike KH.
 

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So, tell me what the power of waking is and how it can be used to overwrite history.

On a more serious note, KH story is stupidely complicated. but that's why I like it. It contains everything you want and also everything you do not want. It's weird confusing, but made with the desire to create something different.
I often see Kingdom Hearts as a giant laboratory where they try everything. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but at least it's not the same recycled crap you see everywhere.
 
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It bothers me more that you have to search your answers everywhere - ultimanias, interviews, wikis, word of god from Nomura - but not in the games themselves. In that sense it IS poorly written - the story should make sense on its own and not require to puzzle pieces and bits together (which is not bad per se) by using a ton of external sources.
I disagree. The basic narrative of KH makes perfect sense as long as you pay attention to the cutscenes and are playing all (or hell, most) of the games.
What we get out of Ultimanias and interviews is deeper knowledge of the world and lore, which isn't critical to an understanding of the events of the game.

I wouldn't say KH is necessarily well-written (CoM, yes, but the rest are a bit dubious). A big part of that, and the reason why I tell people KH is easy to understand, is that KH has a bad habit of long, expository dialogue meticulously explaining the plot directly to the audience. At times the scenes are one step away from looking directly into the camera and addressing you by name.
KHIII and Re Mind are especially bad about this. There are several scenes in KHIII where characters who are already up-to-speed lay down a summary of previous events for nobody in particular.
In Re Mind, Xehanort, Xigbar and Saïx essentially read the Wikipedia article about the True Organization, again for absolutely nobody's benefit in-universe.
 

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I wouldn't say it's the most complex or the worst written, but I do admit it's pretty complex and badly written. I don't mind if someone says so. There was a short time where Kingdom Hearts wasn't super complicated and was actually kind of well written, but after Chain of Memories things really went downhill in this department. Back then I probably wouldn't have liked it if someone called KH too complex or badly written, but things have changed since CoM. Things started getting ridiculously complicated by the time of DDD, and I would say KH2 was the exact point where the writing became much worse. Even Days I admit is not written very well.

I think it's too complicated and the writing is bad, but as this thread has shown, people can and will disagree with each other. The plot of the series is pretty comprehensible, but the lore and timeline are absolute nightmares to understand, and many games in the series complicate the lore and timeline much further, especially KH2, BBS, and DDD.

I understand the plot and the majority of the lore, and if I have to extensively research things and find answers from forums and official info-dumps to understand what should be explained organically in the games, there's a problem with the writing.
 

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The Kingdom Hearts series is, and for the most part, always has been, very convoluted and ridiculous. And the writing is certainly sub-par on an average day. But I don't mind any of that, because, unlike most fans nowadays, I don't hold Kingdom Hearts to the narrative standard of most other stories. And the reason for that is that Kingdom Hearts is, first and foremost, fanservice. It was conceived as a union between two wildly popular franchises, and it just happened to grow a story and world all its own, which would never have happened if not for the loopy ingenuity of one particular madman.
That's what separates this series from most other stories—it's not supposed to be taken that seriously, and it doesn't market itself as a story, but as a ride. And a lot of people in this fandom have forgotten that, quite frankly.
For most other stories, I would take points off for being convoluted, or for cheesy writing, or for ridiculous shark-jumping overreaches—but I don't take off points for these problems in Kingdom Hearts, because the wackiness and ludicrousness is pretty much the central draw.
When most of us were kids, what was it that pulled us into these games? What made us buy it in the first place? Was it rave critic reviews? No. It was the possibility of adventuring through Disney worlds with Final Fantasy characters. That's always been what the series is at its core.
So, when people lambaste KH3 or the rest of the series for flaws that really have always been there, I get a bit annoyed, because it feels like these people have lost sight of how to enjoy this series properly—by letting go of conventional logic and just enjoying something crazy and unpredictable. A lot of people fancy themselves critics when they get older, but that does a lot to dull that childlike spirit. When I put KH3 into my PS4, I wasn't sitting down and thinking about whether the story would make sense or whether the characters would be well-written—I just wanted fun, and I got it. And if you go on YouTube and look at a lot of the KH channels that regularly cover the series and who posted their first-time playthroughs, even the people who were critical of 3 by the end of it couldn't fake the joy they had while playing it.
I've said it many times before, but you could go back to ANY game in the franchise, even the first one, and find much of the same flaws that people say are dragging the series down today. The only difference is with the players—a lot of them have just forgotten how to simply enjoy the ride. Nobody was ever so critical about KH2 or KH1 when they first released. But nowadays, everyone tries so hard to find flaws, and when they find an abundance of them in this series (because yes, objectively it is insanely flawed), they get upset over it when they COULD be enjoying it as much as they enjoyed 2 and 1. That's the tragedy of the fandom right now for me. And as for everyone outside the fandom that says these things about Kingdom Hearts—they're completely right. But at the same time, if they've never actually played it, then they can't understand why people love it.
 

