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    I opted to watch 358/2 first. Largely because I've been ill for the past few days and I doubt my brain was ready to tackle something more challenging than watching a movie. I will agree with the general consensus that the movie doesn't do the game justice and I'm even more annoyed now that SE ran out of time to just remake the game for the collection.

    While the overall quality of the video is strong and the VA work is top notch, the story just feels incredibly choppy, especially since they cut out the story scenes from most of the missions which you never realize how much they feed into the overall narrative until they are missing. There were a few sequences that also got cut that made me sad such as Roxas leaving the castle. The video wasn't bad, but I do feel like it didn't do this particular entry any favors. I can only imagine my feelings for coded will be like since I never played the original to even compare.

    I'll probably start CoM tonight, though I did find out a Youtuber that I keep an eye on did a retrospective of the series. I found him thanks to Dark Souls and while I don't always agree with his opinion, he tends to make good points. Sadly for me, he absolutely hates my favorite entry, but I do feel his complaints against it are legitimate issues, though for me, I feel his issues stem from liking the series as an action/skill based game series and being less interested in the RPG/character building aspect. I just reached his retrospective of KH2 and while I think he's firmly in the "KH2FM is god" group, they videos have been interesting to say the least. He at least had a more favorable response to 358/2 than most people I've seen on the web, and it will be interesting to see how Birth by Sleep fares for him since he seems to have a more fair judgement of the franchise.

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    Yeah, it's kind of sad how much the speed running scene can sometimes wreck a good franchise. Granted, it's just a few bad apples but the amount of elitism that gets thrown around by the bad ones is annoying. Dark Souls has a similar problem as does Zelda.

    Finished KH1 on Proud Mode this evening. Since I was so close to maxing out levels, I did so to get a trophy because I'm a tool. Obviously Ansem was a pushover but he feels like a pushover after more legitimately tough fights like Phantom, who I still contend is the toughest fight in the game thanks to the gimmick aspect of the fight.

    Still love this ending. It may still be one of my favorites in the series just because I like how well the scenes fit the music and the fact we get a "where are they now?" element with the supporting cast. Since I hit all the requirements and then some, I saw the Deep Dive trailer. Completely forgot how battrout insane that trailer was and overly cryptic as all hell. It's funny how this trailer launched a huge change in the visual style of both KH as well as being the basis for what they wanted to do in Advent Children and Dissidia. Hell, looking back now, I feel like Nomura was channeling this trailer hardcore when he had the devs make the original Versus XIII trailer. It's funny to think this might be the third most important thing Nomura made after FFVII and Kingdom Hearts.

    Now I'm conflicted, because I read somewhere that if I watch the 358/2 movie and unlock everything, it will unlock some special cards added into CoM:Re. Yet, I'm kind of back to playing the game proper. Not sure what to do at the moment on that. Maybe watch the video tomorrow night and then start CoM the following day. Might be interesting to see how the movie measures up while I'm playing the game proper.
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    Yeah, reading the TV Trope page shows you're right and it's the HD release that finally brought this game back into good graces. Course, even back in the day, it felt obvious that Final Mix fixed a lot of problems with the game which made it more annoying that it was Japanese only. It's probably why I'm a little bit more ecited to play it despite my usual mixed feelings for it. I think my confusion comes from the fact that I forgot that this collection has been available for years now, so it just felt to me like it popped out of nowhere, but considering I checked out of the series around 3D, it's not surprising that I missed this weird bandwagon.

    I skipped the video I told you about, just a quick look at the comment section told me everything I needed to know about the video and considering some of the other videos the guy did, it's pretty obvious he's one of the "KHII:FM is end all be all of the series" types, so I don't really need to watch another video of him beating a dead horse.

    I did find this cool video though.
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    That's kind of how my Days playthrough has been for me. I remember feeling like it had some good ideas but was adequate at best. Now, I'm starting to feel like the gameplay might be one of the more underrated in the series.It helps that unlike most entries, the day to day monotonous missions serve a story purpose as well, which was really clever for it's time though garnered the ire of most of the game's detractors.

    I'm now watching someone's overview of Birth by Sleep, and how it relates to the series. I'm like barely five minutes in and I can already tell it' going to quickly spiral down into a circle jerk about KHII while ignoring a lot of the issues that game had and how BbS largely exists to rectify it. Not helping things is that he's already started the whole "I play games for the gameplay and don't necessarily need a real plot" so yeah,. it will be interesting to see how far I get into this video before my biases clash with his bias.

