Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network 9 Plot Points Kingdom Hearts 3 Needs to Resolve https://www.gameskinny.com/hdo1q/9-plot-points-kingdom-hearts-3-needs-to-resolve https://www.gameskinny.com/hdo1q/9-plot-points-kingdom-hearts-3-needs-to-resolve Fri, 11 Jan 2019 17:19:15 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

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Balance Between Light and Dark

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Speaking of Xehanort’s motives, the concept of balancing light and dark needs some more detail.

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While having a world focused more on light doesn’t initially seem like a bad idea, you soon begin to see that a light-only world turns into something more like the Destiny Islands — a haven from reality that can’t last forever. It’s like an Ursula Le Guin setting, lovely on the surface, with something lurking underneath.

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In fact, ignoring the darkness led to Ansem’s original quest for knowledge and paved the way for Master Xehanort’s insatiable desire to know more. How correcting the balance between light and dark might affect the worlds is, of course, unclear — though it’s easy to guess that Master Xehanort’s methods probably aren’t the best ways to achieve this particular goal.

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Since almost everyone, good and not-so-great, has undergone some form of trial and has had to face the darkness in themselves and others, it’s not very likely the world can go back to the way it was before.

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All of the characters are more self-aware and work to incorporate balance in themselves and the world around them.

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---

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What are you hoping to see resolved in Kingdom Hearts 3? Let us know in the comments.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/i/n/kingdom-hearts-master-xehanort-8ecab.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/i/n/kingdom-hearts-master-xehanort-8ecab.jpg","type":"slide","id":"193338","description":"

Master Xehanort's True Intentions

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It’s not a stretch to say that the villain’s ultimate goal — and even the villains themselves — change in every Kingdom Hearts game.

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There was the fairly simple fight between light and dark in the original, which changed to the more complicated machinations in Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts 2, with the inclusion of Nobodies and their individual goals plus Xehanort’s goal of remaking the universe.

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Then Birth by Sleep shattered the relatively standard RPG trope of being god by including the X-Blade and Master Xehanort’s desire to remake the worlds, addressing an imbalance between light and dark. It featured, again, in Dream Drop Distance, but there’s yet to be any concrete discussion of why.

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Granted, explanation doesn’t always happen in RPGs, but for a series spanning over a decade now, it seems unlikely it’ll end without delving deeper into the particulars.

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Master Xehanort probably won’t be one of those misunderstood villains — he’s done too much bad for that — but the core idea of balancing light and dark has gradually become more prominent as the series has progressed, especially with Terra’s and Riku’s character arcs.

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Hopefully, there’ll be some more world building and plot exposition on the subject to help explain what Master Xehanort originally wanted.

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Time Travel

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Whenever time travel pops up in a story, it causes problems. How is it possible? Why is it necessary? How did it not completely skew everything else that happened?

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It’s not an altogether unexpected development in KH, since the plot gradually becomes more complicated as the games progress anyway, but it still raises some questions.

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Xehanort isn’t the only one who turned into a Heartless, so can others who have been Heartless at one point or another travel through time as well? If so, does that mean Nobodies can travel back to before they had their hearts removed and interact with their hosts?

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Perhaps it has some bearing on why we’re seeing dead Nobodies like Marluxia return in KH3. But even more importantly, it might relate to Terra’s redemption. He’s not exactly Heartless, but he’s fused with Xehanort’s heart, and he would still have a version of himself in the past.

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It would make sense.

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Typically, villains have some part of their grand schemes come back to bite them, but that hasn’t happened yet for Xehanort; he’s long overdue for some delicious irony.

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What about Namine?

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Namine is an interesting character. Based on KH lore, she shouldn’t really exist. Well, no Nobody should exist, but Namine isn’t even really a Nobody.

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That's because Kairi has no darkness in her heart; the Ansem Reports even comment that Namine is a curious Nobody, especially given how she was formed.

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Her existence adds a lot to the mystery to Nobodies and further suggests there’s more to them than just Heartless shells. More importantly, it makes Namine’s fusing with Kairi a bit confusing.

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Kairi never lost part of herself, and Namine — though not whole — wasn’t lacking anything noticeable. Instead, she gained a substantial bit of power over her surroundings and Sora.

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There’s always the possibility that Kairi harbors some sort of hidden darkness (despite being a Princess of Heart), suggested in Namine’s jealousy, and that’s how Namine was formed to begin with.

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It wouldn’t disqualify Kairi from being one of the Light bearers (just look at Riku) and it would play into the theme of balancing light and dark.

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But perhaps she’s simply a living metaphor for the personification of light, and that’s why she still interacts with her surroundings. Regardless, Namine must still have some work to do, else she wouldn’t feature on the box art as much.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/7/5/975c38ed5653d25.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/7/5/975c38ed5653d25.jpg","type":"slide","id":"193335","description":"

Roxas and Xion

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You would think Roxas’ and Xion’s arcs were finished. Xion disappeared into Roxas, and Roxas had to sacrifice his consciousness for Sora. But the KH3 box art says otherwise, and it’s not too difficult to see why.

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Many of the remaining plot threads revolve around sorting out the messes made of various characters’ hearts. This, of course, includes dealing with the Russian doll-type scenario of having more than one personality in a given body.

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Roxas is too important a character to leave “disappeared,” especially since he ties in with Ventus. However, if something happens with Roxas outside of Sora, then it follows that something will happen with Xion, the littlest doll in this set.

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From an emotional satisfaction perspective, it would be nice to see each of them develop their own, distinct personalities and live happy lives from there on.

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Yet it seems there might be some character resolution between Roxas and Sora necessary for either of them to move on. If Nobodies are the dark side of a person, and Roxas is Sora’s Nobody, then there’s some darkness in Sora that hasn’t yet been dealt with.

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Given Roxas’ chief desire at the beginning of KH2, it would probably be something to do with Sora as reluctant hero. If Sora satisfactorily deals with this, maybe Roxas can be put to rest like Axel, though what it means for Xion is anyone’s guess.

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Radiant Garden

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Radiant Garden is where it all began, and, as such, it features heavily in Kingdom Hearts' lore.

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Before the first game’s events, Maleficent and her horde of minions overtook the world, transforming it into the bleak and forbidding Hollow Bastion that players visit during one of Sora’s lowest points.

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It’s the exact opposite of Radiant Garden: home to terrors, darkness, and loneliness. But after the massive battle in KH2, efforts are underway to restore it to its former glory.

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That’s fine and dandy, but it isn’t until Birth by Sleep that you realize why Radiant Garden was so important to begin with. It was basically the home of everything good in the game — Kairi, Mickey, light in general, and the meeting ground for the forces of good.

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But as goodness is want to do, it gave birth to the darkness as well.

