KH Chi, Unchained, X, Union Cross, Back Cover...All Terrible



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jahob000

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IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED OR FINISHED ANY OF THE GAMES IN THE POST TITLE, SPOILERS ARE WITHIN

I'm really sorry guys but I gotta vent here. To anyone that really likes these games, I don't wanna insult you so I'll try to tone it down a bit but I gotta be honest and I'm gonna rant for a bit.

There are a lot of series whether it be movies, TV shows, anime, games all get off track if they go on for a long time or even a short time. To the point where if you look a the earliest point of a series and the last point, they would almost seem like two different entities.

Some of these points can vary from person to person. For example, the Star Wars prequels vs the originals and now the new Star Wars. Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, GT and Super. Naruto, Naruto Shippuden and Boruto, so on and so forth. They all get so further away from what they began as. This also brings about three different types of fans. Those that accept any and all changes and glorify the creators no matter what. Those that can't accept any changes and want it pure. Finally, those that are in between. I can tolerate a story change even if i don't like it or agree with it, but will still somewhat follow along. With these games, I simply COULD NOT do that!

I mean first off, this is supposed to be a story about what sparked the Keyblade War, I would imagine it's a serious affair. So how am I supposed to take THIS seriously!?






I mean just look at this picture above. This does NOT look like anything you'd see in a Kingdom Hearts game. This may seem silly to some of you but to me it's a big deal. Why animals? You couldn't come up with anything else that could resemble or feel like Kingdom Hearts? I'm not sure if this is accurate or not but supposedly keyblade wielders can access characters and worlds from the future. It involves time travel as well and seeing into the future as well. It's almost like some random fan really into animals try to mix their love of animals with Kingdom Hearts and created a flimsy terrible story to try to link it to the real series.

When this came out, I thought it was just something random to keep people waiting for KHIII busy but supposedly IT'S ALL CANON, which is also ridiculous. I mean I get that people are saying Nomura won't use a lot of this stuff in KHIII, or at least not focus heavily on it but based on the most recent trailer, the fact that this deals with the future and the keyblade war, something tells me, it will.

Some people say the turn of the series was with BBS and I could see that, but in all honesty, I could somewhat forgive it because despite of how off it was, it still kind of felt like a form of Kingdom Hearts game. Even though in DDD, they use the whole stupid time travel thing too. To me, adding time travel to a series that isn't about time travel is a huge cop-out to explain something when you can't come up with something else. It's poor story telling. I just got done watching back cover which I was trying to avoid, and they do the same thing. Rather than having a book of prophecies or directly stating what will happen in the future, they would have been better off saying something like "I feel something is stirring in the darkness" (or something along those lines) and then they could find out clues to what it is or something.

Even though I'm still excited for KHIII, I still get frustrated at things like this and unfortunately, a lot of games and anime do this to where the story or feel of something just changes completely. It's almost inevitable. It's almost like someone building a tower of blocks and then they start using a bunch of other shapes and the tower becomes so wonky that it looks unstable to the point it's beyond recognition and falls apart.

Ok my rant is done. I know that everybody has long made their complaints and I'm late but that's because I'm just now going back to the stories of these games for the sake of KHIII. I'm not expecting any replies to this because this is so old and most people are already not keeping up with this game anyway.
 

Dandelion

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It's pretty clear that you didn't actually do your research with this game. By all means, hate it, but at least like actually look into the things you hate when you lay out why you hate them.

Topics like these aren't particularly interesting, because what is there to discuss beyond your hate? KHI is filled with enough pessimism to keep it from being what some might call a, god what was the phrase, positivity chamber?

I mean just look at this picture above. This does NOT look like anything you'd see in a Kingdom Hearts game. This may seem silly to some of you but to me it's a big deal. Why animals? You couldn't come up with anything else that could resemble or feel like Kingdom Hearts?
I will say, though, that this in particular seems to be overlooking that the whole animal thing came from being modeled around Xehanort's Keyblade design, which has had the chimera on it since 2007. The animals also all tie into the seven deadly sins. So, there are actual reasons for it, but you're free to dislike the aesthetic.

Save yourself the heartache, and look into something that interests you.
 

jahob000

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Topics like these aren't particularly interesting, because what is there to discuss beyond your hate?
(No attitude towards you by the way) I'm well aware of that. That's why I said I wanted to vent and I posted here instead of the Kingdom Hearts General thread so that I don't cause a big commotion. Although people post here, it's not nearly as active as that thread. I've posted here once before and only a few people responded which is kind of what I wanted. I won't deny that I was hoping I'd find others that have the same view as me. I haven't really seen anyone else talk bad about it so I wanted to see if I was in the minority.

It's pretty clear that you didn't actually do your research with this game. By all means, hate it, but at least like actually look into the things you hate when you lay out why you hate them.
How much research is there to do for this game really? The story is minimal mostly because it's designed to keep you playing until KHIII or maybe even past it. I'm just upset is all. When I first saw the Secret trailer all those years ago from KHIIFM, the Keyblade graveyard looked intense. Then in BBS they made it seem like it was something so dark and epic that happened. However, this huge event, they assigned to a mobile game with with strange aesthetics that don't set the tone for me. I would not have pictured that they keyblade war would look like that.


I will say, though, that this in particular seems to be overlooking that the whole animal thing came from being modeled around Xehanort's Keyblade design, which has had the chimera on it since 2007. The animals also all tie into the seven deadly sins. So, there are actual reasons for it, but you're free to dislike the aesthetic.
I know that there was an animal on his keyblade but just figured it was pure keyblade design.

Save yourself the heartache, and look into something that interests you.
Kingdom hearts DOES interest me. I care about the series which is why I complain about it. It's not out of the ordinary for a fan to gripe about certain aspects he may not like.

