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    True, since KHII is more action packed, the maps don't need to be too involving, it just feels weird and a bit more barren since KH1 had platforming segments, and CoM places heavy emphasis on map construction for the core game, so coming into KHII, it feels a bit barren. My one gripe is really that some worlds are not created equally. Olympus Coliseum/Underworld is surprisingly huge, I guess as payback for being the smallest world in the first game, whereas Mulan's world kind of feels tiny and only seems longer than normal because it's bit heavy on backtracking and reusing areas over and over with the mission gimmick.

    I just finished Hercules world, and I'm heading Disney Castle to hit up my favorite world in the series. Despite my gripes, KHII does still have my overall favorite world selection in the series. Definitely the nostalgic "childhood" entry for me since I grew up with every film in this one.

    I've already reached the level limit for Valor form for the moment until I unlock the other drive forms, and acquired Chicken Little summon who I still feel was an odd choice for a summon in this game. He's still at base level, but I'll likely level summons better once the Underworld tournaments begin since that's the only place they're useful. I have discovered my first optional Org. XIII fight, and may backtrack to test it out, though considering it's Zexion, I'm not sure if I really want to deal with it. There is also another Mushroom XIII member here. These guys are pretty amusing minigames in themselves. The one in Mulan's world makes you play tag, but the longer you play the more clones he summons to get you. I'm waiting for Wisdom Form to unlock to get the Journal requirement completed. Overall, the extra content in this entry has actually been kind of nice.
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    Flowmotion's problem is that it ultimately undermined all of the standard movement abilities, and it was also often better for crowd control than actual abilities.

    What's interesting to me is comparing how some of these KHII worlds feel between entries. Like 358/2 manages to bring back a lot of platforming antics by slightly changing around established maps, but also by nerfing Roxas' movement abilities. It was interesting trying to get around Twilight Town in the prologue and realizing that despite lacking all of the standard movement abilities, Roxas had a pretty easy time reaching places that I'm still having trouble doing so in the handheld entry. Roxas' jump distance is much better in KHII for example.

    I am being reminded how boring the world design is in this title, especially for the starting worlds. I think Hollow Bastion/Radiant Garden and Twilight Town are like the only worlds that really escape the issue since they're both huge, and the player spends the most time in those locations. The other world's are just kind of short and have to bring in gimmicks to add longevity to hide the pretty basic design. You can tell the game was designed more with the combat system in mind as the core. It will be interesting to see how BbS holds up because it had a similar issue, but at least it had the excuse of being on a smaller system.
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    Yeah, with the heart issue, I feel the easiest way to rectify it is to simply realize that KH's universe works on Plato's Theory of Forms, with Form/Idea being replaced by Heart. Though I would still argue it's a poor explanation overall.

    I just finished the first two Disney Worlds of Mulan and Beauty and the Beast. I completely forgot how every world has some weird mini-game gimmick going for it to cover the fact the platforming and exploration have been gutted from this entry. The funniest one is the one where you light the lanterns at Beat's Castle and you have to go back and forth between lighting the lanterns and restoring Cogsworth's stamina, yet here's Donal and Goofy just standing around killing time and never helping.

    I forgot how easy Proud mode is in this title compared to KH1's. I think the only fight I've died in was with Roxas dealing with the Twilight Thorn, and that was mainly because he summoned some Nobodies and then proceeded to turn the arena into a light and magic show so I kept taking unnecessary from the Nobodies because they blend in so well with everything else going on in the screen. After that, I've just been kicking ass and taking names. Still adore the Gummi Ship sequences in this title though.

    So far, the only really new element I've encountered is the Puzzle Piece mini-game, which I feel exists solely to justify all the of movement abilities and upgrades in this game. Have't finished a puzzle yet, and there are a few I've seen where I already know I won't be able to reach them without either Glide or a maxed out High Jump. I've also apparently unlocked Mushroom XIII as well, but have yet to check it out as I had gotten stuck in the plot doing a "But Thou Must" situation that has kept me from revisiting that world.
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    Prologue is finished. Still trippy and interesting, but I also feel it showcases a lot of the issues I have with the story overall with all the early twists that seem to be there more for shock value than because it's necessary for the story. I still enjoyed it, and I'm quickly learning I'm a bit out of practice with this entry though.

