Was KH2's Story Really That Good Compared to 3?



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AR829038

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So, I know this is outright blasphemy, because there seems to be this consensus amongst the Kingdom Hearts community that KH2 was the best game in the series in terms of its story, and nowhere has this point been brought up more than in discussions of how bad Kingdom Hearts III's story was in comparison. And upon recently playing through the games again, I came to question whether 2's story was really that much better and more cohesive than 3's was. Just here me out.
So, I think most of us can agree that the prologue in KH2 with Roxas was beautiful, and the midway point and the climax of the game were both glorious, some of the best moments in the series. But all the stuff that happens inbetween—I really wonder if KH3 did the Disney worlds so much worse than KH2, or even KH1, did.
One of the biggest criticisms of 3 was that the Disney worlds were filler and served no purpose in facilitating the climactic battle at the Keyblade Graveyard. But I thought, well, if we could go through the main games in the series and note each Disney world's importance to the overarching story, I wonder if we'd really find many more in KH2 that fit into the larger narrative better than the worlds in 3 did. So, here's a little list of the worlds in each game and what purpose they served outside of their own self-contained stories that could only be served by that particular world. So, for instance, even though KH1 had you going around locking Keyholes and protecting the worlds from the Heartless, and even though KH2 had you going around stopping Maleficent and the Organization, the specific worlds you visit may not have had any unique function.
So, for KH1:

Wonderland – Homeworld of Alice, one of the Princesses of Heart. Fairly important.
Olympus Coliseum – Sora learns how to be a hero. Mildly important, but not really.
Deep Jungle – Some good character dynamics between Sora, Donald, and Goofy. Okay. But not really anything that couldn't have been done in a different world.
Agrabah – Okay, another Princess of Heart (Jasmine). Check.
Monstro – Relevant for Jiminy Cricket, but mostly good for the Sora-Riku rivalry. Pretty important.
Atlantica – Ehr, not really anything important here (hell, you can skip the world and still beat the game, what does that tell you?)
Halloween Town – Also not very important story-wise.
Hundred Acre Wood – Yeah, not important at all.
Neverland – Some more Sora-Riku rivalry, plus Sora finds Kairi. Okay, pretty important.

So, overall, KH1 has a pretty good mix, and even the worlds that aren't important in and of themselves do still provide a good backdrop for the characters to grow and develop well. So, all around, probably like 80% of the worlds in that game were of any importance to the larger story. Very good.

Now, onto KH2:

Land of Dragons – Xigbar shows up later in the game, but doesn't do anything besides raise a Heartless dragon and then leave. Not important at all.
Beast's Castle – Xaldin up to a bunch of shit here. Otherwise, not terribly important either.
Olympus Coliseum – Demyx makes his first appearance, but then, he doesn't ever really do anything important in the game besides just being an Organization member. Pete's here trying to get some Heartless, but none of the other stuff really matters.
Disney Castle/Timeless River – There's the whole subplot with Maleficent and Pete trying gain a new domain. Meh.
Atlantica – Lol no.
Port Royal – Again, Luxord does some barely relevant shit here that could have been done just about anywhere else and it wouldn't make a difference. Otherwise, more of Pete gathering up Maleficent's Heartless army. Not that important.
Agrabah – Same old same old: Pete and some Organization people doing the bare minimum here to fulfill their goals. Next.
Halloween Town – Maleficent trying to steal Christmas? Wtf? Otherwise, literal nothing burger.
Pride Lands – Pete doing same stuff. Not important at all otherwise.
Space Paranoids – Now, this one actually works pretty well, because it directly ties into not only Hollow Bastion's story but the data relevant to uncovering the secrets of Ansem the Wise and Organization XIII. Finally, a legitimately important world!
Hundred Acre Wood – Nah.

So, wow, yeah. Almost none of the worlds in KH2 served any integral importance. Like, none. Maleficent's and the Organization's goals in that game were so non-targeted (just go out and gather Heartless for an army/hearts for Kingdom Hearts) that it really never mattered which worlds SDG went to. Like, only one out of all the Disney worlds in that game served a specific and unique function in the overarching story.

