Poll Results: These are what you hear about KH…and it ticks you off

Why Hasn’t (Some Final Fantasy) Character Shown His/Her Face Yet?

“This Final Fantasy character (think of a character most people talk about) should or should not have made an appearance.” (16%, 76 Votes to date)

For all that we may wish, Kingdom Hearts is a Disney game first, and its Final Fantasy connection comes second. The general idea was that Sora and co. would visit various Disney worlds and interact with Disney characters from said worlds, all the while behaving similarly to a Final Fantasy-RPG style of gameplay/storytelling (the exception are worlds such as Traverse Town and Hollow Bastion). Final Fantasy characters are guests featured in this game, and acquaint us with characters a separate audience is familiar with. So for the most part, Final Fantasy characters are selected based on how they will impact the overall light vs. dark theme throughout the games. For instance, the addition of Cloud and Sephiroth compliment very well with the game. Whereas characters like the fairy versions of Yuna, Rikku, and Paine only nudged the story ever so slightly, if at all. Zack, on the other hand, made a fair appearance in Birth by Sleep, seeing Terra as the hero Zack wanted to become (much like Zack wanting to be like Genesis or Sephiroth in Crisis Core: FFVII). So even if your favourite Final Fantasy character is or isn’t in the game, so far, the fans seems to have no say in it. On a personal note, I’d love to see Cecil from FFIV in a major KH title, just because he is the perfect balance of light and dark, and I feel that Sora and co. could learn a lot from him.

Hard to believe, but, yes, some people don't like Sora.

The Ever Unchanging Sora

“I don’t like Sora very much…” (18%, 85 Votes to date)

Sora’s the main character of this series, no questions about it. Sure we get a different take in 358/2 Days and Birth by Sleep, but at the end of the day, Sora’s our main hero. But not everyone likes him. Why? It could be that he’s the main character. Believe it or not, there are a good amount of people who dislike the main character. It could be that he’s too happy, and doesn’t really get angry. I mean, how many people do you know who are actually like that? I feel a solid main character is someone who has to go through some sort of extreme change, be it mental, physical, or emotional. I think it’s fair to say that a bit of all three should happen. But even if that is the case, it’s not like Sora to get overly emotional (with the exception of finding Riku in KH2) or think things over before beating them with the Keyblade (with the brief exception of his discovery that his defeating Heartless in KH2 only helps Xemnas create Kingdom Hearts). In those regards, Sora’s a fairly simple, straightforward character. Can we not just be happy with that?

Worlds, worlds, worlds. Nobody can ever seem to agree on them.

More Worlds Into the Fray!

“This world should/should not be in the game.” (23%, 111 Votes to date)

Going back to the previous answer about the Final Fantasy characters, it’s more or less the same concept with the world appearances. Various Disney worlds are taken into consideration, and a lucky few get selected to be part of the game (Pride Lands, Land of Dragons), and an even luckier number get to be in multiple games (Traverse Town, Olympus Coliseum). But not all worlds are enjoyed. In this regard, I’m almost inclined to challenge anyone to legitimately say they enjoyed the Atlantica world in KH2. Personally, I didn’t; I thought it was a waste of time. In KH1, Atlantica made sense, especially when King Triton revealed that he knew about the Keyblade’s power. However, in KH2, it was more like a mini-game world that gave us a little breathing room from fighting the Heartless.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, people always want to see their favourite Disney movie involved in this expansive game. There’s always talk about introducing worlds originating from other Disney movies (Treasure Planet, The Emperor’s New Groove, Atlantis), and some of them make a legitimate amount of sense. For instance, TRON: Legacy could enter the fray. It already has an established world of Space Paranoids (originating from TRON). It’s one of the few worlds that could make an interesting return in the form of a sequel. Another example of a plausible sequel is Port Royal, where they could introduce Davy Jones from the second Pirates movie. But like I said with the Final Fantasy characters, it’s not up to us, no matter how much we think it could work. But the possibilities are fascinating to dream of.

Character Depth Counted on One Hand

“There’s not enough character depth.” (25%, 109 Votes to date)
As the poll shows, there are a good number of people who say and believe this. At first glance, they seem completely wrong. While combating the darkness inside him, Riku makes the transition from being used by it, to controlling it. Sure it spans over two games (KH1 and KH:CoM), but it’s shown very clearly how he progresses. The same is demonstrated by Terra in BBS, only he falls completely to the power of darkness. But the issue isn’t really concerning the characters that grow; it’s the claim that there aren’t enough characters growing. For example, how much does anyone know about the Org.XIII member, Lexaeus? Other than that he uses a lot of darkness when combating Riku, I think there’s very little to tell.

With 13 members, there was bound to be a couple who weren't very important in the scheme of things.

In reality, not all the Org.XIII members contribute much to the story. For the most part, they’re just obstacles that need to be defeated by Sora or Riku. The game is about (for the most part) Sora, Riku, and Kairi. They’ve all grown in their own way. Sora, who received the Keyblade first, battles through strife to find Kairi. Riku struggles with the darkness and in turn, overcomes it, dealing with much inner turmoil in the process. Kairi, who was seemingly an islander, is revealed to be a Princess of Heart, and later gains the ability to wield a Keyblade too. But for other characters that people love, such as most of the Organization, most of them portray one major emotion or motive, and it’s hard to discover much else about them. Sure, we can speculate thanks to 358/2 Days. But for those who idolize Org.XIII, I agree with them in saying that their character backgrounds could have been explored a little bit more. Generically, I learned that Luxord makes a lot of card-related remarks, and Xaldin wants the Beast to get angry. But that’s not a lot to go on. If the fans had their say, we’d know Xemnas’ favourite bedtime story.

