Kingdom Hearts 2 Retrospective



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Blackdrazon

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My look back at the Kingdom Hearts series continues into KH2, in what may very well turn out to be the biggest part of the Retrospective!

The Kingdom Hearts retrospective updates Tuesdays and Saturdays. If you want to get started with the KH1 retrospective, check out the Introduction or first post!




Note that we're starting off with a double post, so make sure to read both the first entry and the second!

You may also be interested in my first-impressions Final Fantasy journal series!
 
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Muke

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Yes! Finally, KH 2 action. :3 (I will write my opinion on the Entry later.)
 

dlppictures

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Seifer is a self-righteous asshole here in Kingdom Hearts, a bully and self-proclaimed leader of the Twilight Town “Disciplinary Committee.”
To add to his self-righteousness the kanji on his hat, 俺 (ore), means “I”, and is often, not always, used in Manga and Anime by characters who see themselves as superior, compared to 私 (watashi) which is neutral and 僕 (boku) which is somewhere inbetween the two.

Seifer here is voiced by Batman – Terry McGinnis from Batman Beyond. He was also on Winx Club with Jessica DiCosso, so our Six Degrees of Kingdom Hearts game continues.
Cool, but who then voiced Terry Mcgin...

Melissa also voiced in Epic Mickey 2, and while we’re here, she also played alongside Will Friedle in Batman Beyond
Oh, Will Friedle, gotcha.

I recommend you not take the wand, since magic in this game is nowhere near as useful as the original, but even if you do it’s not going to hamper you in the long run.
I would disagree, since I use way more magic in KHII than I ever did in KHI, and always have, it sure does have its uses, but it seems the majority of the fanbase thinks it is worse than in KHI so I shall leave it at that.

You also never receive Dodge Roll in Vanilla KH2 game,
Inb4 Dodge Roll RC on bomb enemies

Yes, that all seems possible, but evidence from another game suggests it was supposed to be crystal clear that the thief is talking to Roxas telepathically, so I’m going to have to dock this scene a few points, as that doesn’t come across at all.
It does not? I thought it was very clear, guess I shall see what the majority thought about that scene.
So this is the first time where I understood something on my first playthrough, that you did not see, which actually surprises me, as I am horrendous at reading between lines, which you have shown in the previous retrospectives to be very adept at, with points I have never glanced at.




Also, I was thinking, a few years ago I started a thread where I tried to document as many differences between the different versions of KHII I could find in my own, somewhat thorough, playthroughs of JP, NA, PAL and FM.
It includes a handful of videos highlighting most of the differences I found, but before I aquired the NA release of the game.
The thread has been dead for like two years but I still do occasionaly update the OP.
I do not know if I have anything of value to yuor posts, but I wanted to post a link just in case.
http://forums.khinsider.com/kingdom-hearts-ii/167306-differences-between-versions.html
 

BlackOsprey

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Whoa. I'm surprised just how much context in the cutscenes flew right over my head. Up til now, I thought that Seifer's talk about "undeniable proof that we totally owned you lamers" was just big-head banter, not referring to the stolen photos... sheesh.
 

FudgemintGuardian

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It does not? I thought it was very clear, guess I shall see what the majority thought about that scene.
So this is the first time where I understood something on my first playthrough, that you did not see, which actually surprises me, as I am horrendous at reading between lines, which you have shown in the previous retrospectives to be very adept at, with points I have never glanced at.
I too thought it was clear that the Nobody was speaking telepathically. This is the first time I heard someone not think so.
 

Blackdrazon

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There's one simple reason that I didn't think the Nobody was speaking to Roxas: because I guessed early that Roxas was seeing the flashbacks, and assumed the text came from an outside source like that, instead. But since everyone else got it, hell, I can admit when I'm wrong. I'll adjust the Retrospective to say so. I should probably move Will Friedle's name, too, that was just a goof.

And that looks like a lot of good hard work, dlppictures! I'll take a close look as soon as I can!
 
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Tartarus

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One thing I have to disagree on is the voice acting. There's less text bubbles in KH2, which I appreciated, but I found KH1 generally superior in that aspect. Donald and Goofy aren't played nearly as well here (but that's partly on the script dumbing them down further), MVP (imo) David Gallagher is unfortunately absent for most of the game, Xemnas and Axel are just awful, many substitutes are really bad (Lumiere, Sebastian, Ansem SOD, Aerith, Sally, the Mayor of Halloween Town, Scar, Piglet, etc. and, jeez, the Pride Lands and Halloween Town--outside of Oogie--are absolute trash; a couple of those were in KH1, but had very few lines, mercifully) and even a lot of the Disney characters with their original voice actors and/or generally strong replacements are unexpectedly off (Mulan, Maleficent during the laughing scenes, Ursula, Jasmine, Belle).

McCartney, Osment, James Woods, Christopher Lee, and Mickey's, Tron's, and Oogie's voice actors are the only ones that really knock it out of the park--and even Lee has to fight the overdrawn, repetitive dialogue in The World That Never Was.

Good luck with the intro. I have a feeling it'll take two weeks to get past that. :wink:
 
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What a great way to start the day, with 2 new retrospective posts!

I agree with a lot of what you said, and in general, I also found the voice acting to be the best in KH2 so far than any other game. I think part of that is due to bias as far as KH2 was the first game in the series I played so it's automatically the best.

I had never really looked so deep into the intro before, but yes, it's interesting that it accomplishes so much.

However, add me to the list of people who thought it was clear the Nobody was speaking telepathically.
 