Obviously you're a fan of these games but I'd like to ask you, isn't there something that you've played or watched and felt like it's not the same anymore? Or do you simply accept it no matter what it brings? Again, not trying to be snarky, it's a legitimate question.
 

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Honestly, vent threads don't serve any real purpose here. This isn't like Reddit where you can just say "I don't like a thing" and then people comment just to agree with you. Actual discussion should be encouraged, and it's not the responsibility of other members to carry it for you if the opening post is lacking in this manner.

I recommend doing more research so that you can break down exactly what you dislike about them and perhaps even offer counterpoints for improvement. That way, we can get a constructive conversation going, because as it stands now, your argument is very shallow.
 

jahob000

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I recommend doing more research so that you can break down exactly what you dislike about them and perhaps even offer counterpoints for improvement. That way, we can get a constructive conversation going, because as it stands now, your argument is very shallow.
Ok, so then let's start with your perspectives of the game. I'll back things up a bit and we can take this one point at a time.

1st issue - Story Placement: I'm not saying that the game play itself is bad. Many cell phone games have this format and is fine. I played it for a little while too. However the game's purpose is to keep you playing missions forever until they decide to stop making them. Almost like how Candy Crush is never ending. It's to hold us over until KHIII or even beyond. So I suppose one of my issues is that why would you put an integral part of the story into this type of game, which has a completely different purpose? To me it's completely disrespectful to the story. This story should have had it's own short game on a handheld. Yeah I know they've had a bunch on their plate but they could've easily laid off of the phone game for a while to make it.

2nd Issue - Aesthetics: Again, a minor point to some, but to me a big deal. I'm guessing the reason that they did it in this style because it's supposed to be like a fairy tale from a book. Please correct me if I'm wrong (cause I probably am lol). Who knows, maybe they also did it to make it look more lively and bubbly to attract younger players. If either of those things are true, then I disagree with that format. I know that Kairi's grandmother told it as a fairy tale but then we start to see how true that story is. The way the Keyblade Graveyard was presented made it seem like something dark and epic happened, so an innocent, bubbly looking style was hardly appropriate or suitable from my perspective.

3rd Issue - Time Travel and Future: Not much to say here. DDD had this issue as well. As I mentioned before, I feel that using time travel is an Ex Machina. Was there really no other way to explain about Luxu's Keyblade? Did they really need something like the book of prophecies? Why is "seeing into the future" a thing to begin with? Couldn't there have been another way for them to set into motion a chain of events?

For issues one and two, I'd like to reference KH:CoM on the GBA. Despite it being on the handheld, they still took the story very seriously. Even though, it was a new style of gameplay, it still very much felt like a KH game to me. The story was not affected by the medium it was on but I feel that the story for the phone are negatively affected by the medium.

Ok, So I tried to express my points a little better. So what are your perspectives?
 
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DraceEmpressa

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Ok, so then let's start with your perspectives of the game. I'll back things up a bit and we can take this one point at a time.

1st issue - Story Placement: I'm not saying that the game play itself is bad. Many cell phone games have this format and is fine. I played it for a little while too. However the game's purpose is to keep you playing missions forever until they decide to stop making them. Almost like how Candy Crush is never ending. It's to hold us over until KHIII or even beyond. So I suppose one of my issues is that why would you put an integral part of the story into this type of game, which has a completely different purpose? To me it's completely disrespectful to the story. This story should have had it's own short game on a handheld. Yeah I know they've had a bunch on their plate but they could've easily laid off of the phone game for a while to make it.

2nd Issue - Aesthetics: Again, a minor point to some, but to me a big deal. I'm guessing the reason that they did it in this style because it's supposed to be like a fairy tale from a book. Please correct me if I'm wrong (cause I probably am lol). Who knows, maybe they also did it to make it look more lively and bubbly to attract younger players. If either of those things are true, then I disagree with that format. I know that Kairi's grandmother told it as a fairy tale but then we start to see how true that story is. The way the Keyblade Graveyard was presented made it seem like something dark and epic happened, so an innocent, bubbly looking style was hardly appropriate or suitable from my perspective.

3rd Issue - Time Travel and Future: Not much to say here. DDD had this issue as well. As I mentioned before, I feel that using time travel is an Ex Machina. Was there really no other way to explain about Luxu's Keyblade? Did they really need something like the book of prophecies? Why is "seeing into the future" a thing to begin with? Couldn't there have been another way for them to set into motion a chain of events?

For issues one and two, I'd like to reference KH:CoM on the GBA. Despite it being on the handheld, they still took the story very seriously. Even though, it was a new style of gameplay, it still very much felt like a KH game to me. The story was not affected by the medium it was on but I feel that the story for the phone are negatively affected by the medium.

Ok, So I tried to express my points a little better. So what are your perspectives?
1: Putting the story on a mobile game is not bad, mobile gacha games can have good plots, look at Fate: Grand Order and Thunderbolt Fantasy. The problem is actually is the pace of the story which is very slow, it's been one year since the last main story update.

2: This mindset is exactly why it's presented in this format. Many animation with cute drawing styles can be really mature , Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a good example of it, memetic because of its "cute outside but really dark inside" theme. And it is meant to be taken seriously. I could name so much surprise creepy works like maybe earthbound/mother, they are taken seriously when the horror strikes. It is middle finger to the mindset "cute animations can't be scary and disturbing" . Another take is that Nomura likes his surprise and then cue fridge horrors left and right when you get into the Keyblade War.

It has been generally concluded that time travel is a bad trope and neither KH executes it well, so I can't say much of it

. but to be honest point no 2 personally offends me as a media student as it still pains me until now that people can't get it if the style is cute doesn't mean it's safe for your kid, or something to look down at because you think it definitely have lighthearted story .
 