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The Kingdom Hearts series is, and for the most part, always has been, very convoluted and ridiculous. And the writing is certainly sub-par on an average day. But I don't mind any of that, because, unlike most fans nowadays, I don't hold Kingdom Hearts to the narrative standard of most other stories. And the reason for that is that Kingdom Hearts is, first and foremost, fanservice. It was conceived as a union between two wildly popular franchises, and it just happened to grow a story and world all its own, which would never have happened if not for the loopy ingenuity of one particular madman.
That's what separates this series from most other stories—it's not supposed to be taken that seriously, and it doesn't market itself as a story, but as a ride. And a lot of people in this fandom have forgotten that, quite frankly.
For most other stories, I would take points off for being convoluted, or for cheesy writing, or for ridiculous shark-jumping overreaches—but I don't take off points for these problems in Kingdom Hearts, because the wackiness and ludicrousness is pretty much the central draw.
When most of us were kids, what was it that pulled us into these games? What made us buy it in the first place? Was it rave critic reviews? No. It was the possibility of adventuring through Disney worlds with Final Fantasy characters. That's always been what the series is at its core.
So, when people lambaste KH3 or the rest of the series for flaws that really have always been there, I get a bit annoyed, because it feels like these people have lost sight of how to enjoy this series properly—by letting go of conventional logic and just enjoying something crazy and unpredictable. A lot of people fancy themselves critics when they get older, but that does a lot to dull that childlike spirit. When I put KH3 into my PS4, I wasn't sitting down and thinking about whether the story would make sense or whether the characters would be well-written—I just wanted fun, and I got it. And if you go on YouTube and look at a lot of the KH channels that regularly cover the series and who posted their first-time playthroughs, even the people who were critical of 3 by the end of it couldn't fake the joy they had while playing it.
I've said it many times before, but you could go back to ANY game in the franchise, even the first one, and find much of the same flaws that people say are dragging the series down today. The only difference is with the players—a lot of them have just forgotten how to simply enjoy the ride. Nobody was ever so critical about KH2 or KH1 when they first released. But nowadays, everyone tries so hard to find flaws, and when they find an abundance of them in this series (because yes, objectively it is insanely flawed), they get upset over it when they COULD be enjoying it as much as they enjoyed 2 and 1. That's the tragedy of the fandom right now for me. And as for everyone outside the fandom that says these things about Kingdom Hearts—they're completely right. But at the same time, if they've never actually played it, then they can't understand why people love it.

You have very interesting points, but I'm sorry I have to disagree, KH1 was not even close to as convoluted as KH3 was, it was a simple story of Light vs Darkness that had a beginning middle and end, it didn't have any crazy poorly explained lore happening in the background, (partially because it didn't exist yet) I mean it's literally a story about Friendship and everything that comes with it. It also didn't require a FM version to understand the story better, I mean it was just an add-on, but everything was still perfectly understandable in the original. It never started off complicated, but Nomura made it complicated for the hell of it, you are saying it is a "ride" I would call it a headache to be frank, you can create something that you would label as a "ride" and still have some idea of a cohesive narrative.

Nomura's first mistake was DDD, I loved the concepts in that game, but MAN were they badly executed! it was all over the place, how can you be taken for a ride, if it is already off the rails, with no direction? It's just nauseating.

You got me though, I did enjoy 1 and 2 more than any of the others, but that story was still a hell of a lot more cohesive than whatever the hell 3 was, did it have problems? Sure it did, but it still succeeded in what it intended, I get you are not defending the writing, but even a ride has a direction and a purpose, which KH3 tried to do, but failed miserably

I'm not going to call the writing a crowning jewel, but at least it was digestible before all the fluff was added, and that is just the thing, he's just adding more fluff to fill in gaps, that are not even there, we shouldn't need channels like Everglow explaining the entire franchise, we should be able to make sense of it ourselves.

I've been a fan since the original and a lurker on this site since it's conception, but KH3 killed my love of the franchise. If you are going to introduce all these amazing concepts at least take the time to properly flesh them out, otherwise why even bother?

With that being said, with all that out of the way, Nomura is a master at luring you back to the franchise with some crazy secret movie showing some crazy sequence that sparks the imagination and stirrs up excitement, but it almost never delivers what it shows, unfortunately.

So in closing, Amazing concepts, amazing ideas, but they are just too ambitious for one man to handle..unless you are like the writer of the GoT books or something, it's just too difficult for one guy to handle, he should really get help from other writers, making it a collaboration or something. because he is just going to overwhelm himself with the hole he dug himself in..

Let's just hope he learned something from this whole thing with the next Arc in the series.
 