Play Out of Sequence, and Kingdom Hearts Could Mangle Your Brain

“It’s too confusing!” or “I can’t follow what’s going on at all!” or “How can anyone expect a player to understand the crazy plot?” (55%, 260 Votes to date)
I will admit, for everyone, that at first glance, Kingdom Hearts CAN have a confusing plotline, especially to those who’ve played games that are spaced apart (ie. Playing KH1, and then jumping to Coded). But that can’t be helped. We can ALL play all the KH games in existence and in sequence. The biggest reason that we don’t is because not everyone wants to spend $100+ on a new system just for one game. But, there are many ways to clear the fog around whatever confusion exists within this series. For instance, because the game is fairly story-driven, paying attention helps a lot when trying to understand this series. Reading up on the KH wikia page helps, or even (though I frown upon it) watching the cutscenes online. But for those who’ve played all the games and are still confused, then, I think that a second or third playthough could shed some more light on the clouded view of this story. I will admit, during my first playthough for any of the games, I felt that the game’s story threw a few curveballs at me. The first being that Ansem Seeker of Darkness in KH1 wasn’t really Ansem. Followed by the relation of Sora and Roxas, continuing with more events such as Xion’s relation to Sora, Ven’s relation to Roxas, Vanitas’ shocking identity, and the connection of Terra to Xehanort under Ansem the Wise’s tutelage. But I took the information, mentally processed it, and came to understand it completely. In essence, there’s a lot of information to take in, but it’s certainly not impossible.

I’m not done, there’s more!

There have been a few comments saying that I forgot a few “complaints” about our beloved game. Truth be told, if I added them initially, I feel we wouldn’t have gotten the results for this poll, because these other complaints would get all the votes. But the fans have spoken, so I shall give them some spotlight too.

Perhaps the most annoying insult of all is that KH is too kiddy. Come up with something new already.

“This is a kid’s game!”

How many times have we heard this one? Honestly, I’ve only heard it maybe once or twice. But I do realize it does get said. First, to be fair, most Disney movies are aimed at a younger audience, so this comment is nearly unavoidable. But this comment comes from the people who most likely judge a book by its cover. And on almost any given KH title, there are more Disney characters on the box art than original KH characters. So, it’s showcasing Disney just by visuals alone.

But what about the people who get past the box art? That means they want to watch a trailer to better understand what they may be getting themselves into. Well, in this series, there are fewer original characters shown in the trailers and more Disney characters make appearances. In a fair amount of trailers for KH and KH2, a lot of Disney worlds and their world characters are showcased, while a very tiny amount of original worlds and characters are introduced. Kingdom Hearts is more known for its Disney characters, despite having a fair range of Final Fantasy and/or original characters. There’s more to Kingdom Hearts than just Donald and Goofy hanging around a spiky-haired teenager with a giant key.

“Where’s KH3? I’m tired of spin-offs!”

Fans are so impatient for KH3 that they overlook jewels like Birth by Sleep and 358/2 Days.

This is probably the most heard complaint amongst them all, and suffices to say, there are even die-hard fans that say this from time to time. The thing is, all the KH games to date are part of a singular story (or saga as Nomura stated a while back), one named “The Xehanort Saga”. All the games to date are providing both small and large parts of this story, contributing in various ways, leading up to a finale’ in The Xehanort Saga. I’m not going to lie, but I’m dying for “KH3” to come out, but at the same time, I’m pretty sated with the KH games that come out in between. For instance, the next game Dream Drop Distance is providing a part of the story where, for the most part, we assume that Sora and Riku are proving that they can be bestowed with the Mark of Mastery. It may, at first glance, seem like a small portion of the story, but I’m excited to see whether or not they can ever do it. I have no doubt that they can, but there’s so much in that test alone that could add more to this ever-growing tale. Not to mention, there’s about 9 or so years missing from BBS and KH1, which may be explained with the mention of BBS Vol.2. In that alone, there’s a lot that could’ve happened. Xehanort could’ve regained memories and start tampering with the darkness, Lea and Isa may have a backstory as to how they became Nobodies.

Though they may not be intended for a major home gaming console, I don’t think the “spin-offs” are just “spin-offs”– they add and reveal more to the story, making each game important to the overall plot. In Chain of Memories, we learned about the Organization and the power of Sora’s memories. In 358/2 Days, we explored the daily lives of Roxas, Axel, and Xion. In Birth by Sleep, we learned the origin of Master Xehanort, the creation of the X-Blade, and the sorrow-filled fate of Aqua, and finally, in Coded, we said “Thank you” to Namine, and discovered that was written on the letter to Sora at the end of KH2. Call them “spin-offs” if you want, but they’re more than that; they add more dimension to this universe.

Imperfection is the Spice of Life

Long story short, people will always say things about Kingdom Hearts. Sure it’ll bother us now and then, but that just goes to show who’s played the games, and who hasn’t. I don’t mean to sound condescending to anyone for saying what they say. Just give it a chance is all. It’s just a simple statement. For all KH is worth, I appreciate the game, the story, the characters, everything. There are things that annoy me, of course. For sure, KH isn’t a perfect game, but if you think the way I do, it is imperfection that tugs our heartstrings in some manner or form, be it positive or negative. KH is a series that I’ll never put down, despite not having Cecil Harvey or Treasure Planet. I love it for what it is: a spiky-haired teenager rocking a key-shaped sword, saving the world.

Visit Tarif on Deviantart, and don’t miss his amazing Kingdom Hearts collection