Sephiroth0812

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I would not have pictured that they keyblade war would look like that.
Did you even watch the story cutscenes concerning the whole events around the Keyblade War, especially the ones of the original Web Browser Chi?
That story wasn't really a huge filler party like Unchained/Union X on the mobile phone (where I agree with the notion that the story is "trash" in so far as there is no substantial story because they haven't had a main story update since September 2017) and while it didn't answer much, it was a compelling story fitting for the setting of the Keyblade War.
In the original Browser Chi you even get to play the opening stages of the Keyblade War.
 

JustSnilloc

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a lot of series get off track if they go on for a long time to the point where if you look a the earliest point of a series and the last point, they would almost seem like two different entities.
Sure, as things go on they evolve, they grow, and change just happens for a variety of reasons.

I mean first off, this is supposed to be a story about what sparked the Keyblade War, I would imagine it's a serious affair.
It's actually not about the Keyblade War. It's about the history and lore of how the KHverse came to be. The Keyblade War was but a single (albeit important) event in all of that.

So how am I supposed to take THIS seriously!?

How do you take anything seriously?

Let me ask you this, have you ever had fun with your friends? How is someone outside of your group of friends supposed to take that seriously?

I mean just look at this picture above. This does NOT look like anything you'd see in a Kingdom Hearts game.
And what pray tell does look like something you'd see in a Kingdom Hearts game? The cover art for KH3 certainly doesn't look like any scenes I've witnessed in this series, yet that would likely be considered to have a similar asthetic.

Why animals? You couldn't come up with anything else that could resemble or feel like Kingdom Hearts?
Mickey? Donald? Goofy? Lion King?

Animals are hardly new to this series, and even more than that, the animal motifs were used in conjunction with personalities and the seven deadly sins to form subtle identities for the Foretellers.

I'm not sure if this is accurate or not but supposedly keyblade wielders can access characters and worlds from the future. It involves time travel as well and seeing into the future as well.
I am sure that the following statement is accurate; you haven't done your research. You're certainly grasping at the truth here, but it's still a bit out of reach.

but supposedly IT'S ALL CANON, which is also ridiculous.
It's ridiculous that a Kingdom Hearts game is canon? Which is it, are you wanting it to be more similar to other games or not?

Even though in DDD, they use the whole stupid time travel thing too. To me, adding time travel to a series that isn't about time travel is a huge cop-out to explain something when you can't come up with something else. It's poor story telling.
Is this really your opinion, or just an echo of something you've heard before? Because you don't seem to have anything beyond generic critiques "cop-out", "stupid", "poor story telling"... You know what is poor story telling? Telling and not showing. You're telling us that you've reached these conclusions without showing us that you've actually reached them. You're not even critiquing DDD's use of time travel here, you're just saying "It's bad because I said so.".

I just got done watching back cover which I was trying to avoid, and they do the same thing. Rather than having a book of prophecies or directly stating what will happen in the future,
They don't directly state what will happen in the future and that's actually a big source of conflict.

they would have been better off saying something like "I feel something is stirring in the darkness" (or something along those lines) and then they could find out clues to what it is or something.
I'm sorry, but "I feel something is stirring in the darkness" sounds overly generic. It also doesn't lend itself to any plot significance.

How much research is there to do for this game really?


Well, you could start by watching the fullness of the main story as beautifully edited by a fan...


[video=youtube;4eRniOT6_5c]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eRniOT6_5c[/video]

When I first saw the Secret trailer all those years ago from KHIIFM, the Keyblade graveyard looked intense. Then in BBS they made it seem like it was something so dark and epic that happened.


Herein lies your problem. You believe that "darker and edgier" is better when it isn't.

Or do you simply accept it no matter what it brings?


This goes back to your original antagonistic statement of "
This also brings about three different types of fans.", which could be summed up as "Those that agree with me, the best. Those that disagree with me, the worst". You seem to be unaware of it, but your question relies on a false premise. Nobody exists on either extreme end of your acceptance scale, everybody is somewhere inbetween.

1st issue - Story Placement


What exactly is your issue with the story placement? It is placed at the very beginning of the Kingdom Heart timeline. You seem to be speaking more to the story pacing than anything, which is admittedly poor, but it's far better to have a good story that is told over a long period of time as opposed to having a poor story told all at once. They're taking their time with it, too much time perhaps, but I'd prefer that they take their time instead of rushing it.

2nd Issue - Aesthetics


This is actually your most ironic complaint. Kingdom Hearts is a collaboration between Square Enix and Disney. The aesthetic of Chi is very much in line with that. You speak of series growing away from their roots, yet this brings it even closer to its roots. It's a simple aesthetic that runs well on a phone. Your perspective seems to be that the "cute bubbly" style is an insult to your maturity - it isn't.

3rd Issue - Time Travel and Future: Not much to say here.


There isn't much to say here because you have nothing to say here.

I feel that the story for the phone are negatively affected by the medium.


Only in the sense that it is spread out too much.
 

DarkosOverlord

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X is pretty great as its own self-contained story. Back Cover is kind of a mixed bag. Unchained/Union are terrible.

I mean just look at this picture above. This does NOT look like anything you'd see in a Kingdom Hearts game. This may seem silly to some of you but to me it's a big deal. Why animals? You couldn't come up with anything else that could resemble or feel like Kingdom Hearts?
Some of the most important characters in main KH games are anthropomorphic animals, so yes, this does indeed look like something you'd see in Kingdom Hearts. Also what others already told you about the other stuff concerning Xehanort's Keyblade.
I really don't see why you get so heated with the animals stuff when we embarked in adventures with Donald and Goofy since day one.
Heck, we wanna bring animal love into this? Why not talking about Lion Sora from KH II, which created an entire sub-genre of KH characters in "lionsona" form among many fans. I'm not judging, but it def wasn't X that brought it into the franchise. Animal stuff just goes places. It's something easily relatable and accessible to children, usually it manages to catch the attention of good chunks of the female audience and why not, it also appeals to the furry fandom. Good for them.

