kingdom hearts 2 Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com kingdom hearts 2 RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Purpose, Redemption, and Acceptance: Alexa Ray Corriea's New Book on Kingdom Hearts II is a Fascinating Read https://www.gameskinny.com/qxct9/purpose-redemption-and-acceptance-alexa-ray-corrieas-new-book-on-kingdom-hearts-ii-is-a-fascinating-read https://www.gameskinny.com/qxct9/purpose-redemption-and-acceptance-alexa-ray-corrieas-new-book-on-kingdom-hearts-ii-is-a-fascinating-read Mon, 03 Jul 2017 09:00:01 -0400 Erroll Maas

Kingdom Hearts is a video game series that resonates with many players across the world. But for Alexa Ray Corriea -- author and co-founder of What's Good Games -- Kingdom Hearts is more than just some game: it's also a significant life experience.

According to many fans,  Kingdom Hearts II, may be the best in the beloved video game series. This book explores the history, importance, and deeper thematic implications of the series, while focusing primarily on the third installment.

From the series' conception by a chance elevator meeting to the seventh game, this book details how certain elements from the series' history affects others. The book also collects various interviews from the series' creator, Tetsuya Nomura, to help explain story elements and characters.

Let's take a look at some of the most important chapters in this novel to see why it's worth reading.

The Complexities of Nobodies

The second chapter of the book thoroughly examines the different significant characters of the game. In particular, the Nobodies. The Nobodies of Organization XIII are reintroduced in this game from the earlier Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. These are characters who have lost their metaphysical hearts.

Corriea goes into extensive detail about the how and why of Nobodies, and why Nobodies such as Roxas, Axel, and Xemnas are so much more compelling once you look into their history and motivations. Corriea does a spectacular job of explaining how this backstory makes the game so much deeper and more intriguing, while also admitting how convoluted the game's story becomes because of concepts that are difficult to comprehend.

Like other topics covered in this book, the existence of Nobodies is compared to real life situations. For example, after the character Saix is quoted about how those who lose their purpose end up destroying themselves, Corriea says:

"The Kingdom Hearts universe puts a lot of emphasis on people who destroy themselves. In the real world, we see people fall to addiction, greed, and self-pity. In Kingdom Hearts, this destruction is largely referred to as 'falling into darkness,' abandoning the realm of light to serve a purpose that society thinks of as more sinister."

She goes on to discuss the characteristics and motivations of Nobodies in tandem with a real life situation:

"Without a heart, without love, without purpose and meaning in your life -- you might as well be nothing, and it may compel you to do nefarious things."

It's true: plenty of people commit crimes because they feel lost. That doesn't mean they are lost. If they're lucky enough, the right events can help them turn their life around. By contrast, the Nobodies can regain their heart from selfless acts.

Corriea writes that when we're in the lowest points of our lives -- when we have been overtaken by negative emotions -- we only become truly ourselves again after someone else helps us remember who we are. This is what happens to a few of the significant characters in the Kingdom Hearts series.

Riku's Redemption and Acceptance

Kingdom Hearts II tells the story of Riku's redemption. This story may even be more his than Sora's. Corriea explains how Riku is so much more than his character trope:

"Riku accepts his sins and his bad decisions and turns them into a useful weapon. He is touched by the power of darkness, which can be used for evil but is not inherently so, and through his own means learn to wield that force for the side of good."

Riku's acceptance of his darkness is one of the most important themes of the series. When we go through dark times, the experiences we have aren't inherently evil. They can even help us learn from our past mistakes.

Later on in this chapter, Corriea provides some insightful and rather motivational words about Riku's character. These words can be easily applicable to real life:

"Riku learns something that is difficult for many to accept: You don't have to be perfect. You don't have to be saintly, and a few bad or selfish choices don't make you evil. You are not weak for feeling doubt or thinking bad thoughts. You are only bad if you let that darkness harm others."

She's right. None of us are perfect, and we all have flaws -- whether we admit them or not. Having negative thoughts when we're struggling doesn't make us bad people. However, if those thoughts end up hurting those close to us, then we become bad people.

A Plethora of Other Great Topics 

There is plenty more interesting content discussed throughout the book, such as:

  • The lack of strong and important women characters in the series until Aqua's introduction in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep 
    • To a lesser extent, Naminé from Kingdom Hearts II can also be included here
  • Intimate friendships and how they're portrayed well
    • Sora and Riku
    • Axel and Roxas
  • The irrelevant love triangle between Sora, Riku, and Kairi
  • Why Mickey Mouse is integral to the series' story
  • Mickey Mouse's characterization comparison to a certain legendary figure

All of these topics have varying degrees of appeal depending on the reader. Some of these topics you may not even think of before reading a particular chapter.

