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    I have played maybe five minutes of Parasite Eve at most. I had no disposable income when it first came out and I only acquired the game years after it's release. I think I tried to play it while I was between games but it didn't hook me at the time. I meant to play it last year when I was revisiting the PS1 era Square titles, but I got consumed by my new found love of the SaGa franchise. I might try again this year since I've always been interested in playing through it.

    I agree that VIII is the real first "fantasy based in reality" story. Hell, I never understood that tagline anyway since everything we ever saw from Versus XIII proved contrary to that statement. I'm not even sure Nomura could explain it since he has a bad habit of latching onto weird phrasing that sounds cool to him, hence every subtitle in a KH game ever. Still, I actually liked VIII's portrayal of it;s world, I only wish we had a chance to really explore the setting more. I've always been curious about the geopolitical climate of the Galbadian continent and I still feel like the info given about the Centra and their disappearance was pretty lazy. Conceptually, I feel VIII had a lot of great ideas in terms of its world building, but it also feels like there was too much and perhaps the writer's simply stuck to what they were interested in, which is why some of the more interesting concepts never go anywhere. I still feel like Hyne was meant to play a more substantial role in the game beyond being a cheeky shout out to FFIII. I feel like VIII, more than the other PS1 titles probably had more ideas that never made it out of pre-production than players know.
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    It did kind of overwrite things though, as it added dialogue that Zack gives to Cloud, the original is more poignant due to feeling more senseless whereas Crisis Core tries too hard to give Zack greater meaning. I feel it undermines the original intent of the character who was so invaluable to Cloud's character but no one really knew anything about him until the reveal and the short flashback. Having Zack give some silly speech about legacy and handing off his sword does retcon the original scene as none of that happens. The game basically tries too hard to make the player feel better for him whereas I prefer the more shocking and abrupt end given in the original.

    It would be like George Lucas redoing the scene from Empire Strikes Back where Vader reveals he's Luke's father and then he adds in a ten minute exchange that tries too hard to take a shocking scene and drag it out longer until it's almost a farce in itself. Likewise, CC's ending is taking a really powerful moment from the original and trying to drag it out and milk it for all it's emotional worth, which is frankly a bad choice. Having Zack's 10 second disappearance from the original transformed into a ten minute battle against the Shin-Ra army is trying too hard to make more out of him than was really necessary. CC in general was trying too hard to be over the top and like the original in terms of scale that it makes the series continuity almost laughable. I honestly feel a story that simply explored the SOLDIER program and unit would have been more interesting and better for the series lore than by forcibly adding a Sephiroth expy and having Zack go through a thinly veiled redo of the major plot points of VII.
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    Well I'm sorry our discussion has been causing harm, For that we can end the subject entirely and simply move onto something less stressful for either of us.

    If it's any consolation, I don't see you as someone who is "broken" per se, or at least I would say you conduct yourself in a manner that is typical for most people I meet. Normalcy from a social standpoint for me is not an objective mental state that comes natural for anyone, rather it's just an agreed upon social standard we all poorly try to conform to for the sake of harmony. Everyone is broken in some regards, life is too hard and people are so brittle, it simply comes with the territory that everyone is chipped, cracked, and falling to pieces. With that said, I won't delve any further into this matter.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with the Remake, I imagine the reception and fallout will be close to the Compilations. While I have little emotional investment in the project, I would hope that they at least re-write some of the sillier parts of the plot like using the dolphin to get into Junon or Cid's entire intro sequence. On the other hand, I fear the game will lost quite a bit of it's charm because it may lose those moments. It's the fundamental issue of remakes and trying to repackage nostalgia I guess.

    As for KH, I'm on the back half of KH2 where the party revisits the world, and while the game is better than I remember in some regards, I still take issue with the game's plot, as I feel Sora kind of lacks purpose in this one and so much of the backstory element of the game's really feels like Nomura and the team were simply just preparing for the three spin-offs that came after as opposed to giving a more self-contained narrative. It's got that middle child syndrome of trilogy films like The Matrix and Pirates of the Caribbean where it's too co-dependent on what comes after to enjoy it for it's own merits. When I listen to fans bitch and whine about the later entries and how this game ended the series perfectly, I honestly become confused because I sort of felt KH2 left us with far more questions than answering anything. Hell, even before the later entries confirmed it, I kind of already put together the idea that destroying a person's Heartless and Nobody would potentially reunite them back into their original being.
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    Ooh boy a lot to come back to, but I can already see that I feel the underlying issue here is that you and I identify Cloud's personas differently when we use our terminology. Ultimately, I feel like this discussion is going to seriously start delving into existentialism, and why we may agree on certain aspects, I feel we're both approaching the concept from different world views which means we'll likely never see eye to eye on this subject as we both interpret Self differently. With that said, I'll clarify a few of my points as I feel part of the issue here is that I was not clear enough when I used certain terms.