    It has been interesting to see how KHII has suddenly found itself on this strange pedestal as of late. Maybe it's largely because I never delved too deep into the fandom, but I don't exactly remember the fanbase treating this game like the pinnacle of the series back in the day. Maybe it's because our forum is more of a pro-story RPG forum which is where a good chunk of KHII's problems stem from has given me this skewed perspective, but there is also a part of me that just see a lot of this as revisionist. I find it all fascinating to say the least.
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    Oh I agree. A large part of why I prefer the command deck system is because it gives the game a more traditional turn based feel to character progression that is sorely lacking in the numbered entries. It's a large part of the reason why I like the handheld entries better because they offer deeper and more strategic playstyle options whereas the console entries tend to be purely skilled based.I think the issue with KHII's combat I largely have is that while I can concur it has a lot of depth to it, it's like racing your Formula F-1 racing car on a Go-Kart track. There is very little outside of a handful of bosses in KHII that require the level of complexity the combat system can offer and this is a problem SE has had for a majority of all their games since post-FFV.

    Congrats on beating the area on critical. I may sometimes venture into coded, but I'm really not terribly as interested as I could be. It's not like CoM memories where the story ultimately drew me in to actually buying it and then I was floored by how much I loved the gameplay.
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    I watched one video of someone trying to defend that part of the fandom; and while I can agree with several of his points, I honestly feel that the reason why SE has moved away from KHII's design is largely for balancing reasons. I feel the removal of the Revenge mechanic and the addition of more floaty controls is to give the enemies a fair shot and prevent the player from dominating combat so badly. KHII's combat is far too powerful for its own good, and I disagree that you have to have real skill to make it so. Granted, I did completely agree that the optional bosses in BbS and 3D are all bulltrout in there design.

    It's been nearly a decade since I played KHII, so we'll see how I feel about it when I reach that game.
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    No worries, I figured as much and was more worried you would be annoyed to have me sending you these long posts about me playing a game we're both familiar with.

    I feel most of the games after KHII have this problem. I think you get the Ultima Panel in Days by completing most of the difficult multiplayer challenge missions, so there isn't really anything left to use the weapon on besides bragging rights. Same deal with BbS as I think you basically just keep trading up with the final story keyblade being replaced by the Vanitas Remnant Keyblade only to be replaced by the No Name Keyblade when you finally beat that asshole and then there is nothing left to use the new weapon on.

    For Final Mix, I have mixed feelings about the new weapons. Thankfully for Donald and Goofy, you can acquire their new weapons decently easy compared to Sora, but the way the weapons are done simply adds a layer of customization as opposed to being better than what was already there. I would still argue Goofy's Save the King is his best weapon since it perfectly balances offense with an extra MP gain for support use, whereas his two ultimate weapons dive deep into either territory with one giving him a huge attack bonus but making him prone to take more hits and loss of MP, whereas the other one gives him a ridiculous MP bonus and very defensive while dropping his attack options below even standard gear. All of the new weapons follow this pattern with ll three party members. For me, Donald's new Fantasia Wand was the best for him as his physical attack isn't impressive to begin with and the new knowledge of how magic works ended up making me like the duck better this time around. Goofy's was more situational with me using his magic based weapon for the Phantom fight so I could get more MP from his his MP Gift ability, but overall, I found his original ultimate weapon his ideal one. Same deal with Sora as both Diamond Dust and One Winged Angel both have enough glaring faults to make them less ideal over his Ultima Keyblade.

    Now with KH1 almost out of the way, I can get back to my Days playthrough on the 3DS while I play CoM on the PS3. Sadly, I stopped Days right after the point in the plot where CoM ended but I figured it would still be nice to play through it because just watching the cutscenes will not be enough to really bring in that feel of the story as you get stuck in a routine but then slowly watch Roxas world unravel and wishing to go back to the simpler mission structure the game brings. I really wish they had more time to just remake the game for the collection.

    Funny enough, I've been watching a few videos on youtube for the KH die hards that bitch about the combat systems.
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    Well now... In Final Mix news, I had another surprisingly productive night. Finally took down Phantom after I adjusted Goofy and Peter Pan's A.I. to play defensively and let me do all the work while they kept me alive. Started grinding for Second Chance but quickly got bored going through the Hades Cup. I was going to call it a night when I thought it would be fun to attempt Sephiroth without Second Chance. Got him down to within two of his life bars, so I attempted one more time with a few elixirs for once, and actually beat the bastard fairly easy. Helps that I learned in my last playthrough about Strike Raid giving you invincibility along with Leaf Bracer, so I was able to time my moves enough to avoid the worst and Strike Raid dealt with Heartless Angel and his Omnislash/Octoslash move he likes to spam when he's pissy. The keyblade he grants is interesting because it's base damage is mid-tier but when it crits it does more damage than the Ultima Keyblade. It also has this cool flaming sword element going for it.