No matter which chapter you may be interested in most, you're bound to learn something new from each one.

A Recommended Read For Any Fan

Like the series itself, Kingdom Hearts II is an entertaining read for both teenage and adult fans. Even though it primarily focuses on Kingdom Hearts II, the book still provides a detailed look into the production, themes, and psychology of the entire series -- before the recently released Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, of course.

Whether you're a fan highly anticipating the eventual release of Kingdom Hearts III, looking to better understand the story, or wanting to learn more about production details of the series, Kingdom Hearts II is a fascinating read for fans of any caliber. 

Kingdom Hearts II by Alexa Ray Corriea is available on Amazon and Boss Fight Books' website.

A digital eBook copy was provided by Boss Fight Books.

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Here's Everything That's Included in Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix https://www.gameskinny.com/cx4vc/heres-everything-thats-included-in-kingdom-hearts-hd-15-25-remix https://www.gameskinny.com/cx4vc/heres-everything-thats-included-in-kingdom-hearts-hd-15-25-remix Wed, 29 Mar 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Jerline Justo

Imagine a game that combines both Disney and Final Fantasy -- yup, that is Kingdom Hearts for you!

With Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix, following with Kingdom Hearts 2.8, fans will be understand the whole plot before the release of Kingdom Hearts 3. This collection does contain previous games, but it also comes with special bonus that is not included in the original released.

Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts Final Mix

When Square Enix released Kingdom Hearts on the PS2, the game introduced Sora, a keyblade wielder, and his companions, Donald and Goofy. On their Gummi ship, they travel to various world and meet different Disney and Final Fantasy characters while fighting the heartless. The gameplay involves the player controlling Sora and a command system to attack or use magic against the Heartless. In the Final Mix, it features new cutscenes that explore Riku’s story, new weapons for Sora, Donald, and Goofy, and new bosses, including Organization XIII leader, Xemmas, and Sephiroth.

Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories

Chain of Memories falls right after the events of Kingdom Hearts where Sora, Donald, and Goofy explore Castle Oblivion and Organization XIII while alongside Mickey’s help, Riku attempts to escape the lower floors of the castle. Fans first played Chain of Memories on the Game Boy Advance in 2004, and the game was later remade on the PS2 in 2007. The gameplay remains the same deck card combat that correlate different actions during battle mode; the difference is the transition from 2D to 3D graphics.

Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (HD Remastered Cinematics)

358/2 Days happens after Kingdom Hearts and during Chain of Memories where fans see how Roxas’s story under Organization XIII and his friendship with Axel and Xion develops. Square Enix released Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days on the Nintendo DS in 2009, and the game features a similar gameplay, but the player’s magic is limited. The HD Remastered Cinematics is the movie version where it shows the original cutscenes as well as unseen scenes not featured from the game.

Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix

Following right after Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Sora wakes up a year later with Donald and Goofy, and the trio faces a new enemy, the Nobodies and Organization XIII. The game was launched in 2005 on the PS2, and the gameplay introduces Reaction Commands during battle. In Final Mix, the game includes more elements to challenge fans, like new bosses, specifically all the Organization XIII members and Birth By Sleep's Terra, a new drive form that features previous moves from the first game, a new difficulty level called critical mode, and other side quests.

Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix

Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep happens before Sora’s journey 10 years ago, exploring a different trio of friends, Terra, Aqua, and Ventus. The game was first released in 2010 on the PSP, and fans can experience playing each character to see how the events falls into Kingdom Hearts storyline. The gameplay presents a different type of command system such that players can create a deck of special abilities and magic based on their fighting preferences. In the Final Mix, it includes new missions in the Mirage Arena, new command style for each character, and a secret episode where Aqua explores the realm of darkness.

Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts Re:coded (HD Remastered Cinematics)

Re:coded falls right after Kingdom Hearts II where Sora's friends, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Jiminy, explores the mysteries of two hidden messages inside Jiminy’s journal. Square Enix first made this game for mobile phones but later remade it for the Nintendo DS in 2011. The game includes a multiplayer system for other players to play with each other. Like 358/2 Days, this remaster is a movie version of the game itself with new cutscenes not from the original DS versions.

Kingdom Hearts

On top of the new side quests and cutscenes within this collection, it also includes better graphics and gameplay improvements, which fans noted from the PS3 complications. Square Enix also mentions that the game will be running 60 frames per second than the usual 30 frames per second, giving fans the best gameplay experience, as seen in the video below.

