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Kingdom Hearts 2 Retrospective



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Beamer

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I like your mention of the apparent episode structure. When I watched the KH2 cutscenes (Never got to play the game sadly *cries*) it always seemed like it was structured in a very Anime style. The showoff at Hollow Bastion is like the big mid-season pay off to the first part of a season-wide arc. When We meet everyone back on the gummi ship, it's like there was a cliffhanger ending that separated the two halves of the season. Since the first part of a mid season two-parter needs to have that epic cliffhanger baiting fans to watch more, it makes sense to me they'd go with the "We're fine, here's what happened" trope since it's an anime-like resolution to that sort of cliffhanger. I can't think of any examples off the top of my head, but perhaps that's what the teams was trying to do. Either way, I would've liked that pay off to show chronologically as well.
 

KHHacker6595

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another excellent read.

quick side note about this whole Hollow Bastion sequence, I've always wondered about Sephiroth in relation to it. He shows up, he interacts with the main sequence of events by getting involved with the invasion and killing a group of Heartless. He confronts Cloud while Cloud is trying to help Sora and the others fight off the Organization and Maleficent's armies. My point is that he's clearly canon to the overall lore and events in the series and he has an effect on them. Why is the Organization not interested in this all powerful dark silver haired figure? Does Xemnas have no idea about Sephiroth?
 

Blackdrazon

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another excellent read.

quick side note about this whole Hollow Bastion sequence, I've always wondered about Sephiroth in relation to it. He shows up, he interacts with the main sequence of events by getting involved with the invasion and killing a group of Heartless. He confronts Cloud while Cloud is trying to help Sora and the others fight off the Organization and Maleficent's armies. My point is that he's clearly canon to the overall lore and events in the series and he has an effect on them. Why is the Organization not interested in this all powerful dark silver haired figure? Does Xemnas have no idea about Sephiroth?

Best guess - and this is just a guess, for all I know Sephiroth will show up as a member of the True Organization in KH3 - is that Sephiroth isn't a normal being just like he claims. Maybe he really is some kind of manifestation of Cloud's dark side, something that is neither Heartless, Nobody or anything else we're familiar with and is equally incapable of becoming one, and so he really is single-mindedly tied to Cloud and wouldn't give the Norts the time of day?

You've raised a very good question though, I wish we had an answer.
 

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Oh, and that pose Sora makes in front of Siax is thought to come from some element of Japanese culture or manners, but I forgot what it was called. I'm not sure it's Dogeza, because that has to do with apologizing, rather than begging.

Semantics...dogeza isn't strictly for apologising, it's a general gesture of absolute submission and willingly shaming yourself; it's only performed when you really mean it. So yes, begging for someone or something important (like Sora does in this scene) would fall under that.
 

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You might get into drazon so I apologize if I step on your toes.

From reading some of your perspective it seems like me you were upset at Sora not mentioning Kairi/Riku enough during his Disney world visit. There are a couple of reasons I think they did this but one of them could be they didn't want Sora to be all depress in all the disney worlds. Which I think will be the natural route if they brought it up and I guess they didn't want a sad Sora running around solves disney plots.

So they choose to go in a route where nobody really mentions them so Sora can stay upbeat. IIRC they tried something similar in COM where in the disney worlds Sora wasn't so angry compared to how he acted in the hallway. What I think they should have done if they wanted an upbeat Sora is have him discuss the Kairi stuff in the Gummi ship so it's clear Sora isn't just forgetting about them.

That's the advantage COM had is they had the hallway rooms where Sora can discuss his feelings while in KH2 there really wasn't because for some reasons the writers wanted the Disney plot to be a bit separate from any main overachieving story.

Very good write ups though, you made me see things like I never would have.
 

Blackdrazon

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You might get into drazon so I apologize if I step on your toes.

From reading some of your perspective it seems like me you were upset at Sora not mentioning Kairi/Riku enough during his Disney world visit. There are a couple of reasons I think they did this but one of them could be they didn't want Sora to be all depress in all the disney worlds. Which I think will be the natural route if they brought it up and I guess they didn't want a sad Sora running around solves disney plots.

So they choose to go in a route where nobody really mentions them so Sora can stay upbeat. IIRC they tried something similar in COM where in the disney worlds Sora wasn't so angry compared to how he acted in the hallway. What I think they should have done if they wanted an upbeat Sora is have him discuss the Kairi stuff in the Gummi ship so it's clear Sora isn't just forgetting about them.