And now, let's look at 3:

Olympus – Well, Sora goes there to try and get his old strength back. It's a dead end of course, but at least there's a reason for Sora to be there.
Toy Box – Young Xehanort trying to figure out how hearts and inanimate objects connect, giving him a clue on how to put hearts inside replicas maybe? Arguably quite important, if clunkily handled.
Kingdom of Corona – Introduction to one of the new seven Princesses of Heart, which were vital as motivation for the Guardians to assemble as otherwise Xehanort would have gone after them once he'd found them all. So, yeah, actually pretty damn important.
Monstropolis – Allowed Vanitas to resurrect himself by collecting all the negative emotions from the factory to restore his heart. Again, really important.
Arrendelle – Not one, but TWO new Princesses of Heart! What??? Yeah, I hate Arrendelle as much as anyone, but there's no denying that level of importance in this setup.
The Caribbean – Alright, not so important. Luxord and Vexen search for the box, it's a dud. The end. Not that important.
San Fransokyo – Dark Riku up in here doing more research relevant to how Xehanort can create the replicas he needs for the final showdown. Check on this world.
And finally, Hundred Acre Wood – Still no.

Wait! Doth my eyes deceive me? According to this, it actually seems as if almost EVERY SINGLE DISNEY WORLD IN KH3 was more important than almost ANY of the Disney worlds in KH2!!!!!!
So, we all know the whole goose chase about the power of waking was a complete bust. The overarching reasons for going to different Disney worlds was definitely much better in the first two main games. But when it comes to how much the worlds actually contribute to the story, well, it turns out 3 did it WAY better than 2!
What do the rest of you guys think about this?
 
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It's always seemed to me that after KH 1 the Disney worlds have served more of a character development (or at least character learning) purpose than actual plot development. They exist more to pad out game time, allow the developers to come up with more interesting ideas for levels and game mechanics, and most importantly fulfill the Disney content obligation of a Disney meets FF crossover game.

I personally loved most of the Disney worlds in KH3 and felt that the pacing of those worlds in the grand scheme of the plot at large was actually pretty good and (almost) completely consistent with the pacing of all the other games in the series. So I more or less agree with you on that.

Where KH 3's story falls short of KH 2's for me, is the lack a concrete middle point, like the 1000 heartless battle sequence in Hollow Bastion from KH2. And the fact that Kh 2's ending wrapped up all of the major plot threads that KH 1 and COM created in a satisfying way. Kh3's ending doesn't have the same sense of finality, and it creates/leaves more hanging plot threads than it ties up.

Overall, Kh 3 has a great story, but a baffling and unsatisfying ending considering the crazy long wait and hype for it.
 

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I try not to say that 2's story is better than 3, but that 3's story is worse than 2's. I know that doesn't make a lick of sense so I'll try to explain it.

3 had so much going against it. The game has to do something that no other game in the series has done; close the saga. The culmination of many games and many characters. In that regard 3 is a massive disappointment for many. There are steps that could've been taken to focus on the major points that both casual(ew gatekeeping) fans and fanatics wanted.

Things that most fans wanted:
* More interactions between characters.
* Characters being more involved in the plot early on.
* Kairi doing something.

Those are popular and reasonable expectations but they failed to meet them, and so comes the backlash. I don't think 2's story is good but it keeps things interesting throughout the whole game.

The first act is the Roxas prologue: Mystery and tension kept many hooked. Sora's entrance is the payoff.
The second act is the Showdown at Hollow Bastion: Epic event that feels like endgame material. The mid twist is the payoff.
Third act is the final world: Boss rush with little reveals sprinkled throughout. The happy yet melancholic ending is the payoff.
Between all that is the Disney filler that we all have come to hate or love. 2 uses the Disney worlds to slowly buildup things that you can play part in, unlike 3 which only gives you 2-3 Riku fights and 1 Aqua fight. Those are brief fights, not events like 2.

Again by no means 2 has the best story, but it has less going against it like 3.

TLDR: Kh3 has more cons that 2, and both are not that good, but 2 did a better job. KH3 is saga closer and dropped the ball for many.
 

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Personally, both KH2 AND KH3 were inferior to KH1. The first game definitely had the best writing, and the only thing I can think of that KH2 did better was the combat and motion.

