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Kingdom Hearts 2 Retrospective



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KHHacker6595

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Upon reflection, this game skirts by as probably my second favorite in the franchise, and yet it just enrages me so much. It enhances so much of what made KH1 great, but throws a lot of KH1's better qualities into the trash as well.

KH2 and DDD are both good but problematic. BBS has no excuse.
you really don't like BBS? its my second favorite in the series right behind 1. 1 has major flaws but those flaws are more charming than negative, and the HD final mix version seems to fix them. KH2 is littered with issues, and none of them come off charming, they come off more lazy than anything.

It gets worse every time I replay it, no matter what version. BBS has its issues but most of them can be blamed on the limited hardware. Its writing is choppy but it still is focused and gets its points across well enough. It has gameplay issues but none of them ruin the overall experience for me like KH2's do.
 

Launchpad

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you really don't like BBS? its my second favorite in the series right behind 1. 1 has major flaws but those flaws are more charming than negative, and the HD final mix version seems to fix them. KH2 is littered with issues, and none of them come off charming, they come off more lazy than anything.

It gets worse every time I replay it, no matter what version. BBS has its issues but most of them can be blamed on the limited hardware. Its writing is choppy but it still is focused and gets its points across well enough. It has gameplay issues but none of them ruin the overall experience for me like KH2's do.

It's the fundamentals. BBS feels awful no matter what you're doing. Magic and movement don't work together, combos are horribly slow and don't feel good, jumping and air mechanics are the worst in the series bar none, and boss design is the laziest of the main games. KHII makes stupid mistakes at every turn, but it's functional and feels good. BBS makes less mistakes from a content standpoint but feels awful in every regard
 
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"Look At This Photograph"
Every time I do it makes me laugh.

The transition from the Dreadnought Gummi mission to the peaceful Twilight Town is a bit jarring. XD

That Mickey battle at the Old Mansion is a bit stupid when you know that Mickey doesn't fight alongside you any other time throughout the endgame even though he's with you in the cutscenes.

And the fact that the Twilight Town kids managed to not only come up with the theory of the alternate Twilight Town in the first place, but be dead-on correct about it is amazing. Then again, they had all those other theories about the 7 wonders, so I guess it's not surprising, but still, they happened to be correct about this one.

You even fight Snipers in the woods, where the trees can block your return Warp Snipes, which is quite tactically sound. It’s like the game is finally coming alive mechanically in its twilight hours.
Haha, you made a punny.

It's the fundamentals. BBS feels awful no matter what you're doing. Magic and movement don't work together, combos are horribly slow and don't feel good, jumping and air mechanics are the worst in the series bar none, and boss design is the laziest of the main games. KHII makes stupid mistakes at every turn, but it's functional and feels good. BBS makes less mistakes from a content standpoint but feels awful in every regard

I felt like BBS actually had entertaining gameplay for the most part. The main annoyance for me is how the game automatically forces you into command styles when the command bar gets full.

You're alternating between magnet and thunder spells to milk the most out of Prize Pods when "BZZZRT!", you enter the animation and change into a command style, wasting precious time. And what's worse is that the vortexes that you put up when using magnet spells vanish instantly when triggering a command style. It's so stupid.
 

dlppictures

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Things I like about BBS can pretty much be summed up on one hand.

Why is movement so slow? Ventus learns 'Glide', which is okay I guess, but Aqua must 'Cartwheel' all around to get anywhere in a reasonable time. Terra is stuck with a simple slide. Sure he learns a doubleslide along the way, but it is so delayed that it is actually faster to do the single slide all the time.

In KHI, Sora would learn 'Mermaid Kick' & 'Super Glide' to swim and glide faster respectively.
In KHIi, Sora had Growth abilities that all made movement faster in some way. 'High Jump' lets you skip platforms to faster reach an elevated exit. 'Aerial Dodge' enhances 'High Jump's' purpose and gives an accelarated boost when followed by 'Glide'. 'Dodge Roll's main objective is to dodge, of course, but it is still faster than running. 'Quick Run' zooms through zones while giving Sora I-frames.
Even Re:CoM gave Sora ' Glide' & 'Super Glide' even though they were barely useful in that game.
In Days, Roxas is given not only 'Glide' but also upwards of four or five 'Air Slides', a slow descent ability and even a Super Glide-esque speed boost.
I think Re:Coded is when Sora's running speed was increased, which in itself makes him faster than the BBS trio, but he was still given the classic 'Dodge Roll' & 'Glide' to make him even faster.
And then there is 'Flowmotion' which on its own makes DDD the fastest moving KH game to date.