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Radiant Garden is essentially the KH universe’s barometer — thriving during the time of light, barren after darkness overtakes it, and striving for something better during Sora’s trials.

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What happens to Radiant Garden will largely reflect what happens in the story and characters, whether it’ll still be the symbolic center of the universe, or if it even should be, is another matter entirely.

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Dead Nobodies?

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Nobodies are confusing; we’ve already got that down. But what’s even more confusing is how — and whether — they die.

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Sora and Co. have dispatched quite a few Nobodies over the course of their adventures, most notably in Kingdom Hearts 2. Kingdom Hearts 3’s early trailers threw a bit of a wrench in their deaths, though, since notable Nobodies like Larxene and Vexen have apparently returned from the dead.

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Some of them have been “norted” (Oxford English Dictionary acceptance pending), which leads one to think Master Xehanort somehow revived their shells with his heart in them.

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Are these are the same Nobodies as before, or were their fledgling hearts just overrun with darkness?

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Thing is, some haven’t been and are now siding with Sora. Axel already proved it’s kinda hard for a Nobody to die, but it still leaves us wondering why.

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It could be some tie with their host that keeps them tethered to empty existence until they can be reunited once more.

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Image via The Arcade

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The Nature of Nobodies

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Nobodies are the most confusing and interesting aspect of Kingdom Hearts lore.

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Originally, they seemed fairly simple: empty, heartless shells of strong-willed people, some evil, some marginally less evil. But that changed slightly with Kingdom Hearts 2 introducing Roxas’s background and following Axel’s changes. This was before 358/2 Days chucked it completely by focusing on the very human side of Nobodies.

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With Axel disappearing into Lea again, Dream Drop Distance raised the biggest question: what makes a Nobody a Nobody  and how do they stop?

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Axel already developed human emotions and a will, but he was still a Nobody. If reuniting with the host was all it took, why didn’t all the Nobodies jealous of humanity and tricked into Xehanort’s plans fuse back with their hosts?

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It could be there’s some Persona going on here.

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Nobodies are like Shadows, dark fragments of their hosts, but it takes realizing what’s important to them — and on the host’s side, it takes understanding their own darkness — for transformation to happen. What you’re left with then is something new, like with Riku: not the old self, but not the dark self either.

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What Happens to Ventus, Terra, and Aqua?

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Aqua, Ventus, and Terra are three of KH’s most important characters, taking part in all of the background events that influenced the entire series. Their fates have yet to be resolved, though.

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Despite a dream version of Ventus making itself known here and there, the real Ventus remains asleep in Castle Oblivion. Terra is still trapped inside Xehanort, and Aqua remains lost in the Dark Meridian.

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Terra’s body is rather significant for plot purposes, so it’s likely something will happen to him, but whether that’s a good something — like getting his life back — or a bad something isn’t certain.

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The same goes for Ventus, but with a twist. If his heart is with Sora, how can Ventus be revived? And if Vanitas has something to do with it, will Ven be mostly darkness?

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Square Enix already said Aqua isn’t playable in KH3 and isn’t a major character; instead, the developer teased that she’s fallen under Master Xehanort’s influence. With the yellow eyes and all, it’s not a surprising turn of events.

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Aqua remained trapped in the Dark Meridian, while others like Mickey, Sora, and Riku could travel away from it, likely because they had conquered the darkness in their hearts.

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Having failed to save her friends can only have strengthened the darkness in Aqua, making her both an easy and a pitiable victim for Xehanort’s machinations. Whether she’s one of the 7 Guardians of Light, after all, remains to be seen.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/i/n/kingdom-hearts-b9083.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/i/n/kingdom-hearts-b9083.png","type":"slide","id":"193331","description":"

The Kingdom Hearts series spans multiple games, includes near-infinitely important characters, countless plot points. Unsurprisingly, it gets pretty confusing at times (thank you, Birth by Sleep).

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A series that needs entire games and decimal releases to set the plot up for the final game will naturally have some dangling plot elements that need some tidying up. Kingdom Hearts 3 is the last game in the Xehanort saga, so it's the ideal entry to set everything straight.

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We’ve put together a list of the nine plot threads we think are most important — things like what Nobodies really are, whether there’s logic in Master Xehanort’s plans and, of course, questions about fates of major characters, like Aqua and Namine.

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Many of these plot points will have to be resolved for the story to proceed, while others may forever remain a mystery. Naturally, we are about to venture into spoiler territory; proceed at your own risk. 

"}]]]>
8 Unforgettable Moments from the Kingdom Hearts Series https://www.gameskinny.com/ttp20/8-unforgettable-moments-from-the-kingdom-hearts-series https://www.gameskinny.com/ttp20/8-unforgettable-moments-from-the-kingdom-hearts-series Mon, 24 Dec 2018 14:00:02 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

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Moment 1: Battle of 1,000 Heartless

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Game: Kingdom Hearts II
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It’s impossible to talk about great moments in Kingdom Hearts without talking about the Battle of 1,000 Heartless. It’s a fantastically epic conflict perfectly suited to KH2’s increasingly darker tone, and it offers several memorable moments.

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The first is seeing King Mickey in combat, where connections between the mouse warrior and Yoda, that other diminutive, semi-omniscient weapon master, cannot be avoided. It's a bit of fun in the middle of a serious battle for the world's fate.

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Then there’s the encounter with Sephiroth. The original KH threw this in as a big surprise, but it didn’t really have much story impact. Here, though, it’s the equivalent of Satan working against Sora and friends. Sephiroth is in his darker form, he’s got a purpose, and that purpose is, well, pretty much the same as in FFVII — destroy everything. More importantly, he fights against Cloud, making this one of the better Final Fantasy tie-ins throughout the many KH games.

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But the most memorable part of this battle is, without a doubt, Goofy. The game plays a terrible, dirty trick on the player and actually makes you think Goofy dies — the equivalent of Square Enix taking your favorite childhood pet and killing it in front of you.

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Obviously, he doesn’t really die, but it’s a heavy, emotional moment and adds a lot of impact to the remainder of the battle on whole, with almost tangible relief when Goofy eventually comes around.

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---

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Those are our top Kingdom Hearts picks, but let us know in the comments what your most memorable KH moments are!

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Moment 2: Goodbye, Summer

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Game: Kingdom Hearts II
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Speaking of Roxas’s fate, that’s another standout moment in several ways. Kingdom Hearts 2 starts out deceptively, especially if you didn’t play Re: Chain of Memories. No Sora, no Donald and Goofy, but you do get Roxas… and Seifer. Unfortunately, though, he’s balanced by some more welcome cameos from FF favorites like Setzer and Vivi.

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You also get another set of rather frustrating, KH Destiny Islands style tasks to complete before you can do anything at all.