I'm not against venting per se, I'm personally trying to get over it myself but I know what it feels like, but I have to add my voice to the choir in suggesting you to pick better reasons. Like this is hard to make an actual discussion happening and it's more people "ganging up" on you.
It's not that you did wrong in not liking something, it's how you decided to go at it.
 

jahob000

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Lol I tried to respond to everything but it's all mostly just the aesthetics. You guys are absolutely right in terms of this being a shallow argument, which is why I vented, Yes I was hoping to find someone who agreed with me but I wanted to see if their reasons were different than mine. I suppose I was a little harsh using the words "stupid" and "ridiculous".

I suppose I think "what if they had released Days, BBS, Re:Coded and DDD in this format. How many people would still have played them?" I suppose its the aesthetics that don't seem like KH to me. For me, I like to play thing recognizable or in a similar style to what I'm remembering. Even the CoM for the GBA had the iconic look and feel for the series despite its different style of gameplay. One of you asked what do I mean what "looks" like kingdom Hearts. I just mean the way they look in all of the other games.

So then this last question, I swear I'm not trying to be a smart a** asking it. Obviously, we would all be disappointed if this happened but lets rewind back to 2013 a little before the first KHIII trailer was shown. At that point there were quite a few people worried if the game was coming out or not. What if they had announced that they were working on KHIII...but in the same style as Chi/Unchained X?

What would be your thoughts?
 

Sora2016

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Lol I tried to respond to everything but it's all mostly just the aesthetics. You guys are absolutely right in terms of this being a shallow argument, which is why I vented, Yes I was hoping to find someone who agreed with me but I wanted to see if their reasons were different than mine. I suppose I was a little harsh using the words "stupid" and "ridiculous".

I suppose I think "what if they had released Days, BBS, Re:Coded and DDD in this format. How many people would still have played them?" I suppose its the aesthetics that don't seem like KH to me. For me, I like to play thing recognizable or in a similar style to what I'm remembering. Even the CoM for the GBA had the iconic look and feel for the series despite its different style of gameplay. One of you asked what do I mean what "looks" like kingdom Hearts. I just mean the way they look in all of the other games.

So then this last question, I swear I'm not trying to be a smart a** asking it. Obviously, we would all be disappointed if this happened but lets rewind back to 2013 a little before the first KHIII trailer was shown. At that point there were quite a few people worried if the game was coming out or not. What if they had announced that they were working on KHIII...but in the same style as Chi/Unchained X?

What would be your thoughts?
Like, style as in graphics or the kind of gameplay?

See, I personally like this sort of graphical style for a mobile game. I find the graphics for Days and Re:Coded to be gross, trying to make 3D graphics in low quality is meh. A current Square game for mobile that did this would be Dissidia Opera Omnia. So, I'm super glad they did this style over that.

That being said, no, I wouldn't have been happy if KH3 was like some side slide your character around and they run to a point you pick sorta game. And then it enters a separate battle state when you press the enemies or whatever.
Also, KH3 is able to make the Disney characters look exactly like themselves, even the 2D ones in a way they never have before.

So yeah I think many of us can agree this isn't what we want from a console game lol.

It doesn't really change my feelings about Chi though lol. Like, I didn't get to comment on this before, but I am of a mind that it started pretty decent, just a slow pace, especially in the mobile version. The Web browser one ended on a decent note but sort of left me wanting more. I like what Back Cover did to sorta define the Foretellers more since we didn't get that for anyone but Ava really in the main game. But they soiled it by just ending it on...nothing basically. And then yea, everything with Unchained has been piss lol. So I feel ya there. I really just play out of habit. And real talk, I do sorta wish they had kept this as its own story, I was totally down for it to have canon plot, but not for like Ventus and Marluxia to show up suddenly and all that ha.
 

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I read this just before going to bed last night and only got back to it now but yyyyyyyikes. You just really don't like that art-style, doncha?


So then this last question, I swear I'm not trying to be a smart a** asking it. Obviously, we would all be disappointed if this happened but lets rewind back to 2013 a little before the first KHIII trailer was shown. At that point there were quite a few people worried if the game was coming out or not. What if they had announced that they were working on KHIII...but in the same style as Chi/Unchained X?

What would be your thoughts?
I think I'd wonder what parallel universe we were in, because that would seem out of left field. But I also think that answer doesn't interest me as much as your answer to this question: "What if they had announced they were working on KHIII... but in the same style as Chain of Memories?"
If your answer is anything resembling "[yadda yadda yadda] I'd probably be okay with it." then I'd call Shenaneggans. Because I don't think x/Ux's art-style or gameplay is integral to that question. I think it's all about what we've come to expect for a numbered KH title. Asking "what if KH3 were this?" is just grasping at straws for someone to agree with your derision of x/Ux.



It's kinda funny to me how you've got the Keyblade War on such a pedestal. I remember when I first saw the KH2 secret ending how that didn't feel like KH to me. To this day, there's still something about that scene that doesn't gel with me. When you say how the war must have been such a serious affair, that scene is what I think of. So not only do I not care that it doesn't "get taken seriously", I appreciate that it doesn't.
 

alexis.anagram

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Ultimately I think the question of tone is most relevant to OP's complaints and it's a worthwhile topic to discuss because, well, it matters. Even in KH. Some might argue especially in a game series like KH, given its nature. Let's consider an example:

We have the scene where Sora and Kairi are reunited in KH1, after Sora has been turned into a Heartless. She embraces him, he turns back into himself, it's kind of beautiful and romantic and significant. We all know this scene.

