Video Game Review: Kingdom Hearts 3 and Remind

Kingdom Hearts 3 and the Remind DLC are the last games in the Kingdom Hearts Dark Seeker Saga. This game follows from the previous games where Sora and everyone are training to stop Xehanort from foraging the x-blade and destroying the world to create a new one. Before getting into it, this game is for fans and expects you to both know and understand all that has come before. The game does try to inform new players but your really not going to completely understand things if you haven’t play all the pervious games. Especially the emotional moments and how certain stories are brought together and concluded are best experienced with this prior knowledge.

The story starts off with Yen Sid prepping the seven keyblade wielders as the guardians of light and Sora going off to regain the power of waking. As they travel the Organization XII members that have returned are targeting the new princess of heart to make sure everything goes to plan. Finally, Riku and Mickey are in the realm of darkness trying to find Aqua while Kairi and Lea train as keyblade wielders.

In terms of gameplay I love it. The basic magic and keyblade attacks are still there but we are given situation commands, different keyblade forms, and attraction flow which summons park attractions to hit enemies with. I can see that not everyone will like all the different combat forms so I would try all of them and then just use the ones you like the most. Overall, Kingdom Hearts 3 is not my favorite game in the series its a fun ride and a good entry that answers many questions and ends this saga of the story while also leaving enough mystery for future games. My only criticism is the fact that Kairi still doesn’t have much agency in the story and is more of a plot device than an actual character. I would have also liked to have seen some Final Fantasy characters at least show up as cameos.

Now to talk about the Remind DLC I will have to spoil the ending of Kingdom Hearts 3 so now is the time to leave if you haven’t finished it.

So near the end of Kingdom Hearts 3, Xehanort provokes Sora into attacking him by destroying Kairi’s body this forges the x-blade and unlocks Kingdom Hears. Sora, Donald, and Goofy do defeat him and Xehanort gives the x-blade to Sora to seal Kingdom Hearts. However, Sora decides to use the power of waking to save Kairi though it will have grave consequences. In the scene on Destiny Islands everyone is there including Kairi and Sora but Sora disappears and it is clear that finding Sora is where the story will go next.

The Remind DLC better explains the ending as Sora is using the power of waking to save Kairi. The power of waking allows Sora to essentially travel back in time during the final battles with the Organization member by entering the hearts of his friends and allies. In terms of gameplay this allows the player to control and fight as other characters. While the concept of Sora travel in time is a little confusing I do love the extra scenes and character moments that we didn’t see before. This also better explains that Sora is breaking the laws of the universe to save his friend and love the fact that we finally get to play as Kairi. The DLC also gives us more of a glimpse of where the series is headed in the next games.

June 2022 Monthly Wrap Up

As I mentioned in May’s wrap up post I’ve been very busy the last several months and have gotten behind on posting so the next couple of months I will be catching up. In June I was able to finish three books, watch a movie, and finish playing Kingdom Hearts 3. Everything in this wrap up will also have full review posts up at some point.

Books:

For books I was only getting through audio books at this time and in June that was the next three books that I needed to read in the Dresden Files: Blood Rites, Dead Bead, and Proven Guilty.

Blood Rites is the sixth book in the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Out of all the Dresden books I’ve read I disliked the set up of this one the most. Harry is contracted to protect the producer and cast of an adult film as a favor to Thomas, who is a White Court vampire. However, as the story goes on we find out things that both change Harry’s life and the path of the series.

Dead Beat is the seventh book in the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. This one follows Harry as he must find the word of Kemmler to give to the vampire Mavra to keep Murphy safe. I would say that this is one of the funniest books in the series with Butters having a larger role in this story. The story brings in elements that were introduced in other books and its starting to become clear that there is something bigger going on the Harry only currently on the outskirts of.

Proven Guilty is the eight book in the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. This one follows Harry, who is now a warden of the White Council and is being tasked to look into rumors that black magic is being practiced in Chicago. When Molly, the daughter of Michael Charpenter, gets involved it seems like entities taking of the look of horror monsters are attacking people she knows and it turns out she has been dabbling in magic. I love the fact that Molly becomes Harry’s apprentice but I’m very glad that Butcher didn’t write it as a romantic or sexual relationship as that would have caused me to stop reading the series.

Movies:

The only movie that I watched this month was Jurassic World Dominion and was the first movie I’ve seen in theaters since February of 2020. This is the last movie in the Jurassic World series and with how it has so many call backs to the earlier movies it works as a send off to the Jurassic Park series as a whole. This is one of those movies that if you think about the plot or the “science” involved its not a great movie but its a good action popcorn movie. I liked the movie overall and I loved seeing some of the originally actors come back.