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Annoying as these tasks are, they ease you into what seems like Roxas’ normal life. He’s an average kid who wants to enjoy his summer with friends, hanging out around town and just being kids. Naturally, that can’t last for long; it ain’t called Twilight Town for nothin’.

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Part of Roxas’ summer adventures takes him into the mysterious Old Mansion, where he learns his true identity. For the game to proceed, Roxas has to accept his nature and disappear as an individual being. It’s a sad moment in itself: this kid who just wanted to have fun with his friends suddenly realizes he’s literally Nobody and has no real purpose in life.

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But it also provides the necessary emotional foundation for understanding the other sub-villains’ motives once they appear later in the game. Like Roxas, they just want a reason to live.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/6/4/5/645c1bfb7210ca0.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/6/4/5/645c1bfb7210ca0.jpg","type":"slide","id":"192899","description":"

Moment 3: Xion Fades Away

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Game: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
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A lot of people would say the most memorable part of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is when it’s finally over. That’s not far off the mark, but not for the same reason.

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True, the game has some (big) flaws, but the final reveal where Roxas (and you) learn the truth about Xion packs quite the punch and makes the series' lore even more complicated.

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Up to that point, there’s plenty of speculation about Xion, and it’s pretty obvious she isn’t a regular Nobody, but then it all comes out: she’s yet another aspect of Sora, albeit an artificial one. Apart from some interesting Persona-like commentary on the various aspects of individual identity, it shatters the usual Nobody schtick from Kingdom Hearts II.

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Nobodies and their hosts aren’t mutually exclusive, since Xion regained some of Sora’s memories and combined them with elements of Roxas. More importantly, she wants to save Roxas, implying affection, and Roxas wants to save her; in other words, Nobodies and hollow replicas can feel emotion after all, something you eventually find out applies to more than just Roxas and Namine.

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The scene also serves as a tragic foil to Sora’s various moments of reuniting with Kairi. Where Sora always saves Kairi somehow and manages to find his way back to her, Roxas watches as his sort-of Kairi disappears in front of him. The sense of loss and isolation pack an emotional punch on their own, but it’s an interesting foreshadowing of Roxas’s own eventual fate as well.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/o/l/hollow-085ea.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/o/l/hollow-085ea.jpg","type":"slide","id":"192898","description":"

Moment 4: Hollow Bastion

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Game: Kingdom Hearts
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Hollow Bastion is an important place in Kingdom Hearts lore, but it’s where the first game becomes more serious, and Sora gains a glimpse into something much bigger than his journey to find his friends. It’s also the first non-Disney world since Traverse Town, and that alone gives you an idea that something big’s about to happen.

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Of course, that's the fight with Riku, where all the tension and jealousy hinted at on Destiny Islands finally releases. Sora’s friends leave him for a time because of this fight, in a turn of events rather shocking the first time around. Suddenly, Sora is alone and friendless once more, all talk of loyalty and the ties that bind gone.

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Of course, the situation doesn’t last, and he gets his friends back, but then you see what happened to all the princesses. The sight has more impact for Disney fans, naturally, but it’s an important step forward in the games’ overarching plot, something you don’t really get the significance of until playing the other games.

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And then there’s Hollow Bastion’s crowning glory, the fight with Maleficent’s dragon form. Suddenly, the terrifying beast from your childhood cartoon days manifests in front of you, and it’s so.damn.tough to beat, yet so satisfying once it’s finished.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/6/2/5/625c1bfa4b70e01.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/6/2/5/625c1bfa4b70e01.jpg","type":"slide","id":"192894","description":"

Moment 5: Traverse Town

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Game: Kingdom Hearts
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You’ve made it through the enigmatic opening sequence, and you survived Destiny Islands and its occasionally frustrating platforming moments. But Traverse Town is where Kingdom Hearts really begins, for a number of reasons.

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It’s where Sora meets Donald and Goofy for the first time, and the player gets a better idea of how Keyblade combat works. But more importantly, it’s where the franchise’s key gimmick first shines through.

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Seeing Final Fantasy X’s side characters on Destiny Islands is nice, but little more than a cameo, really. Sora’s fight and subsequent conversation with “Leon,” plus seeing Cid working alongside Huey, Dewey, and Louis, forces the player to wrap their heads around how the KH world works: characters from everywhere end up together, fighting against the darkness that destroyed their homeworlds (even if that homeworld isn’t actually FF related.)

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It tells the player to leave behind their notions of Disney and Final Fantasy because despite merging both, this is something completely different. And centering their respective plights around Sora’s own journey means it works and works well.

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Traverse Town is a metaphor for the rest of the game and series — Sora’s first adventure, and the franchise as a whole, is seemingly simple on the surface, with a lot more going on underneath.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/3/9/5/395c1bfc73e0658.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/3/9/5/395c1bfc73e0658.jpg","type":"slide","id":"192902","description":"

Moment 6: Re: Beast's Castle

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Game: Kingdom Hearts II
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Backtracking in a non-Metroidvania game risks killing it completely in most cases for one reason or another. A lot of times, it’s just padding, and KH2 gives the impression that’s what the game’s second half will be like.

\n

Mulan-land wasn’t very fun to begin with, and going back there doesn’t change much, so when you first get to Beast’s Castle again, there isn’t a lot to hope for. Sure, it was a challenge the first time around, and the story necessitates it, but it still leaves you feeling a bit bored. Until the end. This is where Sora first fights Organization XIII (outside Castle Oblivion, that is), and it’s a fight to remember.

\n

In fact, it’s one of the game’s most noticeable difficulty spikes, and depending on your playstyle, the potential need for grinding beforehand is enough to make it memorable. Xaldin is a whole new kind of boss, fast, deadly, and resilient. The encounter makes you think on your feet, throwing in some Mega Man-style pattern recognition and avoidance as well.

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And it sets the tone for the game’s second half — darker, harder, and more demanding — while kicking off some major lore dumps as well, where you finally get a slight understanding of what’s really going on.

\n

 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/b/s/bbs-73015.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/b/s/bbs-73015.jpg","type":"slide","id":"192901","description":"

Moment 7: Aqua's Finale

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Game: Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
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If you had to point to one moment where Kingdom Hearts started getting a bit complicated, it’d be the entirety of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. It’s also where Kingdom Hearts starts to resemble Star Wars in a few ways — prequels, ancient catastrophic warfare, Jedi…er, Keyblade Masters, and so on— but unlike Star Wars, this prequel is actually necessary, and no spot is more important than Aqua’s finale.

\n

The build-up to her confrontation with Xehanort takes the focus on bonds and friendship to a completely different level. Sora might not get to spend much time with Kairi after finding her again, and Riku’s got his own problems to sort out, but they’re all still together; they work through their problems and come together when it matters.