That's the advantage COM had is they had the hallway rooms where Sora can discuss his feelings while in KH2 there really wasn't because for some reasons the writers wanted the Disney plot to be a bit separate from any main overachieving story.

Very good write ups though, you made me see things like I never would have.

You make a good point, though I think the best way to tie in the plot without making things depressed might be to have another plot worth mentioning from time to time, rather than gate keys. The second half generally accomplishes this by using the Org, but even then I think it wouldn't work unless it was peppered with a few concrete mentions of Riku and Kairi rather than off-hand, which the second half does at least a little more often (Riku on Land of the Dragons, Kairi in Halloween Town).

You're also right that without the between floors segments of CoM, introspection seems to be suffering. Maybe they could have followed CoM's model between worlds to help the introspection that way?
 

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I am still of the mindset that most (if not all) of the worlds' second visits were late-in-development decisions.

True worlds like Olympus Coliseum and Beast's Castle continue their plots in their second visits, and there is reason for you to come back later to finish the story.
But for other worlds their second visit plots just feel like they were created last second to warrant a second visit to me. Having very little to do to tie them in with their first visit plots.

I'm not sure I can describe what I mean properly but I shall give it a try.

Let's take Halloween Town, for instance:
In the first visit Jack wants to handle all the christmas stuff, so he has a santa outfit made for him, which he dons at the end of the visit. Maleficent is present because...Idk, she is a villain so she has to be present in the game somehow, and inbetween world-cutscenes are so KHI, KHII is too mainstream to need them. Anyway she revives Oogie Boogie, they kidnap Father Christmas, re-decorate his workshop, Sora & co fight Oogie, the day is saved and Jack learns to leave Christmas to the pros. Oh and we have a small visit with dr. Finkelstein, who has been working on an experiment.

In the second visit Finkelstein's experiment has disappeared, and someone is stealing presents from Christmas Town. Jack is still wearing his Santa outfit, much to the dismay of those around him, but really the tie-ins to the first visit end there. Jack is wearing the Santa outfit Sally made for him and dr. Finkelstein's missing experiment which had like two seconds of cameo screen time is a driving force now. I'm sure the present stealing plot was added to give a reason to return to Christmas Town the second time around, but really that just makes it so we have no reason to return to Halloween Town. In fact I tend to forget to enter Finkelstein's Lab during the second visit so I don't have a save point in Halloween Town when needing to grind for synthesis.

Or if we take Agrabah, in the first visit we have to prevent someone (Pete) from releasing Jafar from the Lamp, and we hide it away in a tomb.
The second visit litterally starts with Jafar being released, making all of the first visit pointless. How did the Peddler even get inside that tomb? I always presumed it was part of the Palace's dungeon, and what fumbling guard would let him inside the Palace in the first place?

In Pride Lands the villain pestering Simba is the exact same villain we killed in the first visit. I know that Scar's ghost's presence hs to do with Simba's self-doubt, but was there really no other possible choice of villain? Pete was present in the first visit, however miniscule it might have been, so would it really be impossible to have him included in one way or another in the second?

And who/what/how/when/where is Scar's Ghost? I don't think there really is an explanation for it. The Journal calls it a manifestation of the evil in Scar's heart preying on the weakness in Simba's. Wait, evil can do that? Hmm... What makes Scar so special that he can do that? aside from Lion King being Nomura's favourite movie. He did become a Heatless that kept his original form, who else did that?
Ah, yes Ansem SoD, the most powerfull Heartless in existance but his Darkness/evil couldn't manifest and... Oh wait, Reverse/Rebirth, it is litteraly the manifestation of Ansem's darkness haunting Riku in his self-doubt.

OMG, one of my absolute least favourite worlds in the series, might actually have had a connection with CoM despite KHII pretending it never existed.
Letting your thoughts out sometimes let you get a completely different view on things.

Then there are the worlds where the Organization actually interferes. Why exactly did they not do that before?
There were plenty of Heartless before, so nothing would get in the way of their big master plan. Now, however, the worlds have been overrun by Nobodies, so their plan to collect hearts hurt by the lack of Heartless.
Now you may say, "That's just gameplay", but this series has a habbit of always explaining gameplay stuff in its story.
Eg. GBA Card system is the law of Castle Oblivion, or "Sora has to start at level 1, he must have forgotten everything that happened previously."
The Heartless are missing in the worlds.