For 15 years, Square Enix continues the Kingdom Hearts series, and since 2002, the series adapted into different platforms, from PS2, PSP, and Nintendo 3DS. With this release, fans, or new players, can either revisit or jump into the entire series on one console. 

Time to get on that Gummi ship and go against the darkness!

Kingdom Hearts, goofy, daffy duck

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Kingdom Hearts 3: The Characters Are Set on Stage https://www.gameskinny.com/tsei9/kingdom-hearts-3-the-characters-are-set-on-stage https://www.gameskinny.com/tsei9/kingdom-hearts-3-the-characters-are-set-on-stage Thu, 19 Jan 2017 07:00:01 -0500 Unclepulky

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue has been released in Japan, and is just days away from being released internationally. This game is actually made up of three separate games.

First, there's a HD remaster of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. While not the best entry in the series, it does have some great moments, and it's vital to play in order to understand the story going forward.

Next, there's Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover. Rather than being a complete game, this is actually a series of HD cinematics based on the game Kingdom Hearts χ.

And lastly, there's the main reason most people are interested in this collection: Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage. This game primarily follows Master Aqua in the Realm of Darkness, the events of her adventure running parallel to the first Kingdom Hearts game. However, we also check in with Sora and the rest of the gang following the events of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.

So, with Kingdom Hearts 3 set to be the next installment in the franchise, let's go over where all of our heroes are going to be at the beginning of the Xehanort Saga's final chapter.

Lea 

Lea is the Somebody of Axel, a former member of Organization XIII. Following Axel's death in Kingdom Hearts 2, Lea was resurrected. 

At the end of Kingdom Hears 3D: Dream Drop Distance, he saved Sora from becoming Xehanort's vessel, and, to the rest of the cast's surprise, turned out to be a keyblade wielder.

Many fans speculate that Lea will be one of the seven wielders of light in the final battle. Now, there's further credence to this theory as, according to Yensid, Lea has gone off to undergo training with the wizard Merlin. ("The Sword in the Stone" world confirmed?)

Ventus

Sadly for young Ven, his situation has not changed.

At the end of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Ventus clashed with his evil replica Vanitas. Ventus was victorious, but at a cost.

He lost his heart, which would end up in Sora, leaving him in a coma. To hide him from Xehanort, Aqua locked him away in Castle Oblivion. Aqua promised that she'd be back to wake him up, but before she could, she was trapped in the Realm of Darkness.

Only if Aqua returns to the Realm of Light will Ventus be able to see another day.

Terra

Like Ventus, nothing has changed about Terra's situation. However, we now know more about it than we did previously.

At the end of Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, Master Xehanort possessed Terra, and consumed his heart in darkness. 

Many of us thought that Terra was gone for good. However, as we learned from his interaction with Aqua in the Realm of Darkness, he heart is strong enough to keep itself from being completely consumed by darkness.

So, while Terra is still possessed, there remains a chance of getting him back.

Roxas and Xion

I've lumped these two together for a few reasons.

First, and most obviously, they're best friends. Also, for the time being, it seems that their characters arcs were complete, and have no way of returning to the series. Lastly, they're both fan favorites.

When we last saw Roxas, he'd permanently become a part of Sora, accepting his fate with a smile.

Xion's story on the other hand had a much more tragic end. A failed replica of Roxas created from Sora's memories, Xion had to die in order for all of Sora's memories to be returned to him. However, it was worse than just that. When Roxas was forced to kill Xion, everyone, Roxas included, forgot she ever existed.

It's more than likely that Roxas will return in KH3, but I certainly hope that, at the very least, he finds a way to remember Xion. And if it were up to me, I'd find a way for them to see each other again.

After all, who else will Roxas have ice cream with?

Kairi

 In Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 2, Kairi was a damsel in distress. However, thanks to her meeting Aqua during the events of Birth By Sleep, she's a keyblade wielder.

We knew from the end of Dream Drop Distance that Kairi would be training in the way of the keyblade in order to bolster the ranks of the forces of light. This has led many to believe that she will be one of the seven wielders of light.

As of the end of Kingdom Hearts 0.2, we now know that she'll be joining Lea in training under the wizard Merlin. Given her history with Axel, ergo, her being kidnapped by him, it should be fun to see the two interact.

Who knows? Her resemblance to Xion may be enough to may be enough to make Lea remember her.

Master Aqua

Aqua's had a rough life.

In Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, Aqua was living a peaceful life with her best friends Ventus and Terra. And then, immediately after achieving her dream of becoming a keyblade master... everything went to Hell.