I preferred the dungeon-y aspects of the first game, Hollow Bastion especially. It wasn't until KH2FM that we even had such an area to explore like that. And I feel like comparing KH3 to KH2FM is unfair until the Remind DLC hits.
 

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KINGDOM HEARTS III's story could have gone better if:

A.) It didn't underserve the Xehanort Saga in order to hype up the Foretellers'

B.) Turn Terranort into the most powerful being in the universe
 

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I try not to say that 2's story is better than 3, but that 3's story is worse than 2's. I know that doesn't make a lick of sense so I'll try to explain it.

3 had so much going against it. The game has to do something that no other game in the series has done; close the saga. The culmination of many games and many characters. In that regard 3 is a massive disappointment for many. There are steps that could've been taken to focus on the major points that both casual(ew gatekeeping) fans and fanatics wanted.

Things that most fans wanted:
* More interactions between characters.
* Characters being more involved in the plot early on.
* Kairi doing something.

Those are popular and reasonable expectations but they failed to meet them, and so comes the backlash. I don't think 2's story is good but it keeps things interesting throughout the whole game.

The first act is the Roxas prologue: Mystery and tension kept many hooked. Sora's entrance is the payoff.
The second act is the Showdown at Hollow Bastion: Epic event that feels like endgame material. The mid twist is the payoff.
Third act is the final world: Boss rush with little reveals sprinkled throughout. The happy yet melancholic ending is the payoff.
Between all that is the Disney filler that we all have come to hate or love. 2 uses the Disney worlds to slowly buildup things that you can play part in, unlike 3 which only gives you 2-3 Riku fights and 1 Aqua fight. Those are brief fights, not events like 2.

Again by no means 2 has the best story, but it has less going against it like 3.

TLDR: Kh3 has more cons that 2, and both are not that good, but 2 did a better job. KH3 is saga closer and dropped the ball for many.
Yeah, basically it seems that KH1 and 2 handled their characters much better than KH3 did, but I just wanted to address the common complaint that the Disney worlds in KH3 were pointless, which has been one of the biggest criticisms of KH3.
 

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I spent WAY too many days discussing this on this forum. My opinion is that KH3's story is better than KH2's. Whether this is a compliment or not, take it however you want. KH2 suffered greatly (and I'm talking vanilla KH2) because the main villain didn't become active until more than halfway through the game and even then, it takes hours of empty/unrelated Disney worlds to finally get to the main plot. On top of that, the grand point of the villain -- for Sora to go to the worlds and kill more heartless was basically ignored by Sora and never brought up again as a concern of his. It takes very long for KH2 to establish the point of the journey. Initially it's just go to random worlds that we (the players) know Riku and Mickey will NOT be, which then leads us to believe that the visits are pointless except for reliving Disney films. At least KH3 we knew what the goal was to visit worlds (Power of Waking), the end point of it all (the Keyblade Graveyard), and the villain's presence was felt in each world (which also acted as teachable moments for Sora for the final act of KH3). The execution may be questionable, but at least I felt like I was moving forward during and after every world in KH3 while in KH2 it just felt like visiting Disney worlds until I hit the quota to unlock the main story clips.
 

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I mean, is there actually a problem with the main villain only being active during the game's other half? His presence and that of the rest was well established in the beginning of the game.

Other than that, remember that KH2's production was rushed.

Not trying to be the devil's advocate, but I wanna put some things into perspective.
 

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KH3 had a lot of buildup without payoff, a very lacking payoff or even contradictions.

We start out as Sora who has lost his abilities and tries to regain them. The game is constantly hammering this into our heads by even having characters saying he looks weak although he looks like he always does. At the end of the first world the oh so weak Sora beats titans and the conclusion of the world is "I can't help you with your strength issue, figure it out yourself". Bummer.
Our next goal is to rediscover our power of waking which is frequently switched with finding Roxas even though we exactly know where he is. It's hardly understandable that they still look for him when that's totally not the problem - we know where his heart is, the problem is the body and we won't solve that by asking around people who can't have seem him since he never has actually lived there in the first place. At some point Sora thinks of finding Terra which is our third interchangeable goal - I mean you can do all three, looking for a solution for the Roxas issue, find Terra and discover the power of waking but it felt pretty random when Sora looked for one of the three.