Even combat is slow in BBS. I think soraalam1 best described this, when showing combat from KHII he would say "Bam" with each hit of a combo and it became "BamBamBam", whereas in BBS it became "Bam... Bam... Bam". Now for Terra that might work, as his fighting style is supposed to be slow and heavy. But Ventus? If anything he should be at least as fast as Sora, maybe even faster.
Even CoM and Days had faster combat than BBS, so I really don't know if that can be blamed on a limited hardware as much as on an inexperienced studio like Osaka was back then.

Don't get me wrong. Several of the things I hate about BBS, not all, but a lot, were fixed in DDD, and from what we've seen of KHIII and 0.2 I have a great deal of faith that Osaka can make a fun game now that they have more experience.


Very interesting, and thanks! I'll take a good look at all that. Unfortunately I mention the "low HP" all over the Retrospective so it'll be a while before I'm able to properly fix all my mentions of it.

Yes, I know you have mentioned low HP all throughout the retrospective, so I think the easiest bit would be to explain it in the first post you mention it, and then leave the others.
 

FudgemintGuardian

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Roxas’ closing sentiment, “You make a good other,” is an interesting one, especially when viewed in light of the Riku Replica’s dying thoughts in CoM. This game franchise has a lot of thoughts on artificial existence, and a lot of them are good thoughts. It’s too bad, then, that they’re so hard to trace back into real life.
You can't fight what you are, so just accept it.


and writes the names of his other apprentices for the first time: Xigbar was “Braig,” Xaldin was “Dilan,” Vexen was “Even,” Lexaeus was “Aeleus,” and Zexion was “Ienzo.”
How could you forget to mention that in the North American Vanilla, Braig, Dilan and Aeleus' names were misspelled as "Bleig", "Dilin" and "Eleus" ?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
 

Elysium

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I always assumed they used the Shadow Heartless (in the scene before the Xigbar fight) just because they are kind of the Heartless figurehead, so to speak, and probably also because the gaudy Emblems would’ve looked even more ridiculous than usual against the white/black backdrop of TWTNW which would make the scene less dramatic.

Yeah, Ansem the Wise just talks and talks and talks. The only saving grace for that is Christopher Lee. And, another yeah, the apprentice's names are stupid.

I have never used a Drive Form during the Xigbar battle because every time I’ve tried, I go into Anti-Form. The only time I Drive then is when death would be the only other option, but then I go into Anti-Form and die anyway. lol I don’t really find Xigbar that hard. He relies on gimmicks like most bosses KH2-onwards, which isn't really a fun experience, imo.
 

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You can't fight what you are, so just accept it.

I suppose, but I've got an objection to that in regards to this scene that I won't be able to raise for a few games. :/


How could you forget to mention that in the North American Vanilla, Braig, Dilan and Aeleus' names were misspelled as "Bleig", "Dilin" and "Eleus" ?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Ah shoot, how did I miss that? I'll correct it.


I always assumed they used the Shadow Heartless (in the scene before the Xigbar fight) just because they are kind of the Heartless figurehead, so to speak, and probably also because the gaudy Emblems would’ve looked even more ridiculous than usual against the white/black backdrop of TWTNW which would make the scene less dramatic.

You're not wrong, but it comes down to the same style versus substance problem that plagues KH2: in a battle of equals, they picked the thing that looked nice instead of the thing that made sense. Not as excessive as other examples, but nicely summarized into a single frame.
 

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Ah shoot, how did I miss that? I'll correct it.

Don't forget that PAL fixed the mistranslation.




Also, Xigbar's sniper scope has been consistent in all Japanese versions.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HfviONBbUQ - 11:12 (my difference-comparing video, showing JP, FM and PAL on PS2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq4PaiCeyR0 - 01:38 (2.5 Japanese)

It is the English version that has changed as in PS2 English, NA or PAL alike, (I've tested that) Xigbar doesn't combine the Arrowguns to make a sniper rifle, he just twirls the guns around and balances the right one ontop of the left one.*
But in 2.5 English, Xigbar does combine them into a sniper rifle and aims with that "futuristic-looking" scope.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xk6YTwseHvI - 1:15

*At least that is what I think he does. It is a little hard to see, but maybe he just holds his right gun in the air on its own?
 

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So, next is the most famous scene of KH2 and the reunion the player has been waiting for the entire long run of the game. I look forward to seeing your thoughts on it and the entire end segment of the game. It took a criminally long time for the game to come to this point.
 

h.e.hassanein

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So, next is the most famous scene of KH2 and the reunion the player has been waiting for the entire long run of the game. I look forward to seeing your thoughts on it and the entire end segment of the game. It took a criminally long time for the game to come to this point.

Seconded, and since I really love the ending I'm surprisingly eager to watch it be butchered before mine eyes :) Seriously tho, I can't wait to be shown all this stuff I never thought about in the 4 times I've played that game- where did Riku's keyblade come from??
 