Video Games:

This month I finally finished Kingdom Hearts 3 and the Remind DLC. The reason it took me so long to get to Kingdom Hearts 3 was that I wanted to play all the games in order and experience the series to the best of my ability. Kingdom Hearts 3 is a game for fans. You can play it without having played the others but you’re not going to understand all of the plot and the emotional moments are best if you have played the other games. I loved the game play and most of the plot but I’m not a huge fan of the ending. Overall, Kingdom Hearts 3 felt very melancholy to me. The Remind DCL is mostly there to better explain the ending and give some idea of where the series is planning to go next.

May 2022 Monthly Wrap Up

So this month I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump and have only read one book. I have instead been playing more video games as I’m currently making my way though the Kingdom Hearts series and hope to play Kingdom Hearts 3 later this year. I also enjoyed the YouTube series In Space with Markiplier Part 2.

Books:

The only book I’ve finished this month was The Galaxy and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers. This is the last book in the Wayfarers series but each book stands alone. This book follows a group of different aliens at a galactic rest stop waiting to get on their way. When an accident delays them they start to learn from each other they realize that though each my have either own problems what they need to come to terms with everything may come from each other. This is my second favorite of the series and I love how hopeful Becky Chambers’ writing is.

Video Games:

This month I was finishing off the games in the Kingdom Hearts series to be ready to play Kingdom Hearts 3. I do have full reviews posted of all of the games so far.

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance is the last full game in the story before Kingdom Hearts 3. It follows Sora and Riku during their Mark of Mastery exam to find out if they are true Keyblade Masters. They travel to the different sleeping worlds to learn the Power of Waking and set everything back to where it needs to be. This game also finally gives us what Xehanort’s true plan is and what Sora and everyone will deal with in the future.

Kingdom Hearts Back Cover is a movie that supposed to give the viewer all the important plot information from the Kingdom Hearts mobile game Kingdom Hearts Union. While it does provide some important information I feel that to truly understand what is going on you should watch all the cut scenes from Union, play the mobile game, or watch a full play through.

Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep-A Fragmentary Passage is the last game left before Kingdom Hearts 3 and is essentially a prologue to that game. The story follows Aqua after ending up in the Realm of Darkness and what she has been doing. I love Aqua as a character and I love how it turns out that she helped Riku and Mickey close the Door to Darkness at the end of the first game. At this point I can’t wait to play Kingdom Hearts 3 and see how all the characters stories will end.

Video Game Review: Kingdom Hearts Back Cover and Birth by Sleep-A Fragmentary Passage

These are the last two items in the Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue that I needed to finish to be ready to play Kingdom Hearts 3.

Kingdom Hearts Back Cover is a movie version of the important information that was included in the Kingdom Hearts mobile game which has gone through several name change but I will use Kingdom Hearts Union. The movie focuses on events during the time of fairy tale before the first Keyblade War. The Master of Masters has disappeared but has tasked his five apprentices to create Unions of Keyblade wielders to ready them for the prophesied Keyblade War and to protect the worlds light.

I know the idea behind this movie is to provide those who didn’t play Union with the information from the game that will be important in feature Kingdom Hearts game but honestly only thing I got out of it is that I don’t like or trust the Master of Masters. I personally think he’s playing everyone for a plan he is not explaining yet. After watching this movie I still feel like I need to watch a full cut scene complication or play through of Union and will also need to read the Wikipedia pages to really understand this part of Kingdom Hearts.

Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep-A Fragmentary Passage is the story of what happened to Aqua after she became stuck in the realm of darkness at the end of Birth by Sleep. Its been about ten years that she as been stuck in the realm of darkness and its starting to get to her. It is also revealed that she helped Mickey and Riku close that door to darkness that they closed at the end of the original Kingdom Hearts game. You only play as Aqua in this game but it does give you a chance to see how Kingdom Hearts 3 will look and feel like. Aqua is one of my favorite characters in the series and I can’t wait to see how her story ends. I just want her to find her friends again and know that they will be okay.

Video Game Review: Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance was originally a game for the Nintendo 3DS but has since been ported to the PlayStation 4 as part of the 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue collection and that is how I played it. This the last full game before Kingdom Hearts 3 and mainly sets up any last plot points that we need to know to get to the story of Kingdom Hearts 3.