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You have very interesting points, but I'm sorry I have to disagree, KH1 was not even close to as convoluted as KH3 was, it was a simple story of Light vs Darkness that had a beginning middle and end, it didn't have any crazy poorly explained lore happening in the background, (partially because it didn't exist yet) I mean it's literally a story about Friendship and everything that comes with it. It also didn't require a FM version to understand the story better, I mean it was just an add-on, but everything was still perfectly understandable in the original. It never started off complicated, but Nomura made it complicated for the hell of it, you are saying it is a "ride" I would call it a headache to be frank, you can create something that you would label as a "ride" and still have some idea of a cohesive narrative.

Nomura's first mistake was DDD, I loved the concepts in that game, but MAN were they badly executed! it was all over the place, how can you be taken for a ride, if it is already off the rails, with no direction? It's just nauseating.

You got me though, I did enjoy 1 and 2 more than any of the others, but that story was still a hell of a lot more cohesive than whatever the hell 3 was, did it have problems? Sure it did, but it still succeeded in what it intended, I get you are not defending the writing, but even a ride has a direction and a purpose, which KH3 tried to do, but failed miserably

I'm not going to call the writing a crowning jewel, but at least it was digestible before all the fluff was added, and that is just the thing, he's just adding more fluff to fill in gaps, that are not even there, we shouldn't need channels like Everglow explaining the entire franchise, we should be able to make sense of it ourselves.

I've been a fan since the original and a lurker on this site since it's conception, but KH3 killed my love of the franchise. If you are going to introduce all these amazing concepts at least take the time to properly flesh them out, otherwise why even bother?

With that being said, with all that out of the way, Nomura is a master at luring you back to the franchise with some crazy secret movie showing some crazy sequence that sparks the imagination and stirrs up excitement, but it almost never delivers what it shows, unfortunately.

So in closing, Amazing concepts, amazing ideas, but they are just too ambitious for one man to handle..unless you are like the writer of the GoT books or something, it's just too difficult for one guy to handle, he should really get help from other writers, making it a collaboration or something. because he is just going to overwhelm himself with the hole he dug himself in..

Let's just hope he learned something from this whole thing with the next Arc in the series.
I respect your opinions, but I couldn't disagree with you more.
KH3's story was no more complicated than 1 or 2. In fact, I dare conjecture that 3 was actually simpler than 2 was.
All three main games have really simple plots when you get down to it:
KH1 – Rescue your friends and save the worlds from the Heartless
KH2 – Rescue your friends and defeat Organization XIII
KH3 – Rescue your friends and defeat the Real Organization XIII
As for all the nonsense and the off-screen storytelling, that's been there since 1. All the ridiculous out-of-nowhere concepts and contrivances—those have always been there, you're just choosing to focus on the ones in 3 because you have higher expectations now.
And I disagree even that 2 was more cohesive than 3. The game was literally split into two halves where the main antagonists were completely different, and the Disney worlds were so pointless to the narrative that you could literally skip half of them! Sure, the power of waking may have sucked as a plot device, but the Disney worlds in 3, contrary to the complaints of the fanbase, had SO much more purpose than the ones in KH2, and they provided for more character development, too.
And finally, how can you say that Nomura doesn't deliver on his secret movies? He's always delivered on them. Deep Dive—check. Birth by Sleep—check. And all the other secret endings also had followups that resolved them as well. So, that's not really a fair criticism.
If KH3 killed your interest in the series, that's cool, but I believe it's disingenuous to take that attitude. If the problems you're citing were enough to make you quit this series, then you should have quit the series a long time ago, or never even gotten into it, because all the same problems with 3 were in the early games, too.
 

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I love how convoluted and complex the story is. And you can say "well it isn't that complicated...." but actually it is, even when I thought I understood everything I was constantly going back and realizing I remembered seemingly important events entirely wrong or forgot about them and how they're relevent. If you think you know the whole story of Kingdom Hearts then you probably don't, there is simply too many events happening and too long in between games to keep track of and retain everything.

That being said, Nomura is a terrible writer. I used to be on the other side of the fence on this issue because I can forgive a lot of things other people can't, but the evidence is overwhelming at this point. This is not a character driven story, it is entirely story driven with cliche character tropes inserted into it. To give credit where it is due, Nomura is great at creating story centric plots and world-building and that is what has kept me going in playing his games, but when you see his character tropes being used in other games hes developing (FF7R) it becomes glaringly obvious that either Nomura values world building and imagery far, far, far more than he does character development, gameplay, or tone; or he just can't manage them.

KH has a lot of really well written moments, like the newest story sequence in KHUX, but that is what they are: moments. And it's great that we have those moments to wait for within Nomura's games, but you will be waiting. Good storytelling builds on itself over time, it's called "rising action" but either Nomura doesn't understand this concept or developing games is too challenging for him. But all of his games for a while now have all been fluff placed between important plot points and frankly it is infuriating to me because his storytelling method is more suited to manga than video games to be honest. I believe SE should replace him as a director and leave him to world/character design, but that's just my opinion.
 