KHHacker6595

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I've been watching a retrospective of the series on youtube and they got to KH2 and I barely could make it through the video. The whole time they talked about how much better in every way it was to KH1 and completely ignoring the flat and empty level design, the hack n slash combat with no weight, the lack of puzzles or platforming, and the really poorly written script/story with holes throughout. I just don't get why people like 2 more than 1, its so strange to me.
 

h.e.hassanein

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I've been watching a retrospective of the series on youtube and they got to KH2 and I barely could make it through the video. The whole time they talked about how much better in every way it was to KH1 and completely ignoring the flat and empty level design, the hack n slash combat with no weight, the lack of puzzles or platforming, and the really poorly written script/story with holes throughout. I just don't get why people like 2 more than 1, its so strange to me.

I recently played KHI (or rather played through my friend who was playing for the first time) and the whole time I was mentally comparing the two games and...it's amazing because KHI checked every metaphorical point on the things-that-make-me-better-than-KHII list, but I could still understand how KHII would be more popular.
KHII just seems more of a triple-A game. It's fuller, it's flashier, it tries a lot harder. It's much longer, and there's more to do with combat (you have drive and limits added onto regular attacks and magic). If the two games were kids, KHII would be the spoiled kid with lots of toys but little substance to KHI's Charlie Bucket. I love KHII, but I can definitely see how it can quite unfairly outshine KHI.
 

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Yea KH2 does try to be cooler. The Sora vs 1000 heartless fight and the Sora/Roxas fight are built up like these epic fights which you don't really get in KH1 main bosses barring maybe the Sora vs Riku 2 in HB. So I guess I can see why when reminiscing you remember the epic moments which makes the game feel like it was a lot better.
 

FudgemintGuardian

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I've been watching a retrospective of the series on youtube and they got to KH2 and I barely could make it through the video. The whole time they talked about how much better in every way it was to KH1 and completely ignoring the flat and empty level design, the hack n slash combat with no weight, the lack of puzzles or platforming, and the really poorly written script/story with holes throughout. I just don't get why people like 2 more than 1, its so strange to me.
Should'a left them a link to the this Retrospective.


KH2 is certainly flashier than KH1, and unfortunately those people think "flashier than KH1" means "better than KH1".
 

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Still don't get how people can shittalk KH2 and say at the same moment how much better KH1 is. KH1 had great ideas like the puzzles etc. but I can't remember anything that was actually fun.
 

Elysium

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I have to admit this scene is my favorite from KH2, and arguably the series; the only real competition is the scene where the PoH's hearts are returned in KH1. I know the "my friends are my power" scenes caps a build-up of themes/emotion, but I feel like this scene caps Riku-Sora's relationship as depicted in KH1 and CoM.

As far as KH2's female problem, I wouldn't even count Olette as positive. She has no personality in the trio outside being "the girl," and when I think of the character, the first thing that comes to mind is when Axel comes to kidnap Kairi and both Pence/Hayner try to fight him while she just stands there and does nothing at all....

Still don't get how people can shittalk KH2 and say at the same moment how much better KH1 is. KH1 had great ideas like the puzzles etc. but I can't remember anything that was actually fun.
I could give you that as far as minigames go, the two would be even, because KH1's minigames are just as annoying as KH2's and many of them are sleeker than in KH1 (I'm thinking of Pooh and the Gummi Ship). And, yes, the graphics are naturally better. As far as story, world design, plot structuring, difficulty, and overall coherency, it is a better game. And honestly, many of the minigames/side quests are superior--the Coliseum is unequivocally better in KH1 than it is in KH2. Trinities > puzzle pieces. The secret bosses are superior, too, imo, but I don't like the gimmicks that bosses KH2-onwards fall back on.

@Divine Past: I think of the fight with Antisora as pretty epic. And the first trip to Hollow Bastion in KH1 is still the most epic world visit in the series, imo.
 

h.e.hassanein

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And the first trip to Hollow Bastion in KH1 is still the most epic world visit in the series, imo.

Yaaaaass, taking you to the highest-levelled world you've seen yet so that you're already intimidated and then making you completely helpless? Even after you regain DG as party members, just exploring the castle is something else in comparison to the rest of the worlds we've seen in the whole series.

As far as KH2's female problem, I wouldn't even count Olette as positive. She has no personality in the trio outside being "the girl," and when I think of the character(...)

Okay I'm not going to try and say KH doesn't throw its female characters under the bus BUT

I mean..... arguably, what personality did Pence have? The weird kid that's into photography? What about Hayner, was he really tough enough to deserve being called the tough one? KH as a series isn't that good at building up its own characters. I think Olette was cool, she was like the stern bookish one, almost like a laidback Hermione there to remind everyone to get their shit together. Or maybe that was another sexist trope all along?! :(
 

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. And, yes, the graphics are naturally better. As far as story, world design, plot structuring, difficulty, and overall coherency, it is a better game.

Are you talking about KH1 here? I mean that these points are better in 1 than in 2?
 
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