I CONCEDE - KH3 Bosses Are Lacking



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Face My Fears

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So for the longest while I have been defending KH3 a lot after all the negativity and hate that it received. One of the constant critiques that it received was about the boss battles being too easy. I assumed that they were easy for me on Proud because I always leveled up about 2-5 levels higher than the recommended level on my first playthrough because I had no idea what was to come.

With every KH game, I always make a new save (separate from my main save) before each boss fight, in the event I want to return to them. I decided to do a little experiment after watching some people do LV1 Proud runs fighting the human bosses (like Aqua/Larxene etc). I loaded up my saves for the earlier bosses (Disney worlds) and tried to emulate LV1 Proud by stripping away all items/equipment, equipping only Kingdom Key, and changing the party members' playstyle to be as little help as possible. What I found was actually shocking and made me realize that there is a major issue.

It's not "the bosses are too easy" because it took me a while to kill them due to being weakened, which I assume the upcoming Critical Mode will help with greatly. The issue was the fight itself. The Toy Box heartless wasn't aggressive and I was barely hit even when standing still. The map was so big that I could run into a corner and use Cure, wait for magic to recharge, then rush out to beat him up. Even when it tried to "protect" itself, Sora had so many ways to bypass his shield or whatever and jump straight on it and beat it up. It wasn't a fun fight and it was just tedious because it took long to take down his life. The Titans were the same (I sort of give this fight a pass because it is the tutorial world, but the fight itself could have still been more engaging and memorable than just run up the hill and hit X). Corona's heartless... I did not remember it being so bland. The only interesting thing that it does it push you back and then create thorn walls to stop you from reaching it - fun the first time, but then you realize two things 1) the thorn walls have the same patterns each time, so you know exactly which way to go to get over the wall and 2) whatever "attack" it's using while you try to bypass the walls almost always misses you (even if you stand still), so there isn't really any threat or urgency to bypass the thorn walls. The Monstropolis unversed has potential and was at least more engaging/challenging than the previous fights, but the tedious factor comes in because I didn't feel like it was aggressive enough and I had way too many opportunities to just hit X to kill it. Arendelle's heartless was surprisingly good, but was repetitive after a while (I guess being so weak is what caused it to get repetitive). Davy Jones was an epic feeling fight, but again I feel like he needed to be way more aggressive and actually HURT me - I did really like that the fight had 2 stages (which I feel all the Disney bosses should have had like KH1). Dark Baymax was Dark Baymax.

It really hurt for me to actually experience this without the "OMG KH3!" glasses on, but hopefully with the Critical Mode DLC they slip in updated AI/fight mechanics for the bosses. Most of the Disney bosses were not memorable fights at all. The worlds were very memorable due to the depth of detail and expansive nature, but the boss fights were lacking ESPECIALLY because they were not even iconic Disney villains (most of them). Now I'm going to do something that I also fought against, but I guess call me a hypocrite because I need to use this example... even though KH2 was EXTREMELY easy (way easier than KH3), the Disney world boss fights were pretty memorable even though there wasn't much of a challenge. I liked that every fight felt different in some way and not just "run up and hit X" like the KH3 fights were. I think the fight design suffered because of how huge the battle arena was for the KH3 fights. You can see the fights that were decent (Monstropolis/Arendelle/Caribbean) were in a smaller and contained area while the problematic ones were in a huge space. Nothing's wrong with being in a huge space, but because of how huge it was in KH3 you never felt a real urgency to fight back because the boss wasn't even hurting you and you could find a far away corner to hide. There were huge space fights in KH1 (2nd Ursula fight and Trickmaster) and KH2 (2nd visit Pride Lands heartless and 1st visit Beast's Castle heartless) yet they were still memorable and way more unique than what we got in KH3.

I don't really mind that the bosses are easy to kill (IE quick to kill), but I do have an issue with the fight being so boring/bland. Realizing that you can stand up and take selfies, heal up, or just lay low in a corner for minutes without any threat really kills the vibe. I didn't catch it the first playthrough because I was like "gotta kill this heartless, let's go!" and I was so overpowered and fully equipped (and not analyzing the fight). I want the bosses to try to kill me. The Corona heartless really shocked me when its attack - even when I was still - missed me constantly and it wasn't attacking very often.

Please I hope that Critical Mode includes a patch to the AI to improve the fight mechanics of the bosses.
 

alexis.anagram

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Boss fight difficulty and combat difficulty in general has never been a big issue to me, so I don't go out of my way to dissect it, but I can't think of a single boss fight in KH3 so far that left an impression on me. I beat the Toy Box boss in about a minute by shooting at it with the Starthing Keyblade guns and then at some point I ended up on top of it and then it was just over. I didn't even see its desperation move, and no I wasn't grinding or over-leveled or anything of the sort. Other bosses were essentially the same or similar; I kind of got a feel for the Gothel Heartless and Hans Wolf but aside from that I'd be pressed to even describe what most of the fights consisted of. The Grimer in Monsters, Inc. didn't respond to my Pokeballs so that sucked, Davy Jones was just bargain bin Captain Hook (with somehow less presence and plot relevance despite the fact that his literal heart being in a box is his central dilemma? good going), and uhhh oh there's the flying robot one that is basically just the world's mini-game ornamented with more intense music. Really impeccably designed, epic stuff, across the board I'd say.