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I wouldn't say KH is necessarily well-written (CoM, yes, but the rest are a bit dubious).
correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think Nomura was super involved with the writing of CoM was he? I think it might have been mostly Daisuke Watanabe but I'm not entirely sure, I just remember reading something from an ultimania where Watanabe said something like he had to describe who the Organisation were to Nomura, which feels like a fairly big thing to not know about.
 

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correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think Nomura was super involved with the writing of CoM was he? I think it might have been mostly Daisuke Watanabe but I'm not entirely sure, I just remember reading something from an ultimania where Watanabe said something like he had to describe who the Organisation were to Nomura, which feels like a fairly big thing to not know about.
I looked up the interview and it depends what you meant exactly. Nomura told Watanabe that members of the Organisation were to appear in the game so he knew what the Organisation itself was but Watanabe basically designed the personalities of the members in the game, as well as the details of the plot.
 

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I respect your opinions, but I couldn't disagree with you more.
KH3's story was no more complicated than 1 or 2. In fact, I dare conjecture that 3 was actually simpler than 2 was.
All three main games have really simple plots when you get down to it:
KH1 – Rescue your friends and save the worlds from the Heartless
KH2 – Rescue your friends and defeat Organization XIII
KH3 – Rescue your friends and defeat the Real Organization XIII
As for all the nonsense and the off-screen storytelling, that's been there since 1. All the ridiculous out-of-nowhere concepts and contrivances—those have always been there, you're just choosing to focus on the ones in 3 because you have higher expectations now.
And I disagree even that 2 was more cohesive than 3. The game was literally split into two halves where the main antagonists were completely different, and the Disney worlds were so pointless to the narrative that you could literally skip half of them! Sure, the power of waking may have sucked as a plot device, but the Disney worlds in 3, contrary to the complaints of the fanbase, had SO much more purpose than the ones in KH2, and they provided for more character development, too.
And finally, how can you say that Nomura doesn't deliver on his secret movies? He's always delivered on them. Deep Dive—check. Birth by Sleep—check. And all the other secret endings also had followups that resolved them as well. So, that's not really a fair criticism.
If KH3 killed your interest in the series, that's cool, but I believe it's disingenuous to take that attitude. If the problems you're citing were enough to make you quit this series, then you should have quit the series a long time ago, or never even gotten into it, because all the same problems with 3 were in the early games, too.
Alright then, so you said 3 was simpler than 2... how? 3 had so much more undeveloped concepts, ideas, and plot points that just sat there in the background. Even if that's been there since 1 and 2, they still handled it much better than three ever did. 3 was off the rails, it had no direction, it was all over the place. They spent so much time trying to help you understand the story from what happened before, that they barely tried to help you understand what was even going on in the actual present. They introduced all these awesome concepts, that they did nothing with, like the new PoH, they barely did anything with that, they didn't flesh it out at all, they just threw it out there with no bearing on the actual plot, while in the original the PoH was used as a major plot point to unlocking the Door to Darkness. To be honest, any background lore in the originals were in the Ansem reports and they still were done a lot better than 3 the whole idea of subject X is interesting, but knowing Nomura, he'll just fuck it up like he always does.

Now I will agree with you on one thing, the Disney Worlds in 3 were incredible and yes they had so much more purpose than the originals, so much more life, so much more space, but what I won't defend is, yes the worlds may have been so much bigger, but the space was underused. There was still barely anything to do in the worlds, besides a few mini-games, when they could have fleshed out tons of things to do in this new big open area. I know Kingdom Hearts has never been like that, but why even bother to create such large worlds if half of the world is underused. They could have put so much more stuff to do in the worlds. (I haven't played Re: mind, so I don't know if they added a lot more, I can't play it because my arms are fucked, I'm literally typing through voice) but I think we're getting off-topic, this is not even about the story anymore lol

At least The Originals didn't shove all of the plot elements at the end, no they all had proper build-up, they all had a beginning middle and end, while in three you couldn't tell where the beginning middle and end was, it was just all over the place like the entire script was improvised in the most horrible way

So yeah, Kingdom Hearts 3 may have been following the same plot formula as the originals, but the originals honestly handled it way better, it's just a shame really if Nomura would actually get help, with his writing, then all the concepts and ideas that he introduced could be properly fleshed out, and properly addressed, but he wants to be a one-man show, he wants it to remain his vision with no outside influence, he's only human though, he can only do so much on his own, I just honestly hope he realizes that soon.

As I said before I think he really screwed the pooch when he introduced Dream Drop Distance and all the time travel bullshit, because I enjoyed all the other games besides that (except coded), not to mention forcing you to play Union Cross to understand a lot of the plot elements in Kingdom Hearts 3 is ridiculous, it's the same crap Final Fantasy 15 did, making you have to buy the movie and watch the anime, just to understand basic elements from the story, it's just unnecessary.