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Not so for Aqua. Not only does she have to sacrifice herself at one point to rescue Ventus and hopefully find some way of saving Terra, but it’s completely hopeless. Ventus slips into a seemingly endless slumber, while Terra loses himself completely to Xehanort, becoming his vessel and, by extension, the source of conflict in the mainline games.

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Friendship didn’t save the day here. Even if it provided the means by which hope could be restored in the future, it still left one main character broken in the end, and that’s something you don’t see much in Kingdom Hearts.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/2/5/225c1bfcb4a42b4.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/2/5/225c1bfcb4a42b4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"192903","description":"

Moment 8: Lea's Keyblade

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Game: Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
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Poor Axel. Like Roxas, he just wants a purpose for living, even if that purpose happens to be eating bright blue ice cream on a rooftop with friends. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance finally gives him a purpose, but not what you'd expect.

\n

Despite working for some form of good throughout the series, everything ends up going badly for Axel. He’s torn between protecting one friend or another,  loses them both, potentially develops some feelings for Kairi—possibly because of her connection with Xion — but naturally can’t act on them, all before having to give up himself and his memories so Lea, the "real" Axel, can be revived.

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His extensive history in the series gives the player a lot more investment in Lea than would otherwise have been the case, so the lead-up to this moment is much more engaging than it would be for your average NPC. Lea ends up responsible for saving Sora yet again, for rescuing Queen Minnie, and basically for keeping the entire world from falling apart.

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That he finally gains a Keyblade for his trouble is a fitting reward for his actions and all Axel endured, but it also means he can fight to right the wrongs done to him and all of his friends, Nobody and normal, finally starting to tie up the many, many loose ends KH dropped all over the place.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/header-1903d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/header-1903d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"192893","description":"

Sixteen years ago, if you said a mashup combining Final Fantasy and Disney centered around a large-footed child wielding a key as a weapon would be a smash hit and spawn multiple sequels and spin-offs, with the final game being one of 2019’s most anticipated games, people probably would have laughed at you. 

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On paper, it’s a crazy idea, almost fanfiction-y in nature, and yet it worked fantastically. While we’re all anxiously awaiting Kingdom Hearts 3’s debut next month, now's the perfect time to indulge in some nostalgia and consider the franchise’s finer moments.

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There are a lot of them, big and small, but we’ve managed to distill them down to the nine most memorable moments. As would be expected with a list like this, there will be some big spoilers for the games mentioned, so if you haven't played them yet, read at your own risk. 

"}]]]>
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

]]>
Gift Guide: Unbelievable Finds Under $20 for Your Gamer https://www.gameskinny.com/ta49q/gift-guide-unbelievable-finds-under-20-for-your-gamer https://www.gameskinny.com/ta49q/gift-guide-unbelievable-finds-under-20-for-your-gamer Tue, 22 Nov 2016 06:00:01 -0500 Kiara Halls

[{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/s/m/a/sma-1bd53.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/s/m/a/sma-1bd53.jpg","type":"slide","id":"141780","description":"
I Am Kirby T-Shirt
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Rating: 5/5 (20 Reviews)

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Price: $13.75

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Buy it on: Amazon

\n

This graphic novel compiles the Mario comic strips that appeared in Nintendo Power magazine in the '90s. It had a shocking sense of drama a killer sense of humor but, up until now, there wasn't really any way to read them legally. But now is your chance to give the '90s nerd in your life something they'll truly appreciate.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/1/f/6/1f6c-ready-player-heat-change-mug-a993f.gif","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/1/f/6/1f6c-ready-player-heat-change-mug-a993f.gif","type":"slide","id":"141787","description":"
Ready Player 1 Heat-Change Mug
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Rating: N/A

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Price: $11.99

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Buy it on: ThinkGeek

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This mug is clever in a way that dishware has no right to be. Fill it up with coffee to start the "game," and drain it for "Game Over." This would be a great gift for anyone that uses a mug, let alone gamers.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/j/n/h/jnhm-official-pokmon-book-joy-acd76.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/j/n/h/jnhm-official-pokmon-book-joy-acd76.jpg","type":"slide","id":"141786","description":"
The Essential Pokemon Book of Joy
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Rating: N/A

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Price: $14.99

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Buy it on: Amazon

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As a wise man once said: "My Rattata is in the top percentage of Rattata."

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But, joking aside, you can glean a surprising amount of life advice from the characters in the Pokemon franchise. This book compiles some inspiring quotes from the anime in particular and is sure to brighten even the darkest of days.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/k/i/r/kirbs-06505.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/k/i/r/kirbs-06505.jpg","type":"slide","id":"141785","description":"
I Am Kirby T-Shirt
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Rating: N/A

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Price: $12.67

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Buy it on: Hot Topic

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Listen. Everyone loves Kirby. Everyone loves Kirby. In light of this fact, the best thing you could possibly do for a gamer this season is get them the Kirby-est shirt you can find. That is to say,this shirt. Get them this shirt.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/e/sleek-ass-wallet-ce6c2.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/e/sleek-ass-wallet-ce6c2.jpg","type":"slide","id":"141784","description":"
Overwatch Bi-Fold Wallet
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Rating: N/A

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Price: $12.67

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Buy it on: Hot Topic

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This wallet is super sleek. When you whip this baby out, people will do a double take--"that ultra-stylish wallet couldn't possibly be from Overwatch, could it???" But it could! And it is. Form and function--the perfect gift.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/p/i/p/pipboi-e706c.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/p/i/p/pipboi-e706c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"141788","description":"
Vault-Tec Collectible Bobbleheads
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Rating: N/A

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Price: $12.99

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Buy it on: ThinkGeek

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These Fallout bobbleheads are exactly like the stat-boosting ones you can find in the games! They don't actually improve a person's skills, though, so you don't have to worry about whoever you give it to becoming a lock-picking savant. Your secrets are safe for now.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/p/o/k/pokevar-5f7c1.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/p/o/k/pokevar-5f7c1.jpg","type":"slide","id":"141782","description":"
Pokemon Variants Fanzine
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Rating: 5/5 

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Price: $10.00

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Buy it on: Etsy

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Long before Pokemon Sun and Moon introduced "Alolan forms," artists all across the internet were already coming up with their own Pokemon variants. This fanzine is basically a field notebook full of them. Creatures like "Cactus Bulbasaur" and "Foil Drifloon" are exercises in creativity that are cute, fun, and sure to delight.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/s/e/s/sesal-7df5f.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/s/e/s/sesal-7df5f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"141781","description":"
Sea Salt Ice Cream Soap
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Rating: 5/5

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Price: $5.00

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Buy it on: Etsy

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Handmade vanilla buttercream-scented soap with a slightly salty finish -- just like the iconic Sea Salt ice cream in Kingdom Hearts. It may not be edible, but the shape alone is sure to recall times spent with friends, gazing at the sunset.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/r/o/s/rosalina-c8b66.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/r/o/s/rosalina-c8b66.jpg","type":"slide","id":"141779","description":"
Rosalina Amiibo
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Rating: 4/5 (7 reviews)

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Price: $12.96

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Buy it on: Amazon

\n

Hey, remember that time you saw the Super Smash Bros. Rosalina Amiibo in person? Of course you don't, it didn't happen. Rosalina's Smash Amiibo is an urban legend--there are pictures, but no one's sure it actually exists. At a reasonable price, at least.