But let's say it was altered in some simple way, and right after Sora and Kairi embrace, Donald makes some crass quip, or Goofy sneezes, or the Beast farts or something, and that results in Kairi and Sora prat-falling, anime-style, legs straight up in the air. Put aside what you might personally feel about how appropriate or inappropriate that is for such a scene: it objectively alters the tone of the scene, which changes how we read the scene. It becomes, first and foremost, a comedic scene: the romanticism of the moment is reduced in exchange for a punch-line and a quick laugh. That's not just important to us as members of the audience, it means something in terms of the authorial intent behind it: what if Nomura wanted that scene to be romantic, but also wanted to play up that joke? Well, he can't really have it both ways-- ultimately, he has the power and the responsibility as the author to design the tone of that scene in order to convey what he wants to convey, and always at the expense of another potential statement or reading. In the scene as it is in the game, it is more romantic than it is comedic, it is more happy than it is sad, etc.

Why this matters to the topic at hand? Because, especially in the early KH games, tone was manipulated in a very intentional manner, and that was hugely important to the success of the franchise. KH1 is a great example of how tonal design can be executed in such a way as to achieve unexpected results: in this thread, a number of posts have referenced how Donald and Goofy are members of the KH cast, which should be indicative of what to expect from KH games. I'd counter that, actually, the opposite is true, and here's why: KH1 (and arguably the entire series, but it was most deliberate with the earlier games) was and is fundamentally an exercise in subverting our expectations for what a Disney crossover game can be. Nomura himself has alluded to this, as he's told the story on a number of occasions about how the initial Disney pitch was a simple game starring Donald or Goofy or something but over the course of development, and with the advice of other developers, it transformed into something far more intricate and serious in terms of its plotting and themes, set within the framework of this completely original universe with its own lore and history. All of the Disney elements, including Donald and Goofy, are very selectively retrofitted for incorporation within this universe: when exactly in the Disney canon have we ever seen Mickey whip out a sword, glare out into the middle distance, and swear vengeance on his enemies? More to the point, Donald and Goofy had to be developed along a very specific angle of approach in which they still retain some of their iconic Disney traits (Donald is short-tempered, Goofy is, well...), but they're significantly toned down in accordance with the tonal demands of the material, specifically in order to ensure that their chemistry effectively complements that of Sora. In short, just by looking at Donald and Goofy, Kingdom Hearts is by and large the kind of game series we wouldn't presume to involve them, and that was a big selling point for KH1, in particular. Kids were able to tell other kids, yeah, it's Disney, but it's not...that Disney.

Which brings us to the question of presentation. This also matters: a lot. Everybody uses short-hand to identify areas of interest and curiosity, and how something looks (the proverbial judging of a book by its cover) is part of that. Animation, particularly 2D animation, is met with a certain level of bias by the general public, thanks in large part to the Disney brand. It's not irrational to recognize that by and large, animation in at least Western film markets is aimed at children, but within that recognition there is a spectrum of ideas about what exactly that means. If we just consider the Disney canon for the sake of simplicity, there are some animated films within that repertoire which are held in very high esteem by adult film-going audiences, art critics, the industry, etc. Let's consider The Lion King (because, obviously). That movie was famously underestimated in its conceptual and developmental stages, including by animators inside of the studio who were trying to jump ship to Pocahontas because it was considered the serious, high-brow, timely artistic endeavor of the moment. That wasn't an irrational position to hold: who would have expected grown diddlying adults to take seriously, much less weep openly, at a movie that was a thinly veiled (musical!) reimagining of Hamlet with some big cats and a warthog? But that's exactly what happened, and it's a testament to the strength of the writers and the presentation of the material that it so affected people-- because, seriously, dancing and singing cartoon lions. But in order to achieve that, the creative trust behind that film had to actively play against every expectation of what was possible within that framework, and work to ensure that their authorial intent would resonate with the audience.

My point is that it isn't enough to say, well it's Disney and what do you expect. That isn't how an audience becomes invested in a story like The Lion King, or a story like Kingdom Hearts. It diminishes the work that is done on the part of the creator to bridge that unlikely connection. It's reductive and kind of needlessly defensive. And that's where we come to X, or specifically, Ux. And this is why I tend to agree with the OP.

The aesthetic, the design of the Foretellers, all of it could work, theoretically. Theoretically, if the story was rock solid, and the depiction of the material was consistently strong in terms of its tone and presentation, it could work. The problem is: it doesn't. When the OP asks how they're supposed to take it seriously, the answer is simple: the writers have to do their job and make it impactful. So Donald and Goofy and Mickey are characters in previous KH games: so what? The writers did the work to make that seamless, to give them a style of characterization suitable to the content, and to make us believe in them as part of the universe (presumably). That doesn't dictate that every other game in the series will do so successfully, or that it is automatically insulated from criticism on the basis of silly or seemingly inappropriate choices in terms of design or aesthetic. If Sora were to be depicted as wearing a skin-tight latex leopard print one-piece to the final battle with Xehanort, my first thought wouldn't be, well Donald and Goofy are there so this feels right. It's an animal theme! No.

CutiePique referred to Chain of Memories but this is an especially unwise comparison to make in the context of this conversation, for a lot of reasons. To begin with, just like KH1, it succeeds not on the basis of playing into expectations but playing against them. The original CoM in pretty much all of its marketing presented as a more or less breezy portable spin-off and semi-sequel to the first game, which would have befitted its minimized graphical presentation: so basically Coded. But then it came out, and it was very much the opposite of that: its narrative was actually so layered and, well, heavy that it felt in some ways outsized for the platform they had decided to use to present it, and the KH team went on to recreate it in the style of KH1 and 2 just to give it that visual affirmation that it is a KH game on the level of a main title. There are a lot of people who prefer the original CoM in terms of its gameplay and graphics, for valid reasons, but the fact remains that its success hinged on giving people more than what they thought it would at first glance, and that established it as a mainstay within and some would even argue the pinnacle of the KH canon.