    I will say, it was harder to get through this part with the 358/2 retcons now in play. Obviously 358/2 utilized ideas from KH2 for it's plot and character interaction, but looking at it as a whole, it now makes me wonder if the actions and routines of Hayner, Pence, and Olette are simply just like that and it just happens to be similar to what Roxas did with Axel and Xion, or if Diz set up the virtual world to tap in and copy Roxas memories to ease him better into the fake world?

    I am being reminded of a plot hole that has always bothered me about this game. If Roxas' reality was a fake based on the real Twilight Town, then how do the trio sort of remember him? Like their interaction with Sora is sort of based on their virtual selves dealing with Roxas, and even though they never actually met Roxas purposely, why does the story treat it like the events of the prologue really happened to them when it was all an assimilation.

    The cosmology of this series has always bugged me because it really does seem like the writers play fast and loose with rules and definitions to get their cake and eat it too.
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    PS3, I got the 1.5 Mix as a Christmas gift a few years back when it was new, and I opted to pick up the second set for the PS3 as well because my OCD works that way. I did break down and also pick up a used copy of the II.8 nonsense, only because I was curious about Aqua's title and could justify it by getting a coupon from Gamestop.

    I don't really believe my thoughts on the writing is going to change much, I still feel like II has a meandering plot that halfheartedly closed out the Nobody arc while spending most of it's actual time setting up all of the spin-off titles that came after. I'm more curious to see if the gameplay side of things will change for me, but I also don't really feel that will be the case either as most of my time watching videos justifying why it's so good falls into my pet peeve about difficulty balance. I mean it's great that they added a whole slew of optional bosses that make the battle system shine, it;'s a shame they couldn't fix the rest of the game's gameplay to do the same...
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    And finished. Was nice to replay an old classic even if it was rough around the edges. Outside of the two difficulty mode trophies, I believe I got all of Riku's trophies. I mostly ran through Twilight Town and only stopped to the boss I forgot about. Honestly the Riku Replica fight was tough despite having a better deck, but I blame it on the fact the deck is set up to have the weakest cards on the third part of a combo, leaving poor Riku wide open for card break. Ansem was also and ass, and I'm mostly annoyed because I nearly got him ona first attempt because we kept card dueling and I kept wrecking him, but the finisher for barrage had this nasty habit of shifting or maneuvering Riku towards the Guardian who blocks all damage. Course the wonky 3D has it's advantages as well, I had Ansem activate his nasty charge move and I couldn't move fast enough to find a 0 card only for Ansem to somehow get stuck on the environment and give me time to set up a counter. The ending was good of course, and one thing I forgot to mention I did really enjoy is the credit sequence. Not so much the highlight reel as much as I enjoy watching all of the various cast members do stuff. It was a nice touch to have Sora showcase heroes, while Riku showcased the villains.

    Now I get to move onto KHII:FM and see what all the hype is about.
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    Yeah, I feel Zane did a better job of making Ansem a total ham. Granted, I love Epcar as well, but he'll always be Ziggy, Baofu, and Jigen for me.
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    Yeah, he did a film in Turkey that dealt with the U.S. Iraq War that was pretty critical of the U.S., and this being the height of the patriotic Bush Jr. era U.S. Disney barred him from coming back to voice the character to avoid being associated with any controversy. Similar to the silly James Gunn nonsense for Guardians of the Galaxy.

    Yeah, Billy Zane really liked playing Ansem, so it's a shame he never got to return to do it.
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    I think one of the funniest things I've read about Chain of Memories, partly because I'm trying to find this weird bit of info some detractors are saying that Nomura apparently never wanted it made, but that doesn't seem to be the case, is that Nomura did say he wanted CoM to be "lighter and softer" than KH1. Failed that task it seems...
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    It's about the same for me as the GBA version. The core story is some good character development for Riku, but the fact the Disney worlds are treated as busy work is still a bit disappointing. The Zexion fight was an interesting idea, but my first impression is that it's a bit frustrating. The cutscenes are good and clear up a few misunderstandings from the GBA version, but you can tell poor Wayne Allwine was on his death bed by the time he recorded Mickey for this game.It's also weird trying to transition to both Ansem's new VA actors since Heartless Ansem's VA was replaced because Diseny always goes to ridiculous lengths to protect their image, and True Ansem was replaced because Christopher Lee wasn't available for this game.