The Roxas issue is outsourced to being Ienzo's problem, Terra couldn't be found and the power of waking was in us all along - which is not bad per se, but it's not like there was buildup for this. We traveled through Disney worlds, Sora himself comments that he doesn't know why they end up there and he learned nothing about the power of waking. When he unlocks it, it feels more like a deus ex machina than an achievement.

Meanwhile, Riku and Mickey look for a way to save Aqua. First of all, we learn that Mickey's Kingdom Key can open the door to the RoD which implies he could've saved her basically anytime for 10 years. If he had re-entered the Rod shortly after KH1's ending, Aqua probably still would've sat on the same beach, he could've picked her up and smoothly left the RoD. Be that as it may, they discover she's in deeper and can't follow her, the keyblades break and they just ... go back. Think about this for a second how the RoD has become some kind of danger zone you can just leave and return to the home base to restock your goods. The introduction of breakable keyblades already felt kinda weird since keyblades are a manifestation of your inner strength and just being able to replace them through better ones feels ... odd enough. Nevermind, Riku and Mickey actually think about what happened to Ventus, Aqua and Terra and realize they need someone to do the dive - which is pretty stupid, considering even themselves as Keyblade Masters were too weak for the RoD, so who did they think they could find and drag into the RoD to make an even more dangerous dive into Aqua's heart? Their whole part doesn't make sense. They hit a dead end since they couldn't find anyone to make the dive, but still decide to go back into the RoD to get their ass beaten. Finally, Sora, who has zero connection to Aqua, pulls the randomly appeared Eraqus sword from the beach, randomly opens a path to her, saves his boyfriend and by beating the crap out of Aqua, miraculously saves her too. How convenient. This would've worked WAY better by involving Ventus into this, who maybe reacts to Aqua falling to darkness, but in the end it is presented that Sora, who - I repeat - has zero connection to her, just saves her from the darkness. Aqua turning bad and turning good again has no effect whatsoever on the plot by the way and was just a way to stall the plot and keep her away from doing something.

And that is only the first part. Later keyblades who have been broken will be magically re-fixed in the next scene (Lea), still-stuck-in-Sora Roxas will be magically warped onto the battlefield by the power of friendship and Xehanort somehow turns out to be a portal??

KH3 has good ideas and good scenes, but the scenarios involve way too much convenience and plain stupidity. The only person who actually accomplishes something worth noting are Sora and to an extent Naminé, but the rest hardly ever interact with each other. Kairi's training amounts to nothing and she is reduced to a pure plot device again and mostly it feels like a 13 against Sora and not a 13 against 7 Keyblade Masters situation.
 

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I mean, is there actually a problem with the main villain only being active during the game's other half? His presence and that of the rest was well established in the beginning of the game.

Other than that, remember that KH2's production was rushed.

Not trying to be the devil's advocate, but I wanna put some things into perspective.
Wait, so KH2's production being "rushed" (which I don't remember at all) is a valid excuse for KH2's story being all over the place, but that can't be accepted for KH3? Not only that, but KH3 was under the reign of current mega-power Disney and not the pre-MCU/Star Wars Disney. AND KH2 didn't have as many characters, backstories, side-games etc. to wrap up -- I mean CoM was basically treated like it didn't exist (for Sora). I give KH3 a pass for certain things because Nomura straight up admitted their difficulties (like the story/production). KH2 should be the game heavily scrutinized for its story/execution being such a deviation from KH1 -- but I guess the fact that there were data battles, Lingering Will, no floaty combat, and extra cutscenes added to make sense of things thrown in for the US audience to experience 10 years later makes it the measuring stick of KH games.
 

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Wait, so KH2's production being "rushed" (which I don't remember at all) is a valid excuse for KH2's story being all over the place, but that can't be accepted for KH3? Not only that, but KH3 was under the reign of current mega-power Disney and not the pre-MCU/Star Wars Disney. AND KH2 didn't have as many characters, backstories, side-games etc. to wrap up -- I mean CoM was basically treated like it didn't exist (for Sora). I give KH3 a pass for certain things because Nomura straight up admitted their difficulties (like the story/production). KH2 should be the game heavily scrutinized for its story/execution being such a deviation from KH1 -- but I guess the fact that there were data battles, Lingering Will, no floaty combat, and extra cutscenes added to make sense of things thrown in for the US audience to experience 10 years later makes it the measuring stick of KH games.
I'm not saying KH2 should be given a pass. I like putting things into perspective and discussing them.