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Luckily, this Mario Party: Star Rush-compatible Amiibo is more widely available than the last one, so now you can give the gift of Rosalina this season without paying an astronomical amount of money. 

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/d/v/a/dva-2089f.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/d/v/a/dva-2089f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"141783","description":"
D.VA Ballcap
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Rating: N/A

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Price: $19.99

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Buy it on: Storenvy

\n

Overwatch hasn't been out that long, but there's already a surprising amount of  merchandise out there, especially for D.VA. There are certainly flashier D.VA-based items out there, but this cap makes a statement while keeping it classy--perfect for the gamer that's a bit of a fashionista.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/o/c/a/ocarina-ace22.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/o/c/a/ocarina-ace22.jpg","type":"slide","id":"141777","description":"
Nintendo Selects Ocarina of Time
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Rating: 4.5/5 (205 reviews)

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Price: $20.00

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Buy it on: Amazon

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A classic game for just $20! But honestly, the "Nintendo Selects" line has plenty of great games for $20: Winder Waker, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Pikmin 3...you could pick any one of them and it's bound to be a hit when it's time to unwrap gifts. After all, what could be more gamer-friendly than an actual game?

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/m/i/d/midgar-19d04.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/m/i/d/midgar-19d04.jpg","type":"slide","id":"141776","description":"
Retro-style Midgar Travel Poster
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Rating: 5/5 (2 reviews)

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Price: $7.00

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Buy it on: Amazon

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I'm gonna be honest here--no one should ever want to visit Midgar. There are no plants, there's junk everywhere, you can't see the sky, and the government drops entire sections of the city onto the slums below. But this poster is really cool, and your gamer buddy is sure to have fun pretending that Midgar is a real place. That they can avoid visiting.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/b/a/d/bad-guyz-d1853.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/b/a/d/bad-guyz-d1853.jpg","type":"slide","id":"141775","description":"
Pokemon Villain Emblem Set
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Rating: 5/5 (5 reviews)

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Price: $15.99

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Buy it on: Amazon

\n

This pin set features the symbols of six generations of Pokemon villain groups. These would make for excellent conversation starters, especially since they aren't particularly flashy. But they'd also be a nice, subtle way to tell someone that they need to make better life choices.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/b/u/y/buyin-95b23.png","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/b/u/y/buyin-95b23.png","type":"slide","id":"141773","description":"

The holidays can be so expensive. But they don't have to be. You can get the gamer in your life something truly special without breaking the bank. A lot of the time it seems like you can't get something good for anything less than  the life of your firstborn child.

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Having said that though, you really don't want to look like a cheapskate. 'Tis the season, you gotta put some heart into it! So, here's a guide to quality, gamer-friendly gifts that're $20 and under. Let's get started!

"}]]]>
The 8 Best Worlds of Kingdom Hearts https://www.gameskinny.com/6m6tp/the-8-best-worlds-of-kingdom-hearts https://www.gameskinny.com/6m6tp/the-8-best-worlds-of-kingdom-hearts Sun, 29 May 2016 10:56:23 -0400 Noor Sami

Rumor has it that Square Enix will reveal a brand new trailer for Kingdom Hearts III at E3, and hype for the series is building up again. We have learned a bit about the new worlds that may show up, including ones inspired by Tangled and Big Hero 6. However, there's still no official release date. To tide us over until we get some real news, let's take a trip down memory lane and look at the best worlds we've gotten from the series so far. 

 8. Destiny Islands

The Destiny Islands show up in a number of games, but they’re only playable in Kingdom Hearts. They serve as an introduction to Sora, Riku, and Kairi, and when the game starts, all they want to do is get away. It’s a relatively simple world, enjoyable as you engage in friendly competitions and try to build a raft to run away. There’s the added mystery of the door, surrounded by their childhood drawings. The world is mostly memorable because when Sora leaves, he misses it. Along with Riku and Kairi, the Destiny Islands are mentioned again and again. There are times when all Sora wants is to find his friends and go home, when in the beginning all they wanted was to leave and find adventure. That’s a little bit like life; maybe that’s why it resonates so much.

7. The 100 Acre Wood

Cute. That’s probably the best way to describe the 100 Acre Wood. The fact that you enter it through a book is cool enough, but the best part: no fighting. It’s an entirely game-based world that serves as a nice interlude between tougher, battle-oriented worlds. You can help Winnie the Pooh get unstuck from Rabbit’s door after he eats too much honey, or race against the clock to see how many of Rabbit’s vegetables you can push into the ground by Tigger-hopping all over them. Not to mention the neat addition of the animation that mimics the 2D appearance of a storybook until you hop into a scene. It’s a mostly lighthearted world, and that’s nice—at least until Winnie the Pooh decides to spout something philosophical.

6. Timeless River

Timeless River of Kingdom Hearts II, accessed through the Hall of the Cornerstone in Disney Castle, is a cleverly-designed world. Entirely black-and-white, it’s made to look like you popped right into a cartoon from the 1920s, complete with starburst effects every time Sora hits something with his Keyblade. The games Sora and friends are subjected to are rather bizarre and vaguely trippy, if we’re being honest, with a different scene taking over every time you jump through a window. Overall, it’s a unique and memorable world that inspires a certain nostalgia for traditional animation (although Pete, originally from Steamboat Willie, gets pretty annoying pretty fast).

5. Neverland

Three words: you can fly. The world of Neverland from the first game is enjoyable enough without that particular addition. Its pirate ship setting boasts plenty of trapdoors and a snazzy captain’s cabin. Battling pirate Heartless and later Captain Hook himself, with his spinning and jumping, is a fun challenge. But it’s the flying that really makes this world memorable. You can glide to the highest rafters and around the ship’s deck, making you a good match for Captain Hook, who might as well be flying with how quick he moves. The ability to fly makes battles that much more interesting. Plus, there’s the lovely addition of the Clock Tower and its hourly treasures at the end, as well as the Phantom Heartless you can return to fight later.  