Her and her friends were put through a series of hardships, and by the end of the game, Terra was possessed, Ventus was in a coma, and Aqua herself was trapped in the Realm of Darkness.

As we now know thanks to Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage, Aqua hasn't aged a day due to having been living in the Realm of Darkness for 12 years. In addition, where as most people would have gone mad living alone for over a decade, Aqua has managed to keep her sanity, to the point where she actually played a major role in saving the day in the original Kingdom Hearts.

Aqua is still trapped. Once she's freed though, the darkness will have a new force to reckon with.

Master Riku and King Mickey

While KH 0.2 explained what Mickey was doing during the original Kingdom Hearts, it really isn't relative to what's going on now.

Riku on the other hand has firmly taken his place as a keyblade master, having passed the Mark of Mastery exam in Dream Drop Distance.

Since Sora has his own business to attend to, Mickey has chosen Riku to come with him to FINALLY free Aqua from the Realm of Darkness, and that is where the duo will be at the start of KH3.

The two have always had a strong friendship, and it'll be great to see more of it.

Sora, Donald, and Goofy

One of the biggest things people have been wondering about is how and why Sora is going to be a level one weakling at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts 3.

Well, now we have an explanation.

As it turns out, when Xehanort tried to turn Sora into his vessel in Dream Drop Distance, he ended up stripping Sora of most of his power.

Not the best explanation to be honest, but it's better than nothing.

Regardless, Yensid still believes Sora to be their strongest weapon against the darkness. As such, he's sent Sora, along with Donald and Goofy, off to regain his strength.

And according to the very end of KH 0.2, KH3 will begin with the trio riding in the gummy ship off to Olympus Colosseum.

Also, in the English dub, Sora has hit puberty... hard.

...

It's weird.

Are you excited for Kingdom Hearts 3? What are you hoping to see from these characters? Let me know in the comments!

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Kingdom Hearts 3 Isn't Happening Any Time Soon.... But You Can Still Plays These KH Games! https://www.gameskinny.com/3946w/kingdom-hearts-3-isnt-happening-any-time-soon-but-you-can-still-plays-these-kh-games https://www.gameskinny.com/3946w/kingdom-hearts-3-isnt-happening-any-time-soon-but-you-can-still-plays-these-kh-games Fri, 13 Jan 2017 11:00:01 -0500 Naomi N. Lugo

It was pretty disappointing when earlier this week we learned that both Kingdom Hearts III and the Final Fantasy VII remake likely won’t be released in 2017. The news came straight from the source when director Tetsuya Nomura revealed some details about the game's development in an interview with Famitsu magazine.

“I think we’ll have you guys wait a little longer for both Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy VII Remake, I do apologize for that, but we’ll make up for it by making it into something that will meet expectations.”

Well shoot.

Before you fall into a pit of despair, though, there is some good news. Square Enix will still be releasing a few Kingdom Hearts titles in 2017, and now there is plenty of time to catch up on all of the other games in the franchise.

First up, what about those new releases?

2017 Releases

Kingdom Hearts 2.8 / Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue

Coming out later this month on Jan. 24. It will include three games, a HD remaster of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, as well unique content in the form of a cinematic Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover and the game Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage.

So if you missed the chance to play Dream Drop Distance on 3DS, now is your chance. Apparently, Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage will have some essential story pertaining to Kingdom Hearts III, so think of it as a little taste before we get the full meal. 

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix

PlayStation 4 will also see the re-release of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 and 2.5 Remix on March 28. 1.5 includes the remastered original game and 2.5 has a remastered Kingdom Hearts II.

Souped up graphics are only going to serve the original games and make them an even more enjoyable experience for the player. Kingdom Hearts is an interesting series in that it has more spin-offs than base games at this point. And speaking of those original titles...

The Retro Experience

Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II.

If you’re not quite ready to take a deep-dive into the storied franchise (or don’t have a PS4), you might want to take a few steps all the way back to the beginning.

For a truly retro experience, dust off the PlayStation 2 and pop in Kingdom Hearts and then Kingdom Hearts II. Playing these games again, or for the first time, will give some indication as to why the third installment is so anticipated.

Fingers crossed that remakes of these two will finally make their way to the Vita (like some other Square Enix titles have) and the Xbox One.

The Mobile Game

Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ

Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ is another installment to the franchise and can be played on both Android and iOS. It is the mobile version its preceding browser game Kingdom Hearts χ. The story is set “at the very beginning of the Kingdom Hearts story in the era before the Ancient Keyblade War,” according to its description on Google Play.

This title is good for fans of the series who might not have a whole lot of time to catch up on the old games but still want to get back into the Kingdom Hearts frame of mind. Might as well put that phone to use serving its true purpose, gaming. 