And I'm of the opinion that KH3 did not write itself into a corner with so many characters, but rather, the Foretellers Saga wrote KH3 into a corner of author-service towards the upcoming saga, while demeaning the current one.
 

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I'm not saying KH2 should be given a pass. I like putting things into perspective and discussing them.

And I'm of the opinion that KH3 did not write itself into a corner with so many characters, but rather, the Foretellers Saga wrote KH3 into a corner of author-service towards the upcoming saga, while demeaning the current one.
Can you please expand on why you think the Foretellers Saga wrote KH3 into a corner? The elements from the Dark Seeker Saga forced KH3 to be written a certain way without additional logical fallacies. The Foretellers were only mentioned/related to with Girl X (which gave Isa/Lea some more backstory and explained Isa's goal), one scene explaining why Luxord/Larxene/Marluxia/Demyx were brought back, the scene where the lights from the past help Sora (Ephemer), the black box scenes with Maleficent/Pete, and the Luxu reveal at the end of KH3. That's probably 20-30 minutes maximum spent in KH3 on Foretellers stuff. The Dark Seeker Saga material on the other hand forced the story to play out a certain way -- Aqua being saved had to be later on or she would save Ven early, which would mean the Keyblade War could start as all the guardians were found. Terra being saved had to happen at the Keyblade Graveyard since he was one of the 13 darknesses. Namine was in Kairi and Roxas/Xion were in Sora so they couldn't have been saved earlier either. A lot of the lingering stories/characters were basically placed in a spot where they could only logically return at the end or near the end of the game. Granted, that doesn't mean we couldn't have had more scenes of Aqua/inside Terra's heart/Ven talking to Roxas or Xion etc. but I feel like the extremely linear and heavy ended way KH3 was written was the corner Nomura wrote himself into.
 

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Can you please expand on why you think the Foretellers Saga wrote KH3 into a corner? The elements from the Dark Seeker Saga forced KH3 to be written a certain way without additional logical fallacies. The Foretellers were only mentioned/related to with Girl X (which gave Isa/Lea some more backstory and explained Isa's goal), one scene explaining why Luxord/Larxene/Marluxia/Demyx were brought back, the scene where the lights from the past help Sora (Ephemer), the black box scenes with Maleficent/Pete, and the Luxu reveal at the end of KH3. That's probably 20-30 minutes maximum spent in KH3 on Foretellers stuff. The Dark Seeker Saga material on the other hand forced the story to play out a certain way -- Aqua being saved had to be later on or she would save Ven early, which would mean the Keyblade War could start as all the guardians were found. Terra being saved had to happen at the Keyblade Graveyard since he was one of the 13 darknesses. Namine was in Kairi and Roxas/Xion were in Sora so they couldn't have been saved earlier either. A lot of the lingering stories/characters were basically placed in a spot where they could only logically return at the end or near the end of the game. Granted, that doesn't mean we couldn't have had more scenes of Aqua/inside Terra's heart/Ven talking to Roxas or Xion etc. but I feel like the extremely linear and heavy ended way KH3 was written was the corner Nomura wrote himself into.
When I mention the Foreteller Saga, it includes all the KHx and KHUx lore. A lot of that took priority over the Xehanort Saga. You could have teased the next saga without the need of underserving the current one. They did a good job some times of mixing both sagas, like when Xemnas recognized the Organization members from the KHUx era. But something like the Black Box made it look like everyone involved in it was in some wild goose chase over it, and it sorta undermined other elements.
 

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When I mention the Foreteller Saga, it includes all the KHx and KHUx lore. A lot of that took priority over the Xehanort Saga. You could have teased the next saga without the need of underserving the current one. They did a good job some times of mixing both sagas, like when Xemnas recognized the Organization members from the KHUx era. But something like the Black Box made it look like everyone involved in it was in some wild goose chase over it, and it sorta undermined other elements.
The Black Box was a very small part of KH3. It was teased throughout and when things became for focused towards the climax, it wasn't mentioned again. Then after all the emotions at the Keyblade Graveyard, you kind of forget about the box then... bam, not only do you get the Luxu surprise, but also that he has the box, I found that a great build to the next saga without taking up too much attention. They built up the importance of the box through Maleficent/Pete/The Organization, then you get hit with a one-two punch surprise at the end.