And I guess I will agree, that two's worlds way of integrating the plot also kind of sucked, but it still had buildup and tension, it was structured better, A lot of the Disney Worlds may have been pointless, but the story still progressed smoothly. (I still prefer 1 for the story over the others) and I don't even want to get into the fact but there were barely any Disney villains in three, while in 2 and 1, they were part of the main plot, some more than others, but still way better than 3

And lastly, let me clarify something, when I said the secret movies didn't deliver, all I meant was they always made it out to be bigger than it actually was, like for the longest time people thought the kh2 and kh2fm secret movies, were teasing that it was Kingdom Hearts 3, when it was later found out to be Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, the secret movies themselves are awesome, but the end result is kind of underwhelming.
 
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So, first of all, sorry to hear about your arms. I hope they get better. And since you haven't played ReMIND, I'll try not to spoil anything, though I will say that it DOES clarify some story elements in the main game.

Alright, so let me hit these points in order:
1. So, regarding the new 7 Princesses of Heart. I do somewhat agree with you that they were underutilized. But, at the same time, they were never supposed to have the same role or prominence they did in KH1. The PoH in KH1 were integral to the villains' plans of opening the Final Keyhole and the Door to Darkness. But they made it clear since DDD that the PoH were only contingencies for Xehanort's plan. The fact that they didn't have a larger role doesn't mean they were irrelevant to the story. I'm sure they're introducing them now so they can build up to something bigger later.
2. Honestly, the whole Subject X thing, while totally hamfisted and awkwardly shoved in, was to me no more hamfisted than the way KH1 introduced Ansem as the main antagonist. I mean, you have Maleficent as the de facto antagonist for the whole game, and then at the last minute, out of nowhere, this guy rolls up and is all like, "ok, so, hey, how ya doin', btw I'm the final boss now." Yes, there was lore and background information on him, but there was almost no introduction to him as a character, no buildup—so, again, these problems ain't new.
3. I'm not sure I agree that the space for the worlds was underused either. I mean, exploration is the thing I love most about the KH series, and I know I got that in droves with this game. There were mini-games, treasure chests, and hidden side quests aplenty in each world, even Arrendelle (which, yes, sucked). Only exception is Hundred Acre Wood.
4. I will agree with you that 3 lacked the grand narrative pacing that 2 had. Which is not to say that 2's story was done better per se, but yes, 3 did lack a clear defined midpoint. But then, so did KH1 when you think about it. And I don't really consider the second visit to Traverse Town a definitive midpoint, certainly not the way Hollow Bastion was in KH2.
5. Now, on the issue of time travel. I know this is a controversial point among the fans, because it IS such an overused trope in science fiction, and we're all supposed to groan in agony whenever it rears its ugly head. But, if I'm being honest, I was never bothered by the introduction of time travel in this series. In fact, it felt kind of natural, actually. I mean, lord knows I would have preferred it be explained better in DDD and 3, but the idea itself is one I actually find intriguing, especially with the mechanics that they use. I like the idea of traveling back into past versions of yourself, because that connects organically with the concepts of identity and memories that form core facets of the heart as touched on earlier in the series. And besides, the series has ALWAYS been a clusterf**k of mishmashed tropes and ideas, so why not time travel? Frankly, I think it gets more flak than it deserves. At least this series is original about how they utilize it.
6. I COMPLETELY AGREE on the heavy dependence of Union X. Not even an argument with you on this one. Union X is probably the only game in the franchise I legitimately hate (I didn't even really hate Coded, but I hate this game), and I am getting sick of how prominent they're making it.
7. As for the Disney worlds, I again contest that they had better tension and buildup in KH2 than 3. Again, the worlds in 3 had more direct bearing on the buildup to the final battle. 2's worlds were mostly just pitstops toward the endgame with the same copy-and-paste blanket excuse for why you visit them—there was nothing unique about any of the worlds that helped actually drive the main plot forward. But 3's worlds actually contributed to the climax. Monstropolis basically gave us the reason for Vanitas' recompletion into his own entity again; Toy Box both gave Xehanort the information he needed to begin work on the replicas for his other vessels; Corona and Arrendelle were both the locations of 3 of the new 7 hearts that Xehanort would have targeted if the Guardians failed to play into his plans; and The Caribbean and Olympus both introduced the Box as a plot device, which, though it admittedly didn't come into play in this game, is nonetheless very important to the story going forward. Probably Hundred Acre Wood and San Fransokyo were the only irrelevant or redundant worlds to visit, though even they had more purpose towards the end of the story than most of the worlds in KH2 did.
I think 2 definitely did some things better than 3, of course. I'm not trying to say 3 is just a league ahead of 2. But I do think people are jumping on this ridiculous bandwagon of hating on 3 even though it actually does many things better than previous entries did. Nomura has always been a terrible writer—KH1, CoM, and Days are probably the only exceptions to this (and I'm not sure he actually wrote any of them). But Nomura is special in that, what he lacks in the quality of his writing, he makes up for in how unique, unpredictable, and unapologetically fun it is. And there is value in that, as much as people like to fancy themselves high-brow literary critics for knocking on dialogue and pacing as if these are the only attributes that give a story any weight. And people focus on these problems, which are still not as bad as they were in most of the other games, at the cost of overlooking all the ways in which 3 evolved this series from where it used to be. And I'm just sick of the constant double standard from people who are clearly looking at the past through rose-colored glasses and pretending like things were somehow better. It's just nostalgia—there are some things earlier games did do objectively better than 3, but this concentrated hostility toward 3 is nothing but the effect of excessive nostalgic bias from all that I can tell. A story doesn't have to be great for people to love it—it doesn't even really have to be good. It just has to give you something you don't get anywhere else, something valuable. With Kingdom Hearts, that something is fun, and as long as it continues to be the wacky, unpredictable hodgepodge of a heartfelt story that it's always been, I'll continue to stick around with it.
 

