First, let me just say, I sort of feel your pain in terms of migraines. I get chronic weekly migraines, and have since I was five, though probably not as bad as yours from what you're telling me. They're not fun. So, sorry to hear about that.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)
I think our different perspectives simply boil down to a difference in taste. I, for one, love convoluted stories. There's an elegance to simple stories, but I always enjoy a narrative that makes me work hard to connect points A to B. It makes it feel more rewarding when I do finally figure out an answer.