Sorry for the wall, I guess I had a lot of things on my mind growing during the ten years since KHII's release.
 

Divine Past

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You make a good point, though I think the best way to tie in the plot without making things depressed might be to have another plot worth mentioning from time to time, rather than gate keys. The second half generally accomplishes this by using the Org, but even then I think it wouldn't work unless it was peppered with a few concrete mentions of Riku and Kairi rather than off-hand, which the second half does at least a little more often (Riku on Land of the Dragons, Kairi in Halloween Town).

You're also right that without the between floors segments of CoM, introspection seems to be suffering. Maybe they could have followed CoM's model between worlds to help the introspection that way?

I feel like even if you give the writer some credit and say they wanted Sora not to bring up Kairi as a coping mechanism, he still needed to show urgency in his actions. He has zero of it barring the last trip to twilight town I think. If he truly wanted to find Kairi/Riku I think we should have seen him try to hurry through the world visit to solve the problem as fast as possible.

I remember in COM during hallway segments where Sora was urging D/G that they need to hurry to save Namine as quick as possible. Like I believe you wrote about before, KH2 has no sense of time which means no urgency in action by the character. Even if they smack you in the face with it a bunch, at least COM made it pretty clear Sora was clearing the Disney Worlds in order to get closer to find Namine. KH2 it was more implicate told than explicit explain why Sora seems so interest in Disney world.

There is a time and place to not having character say their motivations on screen, but in KH2 it just made Sora look insincere in how he didn't think about Kairi.

If they didn't want depress Sora running around in Disney world they could have just done a scene in the gummy ships after every world is done where Sora shows how sad he is that he can't find Kairi/Riku and Donald/Goofy try cheering him up by telling he needs to keep saving the other worlds in order to save Kairi. That simple addition shows Sora cares about his friends but a reason to save the worlds because that can be the key to finding the organization stronghold.

Just have them be like the hallways where the character just discuss the main plot if they didn't really want to mix it with Disney Worlds with some odd reason.
 

FudgemintGuardian

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"This is getting ahead of myself, but DDD’s worlds feel somewhat wispy to me, as though they didn’t really happen somehow."

You mean DDD's worlds felt like....a dream? XD

I actually do like KH2 doing the second visits and, like you I consider the first half the real filler, but well dlppictures above goes pretty in depth with the revisits issues.

"instead of “freezing” in place after you complete them."

*points to Atlantica*
I seriously dislike that about this world in KH2. Atlantica really does just freeze in time after each segment. I'd be fine with it if the world was just dumb songs and no story but the "you need a thing to advance the story" makes this world so awkward.

Since I have Atlantica on the brain, I was reminded of this:

1855c7bb1e5d9160f6ac5fd98310e0fb.jpg


I thought you cared about your friends, Sora!
 

KHHacker6595

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I completely agree that the first half is crammed with filler but I don't think the second half is much better either. Its definitely better, especially Halloween Town's second visit actually having a thematic tie to the overall game and second visits to Land of Dragons and Beasts Castle actually having an effect on the main narrative. However, it still has plenty of filler content.

Throwing Luxord into Port Royal should have made it feel more important, but it does nothing to push the main narrative or even tie in closely thematically, its just another excuse to go there. Luxord in general adds nothing, which is a shame since he had the potential to be an interesting character. Port Royal, Agrabah, and Pride Lands are 3 of the most filler driven worlds in the game, both visits provide nothing to the main game. Halloween Towns first visit was filler, but it makes up for it with the second, the same can be said for Land of Dragons. Space Paranoids and Beasts Castle are great on both visits at least in terms of narrative importance.

The problem with both halves is they seem to lack focus, there's no consistent thrust forward like in KH1. In 1 your going on a journey from the left side of the map to the right side of the map with each stop to a new world adding context to the games universe and lore by building on it and progressing. 2 is so all over the place.
 

Divine Past

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idk at least it makes more sense for Sora to stroll through the whole world on his first visit because he had to make sure there was no Org influence or Riku/Mickey presence.

Second time though he knew Kairi was in the organization strong hold, after land of the Dragon he knows Riku is alive so the only missing piece really is Mickey I guess. Plus it's no guarantee the org actually is effecting disney worlds because they only targeted a few of them.

So my point was yes the Disney worlds were more filler in the first trip, but it at least made more sense for Sora to stroll through them because he thought Kairi was safe, the second trip he should have been in a bigger hurry to help whatever Aladdin needed help in.