disney233

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All this talk of which game is more convoluted than which. If I can sum it up, KH1 was the most simplistic and easy to swallow of the bunch. You delude yourself if you ACTUALLY think it isn't, at the BARE MINIMUM, easier to swallow than the rest of the games.

Sora has one simple goal, to find his friends, Donald & Goofy has one simple goal, to stay with the Keyblade Master and find the King. They journey to other worlds in hopes of uncovering any hints of either party. That's arc 1.

Arc 2, the plot thickens as SDG now knows of Maleficent & the other Disney villains, once more Riku but feels betrayed because he's been betrayed (because yeah...the fucking obviously evil witch is DEFINITELY not stretching the truth for her own agenda.)

Arc 3, Maleficent is defeated, but CUE EVERY SQUARE ENIX MOMENT of adding an EVEN bigger bad guy greater than Maleficent, and that's Ansem. So now you've reach the endgame, battle Ansem, blah, blah, blah.

Overall KH1 is a lot easier to digest, but within each installment, the fluff gets bigger and bigger to the point of being overwhelming. Cue 2 & 3. At least Sora HAD a reason to travel through worlds in 1. What the hell was his purpose in 2? The Organization doesn't do crap until the 2nd half of the game, and even THAT'S stretching it, because...what the hell was the point of Xigbar being in the Land of Dragons or Demyx in Olympus? And why did the Organization need the Princesses of Heart, when it's CLEAR that it was just some stupid excuse to shove a member in a world, when it's clear that the Princesses weren't needed at all.

Why was the concept of the Chamber of Repose & the Chamber of Waking brought up, if you're clearly not going to bring it up again? Why tease the Black Box when it CLEARLY isn't going to be revealed, anytime soon? And then there's the Foretellers & the Master of Masters, Yozora...practically everything else in Chi & DDD, the 'datascape'

Now where at a point when...LIKE 5 FUCKING RIKUS AND LIKE...20 THOUSAND FUCKING SORAS IS A NORMALITY. OH RIGHT, THEN THERE'S XEHANORT FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME.

....oh and time travel. Can't have a convoluted story without the usage of time travel and alternate worlds and timelines,
 
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OneDandelion

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All this talk of which game is more convoluted than which. If I can sum it up, KH1 was the most simplistic and easy to swallow of the bunch. You delude yourself if you ACTUALLY think it isn't, at the BARE MINIMUM, easier to swallow than the rest of the games.
KH1 was not really simplistic, we just didn't know how convoluted the basic ideas were going to get. Maleficent got sent back in time, Roxas was created, Ansem's guardian turned out to be terra, you get a glimpse of the "arc to the future", etc. It was the beginning of many complicated ideas but no one speculated on anything because no one thought KH would turn into the convoluted mess that it has
 

Dast

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KH1 was not really simplistic, we just didn't know how convoluted the basic ideas were going to get. Maleficent got sent back in time, Roxas was created, Ansem's guardian turned out to be terra, you get a glimpse of the "arc to the future", etc. It was the beginning of many complicated ideas but no one speculated on anything because no one thought KH would turn into the convoluted mess that it has
Yeah but almost all of that stuff is retrofitted onto KH1 by later games. Playing just that game, you wouldn't have any reason to wonder about Maleficent's fate, Roxas, or really the guardian's identity; there isn't even a clue that Ansem was an imposter in the original Ansem's reports. You can play KH1 and to a fair degree KH2 and think that you have understood everything at the end, only to find out later there's stuff going on behind the scenes. At the end of KH3, I didn't think I knew what was really going on at all, which I think is an issue for a main game.
 