The story follows Sora and Riku during their Mark of Mastery exam to determine if they are true Keyblade Masters. Master Yen Sid tasks them with traveling to the different sleeping world and wake them while learning the Power of Waking that will be needed to save all those connected to Sora in preparation for the final battle against Xehanort. This game also finally explains what Xehanorts ultimate plan is with some explanation as to why but I believe more will be explained in Kingdom Hearts 3.

Gameplay wise its the same action JRPG that we’ve grown to love the series for with added elements of the command deck that was introduced in Birth by Sleep. As the characters travel through the sleeping worlds instead of Donald and Goofy being party members you are joined by Dream Eaters, spirits that will help you through out the game and are kind of like Pokémon as you can new one and increase their levels as you play. I like the concept of the Dream Eaters but was not a fan on how they are implemented as it feels like a gimmick to me.

The other two big changes to the game play is the drop system and flow motion. As you play as both Sora and Riku there is a timer that forces you to switch between the characters most of the time you can avoid dropping when you don’t want to but it does add some pressure to finish each characters story in each world as fast as possible. Flow motion allows a much greater vertically and fluidness to the characters movement. Flow motion pretty much means that you can bounce off walls and spin around objects as well as many other things to attack swarms of enemies and get up on higher ground.

Overall, I had a lot of funning playing this game but this is where the series starts to be more confusing that it needed to be. As time travel is now an element to the series and it is expected by this point that you have played and understood all the games that came before that plot is a lot to deal with. As I’m invested in the characters, world, and story that has been created in this series I feel I like I have a good grasp on everything. However, for those interested in but have never played I can see you hearing about the plot can be very confusing and possibly make you not want to try the series.

April 2022 Monthly Wrap Up

In April I finished three books and two video games. I’m working though the Kingdom Hearts series and I’m making good progress. I also enjoyed watching the Youtube show In Space with Markiplier. The next couple of months post will probably be a little sporadic as I have several major commitments coming up that will take up a lot of time but I will try to post as much as possible.

Books:

The first book I finished this month was Egypt’s Golden Couple: When Akhenaten and Nefertiti Were Gods by Colleen and John Darnell. I received an early review copy through Netgalley. This is a nonfiction book about the reign of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. The authors reconstruct what is know about these two and how they became gods on Earth. Great book for those interested in Ancient Egypt and Akhenaten and the cult of Aten specifically.

Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix is a nonfiction book about the art of horror paperbacks from the 1970s and 80s. It focuses on the art but also on the how stories and certain novels changed the horror landscape. I don’t have a lot to say about this book but I enjoyed it.

The last book I read in April was Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. Mistborn is a fantasy novel where a thousand years ago the hero lost and now the evil overlord rules everything. But a rebellion is building. Kelsier who survived the worst punishment is getting a crew together to kill the Lord Ruler. Vin a young street urchin and thief has the power of a Mistborn that allows her to burn different melts to gain powers joins this crew to hopeful change the future. It took me a while to finish Mistborn but I did enjoy the characters and world and I plan to continue with the series.

Video Games:

In April I finished both Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Recoded which I do have full reviews posted for. Birth by Sleep is a prequal game to the original Kingdom Hearts game where we follow three keyblade wielders as they try to become keyblade masters and defeat the evil that is threating the worlds.

Recoded was a movie version of the Nintendo DS game. This game focuses on finding out the missing information that was in Jiminy’s journal and who Soar needs to help. I can’t say much about this one as I just watched the movie version but I do like the fact that we get information on what the note form Mickey was about at the end of Kingdom Hearts 2.

March 2022 Monthly Wrap Up

This month I only read three books but I also binged watched the last season of Doctor Who and finished Kingdom Hearts 2.

Books:

The first book I finished was Fullmetal Alchemist Fullmetal Edition volume Six by Hiromu Arakawa. I’m rereading the series as I buy and collect these editions. This volume starts setting up plot elements that will become majorly important later. I love Ling and how the character is introduced but this is a sad volume overall because of everything with Hughes.

Next I read Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston. This is a young adult Star Wars novel that follows Padme as she first become a Senator. I loved getting to see more of Padme and learning how exactly the decoy system worked. I do wish we had gotten a little bit more of Sabe as I was interested in the work the character was doing. Overall, I glad that through Star Wars novels that some of the women of the series are being more fleshed out and given more attention.