I don't even want to talk about the Titans. Where the hell is Pegasus when you need him.
 

SerDuncan

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I think besides what the two of you have mentioned about bosses, there's one thing for me that I find frustrating. It could very well be that I'm just nostalgic for these games, so take it with a grain of salt, but I feel like even the moves the bosses use in previous games were more memorable. Hear me out here. Ever since BBS, I feel like the bosses have become a little stale. Their attacks of very easy to dodge or impossible to dodge, allowing you to either soak all damage or avoid it. Because of this, each of their attacks blend together. When I think of bosses in KH1 or KH2 (and occasionally in BBS, usually reserved for later bosses) I can recall most of their attacks. They required skill to dodge, were easily telegraphed and for voiced characters, came with some kind of line. Everyone can remember attacks Riku makes in his encounters. "Feel the Heat!" "Jump onto the Hydra's back", many of these fights were so memorable. Even the fights I didn't like, such as Shan-Yu in Land of Dragons or Ursula in Atlantica... I can still picture them vividly. Could it be that I've just played these games more, that I have nostalgia? Yeah, that could definitely be true.

But for KH3... I could tell you maybe...one or two attacks characters used throughout the game. (Ignoring Org for now, I'll get to them in a sec). With the Snow wolf, he fires little wolves at you and the big sun darkness move. Other than that... I can't really remember what the other big heartless do. Despite playing the game through... three times now, I find their movesets to be boring and unmemorable. And then there's the Org fights. Maybe it's just cause they're one after the other, or fighting in groups, but I found them to be really really... forgettable. Like, with Luxord I can obviously remember his card trick that he does. But... does he have any other moves? Marluxia and Larxene have their invincibility moves but I can never tell exactly what's going on because it just sort of happens and we move on. When I compare their current fights to the old ones I remember from KH2 Data battles or heck, even their fights in COM or RE:COM, I just think something is... lacking. I know that's not something about difficulty, but I feel like maybe the overabundance of things happening onscreen can really make it hard to see what their specific moves are. Which is a shame because I thought their fights in previous games were what really made them unique. :/
 

SerDuncan

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^ Oh, yeah, this post reminded me it's just an Osaka problem. Right, nothing to see here, move along.
Mmmmmaaayyybbbeeeee? I dunno, like... is it an Osaka problem? The bosses in Dream Drop are alright I guess. Some of them at least. And it's not like No Heart or Armor of the Master aren't cool too. It's probably just me, I guess.
 

alexis.anagram

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The bosses in Dream Drop are alright I guess.
What an unpleasantly conciliatory thing to say. There is nothing alright with Dream Drop Distance, SerDuncan. Only KH3 can match it in the kind of pure, virulent squandering and indulgence with which it saps all the oxygen out of its composition.

And BBS had the MFer. Truly the most unholy Frankenstein of secret superbosses to ever poison a KH game. To think we once put up with shit like that on the PSP. Y i k e s
 

Aurora Lark

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I do think that most of the bosses were interesting in looks and fighting them was very cool but I got the feeling that they put lots of HP on them so that it would last longer which I don't mind but it probably feels cheap to others plus I did like having the voices saying things before certain attacks like it was said then you knew what was coming and could dodge or whatever. I didnt notice it as much in this game
 

Face My Fears

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I don't think the heartless can make an announcement when an attack was going to come. I also didn't have an issue with the fight being hard, my commentary is more about the actual fight itself. Basically it's super easy to get to the boss and hit them, then their HP goes down extremely fast. Even when the HP goes down slowly (when you're a lower level/weaker), the fight itself becomes stale because the bosses don't really try to fight you and their moves aren't threatening to you - especially when you can run into a corner far away in the battle field and hide for the entire fight unharmed.
 

Tartarus

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They required skill to dodge, were easily telegraphed and for voiced characters, came with some kind of line. Everyone can remember attacks Riku makes in his encounters. "Feel the Heat!" "Jump onto the Hydra's back", many of these fights were so memorable. Even the fights I didn't like, such as Shan-Yu in Land of Dragons or Ursula in Atlantica... I can still picture them vividly. Could it be that I've just played these games more, that I have nostalgia? Yeah, that could definitely be true.
This is the problem with near all of the bosses being random Heartless / monsters--they don't speak.

Besides the lack of Disney villains to fight, I actually don't have a problem with the bosses in this game? I guess I don't share people's love of the Org. fights in KH2. Those bosses relied on gimmicks and reaction commands, and I hated them.
 
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