Vanilla KH2 gave hours of focus on Roxas (who I love), but in the grand scheme of KH2's story was pretty irrelevant. You get a vague sense of what he did before and that he needs to rejoin with Sora. Then you get tons of scenes with people calling Sora "Roxas" or referencing things Roxas did, as if that's supposed to mean anything to the players in KH2. Those scenes only have relevance after playing Days and then KH2 Remix. KH2 was like a big tease/ad for Days which -- unlike what KH3 was doing -- wasn't building up for another saga, but building up to a side game that just expanded on a character introduced vaguely in KH2 and not even a major plot point (since Nomura went out of his way to make sense of Xion existing then being forgotten).

I do agree with you that some KHUX stuff felt like more of a priority than the Xehanort saga stuff and that all the stories and characters we've watched throughout the whole series should have gotten more love, but I didn't think that the KHUX affected the KH3 story negatively. I think the amount given was enough, there just should have been comparably more scenes with the characters that we really wanted to see.
 

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What KH2 has over KH3 is that it wrapped things up.
Roxas is being introduced as being a part of Sora with memory loss and it is implied that he was pretty important for the organisation because he has a keyblade - that is a fair reason since Saix later explains that the keyblade releases the hearts they need for their artificial Kingdom Hearts, so it's not like the game constantly teases a side game you have to play, but rather can play. As he discovers who he really is, he discovers his fate and returns to Sora. Later they have an ultimate battle about this where he accepts who he is, he gets a nice goodybe and sort of a happy ending and this is resolved.
The organisation members are defeated throughout the game and the last ones in a big climax, everyone returns home.
The parts of other games KH2 builds up are rather small and mostly comments like "you're not half the hero those three were", but it's never brought up again and plays no part in the game, so it's rather forgettable.

Kh3 on the other hand spends a lot of time building the next saga. Maleficent returns to look for the black box, as do some organisation members, but it does nothing in the game itself and takes quite some screentime. Chirithy appears to guide Sora. Ephemera randomly appears to help Sora out of his misery. The Foretellers who we've never had much chance to build a connection to, just reappear. The organisation is revealed to consist of people who all are not from this time and age, but that does nothing to build their character - my knowledge about Luxord is still reduced to "likes games".

People wanted KH3 to focus on stuff we already have. Among the things people were most excited to, character interactions and meetings were often mentioned. People wanted the cast to actually talk, Roxas meeting Ventus was a big deal, Terra meeting Riku again, Sora meeting Vanitas ... most of these meetings were reduced to a nod or a "huh?", but without actual followup.
The Final Fantasy characters just ... disappeared.
The organisation members only spouted gibberish most of the time and were hardly involved in the world plots.

It's not that KH2 didn't do some of these things - but KH2 is from 2005, KH was smaller back then and I guess people are a little pissed that some of the worse plot points, that were already not too good back then, just ... stuck. 13 years later and the organisation members still have no real presence in the worlds.
 

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What KH2 has over KH3 is that it wrapped things up.
Roxas is being introduced as being a part of Sora with memory loss and it is implied that he was pretty important for the organisation because he has a keyblade - that is a fair reason since Saix later explains that the keyblade releases the hearts they need for their artificial Kingdom Hearts, so it's not like the game constantly teases a side game you have to play, but rather can play. As he discovers who he really is, he discovers his fate and returns to Sora. Later they have an ultimate battle about this where he accepts who he is, he gets a nice goodybe and sort of a happy ending and this is resolved.
The organisation members are defeated throughout the game and the last ones in a big climax, everyone returns home.
The parts of other games KH2 builds up are rather small and mostly comments like "you're not half the hero those three were", but it's never brought up again and plays no part in the game, so it's rather forgettable.