 4. Space Paranoids

When talking about the best worlds of the Kingdom Hearts series, Space Paranoids cannot be left out. Found in a Radiant Garden computer in Kingdom Hearts II, they’re modeled after the movie Tron. They boast a gorgeous soundtrack and some fantastic battles. The Game Grid, where Sora races and battles on a Light Cycle, is particularly memorable. Tron and the MCP are enjoyable characters. Ultimately, it’s a clever setting that holds a lot of surprises for the player.

3. Olympus Coliseum 

Olympus Coliseum is an incredibly fun world to maneuver. The battles with Cerberus in both Kingdom Hearts I and II are fairly enjoyable, as is the Hydra and its regenerating heads in the latter. The best part of the world, of course, is the tournaments. Returning to Olympus Coliseum over and over to test your battle skills by facing old and new enemies really pushes you to improve (even if only so you can receive the tournament rewards). The larger extent to which you can explore different parts of the world in Kingdom Hearts II and Birth by Sleep makes it even better. And the fact that Auron from Final Fantasy X temporarily joins your team in the former is the cherry on top.

2. Twilight Town

Twilight Town shows up in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, as well as Kingdom Hearts II. It’s a scenic, sleepy town that absolutely bleeds nostalgia. The entire introductory period of Kingdom Hearts II is spent playing around with Roxas and his friends, earning money for a beach trip that never happens. Throughout the time spent there, you’re acutely aware that it’s not permanent—not only through the brief glimpses of the so-called DiZ and Ansem discussing the fact that Roxas’s Twilight Town is only a virtual creation, but also through Roxas and his friends themselves. Summer is ending and they are hit with the sudden realization that they won’t be together forever. The constant sense of impermanence lends itself to the overall beauty of the world. (And let’s not forget you can hop on conveniently-placed skateboards whenever you’re too lazy to walk.)  

 1. The World That Never Was

And finally, The World That Never Was. Kingdom Hearts II’s The World That Never Was boasts some of the most gorgeous music of the entire game. Aside from its lovely soundtrack, the setting of the Dark City with its empty buildings and bright signs is oddly haunting. Sora finds his way up to the Castle That Never Was, another setting with a number of passages and rooms. As a culmination to the game, this world hosts a number of difficult and distinctive battles with well-known enemies. Not only is the world’s storyline fascinating, the soundtrack and setting are striking, making it one of the most memorable worlds of the series.

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Top 5 Most Wondrous Kingdom Hearts Worlds https://www.gameskinny.com/a2mw9/top-5-most-wondrous-kingdom-hearts-worlds https://www.gameskinny.com/a2mw9/top-5-most-wondrous-kingdom-hearts-worlds Sun, 01 May 2016 05:34:17 -0400 Synzer

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1. The World That Never Was

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This is an original world and is home to Organization XIII, the main antagonists in Kingdom Hearts II. This world provides multiple fun boss battles, Quick Time Events, and an overall detailed setting.

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It also was the setting of the teaser cinematic that had Riku fighting Roxas before Kingdom Hearts II came out, which is one of the best scenes in the series, besides the Birth By Sleep teaser.

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This is ranked #1 because overall, it is the world that I had the most fun in and was the most interesting. I love the name of the world, it really fits the Nobodies, and has an eerie/interesting feel.

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In Kingdom Hearts II, this is where the final battle takes place and there is a cool fight with Roxas while you are there. You eventually battle with Xemnas, which is a long, intense fight where you can even play as Riku!

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That's it for my Top 5 Most Wondrous Kingdom Hearts Worlds. Let me know what you think of the list and some of your favorite worlds in the comments!

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2. Halloween Town

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This world based off The Nightmare Before Christmas has some of the best costumes in the series. Sora's costume in Halloween Town is probably my favorite out of all of them, and Donald and Goofy blend in as well.

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The overall art and setting are on point and live up to what you'd expect from this Tim Burton film. Call me crazy, but the darker nature of this world greatly fascinated me. I always was a sucker for vampires (see what I did there?) and other spooky creatures like that.

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In the first game you actually work with Jack Skellington to find a new event for Halloween. He has a heartless and wants to get it to dance with him, so you help by finding ingredients he needs. You eventually fight Oogie Boogie and Jack realizes he can't control the heartless.

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I've seen enough cosplays of Halloween Town Sora to know that other people feel the same way I do about The Nightmare Before Christmas. This twisted world is just fun to revisit time and time again.

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3. Space Paranoids/The Grid

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This world is based off Tron, which is the reason I love it so much. The color scheme, lights, and look of Tron always fascinated me, and I was in awe as I saw it come to life in Kingdom Hearts.

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Space Paranoids is based off the first Tron movie and has you battling against the MCP.

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The Grid, which is based of the Tron: Legacy film, is where I really fell in love with the world. It has all the modernness the film had, complete with the updated looks and characters.

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The Grid world has you learning the basics of the movie from two points of views, Sora and Riku. Sora's version has you working with Kevin Flynn, his son Sam, and Quorra to fight CLU and Rinzler. Your mission is to find Tron's (Rinzler's) memories to restore him to his old self.

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Riku's version has him working with Sam and his father to find the portal so they can leave the world. He finds out that Quorra is an ISO, which is basically a new life form created by Kevin Flynn.

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I highly enjoyed going through this world more than once and seeing two different stories that add up to a complete version. Of course, light cycles were pretty boss, too. Plus, it has one of the coolest looking keyblades in the series, Dual Disc.

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4. Pride Land

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Pride Land, or Pride Lands, is based off The Lion King. It was a nice change of pace to see it offer you a unique experience by playing as a lion cub version of Sora. (By the way, I would not be mad if we could get more lion versions of Kingdom Hearts characters -- just putting it out there, Square Enix.)

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The Lion King is near the top of my all-time favorite Disney movies, so I took full advantage exploring and interacting with everything I could in this world.

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You start off in the world when Simba is already grown and living with Timon and Pumba. You help him out and go through the events that lead to him fighting Scar and becoming king. 

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It was also really cool to do it because Simba was available as a summon in the first Kingdom Hearts game, and now you could explore his world.

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There was a great grinding spot to level up easily as well, so I spent a lot of time here.

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5. Port Royal

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This Pirates of the Caribbean world blew me away the first time I saw it in Kingdom Hearts II. Since the movies are live action, they took a realistic approach to the graphics and I think they absolutely nailed it.

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I know I'm not alone when I say that I greatly enjoy the movie series, and to see the characters look like their on-screen counterparts was more than mildly amusing.

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What's more is that they even have quotes directly from the first film! My favorite line is, "Best start believing in ghost stories Miss Turner, you're in one!" When I first heard that in the game, I nearly flipped with happiness. 

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You spend your time watching and being involved with the events from the first movie. Fighting alongside Jack Sparrow was too much fun, and I liked the game play element of magic and moonlight being effective against the ghost pirates.