    I don't believe I ever said OM (Original Memory) Cloud doesn't experience what his fake persona is doing. When I say the initial Cloud you meet is not the true self, it was never my intention to say that Cloud's core self was simply dormant the whole time. I feel the real Cloud is very much aware of what his fake persona is doing so he does know who Aerith is and is well aware of what he's been doing this whole time, but I don't believe he was in control of the situation either as it was more of his fake persona in charge. Likewise, I feel the scenes where Cloud's true self speaks in the inner monologues as well as fake Cloud's continual disturbed and eventual existential crisis at the climax of Disc 2 is simply the fake persona becoming aware of their true nature and eventually losing all sense of self.

    Where I feel we're at a standstill is that I feel that altering a person's memories would generate a new personality, identity itself being a culmination of memory, experience, genetic information, and likely a core awareness of personal distinction. Once you start tampering with that to the point of altering the predictable behavior an identity generates, I feel it's safe to say it's not the same person anymore. To me, this persona is based on enough altering factors that I would say it's not Cloud, nor do I feel Cloud would identify with his actions during this time frame, which only fuels some of his self-doubt that plagues him during Disc 2. Mask/Fake Cloud's actions are not the actions the original Cloud would have likely taken, thus I can't necessarily agree they're the same person, simply that mask is a constructed and splintered off personality that Sephiroth manipulates. Original Cloud is not sleeping or unaware of this other personality, and in the few cases of alternate personalities in real life, this is usually true for the patient as well. If this were a simple case of confabulation such as James Sutherland, I'd agree, but as discussed earlier, the origins of this fabricated persona makes me feel that I can't in good faith call Fake Cloud a simple self inflicted delusion, rather it's a partial manipulation and extensive brainwashing that has constructed a false persona for manipulation. For me it would be like dealing with an alternate timeline of yourself. Physically your the same being but your personalities could be radically different enough to be identified as two separate people.

    Overall though, we have to remember that we're trying to apply real world concepts on a story that obviously skimmed a freshmen text book on the subject matter, and thus the writers themselves are likely ignorant of the full scope of the idea they were playing around with. I honestly doubt Nojima or any of the other writer's could give a clear answer if they were part of this debate. With that said, I feel it's best we agree to disagree on the matter cause I honestly don't really care about Cloud's condition and have no desire to spend any time discussing it, hence why it took so long to get back to you.

    In terms of the nature of "self" itself. While I believe in an objective concept of self that likely permeates through all living beings, I feel it's too far removed from us to define it. We as humans can put it in terms by attributing factors to it to build identity, or examine the outside biological functions that we believe is the source of it, but I feel that information is transient and mutable at best. Simply dressing to help us put the idea and concept into terms we can discuss. Hence why I feel that manipulating those factors would alter the way one defines themselves and change the individual. I ultimately feel that most people use the terms of self and identity interchangeably and I don't believe that's the case. I feel the concept of Ego eimi is ultimately the closest people have come to attributing to my own definition of self.
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    Oh you and I both know that's going to happen. I'm sure Nojima and Nomura will alter the Remake plot in a way that's different from both the original and Compilation. It will likely be a third interpretation of the title.

    As for the confusion on Cloud, I never saw Cloud's issue as simple confabulation, I honestly feel like he's suffering from a fugue state instead. I say this because I feel there is a significant change in how Cloud acts and presents himself before and after the revelation of his true identity. He loses a lot of his cockiness and bravado and instead starts to second guess himself a lot more. I know a lot of fans whine about "Gloom Cloud" in the compilation, but from my last few playthroughs of VII, I actually see Cloud presenting a lot of those traits already in the original, though I'll agree that it gets cranked up to 11 in later installments for both story and non-story reasons.