Kh3 on the other hand spends a lot of time building the next saga. Maleficent returns to look for the black box, as do some organisation members, but it does nothing in the game itself and takes quite some screentime. Chirithy appears to guide Sora. Ephemera randomly appears to help Sora out of his misery. The Foretellers who we've never had much chance to build a connection to, just reappear. The organisation is revealed to consist of people who all are not from this time and age, but that does nothing to build their character - my knowledge about Luxord is still reduced to "likes games".

People wanted KH3 to focus on stuff we already have. Among the things people were most excited to, character interactions and meetings were often mentioned. People wanted the cast to actually talk, Roxas meeting Ventus was a big deal, Terra meeting Riku again, Sora meeting Vanitas ... most of these meetings were reduced to a nod or a "huh?", but without actual followup.
The Final Fantasy characters just ... disappeared.
The organisation members only spouted gibberish most of the time and were hardly involved in the world plots.

It's not that KH2 didn't do some of these things - but KH2 is from 2005, KH was smaller back then and I guess people are a little pissed that some of the worse plot points, that were already not too good back then, just ... stuck. 13 years later and the organisation members still have no real presence in the worlds.
I agree that KH2 had a much more clear closure than KH3 (although a lot of it left me asking questions and assuming there was more to come). KH3 on the other hand held nothing back and made it clear that there was definitely more to come. As the end of a saga, I do think it is bad to "over-expose" the future plans. Granted, I don't think KH3 did that, what I think KH3 did was just not include more of what we needed to get the feeling of closure for the entire saga. I believe that if people got the scenes they were waiting for and the fights they wanted, even if Girl X/The Black Box etc. were included in KH3 at the same capacity they are right now, it wouldn't be such an issue.

The only thing that I question is whether the things people were looking forward to are actually relevant to the plot. Why is Roxas/Ven talking relevant to THIS plot? Because they look the same? Why is Terra/Riku talking relevant in KH3? Especially given WHEN we get Terra back, it'd have been so strange for Terra/Riku to get a scene over TAV. And what are they going to talk about -- how we were both possessed but free now?

This thread is about whether KH2's plot was "that good" and it wasn't. It may have delivered certain aspects of plot better than KH3 (like a better climax), but it had major plot problems too. Honestly, if I step back and look at the plots of KH2 and KH3, I would say KH3 is better... but the biggest issue with KH3's plot is the execution and pacing. Like you rightly said, some things are just brushed off with nods or dealt with quickly when we have been waiting for more -- key information (and reasons to visit other worlds) have been reduced to Gummiphone calls (which is one of the reasons writers hate cellphones). Also, it goes from 0 to 100 after the last Disney world. KH2's issue was the execution and structure, it mostly felt like two stories at once -- a kid having fun adventuring in Disney worlds for seemingly no reason (since the question: Are Riku or Mickey here? would be answered in 5 seconds) and this dark storyline about nobodies, there was no cohesion. I would prefer that the Organization at least allude to the Disney worlds being relevant to their plans (like Toy Box and San Fransokyo being used for research for perfect replicas), than a total absence of them and/or an appearance where they just play along and have fun in the Disney world (Luxord) -- this excuses Xaldin btw.
 

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I agree with Absent in that KH2's story wasn't great or that well paced, but to a far less damaging degree than KH3. Even though KH2's structure was mostly barebones through the majority of it, it at least had a very cathartic payoff by the final world: the infamous Riku reunion, Sora and Riku reconciling their relationship, the resolve and fate of Roxas and Namine, Axel coming back to the main plot to help Sora, with a very heartfelt death, etc.

I myself remember being pretty irritated through a lot of the game that certain plot developments weren't being explored quick enough (though I'm admittedly an impatient person, and this was vanilla KH2), but it's saving grace was that there weren't that many plot developments and character arcs that needed to be resolved in the first place, and they finally were in a satisfactory way that felt rewarding.

KH2 also had a very distinct and eventful middle point, which at least did break the monotony of only going to Disney worlds, and it successfully put the story objectives back into the mind of the player while raising the stakes and tension of the story overall, even when the player was still forced to go back to all the Disney worlds again (which was another point of frustration for me, but at least I felt that the story was finally progressing to a degree with a concrete resolve in sight, so it was more of an annoyance than anything).