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Besides Keyblades, Kingdom Hearts is best known for the worlds they have in the games. These are usually Disney worlds, but there are some original ones as well. 

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Each world has its own characters and plot, but they brilliantly weave Sora and company into them. This fusion seems odd at first, but it works so well.

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I was surprised at how much I enjoyed playing a game that mixes Final Fantasy and other Square Enix games with Disney characters and movies. When I first heard about Kingdom Hearts, I thought it would just be some silly kid's game because Disney. Then, I tried it out and it was actually really cool.

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I was always a fan of both, so to be able to play as an original character and explore each of my beloved Disney worlds was more than I could have ever asked for.

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The music, plot, and characters are all memorable and important to me. I don't think any game made me feel the emotions that Kingdom Hearts did. I can relate to the themes of friendship and fighting against the darkness, and it really is inspirational to me.

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And that's why I'm going over 5 of the best worlds presented in the Kingdom Hearts series, based on setting, gameplay, or costumes.

"}]]]>
The top 10 Kingdom Hearts Moments [Spoilers!] https://www.gameskinny.com/8jb9j/the-top-10-kingdom-hearts-moments-spoilers https://www.gameskinny.com/8jb9j/the-top-10-kingdom-hearts-moments-spoilers Mon, 24 Aug 2015 02:30:01 -0400 Larry Iaccio

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1. Sora's Sacrifice

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Kairi is asleep, and Sora doesn't know how to wake her up. He sees Riku's keyblade lying on the floor and uses it to unlock his own heart to save Kairi. This means basically stabbing himself in the heart and dying in order to free his friend's heart.

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Donald and Goofy pleading with Sora to rethink his actions coupled with his reassuring smile right before he does it is emotional to say the least. The waterworks really start flowing when Kairi wakes up to see the remnants of the man who just saved her disappear.

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The focus then suddenly shifts to a very prominent heartless figure for some reason, but who knows why.

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Many people may disagree or have different moments, but these are the ones that I can vividly remember that either surprised me the most or evoked the most emotion. If you disagree or have any other moments, let me know in the comments below!

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2. Battle of the 1000 Heartless

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Maybe it's a little unfair for me to split up Goofy's death and this battle since they basically feed into one another, but I feel that both were huge surprises for fans.

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This is an all out war and it is glorious. This game pushed the PS2 to its limits and actually taking on these 1000 heartless made you feel like an invincible god in the best way possible. Although this battle can be beaten fairly easily with the help of certain enemy types, taking out your anger on the things that almost killed your friend makes this one of the most memorable scenes from the series.

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3. Goofy's Death

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After all of the insane-looking monsters this guy has fought, we see him get taken out by a boulder to the head. That's right, in an effort to save King Mickey's life, Goofy pushes Mickey out of the way and ends up getting clobbered with a boulder that appears to kill him.

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Donald and Mickey are pissed, and it's the perfect reaction to their long-time friend getting killed. This was honestly one of the most heartbreaking moments in the entire series, and makes the ensuing battle that much more satisfying.

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4. Sora vs Roxas

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In keeping up with the theme from my 5 pick, number 4 features the inevitable clash between Sora and his Nobody, Roxas. 

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At the time the battle takes place, Sora has no idea who Roxas is or the significance this battle has, only that this guy in the hood is 'evil' and claims to have defeated Riku before.

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On the reverse side, the audience and Roxas understand just how important this battle is. And while Sora may be the hero, you can't help but empathize with how hopeless Roxas is feeling, since all he was trying to do was understand his existence.

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Besides the emotions that come along with this battle, the battle itself is a good challenge and yields some impressive cutscenes.

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5. Ventus vs Vanitas

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Vanitas captures and threatens the life of Aqua and Terra. The only way for Ventus to save his friends is to meet Vanitas in the only place that the the x-blade can be forged: the Keyblade Graveyard.

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Ven knows that the destruction of Vanitas and his x-blade means the destruction of himself since they were forged from the same heart, but he engages in order to save his friends anyway. Ven emerges victorious, but that of course means he will pass as well. Ventus's heart is able to find its way into Sora's, though, allowing him to wield a second keyblade.

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6. The True Organization XIII

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After the Organization is basically obliterated during the events of Kingdom Hearts II, it seemed all but destroyed. Xehanort seemed to have other plans, though.

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He reveals in Dream Drop Distance that the Organization was originally made up of Nobodies so that each one could house a piece of his heart. This has been the plan since the beginning of Kingdom Hearts so that he could obtain true power of the keyblade and control Kingdom Hearts. He plans on using Sora as his last vessel, but Mickey, Riku, Donald, Goofy, and Lea interrupt him perfectly setting up the events for KHIII.

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7. Sora loses the keyblade...and his friends

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In a shocking turn of events near the end of the original Kingdom Hearts game, Riku shows up to confront you and Beast in the world of Hollow Bastion. Claiming that there can only be one keyblade master, Riku then somehow takes possession of the keyblade, and Sora is left with nothing more than a wooden sword. He falls down in defeat. Just as we think things can't get any more crushing for our hero, his two faithful companions for the entire game leave him.

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Donald and Goofy leave a defeated Sora since he no longer has the keyblade and no longer serves his purpose for their mission. It was a cold and heartless act that really made me feel alone in the game.

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8. Starting Kingdom Hearts II as Roxas

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After the events of Chain of Memories, it almost seemed as if the game would mean nothing more to Kingdom Hearts story than a mere dream. When we started Kingdom Hearts II, we quickly found out that this is not the case.

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Starting the game off as Roxas was a bold decision for designers to make, as players were very attached to Sora by that point, but it was a decision that paid off. This made Roxas's story hit home that much more and the game made you grow just attached enough to the character before ripping him away from you to allow you to control Sora again.

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9. Closing the Door to Darkness

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After finally defeating Ansem and thinking this guy just needs to give up, he pulls one last trick out of his sleeve and tries to open the door to Kingdom Hearts. Darkness starts spewing out of it, and basically everything looks like it's gone to hell until Sora kindly reminds Ansem that Kingdom Hearts is "without a doubt" light.

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Ansem gets swallowed up by the light, but the door remains open. Sora, Donald and Goofy are desperate to close it before all of the Heartless escape. Having a hard time closing this door, a restored Riku lends a hand to try and close it from the inside, but quickly gets surrounded by very powerful Heartless. King Mickey appears on the inside where Riku is and reassures Sora and the gang that there will always be a door to the light. Eventually they push the door closed and Sora and Mickey lock the door for good.

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Shortly after, we see Sora briefly reunite with Kairi before having to depart to find Riku once again. The two people who you have been after the entire game were literally in arm's reach of you and you had no choice but to let them slip away.