    Of course the other issue at play here is that the circumstances of Cloud's identity crisis goes beyond psychology since we have to deal with the fact he's being manipulated through alien DNA as well, so I don't feel we can rule out a more complex answer to his condition. That is why I would argue that Cloud's initial identity is a fabrication, and not simple him trying to fill in holes of his memory. He's being manipulated by Sephiroth through Jenova's DNA, he has transposed himself into the role of Zack, and his initially personality throughout the first disc involves taking on the characteristics of both Zack and Sephiroth which is then completely dropped once his identity is restored. In the case of James Sutherland, his confabulation simply hides the truth of his guilt from him, but he does not undergo any noticeable changes of his personality. Ashley Riot in Vagrant Story also never shifts his personality much when learning his past is a lie, but then that game also makes it difficult to discern which scenario is actually true. Cloud on the other hand begins the game with Sephy's "too cool for school" attitude when dealing with AVALANCHE, finally starts to show his past self when dealign with Tifa, and then jumps into a more heroic self once Aerith shows up, drawing on Zack's selflessness and bravado. Cloud's persona is presented as being rather inconsistent and erratic from the beginning, which I feel is there to serve as early foreshadowing that Cloud isn't who he says he is.

    While I can agree that he has most of the symptoms of confabulation, I feel his disorder goes beyond simply just filling the gaps in his memory and borderlines on disassociate identity disorder, which is why I feel the fugue state diagnosis fits better. Man I feel like I'm back in abnormal psychology class all over again.
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    Fair enough, and I can see your point on a few of the cases. It sucks when high expectations hurt the ability to enjoy something. Happened to me for a few entries myself.

    As for Zelda, I feel like Nintendo is overdue to let Zelda or Ganon be playable.

    Also you have way too much time on your hand to get all those trophies, and that's coming from someone else who has way too much time on their hand as it is.
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    I can understand the intimate camera, and I honestly didn't have an issue with it being so close. My main beefs with it are largely the fact it's lazy following Lock-Ons which several enemies and bosses seem to be designed specifically to exploit like Riku and Sephiroth, while it also had this weird thing where the camera was treated like a solid object so it would spazz out whenever it came in contact with another solid object like an enemy or most often, part of the scenery in the platforming sections. I do feel as the series has gone on that the camera is a little too far back in places. KHIII especially feels like the camera is moved too far away from the action. Likely to show off the horsepower the game worlds are capable of now, but watching videos of the game, it's hard to tell where everyone is sometimes.

    I'm actually finishing up my first playthrough of the Re: CoM, but I adored the original GBA version. I still feel like the original is tighter from a gameplay design point of view. The smaller battlefields and more simplified perspective made the core card system work better. It also just feels faster because I feel too many of the Sleights have long wind ups in the 3D version for loading purposes and thus it slows combat a bit and sort of hurts some balancing in the bigger boss battles since both the player and enemy A.I. have wider windows to 0 card their opponent out of a move, while also adding a weird stun element to combos. It got kind of annoying watching Axel or Larxene play one car and their attack is basically a three hit combo because the devs just copied and pasted the KHIIFM boss battles into the game. I'm still enjoying myself of course, but I do feel from a gameplay perspective, the GBA version is the definitive version. Story, I feel the PS2 version is the definitive version. Though I have enjoyed some of the new Sleights, boss battles, and Duel mechanic in the remake.

    I'm curious to know why you initially felt disappointed by BbS? I honestly enjoyed it outside of adding in the whole X-Blade nonsense and the fact the game's story is a bit of an "idiot ball" plot, where if everyone didn't simply jump to conclusion and trust absolute strangers all the time, the whole thing could have been averted. Granted, I feel 358/2 has a similar problem, and Xemnas could have easily kept Roxas in the fold if he didn't have chronic "I need to be an evil dick to everyone" syndrome. Course I guess we can chalk all that up to 3D's revelation about the true Organization XIII and him kind of grooming Roxas to be one of the seven lights, but I still feel like this was more of an oversight that a later game tried to fix.