The last book I read this month was Why the Titanic was Doomed by Bryan Jackson which is a nonfiction book about the Titanic. I received an early review copy through Netgalley. This book details all the circumstances that came together and caused the sinking of the Titanic. Most of this information was stuff I already knew as an avid reader of nonfiction Titanic works. However, I was a little surprised that there was no mention of the coal bunker fire that many believe contributed to the sinking. Overall, this is a good book for those interested in the Titanic.

TV:

The only thing I really watched this month beside YouTube videos was the last season of Doctor Who. Doctor Who Flux was the most recent series of Doctor Who. I generally wait to watch Doctor Who when the season has finished airing as I haven’t been a big fan of the stories being told the last several years and if I want to finish it I have to binge watch it. I wanted to like this season and I did like some of the ideas but overall it felt rushed and liked there were too many story lines. I also watched the New Years special which I liked the take on a time loop but one that get shorter each loop.

Video Games:

I also finally finished playing Kingdom Hearts 2 and was able to continue the story of Sora and his friends. I love how the game play took what worked from the first game and add to it. I have a full review that goes more in-depth but know that I love the series and I’m working trough the next entries.

Video Game Review: Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Re:coded

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep is a prequal game set about ten years before the events of Kingdom Hearts. However, to understand the story the game expects you to know and understand the events of Kingdom Hearts, Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts 2. Originally on the PSP I played the Final Mix version of the PlayStation 4.

The story follows three key blade wielders Terra, Ventus aka Ven, and Aqua as they are working to become Key blade masters. After Terra and Aqua’s Mark of Mastery test new enemies called the Unversed are seen throughout the world and Master Xehanort is missing. Terra and Aqua are charged with traveling the different worlds to stop the Unversed and find Xehanort at the same time Ven is told that something horrible is going to happen to Terra and goes after his friends. I don’t want to go into more of the story if you haven’t played but its an emotional journey that has call back to events in the other games.

Instead of playing just once you play though each characters storyline. Technically you can play in any order that you want but the expected order is Terra, Ven, Aqua. The game play is different from the previous games. This time there is no MP just a command deck that charges magic and specific attacks overtime. Each character has a different play style to get used to and different strengths. The only thing I personally didn’t like was command melding as I feel like it is a little complex and confusing.

While I loved the characters and story the game does feel a little bare bones probably because it was originally created for the PSP. Each Disney world is only a couple of rooms and there are very few NPCs to interact with. However, I can’t wait to see these characters and continue their story in the next games.

Kingdom Hearts Re:coded is a Nintendo DS game following Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Jiminy Cricket after the events of Kingdom Hearts 2. They are trying to figure out the mystery of Jiminy’s journal and why it says to Thank Namine and the message “Their hurting will be mended when you return to end it.” To do this they digitize the journal and awaken a Data version of Sora to go though the journal and figure everything out.

As I’m playing Kingdom Hearts from the 1.5 and 2.5 collection on PlayStation 4 Re:coded is not actually playable. Instead its a movie version of the cut scenes with text to add any needed information. So I can’t say anything about how this would play as a game but I loved where the story is going. I loved the ending as we are finally given information of who are all the characters hurting and connected to Sora’s heart and hint to where the story is going to go next. I also love the fact that we get to know what was in the note to Sora from the end of Kingdom Hearts 2.

With the 20th anniversary and the announcement of Kingdom Hearts 4 I plan of finishing the rest of the games in the series as soon as I can.

Video Game Review: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts 2

As I have been playing all of the Kingdom Hearts games on the 1.5 and 2.5 collection on the PS4 not all of the games are playable but are movie versions of the cut scenes and story information. This is how Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is in the collection. Now, Days originally released after Kingdom Hearts 2 but the collection put Days first as the story timeline has Day occurring before the main events of Kingdom Hearts 2.

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So if you look anywhere on the best order to play Kingdom Hearts in some will say to play Days before 2 or after 2. I feel like most of the time its better to play in the order that the games where released in but Days doesn’t matter as much. The game focuses on Roxas and his relationship to Organization XII which does give clarity on the events of the three hour long prolong to Kingdom Hearts 2 but not much other important story information that is directly needed to play Kingdom Hearts 2. In terms on how your play through will change depending on what order you play in the major is how confusing the opening prolong to Kingdom Hearts 2 is and how much of the mystery of Roxas do you want. Days chronologically is set after the first game but before 2 and is set both during and after the events of Chain of Memories. For me I knew information about the later games anyways so I don’t think it matters much which one I played first but I do feel like the relationship between Alex and Roxas is better understood and you get more out the open of Kingdom Hearts 2 with the information in Days first. However, you do loose some of the mystery element that starts the game and is throughout with the Organization.