    Since I took down the last fight I was really dreading, I decided to check out Unknown, and again, first attempt, got him down to his last two life bars. He's like a proto-version of the Unknown Boss fight in BbS with his own version of that obnoxious rope hook attack except this one disables the whole team and you have a flash command that switches back and forth quickly between Shock and Release, all while the move slowly drains your health and he continues his offense. Got killed by this stupid move four times. Finally, I remembered I had all of these stat boosting items I was hoarding for Sephy and this fight and poured them into Sora to gain some noticeable damage/defense boosts. Managed to survive that stupid attack and restore my defense before he caught up to me and while his aggression level goes through the roof in his final life bar phase, I am grateful that Aero is such a bulltrout ability in this game which is why it's never returned in the same capacity again. Took him down and unlocked the last four trophies I'll likely get in this playthrough as a few require a new playhthrough, most involve the Gummi Ships, and the last is getting to Lv. 100. If it wasn't so late for me, I would have just finished the game tonight. I'll do it tomorrow and will likely start Chain of Memories as well. I'm feeling oddly excited to get to KHII though. Perhaps because I'm finally going to play the version I always felt was the definitive one. I also learned they fixed that Unknown fight in BbS: Final Mix so his damn beam rope attack is no longer an instant kill.
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    Well tonight was surprisingly productive in Final Mix. Completed the Hades Cup, all of it. Including solo mode and for the first time ever for me, I beat the Time Trial on the first attempt. Took down the Ice Titan and also finished off Kurt Ziza. I also finished collecting the last of all the synthesis materials so I have one of Donald and Goofy's new ultimate weapons, as well as Sora's actual Ultima Weapon. Completed most of the End of the World and reached the final door where I faced off with the Neo Shadows who turned out to be much tamer than I was expecting but still a cool fight. I also picked up the other two new weapons for Donald and Goofy in this place.

    This pretty much leaves only three things left to do. I need to beat Phantom and finally get the Stop spell upgrade as well as access to the last weapon I'm missing for Donald. I need to beat up old Sephy but that's going to have to wait because unfortunately for me, Wand Sora doesn't freaking learn Second Chance until Lv. 90 for some ungodly reason. Then it's time to battle Unknown, the new boss and see if I'm going to be adding him to the list with Phantom and Sephy as my two least favorite optional boss fights in the game. After that, I'll slam dunk Ansem and start Chain of Memories in 3D!
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    I'll respond to the PM later. Still brainstorming what I want to fix.

    I can totally understand the obnoxious grinding feedback loop these games make. Though I didn't know Ito was a director for this game, I can totally tell based on how the gameplay structure is. Another one of his "looks easy so anyone can get into, but the mechanics can go so deep that it's a meta game itself". I am laughing we're talking about the grind aspect because I did just spend a part of my day grinding Speed XP medals so I can max out the base level of all my Green Speed Medals, including a few new ones I just picked up.

    In KH1FM news, after two nights of grinding for it, I obtained the Defender Shield and Wizard Relic staff for my compatriots, as well as close to seven extra levels and a ton of cash I'm using for the last weapon upgrades and synthesis materials. I also just obtained Oathkeeper and once I seal Hollow Bastion's keyhole, I'll finally unlock the end game stuff.

    I'll lickely do what I always do, which is grind in the Hades Cup while gathering the last bit of Synthesis Materials I need which will require a quick peek at End of the World. Then I'll hit up all of the optional bosses while finishing up the solo and time challenges for the Hades Cup. I'm leaving the Unknown as the final optional boss fight since he's the new guy in town. Not exactly looking forward to Sephiroth and Phantom fights though. I also still need to grind the last few synth items I need from two of the game's new enemy types. My level boost gained from trying to get the weapon drops has me feeling a bit more in control of the game so I can be a bit reckless now, but I'm sure most of those optional bosses as well as the last zone exclusive enemies will have me realizing pretty quickly I'm still working without a safety net. Should be interesting to see nonetheless and then I can jump into CoM:Re.
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Part of your world

by Fynn on 06-06-2017 at 05:37 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 12:16 PM
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 12:13 PM
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 12:57 PM
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 11:37 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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