    I'll be playing KHIIFM for the first time after I finish Riku's scenario in CoM, so it will be interesting to see if the new content will change my mind on anything. I'm far more familiar with the original vanilla version, but of all of the Final Mix versions in the series, I feel like KHII had the most to offer. I can't say I was floored by KHFM, and kind of felt the extras were just that. I actually forgot BbS had a Final Mix version until I picked up the 2.5 collection. It's always a little weird when dealing with director's cut versions of games versus the original. Atlus used to be master's of this with SMTIII and Persona 3 and 4, but lately I feel they're diving too far into double dipping than actually just trying to make a better version of a solid game. P3:FES felt like FFXII IZJS, in that it felt like the game the development team wanted to make, but simply fell short of because of time and cost.
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    In terms of narrative, I have no real problem with KH1 at all, and largely agree with you that it had a nice simple and fairy tale quality to it. What little I can sayt of it neatively has really more to do with the direction the series took after it making so much of what happened in this game feel meaningless, but I feel that says more about the series as a whole than any actual flaw in the games writing. Gameplay on the other hand... I feel KH1 has aged the worst in that aspect. The world design is okay, but the camera and lock on mechanics are pretty awful both for action game and platforming standards. There is some interesting game design ideas in this title, but I would agree the execution for some of them are not as good as I felt they could be which is why I never really minded the fact the series fazed a lot of it out by KHII.

    CoM is one of my favorite entries, probably because I was pleasantly surprised by it since I went in with little expectation. I also don't mind the slower and more methodical combat system, but I'm old school and still prefer my turn based combat over action shenanigans which alone puts me on the wrong side of history as far as the KH community is concerned.

    I'm honestly more surprised how much trashing Birth by Sleep gets among these "fans" as it seems to me that this entry is the one that just got a vicious turnaround from the fanbase. I remember it comign out and most fans were pleased by it except for the whole PSP thing and not being KHIII, but I'm surprised by the amount of negativity this game has generated over the years.

    I have been noticing those names popping up a lot lately in terms of the whole "BbS sucks and KHIIFM is god" mentality going around on Youtube. Most of the time, I ignore speed runners and I often feel they're harmless, but I've seen some series really get skewed opinions because of that community such as Dark Souls.
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    To be fair to the toxic KH fans, it's really the gameplay/speedrunner side of the community that feels like the problem. I mean we still get some people among all the different groups within the fanbase who sort of keep KH1 more on a glass pedestal than I feel it deserves, but my real issue has largely been getting to know the part of the fanbase that's like "skip the plot and only play KH2FM because it's the only really good one". I feel my real issue here is mainly just being caught off guard. I didn't even know these people existed since my last foray with the fanbase was before speed running and twitch were the new hotness in gaming. So it's just weird, especially since I still remember a time when KH2 was a far more divisive title and now their is a loud minority that treats it like the Holy Grail. It would be like if the Zodiac Age suddenly made FFXII super popular and treated by the fanbase as the gold standard of the series.

    I'm actually used to toxic fanbases, my first forum was a Xenogears/Xenosaga forum, so I know all about elitist pricks who treat a game hyberbolic. Hell, it's why I don't really bother with the SMT/Persona fanbase because one look at that group just felt like a rehash of the FF fandom back in the wake of the PSX generation.
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    Honestly, after KHII, I felt like the Disney worlds were largely there as a legacy element because that was a good selling point, but the writing staff had already moved on from ever incorporating them into the main narrative. I mean they get a little love in BbS going to Sleeping Beauty's world, but that's largely because the team can't just ignore how much influence Maleficent had in the first entry. Even then I felt the other two Disney princess worlds weren't exactly dragged into the meta-narrative established in the first game as well.

    As for stable time loops, I've always felt like it was a terrible idea to drag time travel into any story. It's too easy to screw up because the writer's rarely take into account how powerful it can be. It's also subject to fans picking the logic apart, and even in cases like FFVIII where the rules are incredibly well established, a lot of fans miss that point and even that game suffers from a paradox concerning it's own stable time loop. It's just too easy to mess up unless you cheat and basically start dragging in alternate timelines, and that in itself creates it's own huge mess of things.

    There are a lot of reasons why I dislike Dream Drop Distance as a narrative. It just brought in too many unnecessary elements to the series and took away too many elements I enjoyed. Maybe once I get to it again on my replay of the franchise, I may come away from it with a different opinion but, man I'm just exasperated thinking about it now.
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