Before I get into Kingdom Hearts 2 I will make a note that I generally play on Beginner mode as I don’t feel that I’m all that good at these games but I love the story. Any information I miss playing this way, such as the secret endings I look up after I’ve finished playing the game. Most people will say this is not the best way to play these games but I just want to enjoy the story and get through the games in a timely manner.

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Kingdom Hearts 2 starts off with a prolog that is about three hours long focusing on Roxas who has a connection to Sora but its not explained until much later in the story. When we start playing as Sora he has been a sleep for a year and now must travel the worlds again to find Riku and King Mickey as well as stop the evil plan of Organization XII. I love these games but its in Kingdom Hearts 2 that you can tell the plot does start to get a little confusing if you aren’t paying attention as there are hints of where major plot points and events are headed.

In comparison to Kingdom Hearts, I find Kingdom Hearts 2 a much more enjoyable experience to play. Though you can tell the game was created for the PlayStation 2 the movement of the characters and the gameplay overall is much better. The Drive Forms are a great new way to add to the gameplay even though I don’t like things like double jump being connected to the Drive Forms. Overall, Kingdom Hearts 2 is one of the best games in the series both story and gameplay wise from what I’ve played so far.

I’m currently making my way through the rest of the series and since 2022 is the 20th anniversary I hope to have finished most of what we have currently before the end of the year.

January 2022 Monthly Wrap Up

In January I read four books and finished two video games. I haven’t been watching that much except for a few documentaries, The Return to Hogwarts Special on HBO was the only one that I loved.

Books:

The first book I finished for this year was Dune by Frank Herbert which I had started in October but it took me a long time to finish. I feel like Dune is one of those stories that you hear a lot about but is still kind of hard to explain. We follow Paul as his family is given control of Arrakis, a desert planet know as Dune. When his family is betrayed Paul and his mother escape into the desert a way from the cities and join the local inhabitants the Fremen. Paul becomes a chosen one/messiah know as the Muad’Dib and plans to take over the galactic empire. Dune is one of those books that can take a while to understand what is happening due to all the information that is parceled out through the story but its also very readable. Personally, I found the ending weird and somewhat confusing though I like the book overall. Dune is the first book in a series but it reads well as a standalone and I don’t plan on continuing. I feel like if you are interested in reading Dune you should give it a shot but its not this amazing must read and it might not be for you.

Next I read Greek Myths: Meet the Heroes, Gods and Monsters of Ancient Greece by Jean Menzies which is an illustrated children’s books about Greek Myths. I bought this primarily for the art and to support the author. Since its a children’s book I knew most if not all the information in this book but this one of those books that I wish I had as a kid.

Siren Queen by Nigh Vo is an adult fantasy novel set in 1930s Hollywood in a world where the worst monsters are not on screen and immortality can be gained by being in the movies. I received an early review copy through Netgalley and I also have a full review posted. Luli Wei is a Chinese-American girl who wants to be in movies but would rather play the monster instead of the maid. When the studios own everything Luli is willing to do what ever it takes to become a star. Siren Queen is an amazing critical and magical take on old Hollywood. Luli is one of those characters that you love but is not the best person. This book made me want to read more of Nigh Vo’s work.

Hide by Kiersten White is a contemporary horror/thriller where fourteen people are in a competition to play hide and seek in an abounded amusement park to win enough money to change their lives. The main character Mack feels like she can beat the others but when people start disappearing two a day it becomes clear something else is going on. I loved this book and it reminded me somewhat of the movie Cabin in the woods. I received an early review copy through Netgalley and I also have a full review posted.

Video Games:

I finished two video games in January Persona 5: Strikers and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight which I have full reviews posted for both.

Persona 5: Strikers is a hack and slash Dynasty Warriors style fighting game that combines game play elements from Persona 5. The plot is set during the summer break after the events of Persona 5 where Joke and the rest of the Phantom Thieves are planning a camping trip but end up having to go back into the Metaverse to destroy newly created jails where the shadow of the jails ruler is stealing desires. This was a fun game that I loved but I’m not a fan on how the stealth works in the game. If you are a fan of Persona 5 you should give the game a try.

Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight is a rhythm dancing game that is very light on the plot. The twins bring the Phantom Thieves into the Metaverse through their dreams to try to win a dance competition between the siblings that help in the Velvet Room. This is one of those games that you will like only if you are both a Persona 5 fan and don’t mind rhythm games. I liked it but its one of those games that I don’t think I will ever play again.