And the problem with KHUx is that it does exactly the opposite: it consistently gives players less, and worse, than what they were lead to expect. OP is absolutely correct in his assertion that the Keyblade War, the Graveyard, everything having to do with that aspect of the KH universe, was framed as very serious business from the moment it was introduced. There is never a single moment of levity that occurs within the Keyblade Graveyard throughout BBS: the worst and most tragic things happen to characters there. Ven gets his heart split in half and mortally wounded, and years later gets possessed by Vanitas, who almost kills Aqua, at the same time that Terra succumbs to Xehanort, at the very intersection of their fates, at the very place where so many hundreds upon hundreds of Keyblade Wielders fell before them while competing for the light of Kingdom Hearts.

Cut to Ux, which claims to tell the origin story of this terrible place, and you're like this kind of cute chibi person who owns a cat and awww you're just learning to use your first Keyblade but most of the time you're dressing up in pretty princess costumes and collecting baseball cards with pictures of *actual characters* from the series on them, and there are these douche bags who dress like they belong at a zoo or maybe hosting tea parties at Disney World or something, I don't know, why do they do that and why do you join their keykid gangs? Well, to answer that, it might help to learn something about them that would explain that design motif and how they came to effectively rule you know everything, but nah, instead let's just go find this guy's monkey and dick around with some constantly lost blonde girl who also maybe owns a cat for all of the time. And then, wow, before you know it the Keyblade War just, like, happened, and all those people who ruled everything are dead, and the only reason you can even remember their names is because now they're baseball cards, because they became real characters but you wouldn't have known that if you didn't watch the totally separate movie-collage package about how incompetent and untrustworthy they were, which by the way still doesn't explain why they dress like animals or where they even came from, but makes sure you know they all have exactly one defined character trait like being angry or wearing the glasses in the group. So they end up feeling even more alien than they were before and you kind of wish they had just been left as enigmas, especially since they were unceremoniously killed off in like the next game update after that movie came out, but don't worry there'sanother group of them just waiting to be introduced, and hey you even know some of them either because you met them before the Keyblade War (which actually wasn't the Keyblade War, haha really gotcha there!) or because they were just plucked out of other games in the series and now they're visiting you in the Realm of Sleep. What, you didn't really think this was all happening during the actual time that this all happened, did you?

And I didn't even have to touch on the miserable pachinko format or any of that stuff. Ux is a game that is in every way less than the sum of its parts and a betrayal of all it could and should have been. It doesn't even give the impression of a game that has a real creative mandate: whatever ideas it does have are thinly developed and deployed like an oasis in a wasteland of filler arcs, and it doesn't have a single actual character to shore up its weak plotting. Ephemer is cute? Skuld is a girl. I don't even recall if the MoM appears in Ux proper. That shouldn't even be a question, he's the main... uh... he's going to be relevant after KH3! It's basically just a dumpster for plot set up. It's plot garbage. It's the worst. The best argument to be made for its aesthetic is that it's wasted on such a game, that, on the basis of every KH title that came before it, it should have been able to justify such an aesthetic and make it feel right for the series, by pushing above and beyond anything that could have been conceived of in terms of the Keyblade War era. By making this critical element of the KH universe's history something actually historic. By disarming us with the initial impression and then surprising with its creative depth. It does none of that.

How's that for a rant.
 

Zip

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How's that for a rant.
Damn, this is an excellent assessment of the problems for UX, one of the best I’ve seen.

There are many individual concepts in the game that would be interesting to me if executed differently. For example, if KH4 were to revolve around seven self-righteous, Keyblade-wielding villains that represent the Seven Deadly Sins, I think that would be a cool concept for the next saga as the series could start exploring more specific aspects of “darkness” in people’s hearts rather than it just being a generic blanket term. I wouldn’t even mind the Foretellers’ character designs to be for the next antagonist group since their animals do have nuanced symbolism that could be elaborated on.

As it stands though, the potential is being wasted in Union Cross and the poor application here will negatively impact any appearances they may have in future titles. I mean, shoot, they could at least develop their personalities more to show us why their specific name was given to them by the Master of Masters. Is Ava greedy? Is Invi at all envious? As it stands, it seems their names are not at all symbolic of their actual internal characterizations and instead were just chosen because they are derived from a well-known Latin group of words. We also shouldn’t have to twist and turn to pull some reason out of Nomura’s rear to justify the use of this symbolism.

I will say I oddly admire Square Enix for being so dedicated to making this as meta of an experience as possible. They are the Union Leaders, keeping us, the Player, out of the loop of whatever the hell is going on. They introduced Union Cross and pets to distract us and make us forget all the poor decisions they’ve made while they try to get their shit together.
 

Sora2016

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This really isn't what I ever wanted for the story of the Keyblade War, you did remind me. Its crazy the browser version of this started just a year after DDD I believe? So, I was just so used to it, I forgot that I always imagined a much grander game or something telling the story of the Keyblade War. It really wasn't a good medium to do it in, all things considered. Even what they did in the browser version was sorta incomplete and vague. It honestly also added more questions, like, why do the stories say people are jealous or whatever? That really never happened, they just sorta fought cuz they had to/ they were being a little petty also lol. Bought it was mostly just they did what their Master said. Idk, I sorta continue my thoughts about the Foretellers below lol.

Damn, this is an excellent assessment of the problems for UX, one of the best I’ve seen.

There are many individual concepts in the game that would be interesting to me if executed differently. For example, if KH4 were to revolve around seven self-righteous, Keyblade-wielding villains that represent the Seven Deadly Sins, I think that would be a cool concept for the next saga as the series could start exploring more specific aspects of “darkness” in people’s hearts rather than it just being a generic blanket term. I wouldn’t even mind the Foretellers’ character designs to be for the next antagonist group since their animals do have nuanced symbolism that could be elaborated on.