OneDandelion

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Yeah but almost all of that stuff is retrofitted onto KH1 by later games. Playing just that game, you wouldn't have any reason to wonder about Maleficent's fate, Roxas, or really the guardian's identity; there isn't even a clue that Ansem was an imposter in the original Ansem's reports. You can play KH1 and to a fair degree KH2 and think that you have understood everything at the end, only to find out later there's stuff going on behind the scenes. At the end of KH3, I didn't think I knew what was really going on at all, which I think is an issue for a main game.
Like I said, there was no point for anyone to assume that anything was more complicated then it was going to be. But if we analyzed KH1 in the same way that everyone analyzed the later games there was plenty of things to speculate on. And just because we know how convoluted the series is now doesn't mean we are in a better position to speculate than we were during KH1. Nomura rarely leaves a logical trail of crumbs to follow, we've always been left in the dark about what things mean and where the series is going. We're only given just enough information to say "this could happen", but Nomura always leaves out critical pieces of information that change everything anyway.
 

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Kingdom Hearts 1 follows 90% of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey to the details and that alone sets it aside from the other games.
 

ElysionRose

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So, first of all, sorry to hear about your arms. I hope they get better. And since you haven't played ReMIND, I'll try not to spoil anything, though I will say that it DOES clarify some story elements in the main game.

Alright, so let me hit these points in order:
1. So, regarding the new 7 Princesses of Heart. I do somewhat agree with you that they were underutilized. But, at the same time, they were never supposed to have the same role or prominence they did in KH1. The PoH in KH1 were integral to the villains' plans of opening the Final Keyhole and the Door to Darkness. But they made it clear since DDD that the PoH were only contingencies for Xehanort's plan. The fact that they didn't have a larger role doesn't mean they were irrelevant to the story. I'm sure they're introducing them now so they can build up to something bigger later.
2. Honestly, the whole Subject X thing, while totally hamfisted and awkwardly shoved in, was to me no more hamfisted than the way KH1 introduced Ansem as the main antagonist. I mean, you have Maleficent as the de facto antagonist for the whole game, and then at the last minute, out of nowhere, this guy rolls up and is all like, "ok, so, hey, how ya doin', btw I'm the final boss now." Yes, there was lore and background information on him, but there was almost no introduction to him as a character, no buildup—so, again, these problems ain't new.
3. I'm not sure I agree that the space for the worlds was underused either. I mean, exploration is the thing I love most about the KH series, and I know I got that in droves with this game. There were mini-games, treasure chests, and hidden side quests aplenty in each world, even Arrendelle (which, yes, sucked). Only exception is Hundred Acre Wood.
4. I will agree with you that 3 lacked the grand narrative pacing that 2 had. Which is not to say that 2's story was done better per se, but yes, 3 did lack a clear defined midpoint. But then, so did KH1 when you think about it. And I don't really consider the second visit to Traverse Town a definitive midpoint, certainly not the way Hollow Bastion was in KH2.
5. Now, on the issue of time travel. I know this is a controversial point among the fans, because it IS such an overused trope in science fiction, and we're all supposed to groan in agony whenever it rears its ugly head. But, if I'm being honest, I was never bothered by the introduction of time travel in this series. In fact, it felt kind of natural, actually. I mean, lord knows I would have preferred it be explained better in DDD and 3, but the idea itself is one I actually find intriguing, especially with the mechanics that they use. I like the idea of traveling back into past versions of yourself, because that connects organically with the concepts of identity and memories that form core facets of the heart as touched on earlier in the series. And besides, the series has ALWAYS been a clusterf**k of mishmashed tropes and ideas, so why not time travel? Frankly, I think it gets more flak than it deserves. At least this series is original about how they utilize it.
6. I COMPLETELY AGREE on the heavy dependence of Union X. Not even an argument with you on this one. Union X is probably the only game in the franchise I legitimately hate (I didn't even really hate Coded, but I hate this game), and I am getting sick of how prominent they're making it.
7. As for the Disney worlds, I again contest that they had better tension and buildup in KH2 than 3. Again, the worlds in 3 had more direct bearing on the buildup to the final battle. 2's worlds were mostly just pitstops toward the endgame with the same copy-and-paste blanket excuse for why you visit them—there was nothing unique about any of the worlds that helped actually drive the main plot forward. But 3's worlds actually contributed to the climax. Monstropolis basically gave us the reason for Vanitas' recompletion into his own entity again; Toy Box both gave Xehanort the information he needed to begin work on the replicas for his other vessels; Corona and Arrendelle were both the locations of 3 of the new 7 hearts that Xehanort would have targeted if the Guardians failed to play into his plans; and The Caribbean and Olympus both introduced the Box as a plot device, which, though it admittedly didn't come into play in this game, is nonetheless very important to the story going forward. Probably Hundred Acre Wood and San Fransokyo were the only irrelevant or redundant worlds to visit, though even they had more purpose towards the end of the story than most of the worlds in KH2 did.
I think 2 definitely did some things better than 3, of course. I'm not trying to say 3 is just a league ahead of 2. But I do think people are jumping on this ridiculous bandwagon of hating on 3 even though it actually does many things better than previous entries did. Nomura has always been a terrible writer—KH1, CoM, and Days are probably the only exceptions to this (and I'm not sure he actually wrote any of them). But Nomura is special in that, what he lacks in the quality of his writing, he makes up for in how unique, unpredictable, and unapologetically fun it is. And there is value in that, as much as people like to fancy themselves high-brow literary critics for knocking on dialogue and pacing as if these are the only attributes that give a story any weight. And people focus on these problems, which are still not as bad as they were in most of the other games, at the cost of overlooking all the ways in which 3 evolved this series from where it used to be. And I'm just sick of the constant double standard from people who are clearly looking at the past through rose-colored glasses and pretending like things were somehow better. It's just nostalgia—there are some things earlier games did do objectively better than 3, but this concentrated hostility toward 3 is nothing but the effect of excessive nostalgic bias from all that I can tell. A story doesn't have to be great for people to love it—it doesn't even really have to be good. It just has to give you something you don't get anywhere else, something valuable. With Kingdom Hearts, that something is fun, and as long as it continues to be the wacky, unpredictable hodgepodge of a heartfelt story that it's always been, I'll continue to stick around with it.