Which game is your favorite installment of the Kingdom Hearts franchise? Are you looking forward to Kingdom Hearts III? Let me know in the comment section below!

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Top 5 Most Bizarre Christmas Themed Levels in Video Games https://www.gameskinny.com/mwtzy/top-5-most-bizarre-christmas-themed-levels-in-video-games https://www.gameskinny.com/mwtzy/top-5-most-bizarre-christmas-themed-levels-in-video-games Tue, 13 Dec 2016 06:56:00 -0500 Unclepulky

Christmas!!

No matter what you believe in or what your background is, Christmas is a time when people can set aside their differences and just be kind to each other. A time where families can come together -- and in certain cases, play video games.

Speaking of video games, our favorite form of immersive entertainment occasionally features Christmas-themed levels and environments. And while some display the beauty of the holiday and Winter as a whole, others are just weird. So of course, we want to look at the weirdest of the weird. 

Here are the top five most bizarre Christmas-themed levels we've ever seen in video games. 

5. Any Level Where You Play as Santa Claus

Happy Wheels

I'm sort of starting off by cheating, but I find this just too sad and hilarious to exclude.

In the flash game Happy Wheels, a rag doll physics game, you can play as an assortment of characters through a variety of levels. These levels are of varying quality, seeing as they're player made. One of these characters is Saint Nick himself.

And frankly, it's just surreal to see Santa driving a sleigh pulled by suffering elves, and watching them all tumble around and go through an immense amount of pain.

Happy Wheels: putting a whole new spin on Santa using slave labor.

4. Christmas Town

Kingdom Hearts 2

Given that it's straight from the superb film The Nightmare Before Christmas, the contents of this world in Kingdom Hearts 2 are pretty strange.

As Sora in Halloween Town, you get to interact with all of your favorite characters from the movie -- plus Lock, Shock, and Barrel.

      On the bright side, you at least get to hit these twerps with a giant key.

During your stay here, you'll be surrounded by basic aesthetic elements of Christmas everywhere you go. Snow, bright, colorful lights, candy canes, etc.

However, this being Kingdom Hearts, a crossover between Disney and Final Fantasy, you'll also be fighting a variety of Heartless and Nobodies, as well as a giant monster created by Dr. Finkelstein.

Most bizarre of all? Something remotely interesting happens with Sora's character, as he question his belief in Santa Claus. While it's nothing special or too deep, it's one of the few times in the whole series we've seen Sora deal with an internal conflict.

3. Die Hard and Die Hard 2

Die Hard Trilogy

There are two kinds of people.

People who think Die Hard is a Christmas movie. And people who are wrong.

Die Hard Trilogy is an interesting title, as it consists of three different games, each based on one of the three first Die Hard movies, and each with a different gameplay style. While Die Hard 3 abandoned the tradition, the first two movies -- and subsequently, the first two games -- are set around Christmas.

In the third-person shooter game based off the first movie, you go around shooting terrorists and rescuing hostages. In the on-rails shooter game based off the second movie, Die Harder, you get to shoot even more terrorists, but this time with the option of doing so with a light gun that plugged right into your system.

Nothing shouts "Christmas" more than shooting virtual terrorists with a piece of plastic.

2. Twisted Christmas

Killing Floor 2

Killing Floor 2 is a mediocre FPS with rather fun gameplay, but little to no story to speak of. For the most part, it's just you and your friends shooting monsters.

One of the notable things about the game, though, are the Twisted Christmas events.

During these events, there are new playable characters, Christmas themed tunes are added to the soundtrack, and all of the gruesome specimens get even more horrifying Christmas-themed skins.

While the skins don't change the way the enemies function, their designs are just so bizarre and imaginative that I can't help but love them. 

1. Nuclear Winter

Duke Nukem 3D

Topping off the list, we have the Nuclear Winter expansion pack of Duke Nukem 3D.

While the previous entries have all featured elements which made them weird, the plot of this game is about as over-the-top as you can get for a Christmas story.

In this game, Santa Claus is captured and brainwashed by the alien maggots from the original Duke Nukem 3D. This time though, they are supported by a new enemy force known as the Feminist Elven Militia. So Duke has to travel to the North Pole is order to stop the brainwashed Santa and the two villainous factions from wreaking havoc on the world.

This is simultaneously the stupidest and the greatest plot to any story I've ever heard.God bless you Duke Nukem, you glorious product of the 90's.

And God bless us, every one.

                             I think I've just come up with a new idea:

                            A Christmas Carol: Starring Duke Nukem

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