As it stands though, the potential is being wasted in Union Cross and the poor application here will negatively impact any appearances they may have in future titles. I mean, shoot, they could at least develop their personalities more to show us why their specific name was given to them by the Master of Masters. Is Ava greedy? Is Invi at all envious? As it stands, it seems their names are not at all symbolic of their actual internal characterizations and instead were just chosen because they are derived from a well-known Latin group of words. We also shouldn’t have to twist and turn to pull some reason out of Nomura’s rear to justify the use of this symbolism.

I will say I oddly admire Square Enix for being so dedicated to making this as meta of an experience as possible. They are the Union Leaders, keeping us, the Player, out of the loop of whatever the hell is going on. They introduced Union Cross and pets to distract us and make us forget all the poor decisions they’ve made while they try to get their shit together.
Yeah I always recall our theories that they represent the sins their animals were representative of. Yet...they didn't give them any character at all. I personally like their designs. I kinda like the designs of all UX peeps, they have nice outfits, sorta anime but not like KH1 and 2 crazy lol. More modern I guess. But still, I guess I personally just keep hoping they will say "psyche" and suddenly the Foretellers aren't dead because they were a total waste if not. The new leaders aren't looking great either in that way. I have a connection to Skuld and Ephemer cuz of their connection to the player but thats about it. I guess that's why I like Ava the most as well, at least she actually did something. Even though they made it more about her duty than something of her own volitions like I had hoped.
 

JustSnilloc

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I mean, shoot, they could at least develop their personalities more to show us why their specific name was given to them by the Master of Masters. Is Ava greedy? Is Invi at all envious? As it stands, it seems their names are not at all symbolic of their actual internal characterizations and instead were just chosen because they are derived from a well-known Latin group of words.
There's something interesting to gleam from that. The Master of Masters gave them all nicknames, ironic nicknames it would seem for all but one - Gula. He and he alone lives up to the nickname of sin.
 

alexis.anagram

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I will say I oddly admire Square Enix for being so dedicated to making this as meta of an experience as possible. They are the Union Leaders, keeping us, the Player, out of the loop of whatever the hell is going on. They introduced Union Cross and pets to distract us and make us forget all the poor decisions they’ve made while they try to get their shit together.
Mind blown. You cracked the code. I don't think we were meant to peer behind this curtain, and now I'm going to have to look behind my shoulder everywhere I go. So thanks for that.

This really isn't what I ever wanted for the story of the Keyblade War, you did remind me. Its crazy the browser version of this started just a year after DDD I believe? So, I was just so used to it, I forgot that I always imagined a much grander game or something telling the story of the Keyblade War. It really wasn't a good medium to do it in, all things considered. Even what they did in the browser version was sorta incomplete and vague. It honestly also added more questions, like, why do the stories say people are jealous or whatever? That really never happened, they just sorta fought cuz they had to/ they were being a little petty also lol. Bought it was mostly just they did what their Master said. Idk, I sorta continue my thoughts about the Foretellers below lol.
No kidding. Bit of a tough pill to swallow, to think that this stands as the definitive depiction of the Keyblade War, and of the whole era preceding the original KH. And now with the introduction of Ven and Marluxia, it's like...I have to remind myself sometimes that this is really how it's going down haha. Ux has just totally poisoned the well for exploring this aspect of the KH universe with its abject mismanagement on all fronts. Sigh.
 

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Well, the graphics thing is a good point. After playing Ux for so long, I kind of got used to that artstyle, but well, I have to agree, it doesn't fit neither the theme nor the tone of the story it is supposed to tell but never does. Towards the costumes I always told myself it was to emphasize the theme of the participants of the not-keyblade war being kids, thus dressing up, experiencing their first keyblade adventure and talking to STILL UNNAMED other kids who have much more character than any of the foretellers had, so it is supposed to become even more worse innocent kids like this participated in a war. The story of Ux and Back Cover is the worst part of the franchise in my opinion, I'd even go so far to wish it had never existed at all and I absolutely loathe the MoM, but what I hate most is the utter stupidity Back Cover and Ux display. Back Cover is about a furret convention where the participants don't want to start a war and are mostly adults or at least late teens who still do everything their master says (because this is a thing in KH, you never disobey a master, you always do exactly what he says) no matter how shady and vague it might be until they, surprise, still spark off the keyblade war because no one could've guessed that fighting each other and being in a competitive state (5 unions fighting over the same thing with different goals in mind) might lead to this. Actually, I don't even really get what they are even fighting about because the MoM says "keyblade war gonna happen anyway and we shall not change the future" and they wanna do everything daddy says but still prevent it somehow, so why not fight on a large scale because we don't know what we want anyway. And all the kids in the unions are kinda going along with this instead of protesting or denying to fight because obviously we are doing this now. Great.
And instead of the next generation thinking about these events and maybe find a new, not so obviously doomed way like forming unions again and making people do the exact same thing that lead to the keyblade war in the first place, they are doing this again, this time with kids as the chefs, again being told by someone else. W H Y
 

DraceEmpressa

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There's something interesting to gleam from that. The Master of Masters gave them all nicknames, ironic nicknames it would seem for all but one - Gula. He and he alone lives up to the nickname of sin.

Copied from Tvtrope KH Chi character page (yes I know it's not the most reliable source because like Wikipedia it can be edited by anyone, but this sounds plausible)
- Ava is short for avaritia (greed). Fittingly, she embodies the "positive" aspects of greed - mainly she wants the best outcome for everyone and continually acts on her own to see her desire through
-
Ira is Latin for wrath. While he is stoic and calm, he is prone to Tranquil Fury when he suspects one of his fellow Foretellers of treason.
-
Invi is short for invidia (envy). It fits her personality - she's something of a busy body that acts like she has more authority than she actually does, perhaps indicating jealously towards Ira's position despite being loyal to him.
 