(Also Atlantica makes no sense for Sora to visit because there is no heartless and king Triton has that place on lockdown.)
 

Launchpad

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On the subject of KH2 fumbling the world visits, has anyone noticed that KH1 Halloween Town is completely worthless from a narrative standpoint? All the other worlds seem to offer something from either a character development or plot standpoint...
 

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On the subject of KH2 fumbling the world visits, has anyone noticed that KH1 Halloween Town is completely worthless from a narrative standpoint? All the other worlds seem to offer something from either a character development or plot standpoint...
While KH1 Halloween Town didn't contribute much to the plot, I personally give it a pass because unlike some of the KHII worlds, its local plot completely deviated from the movie. It might've not had much significance overall, but it stayed faithful to its source material while not being a copy/paste job.
 

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While KH1 Halloween Town didn't contribute much to the plot, I personally give it a pass because unlike some of the KHII worlds, its local plot completely deviated from the movie. It might've not had much significance overall, but it stayed faithful to its source material while not being a copy/paste job.

It's a great world. It has the most expansive area in the game (and series?) through Oogie's Manor, and it's stylistically super cool. I just find it odd that in KH1, the poster child for perfect world integration, has a world that could be 100% removed with no damage to the narrative. Sora and the gang don't even LEARN anything. Shit kinda just happens and they leave. Sora speaks like once. It feels to me like they added the world very late into development.

It's a rare case of KH2 actually tying a world in better than KH1, as we find out more about Sora's childhood in Christmas Town, and then Sora has that weird fantasy about Kairi that seemed a little infantile for a 15 year old boy.
 

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On the subject of KH2 fumbling the world visits, has anyone noticed that KH1 Halloween Town is completely worthless from a narrative standpoint? All the other worlds seem to offer something from either a character development or plot standpoint...

I certainly recall this. In fact, I distinctly remember it confusing me when I was younger, during my first playthrough. The story for the world made it seem like it was maybe supposed to give some lore or details to how Heartless behave and/or some info regarding Hearts, but it ended up making less sense to me later.

Like somehow I got the impression that the residents didn't have Hearts because they were dead or undead, and that's why the Heartless weren't active or interested there at first, and it took that fake Heart getting made to stir them to action....but none of this is quite the case and it would contradict the lore anyways. I mean...I guess it gave a member of the Villains a chance to meddle with Sora?

Buuut more on topic with KH2, dlppictures makes good points above. Though as for the Agrabah point, that reminds me, we're told that an Organization member bought the lamp from the peddler for a lot of treasure. But it's weird, because it seemed like that didn't even need to be included as a point. The peddler already let Jafar out, how was that exchange even able to happen? And which Organization member was it? Am I right to be confused, or did I really not pay attention to that world?
 

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I always felt TNBC was sort of a fanservice world in KH1 (and KH2...). I'm okay with it being useless compared to the others, because Oogie interacting with Maleficent is kind of dumb anyway. And then they went and put it under a microscope in KH2.
 

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FWIW I feel Halloween Town was chosen in KH1 and maybe the last world picked because A) It looked cool and gave Sora a new outfit B)Had a bad guy who you can see working in Mali's council C)Didn't have a girl who is an obvious candidate for a PoH status (I guess Sally maybe) so they didn't have to re-write any other worlds.

I think there is some sort of relevance in plot because they dabble with fake hearts and Oggie eating a heart to control heartless but it seems it was a half hearted effort. (Maybe they were scared off revealing too much and being force to contradict this in a future game??)
 

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The real threat in this game is trying to get the treasure chests and Jiminy’s objective at the same time. While it’s possible to do both in one pass, you’re more likely to accomplish only one.

I am pretty sure that it's impossible to do both the story objective and Jiminy's objective in any 100 Acre Wood minigames on the same attempt. Or maybe that is only in FM?


And Sweet Memories is actually one of my favourite Keyblades, partially because it is weak, partially because it have amazing SFX when hitting enemies. Love that Keyblade.
 

Blackdrazon

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I am pretty sure that it's impossible to do both the story objective and Jiminy's objective in any 100 Acre Wood minigames on the same attempt. Or maybe that is only in FM?

I'm pretty sure that I've done it, or at least come very close, in Vanilla. You need to strategically abandon your friends and then luck out in recovering them. But maybe I'm remembering wrong? I'm probably remembering wrong.
 
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