KH3 was the complete opposite of this, in that it had a lot, lot more plot developments and character arcs to resolve compared to KH2, so the itch to get to them quickly in a satisfactory way was much greater. With how much KH3 was meant to juggle by itself, I was expecting to have a main plot event be explored or progress by at least the end of each Disney world. Since it also didn't have a much needed middle point, the fatigue of grinding though the game felt much more sharply burdensome (and in a way almost punishing the player for wanting the plot to progress at all), as fun and fleshed out as the Disney worlds were in KH3.

At one point while playing KH3, I became so frustrated by the lack of main plot being explored in the game, I looked up the cutscenes (very carefully to not see the ending or the final world) just to see after what specific Disney worlds was the story finally going to show up at all again. I don't know if that says more about my impatience (which I did actually try to control for once) or the game itself.

By the time I reached the final world, the amount of events happening and confusing twists, with arc conclusions being sprinkled throughout messily, I felt downright overwhelmed and mentally strained to the point of barely comprehending what was happening anymore, inwardly asking the game why didn't you just space these events throughout the game evenly.
 
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disney233

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See, I was never an advocate on the Disney worlds after 1 because...they just felt barebones. I understand that Space Paranoids was an excellent Disney world that tied into Radiant Garden's plot, but Beast Castle, another that that people believed had a good story, while it did, didn't really have much of an effect to the grand scheme of things.

See, the problem I have with 3 is that....There's so many damn characters to juggle around and bring back just for the sake of THIS SPECIFIC GAME. That's the problem with KH3. Of course, you can't expect a resolve, of course, you can't expect stuff like Final Fantasy characters joining in on the fight and so on. There's just...too many characters to deal with apart of this jumbled up plot, and the meetups are just...rushed and there's little time for ANY character to get a break.

KH2 had SOOOOO many problems, but the character scale was simpler at the time. Now, there's like....5 different trios adding onto 13 characters. The Foretellers, Maleficent, & Pete didn't help the numbers either because their inclusion would've been best used for the Union X games. In the 'End of the Dark Seeker Saga,' their appearance has no relevance.

Still irks me that Yozura's now a character in this already big roster. tf is this? Smash Ultimate?
 

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Quote: Giving him a clue on how to put hearts inside replicas maybe?


This doesn't sound logical to me when we learned information about the time travelers in the reports and Kingdom hearts 3 Ultimania

Young Xehanort, Xemnas, and Ansem hearts were implanted inside their replica bodies in order to be in the future


Why would Young Xehanort need an explanation or clues about putting a heart inside a replica body when he is an example of his experiment? It makes his experiment look idiotic… ..


YX referenced that the darkness he must reclaim was a "him". Is it safe to say that he was talking about Dark Riku or Vanitas?



You brought the princesses even though they didn’t really play a big role in the story other than for advertisement and the princesses were brushed to the side. I am still curious about remaining princesses


Tell yet not shown. I wished we saw Vanitas getting his heart reconstructed then stuffed into his replica body. I wanted to see Vanitas and Randall working together but everything for them was offscreen and I forget this is from Sora’s perspective.



I prefer KH2 closure over KH3 closure.
 

disney233

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Quote: Giving him a clue on how to put hearts inside replicas maybe?


This doesn't sound logical to me when we learned information about the time travelers in the reports and Kingdom hearts 3 Ultimania

Young Xehanort, Xemnas, and Ansem hearts were implanted inside their replica bodies in order to be in the future


Why would Young Xehanort need an explanation or clues about putting a heart inside a replica body when he is an example of his experiment? It makes his experiment look idiotic… ..


YX referenced that the darkness he must reclaim was a "him". Is it safe to say that he was talking about Dark Riku or Vanitas?



You brought the princesses even though they didn’t really play a big role in the story other than for advertisement and the princesses were brushed to the side. I am still curious about remaining princesses


Tell yet not shown. I wished we saw Vanitas getting his heart reconstructed then stuffed into his replica body. I wanted to see Vanitas and Randall working together but everything for them was offscreen and I forget this is from Sora’s perspective.



I prefer KH2 closure over KH3 closure.
I think everything being in Sora's perspective was the problem with KH3. Going to the point of too many damn characters, there wasn't enough attention on those damn characters that Sora keeps hogging the spotlight. KH2 was at simpler times with a simpler cast.
 
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