    The Duel mechanic is a nice touch that helps expand Riku's gameplay, but I can't help but feel like the devs always seem to give him preferential treatment, and leave him all the cool stuff. Despite that, it's a pretty neat feature that I wish had been implemented throughout the game and perhaps expanded. Would have been interesting to give a unique counter move for every boss and whatnot. Alos, is it just me, or does it feel the devs nerfed Mickey's friend card, I remember that card doing way more damage in the original. I think it restores more health though, so perhaps they just rebalanced it.

    I do feel like Riku has some really wonky targeting issues though. Not that Sora doesn't have the same problem, but it just feels like Riku has it worst. I think what exasperates it more for him is that his moveset is like a "bigger, badder, cooler" version of Sora's which has the side effect of throwing off your timing when trying to get first strike advantage as sometimes Riku decides he needs to spin into the enemy before actually hitting them. I'm starting to lose my patience with the more aggressive lock on that turns the environment into an enemy as you'll try to strike an enemy only to lock onto a hittable part of the environment that the enemy happens to spawn next to. This becomes a real pain in world's filled with such objects like Wonderland, Destiny Island, and Halloween Town.

    Overall, I feel ReCoM brings in some cool ideas and features, but the transition to 3D wasn't as smooth as I felt like it should be and despite the 2D plane giving unfair advantages to Defender Heartless and Vexen, I feel the card combat system just felt smoother and manageable on the GBA. Load times that don't freeze the A.I., wonky targeting, larger arenas with higher spawn rates, and some of the unfair advantages given to certain bosses because the devs just recycled their boss fight animations sort of show that this is an unpolished remake. It's not bad mind you, but compared to the original, it just feels a bit sluggish and rough around the edges. Even some of the VA work for the new Org. actors are a bit rough, and I still feel like Vexen's voice is too high and nasally for the character.
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Recent Entries

Part of your world

by Fynn on 06-06-2017 at 04:37 PM
So there's this nagging issue I've had for quite some time now. It's a pretty abstract issue but one I think is pretty interesting and perhaps even important to share nonetheless. For many reasons, it has only become more pronounced recently.

As some of you may know, I want to be a writer. I try to do as much writing as I can. I even do writing for a living, though as an SEO copywriter, it's not exactly that I have an opportunity to spread my creative wings as part of what keeps giving

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On FFVII (part of my Fmarathon rant)

by Fynn on 11-23-2016 at 11:16 AM
Decided this is worthy of being a blog-post, since it turned out to be a much bigger rant than I expected and I'm not sure the marathon's audience is really there for that kind of stuff

Quote Originally Posted by Fynn View Post
Welp, got all the way to the Shinra building. I was thinking of barging in for once, but it just feels so stupid. I just had to take the stairs again. What sane person would just charge in, guns blazing, when there's a clearly safer, less-disruptive option?

So far, I can say that

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Frustrations of the writerly sort

by Fynn on 07-01-2016 at 11:13 AM
So there's this thing I've been struggling for quite some time. I don't want to call it a "writer's block" because it kind of seems like an excuse for being lazy. And it usually doesn't last long. This is something that's been eating at me for a long time.

I just kinda feel that I can't write anymore.

I mean, I still write articles for the site sometimes and I write other texts at my work, but it seems like, creatively, I've dried up. I'll come up with ideas

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On story expectations

by Fynn on 03-30-2016 at 11:57 AM
So this is kind of a general discussion, but the general rant I have is based on three popular 3DS RPGs: Bravely Default, Fire Emblem: Awakening, and Shin Megami Tensei IV. Sorry if this is chaotic, as I'm just writing this as it comes into my mind. Also, spoilers from the three games abound.

All of those games were very well received, though for different reasons. SMT is kind of here to serve as a neutral ground, as the evaluation of its story is pretty divided, whereas the consensus

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Character Appreciation: Junpei Iori

by Fynn on 03-30-2016 at 10:37 AM
This is in no way an idea I stole from Pumpkin, no siree.

Junpei Iori is a character from the Persona franchise. He first appears in Persona 3 and all of its subsequent releases as a playable party member. He becomes a social link character as well in the female path of Persona 3 Portable, though he isn't date-able. He is also playable in

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