Ultima Spark

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To add to his self-righteousness the kanji on his hat, 俺 (ore), means “I”, and is often, not always, used in Manga and Anime by characters who see themselves as superior
Well, assertive at least, since most of the male mains (at least OC-wise) in the series use 俺 as well.

Inb4 Dodge Roll RC on bomb enemies
They actually changed the RC Dodge Roll to Switch Roll (スイッチロール) in Japanese FM to prevent confusion, but the 2.5 localisers failed to catch it (they screwed up quite a bit in naming, actually, like the Shaman's Relic/Spell's Relic name change, or not fixing the initial localisation stuff-up of Ragnarok to Infinity [as in Genie's abilities, which all share the names of KH1's limits], and promptly screwing it even further with Limit Form proper).
 

Blackdrazon

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As a minor caution, my internet may not be available for the next few days. The Tuesday KH2 and Thursday FFV posts should be properly queued, but I might not be able to update the manual links in time. You can always access the new posts on the right sidebar, however. We'll see how it goes!
 

redcrown

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Man this brings up unpleasant feelings of playing the tutorial first time round. The confusing slow neverending monotonus pointless emptiness that is this tutorial.
 

Launchpad

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KH2 has so much good, and I only realized it when BBS and DDD were not so good. KH2 has horrible lows, but the highs are spectacular, the amazing programming, multiple systems, seamless combos, and well integrated spell casting.

KH2 did so much good, but the bad stuff clouded everyone's vision. It comes short of KH1 for sure, but Nomura is irreversibly crazy and just throws shit into his games regardless of if it works or not.
 

Ultima Spark

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Am I the only one here who doesn't really care about KH1? It's not bad, but I just find it difficult to care about it as I do about the rest of the series.

I also wonder what was up with that black cloaked figure. The way I see it, there are three possibilities:

I figured it was an apparition/post-vision/dream/what-have-you of Roxas himself, representing what he was in the past (at least to some extent, and thus the Twilight Thorn may be some weird amalgamation of his scattered memories of the Nobodies and Organization as a whole), just like the Darkside represented Sora's personal darkness. Can't be Axel, it doesn't have his body shape.
 

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These are fantastic by the way, your writing is excellent and entertaining, and I especially love the way you convey the feeling of a first time player while still understanding the series as a whole. I get the impression after reading through both your KH1 and COM retrospectives that you think KH2 is superior, which I find strange considering your understanding of game design and mechanics. You also seem to understand good writing in terms of narrative and how that should connect through gameplay. You obviously haven't finished your KH2 retrospective yet but so far that's the impression I'm getting. I personally love the KH series overall but think its abandoned its most interesting and compelling design philosophies after the first and has only gone down hill since, both in gameplay and narrative.
 

Blackdrazon

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Thanks for the compliment! Obviously I can't really talk about my overall impressions, since it's the only "spoiler" I have to my name. Hopefully my overall impressions will come up as we go along!
 

FudgemintGuardian

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The Destiny Islands scene is still...bizarre to me. Maybe it's because the mainland didn't exist before or maybe it's because the scene makes it look like much more has past than it did actually, but there's still something about it that I can't quite put my finger on that makes it out of place compared to the rest of the series.

But your mention on how Kairi looks four years older reminds me of a small issue I have with the character design.
In the first game, they looked younger than they're supposed to be, heck, Selphie looked like she was eight years old, but the designs had one certain something the later ones wouldn't: Disney-ness.
Sora, Riku, and Kairi's designs was a nice bridge between Final Fantasy and Disney. Even Tidus, Selphie, and Wakka had a bit of it too thanks to getting simplified versions of their original outfits. And this helped in making the characters not look out of place.
But then KHII comes along and the Disney aspect seemingly drops. Which could also explain why they suddenly look much older compared to their KHI designs. But I wouldn't say they look more Final Fantasy as a result of this, however, just...not as Disney as it was.

The game glitches out, Roxas finds a dog inside the bag, and a Dusk appears in the distance completely unrelated to the dog. Sure game. Whatever you say.
Actually, it's very blink and you'll miss it, but the dog does transform into the Dusk.
 

Blackdrazon

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The Destiny Islands scene is still...bizarre to me. Maybe it's because the mainland didn't exist before or maybe it's because the scene makes it look like much more has past than it did actually, but there's still something about it that I can't quite put my finger on that makes it out of place compared to the rest of the series.
Maybe a sense of too much reality? Building off of what you said in later paragraphs, the scene is pastoral but lacks any sort of Disney magic whatsoever. Even Twilight Town had a sense of "eternal summer" about it (hell, in Days I'm not even sure the sun sets, so the sense of a captured moment remains).

Anyway, your point about the lack of Disney influence in the characters' artistic design is spot-on, and speaks to a larger issue in the game/series at this point.


Actually, it's very blink and you'll miss it, but the dog does transform into the Dusk.
Whoa, it does! I think they could have used an extra second of an establishing shot! Thanks for that, I'll have to make some sort of correction.
 

dlppictures

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This shot is probably intended to mirror the one between Sora and Kairi during the Night of Fate.
I never thought of that, but now that you mention it, I can definitely see it, and will probably never be able to unsee it again. Oh gosh, Hayner slowly turning around to face Roxas muttering “Rooxass...”, yikes that is almost the beginning of a fanfic. Abort, abort!


The game stays quiet the rest of your walk through the ghostly, empty Twilight Town. Tension Rising plays whenever you encounter another group of Nobodies, all the way to the mansion gates.
Actually, unless they changed it for the HD remaster, not sure, the song that plays is ‘Sinister Sundown’, Twilight Town’s battle theme.
 
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