Alright, I'll follow your lead.

1. I never thought of it that way for the new PoH, if that is the case... I can kinda forgive their lackluster use, I still wish they made them have at least some role other than JUST Xehanort's plan though, hopefully, it's not the last of them, I don't want to see another discarded concept go to waste.

2. I kinda disagree with Ansem being hamfisted in, we were introduced to him secretly at the beginning of the game, and he was supposed to remain a mystery until later, finding out that he was the true antagonist didn't seem like a dumb twist early in the series, because it wasn't overused by that point in the series, Maleficent was a distraction, a puppet to make us not focus on the real threat. Could he have been built up better? Sure, but I still think Ansem is a cool villain, compared to the disappointing MX. Unfortunately, Ansem's uniqueness was ruined by the fact that he is just a piece of Xehanort....really?

3. Sure there were SOME things to do, but not enough to justify the size of the world's exploration, they could have done so much more, but there were barely any side-quests, or anything to do unless you want to talk about Lucky Emblems, and once you do all that, all you got are chests. I loved exploring The Caribbean underwater, that was great.. but still, some stuff to do, but just not enough. (I don't even want to get into how disappointing Twilight Town's size was...)

4. Good to see we are agreeing on some points, let's see the only thing I can think of being a mid-point in KH1... could be either when you lose your Keyblade to Riku, OR when you seal the DtD, when all the new heartless start to spawn. (I agree KHII's mid-point is a lot more clear and defined)


5. Oh boy.. time travel, where to begin with this mess, I'll start off saying, that I don't hate the concept of time travel, I also think it's awesome and interesting if done well, BUT Nomura is using it as a cop-out all he's doing is Reviving the same old characters instead of creating new ones. He's using it as a shortcut instead of solving the problems he's created, even the idea of world lines is fucking awesome, but look how he's using it instead of doing something genuinely interesting with it he's using it to rewrite his mistakes. Also, I'm not saying mistakes as in lore-wise I mean mistakes as in actual writing, the concept is still very new in Kingdom Hearts, but I hope he doesn't continue to do what he's doing with it and actually do something great, and worthwhile. He had some great ideas with it, it's just they were poorly executed or poorly explained, Which is a running gag of this series at this point.

6. ANOTHER point we agree on yay! Yeah, I despise that game, and I played A LOT of it, and none of that grinding was justified for what we got, 100's of pointless missions to get one glimpse of something worth giving a shit about, it was just monotonous and repetitive as hell. And as I already said, it is HEAVILY used for background in KH3 and it's bullshit, I better stop now before I actually get angry about again LOL.

7 Man this a long one.. Have to process this one a little bit... Fact that you could make sense out of all that is insane, I applaud your insight. But joking aside, you make it sound like it's actually digestible, when it was just all over the place the fact that you were able to make those connections is incredible. It's like maybe it had all the building blocks to be a good story but the pacing completely ruined it, maybe it's because of the lack of original worlds? KH 1 and 2 had way more of those and that's where the plot seemed to go forward, but because of the lack of those in 3, it just did not progress as smoothly. You have an interesting outlook on stories, saying they don't have to be good, but just have to be fun... I can somewhat agree with that, but I still think they have to have some basic structure, instead of being off the rails, because why would you want to have a headache, that's not fun, And yeah maybe some of it is nostalgia pandering, but if he would have spent time building-up all these crazy concepts we would have had a much better-polished product. I wish I had your outlook, it might have made it easier for me to forgive all this nonsense.

(sorry for the late reply, not only are my arms messed up but my head is too. I got pretty severe migraines, that I have to take breaks away from the computer, sometimes for several days)
 
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