JustSnilloc

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Copied from Tvtrope KH Chi character page (yes I know it's not the most reliable source because like Wikipedia it can be edited by anyone, but this sounds plausible)
- Ava is short for avaritia (greed). Fittingly, she embodies the "positive" aspects of greed - mainly she wants the best outcome for everyone and continually acts on her own to see her desire through
-Ira is Latin for wrath. While he is stoic and calm, he is prone to Tranquil Fury when he suspects one of his fellow Foretellers of treason.
-Invi is short for invidia (envy). It fits her personality - she's something of a busy body that acts like she has more authority than she actually does, perhaps indicating jealously towards Ira's position despite being loyal to him.
Eh, I disagree overall. Here is my analysis for the Foretellers + Luxu and MoM...


Nickname: Ira
Mask: Unicorn
Sin: Wrath (Ira)
Role: To Lead

Ira is a well intentioned leader who seeks ideals that ultimately cannot be attained. Perhaps his unicorn mask (a perfect creature of myth) is a reflection of that? His nickname is the sin of wrath, yet the virtuous opposite of “wrath” is “patience” and Ira is patient to a fault. He was given the role of leading the other Foretellers, but he gets too caught up in trying to find the best path - falling short in the process. As mentioned, he desperately wants to save the world, but this results in him further deviating from his role.


Nickname: Invi
Mask: Snake
Sin: Envy (Invidia)
Role: To Mediate

Invi is loyal to Ira and comes off as a lover to him. Yet, it is her steadfast allegiance to Ira that poisons her capacity to properly mediate between the Foretellers. Her nickname is the sin of Envy, yet the virtuous opposite of “envy” is “kindness”, and she certainly attempts to be kind. She was given the role of mediator, but she twists that role by becoming Ira’s informant and relying on him to mediate. Perhaps she is scared of offending the others if she is the one to speak up? She only seems to open up during one on one conversations after all.


Nickname: Aced
Mask: Bear
Sin: Sloth (Acedia)
Role: To Spur Ira to Action

Aced is a passionate powerhouse with a penchant for pursuing immediate action. Gula jokes that Aced must have gotten the bear mask because he’s scary, but he’s more like a big brother to each of the Foretellers. His nickname is the sin of Sloth, yet the virtuous opposite of “sloth” is “diligence”, and Aced seems to be the hardest worker out of all the Foretellers (especially when it comes to training/conditioning, geeze). His role is to spur Ira to action, but Aced is immediately jealous of him and seeks to instead undermine him and take the role of leader for himself. Ira needed Aced’s passion, and Aced needed Ira’s wisdom - without each other they mutually failed in their roles. Aced meant well, but ultimately he was too distracted with pursuits unrelated and opposed to his mission.


Nickname: Gula
Mask: Leopard
Sin: Gluttony (Gula)
Role: To Find the Traitor

Gula is a calm and composed youth with hidden anxieties. I had to do a bit of research, but leopards seem to be associated with secrets and the night (among other things) which seems to be in line with our Leopardus leader. His nickname is the sin of gluttony (desire for excess), and unlike the rest of the Foretellers his sin does fit. His role is to find the traitor (yes, there is a traitor - it is literally impossible for there to not be one), but the irony is that he becomes the most traitorous of them all. The contents of the Lost Page very much apply to Gula “Unable to permit disharmony, you will be disappointed by fate, and lose sight of true strength... Misreading the truth, you will venture forth in secrecy...”, and when Luxu told Ava who the traitor was, she was in disbelief- she was close to this person, she was close to Gula. Gula allowed his heart to be his guiding key, but he also allowed his heart to give into despair.


Nickname: Ava
Mask: Fox
Sin: Greed (Avaritia)
Role: To Form the Dandelions

Ava is a sweet youth with a warm heart. She doesn’t seem to represent the fox in it’s popular trickster lore, rather she represents the good foxes of Japanese lore that ward off evil. Her nickname is the sin of greed, yet the virtuous opposite of “greed” is “charity” and Ava has that in spades. Her role is to form the Dandelions and she dutifully fulfills her role (her and Luxu seem unique in that aspect). Ava’s purity and friendship with Gula seems to keep him on the right track, but Gula’s many compromises seem to drive a wedge between them. She is friendly and seeks to do what is right.


Nickname: Luxu
Mask: Cloaked
Sin: Lust (Luxuria)
Role: To Watch

Luxu is a mysterious guy who Nomura states to be a lot like the Master of Masters, but less humorous. No animal mask adorns his face, and no keyblade was forged in his heart. He wasn’t given a copy of the Book of Prophesies, and he isn’t a Foreteller, but he does inherit the most important mission - to watch events with the gazing eye of No Name. As mentioned, he and Ava are the only ones who actually fulfill their missions and it’s a good thing too considering how they had the most critically important missions (if either failed, the present wouldn’t have been possible). As for his sin? Lust is the desire for pleasure and I just don’t see that in Luxu. Instead, its virtuous opposite, chastity (think abstaining from pleasure), fits him better. It’s almost sad really, he doesn’t seem to have friends, only duty.


Nickname: Master of Masters
Mask: Cloaked
Sin: Pride (Superbia)
Role: ???

Ah, and here we arrive at the final boss- err, Master. He gave himself the sin of pride, but why? What exactly was his point in giving the nicknames of sin? Was it a warning? Supposing that it was, it would seem that each of his apprentices recognized and over adjusted for that warning, well, everyone except for Gula of course. But what about the Master himself? Maybe he realized that his hubris held the potential to ruin everything again, thus he became more humble, he let loose and became more whimsical. Luxu speaks of the Master’s will and muses aloud “Rather than the future of the world, I wonder if the Master was more interested in how our hearts would be our guiding key?”, see there is something fundamental in understanding the Master’s character - and that would be his role. I propose that his role was to save the world, to reignite a faded light that darkness prevailed over.

Related Theory - https://forums.khinsider.com/kingdom-hearts-union/217324-i-think-ive-figured-out-chi-pt-2-timeline-events.html
 
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