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10. Kingdom HeartsISecret Ending: "Another Side, Another Story [deep dive]"

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Kingdom Hearts was a fairly long game, and unlocking this ending was no easy task. You needed to conquer the Hades Cup, find all 99 dalmatian puppies, seal every keyhole, and complete Jiminy Cricket's journal - but boy was it worth it.

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Not only was this beautiful to look at, but it set up so many pieces of the story that would later become so crucial to the entire Kingdom Hearts franchise that left us completely dumbfounded back then. And let's be honest, seeing this hooded figure dual wielding keyblades was nothing short of bada$$.

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The Kingdom Hearts series is filled with incredible moments. The storyline has gone from relatively simple to incredibly complex, with dozens of characters' fates interweaving and affecting one another in subtle yet important ways. With all of these characters and games in the franchise, narrowing down the top 10 best moments in the series was no easy task, but these are my picks.

"}]]]>
7 Annoying Kingdom Hearts worlds https://www.gameskinny.com/3cmm7/7-annoying-kingdom-hearts-worlds https://www.gameskinny.com/3cmm7/7-annoying-kingdom-hearts-worlds Thu, 20 Aug 2015 02:30:01 -0400 Samantha Wright

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There you have it!

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What Kingdom Hearts worlds did you dislike? Can you make an argument for one of the worlds I included? Let me know in the comments below.

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Image source

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Atlantica/The Little Mermaid

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This one may have been a no-brainer. I hated this world with a burning passion. 

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Kingdom Hearts
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In the first game, the swimming controls were rather terrible. It was difficult to move properly and when you're supposed to be fighting Heartless, Ursula, or a combination of the two, lack of good control is not something you need. Fighting giant Ursula highlighted the lack of proper control even more. Now that boss fight was a pain.

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Kingdom Hearts 2
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Don't even get me started on Atlantica in the second game. I could go on for days about how much I hated it in Kingdom Hearts 2, so let me keep it short. I wanted a Kingdom Hearts game, not a musical simulator.

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The only plus to this world may be the fact that it was optional in the final mix of the first game. Well, that and the fact that Sora makes a good merman.

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Gif source

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Twilight Town

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Kingdom Hearts 2
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Twilight Town was a bad combination of Traverse Town and Destiny Islands. There were introduction quests like there were in Destiny Islands, but they were even more lackluster. Frankly, I don't care about The Seven Wonders of Twilight Town. I don't want to have to make all this money doing stupid jobs just to have it stolen. I don't care about the Struggle Tournament either. Not to mention, the characters were a lot less interesting to me. Hayden, Pence, and Olette were annoying and did nothing for the storyline. At least Cid, Leon, Yuffie, and Aerith in Traverse Town were useful for the overall plot. They helped you fight and gave you new information and abilities.

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This world felt unnecessarily large as well. There were so many different areas and most of those were only necessary for one small moment in the very beginning. There was no reason to return to Sunset Terrace, the seven wonders area, after finding the wonders. The sewers were only good for the Organization XIII mushroom. There were two separate parts of the marketplace. There was the entire Old Mansion. Then there was the train station, the sandlot, and the Mysterious Tower which was only accessible through the train station. So much of the world could have been cut out.

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Kingdom Hearts 385/2 Days
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The sole purpose of this world was to watch Xion, Roxas, and Axel eat sea salt ice cream atop the clock tower. There was a brief glimpse of Roxas turning down an offer to join Organization XIII, but soon Axel sweeps in and convinces Roxas to become friends with him. This world was nothing more than friends bonding. As endearing as that is, could they not have picked a change of scenery every once in a while? You can bond in more than just one world, after all.

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Image source

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Monstro/Pinocchio

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Level design
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I have a terrible sense of direction. Thus, the maze that was Monstro did not appeal to me, especially as a child. I found myself wandering around for hours just killing Heartless because I had no idea where I was going. That being said, once you figured out where you were going, this world was ridiculously short. You went through a couple of chambers, met up with Riku, and got through the two phases of the boss battle. That was it. There was nothing more to it.

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Random spawning
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In Kingdom Hearts, Monstro was also very annoying just because of the fact that sometimes it would gobble you up and sometimes it wouldn't. If you needed to go back to collect missed trinities or missed treasure chests, sometimes you would just be out of luck. That little feature definitely made this world more of a nuisance than it needed to be.

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You get nothing! Good day, sir!
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After beating the Parasite Cage and saving Pinocchio you receive the grand prize of nothing. That's right. At the end of Monstro, you didn't get a single reward. No new Keyblade. No new abilities. You traversed that maze and saved Pinocchio for nothing. Talk about a just reward. I really did lose.

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At least in Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep you could kill Monstro. You had a chance at some revenge for his annoyance.

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Image source

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Space Paranoids/The Grid/Tron

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Outfits
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The costumes are stupid. They look ridiculous, like the designers just strapped a whole bunch of blue lines on a grey suit and called it quits. Not to mention, that head gear does not go well with Sora's hair. It makes him look like a crazy scientist. Just give him a purple vial with smoke oozing out of it and he would be planning to over take the world.

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Kingdom Hearts 2
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The games were horrible. They dragged on forever. I was fighting Heartless on motorcycles for much longer than I would have liked. Not to mention, the controls for the section were a little weird. If they had given you some time to practice, it would have been fine, but they just dropped you in there without a word. Chances were you were dying on your first try and it would take you a while before you figured out exactly what worked in the games and what didn't so you could make it to the end. Considering the rest of the level was a breeze, this brief moment of difficulty just got all the more annoying.

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Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
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The Grid was based upon Tron: Legacy. I'll admit I'm biased to this one because I hated that movie and all the characters from it, but The Grid focused primarily on the games. As mentioned, the games were annoying in Kingdom Hearts 2. I didn't want them to make a reappearance. 

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Image source

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100 Acre Wood/Winnie the Pooh

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Mini-games everywhere
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I don't hate mini-games, but too many of them and they can get annoying really quickly. 100 Acre Wood was a world full of nothing but mini-games. When you take into account how many other mini-games were in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 2, this just felt like overkill. As much as I love Tigger, I didn't want to bounce around with him. I didn't want to swing Pooh. I didn't want to help find Piglet. Please. Just no.

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Torn Pages
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You couldn't get this world out of the way either. In order to complete the world, you had to find all of the Torn Pages first. Those were scattered across every other world you had to go to, including the final ones. If you were interested in completing this world, you had to wait until the very end. Basically, this meant you had to do a huge collection quest and then spend about 45 minutes doing mini-games. It was a whole lot of boring thrust into one world.

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Image source

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Beast's Castle/Beauty and the Beast

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Kingdom Hearts 2
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Xaldin. Xaldin was by far my least favorite boss in Kingdom Hearts 2. Not only did he have a weird reaction command that I still haven't figured out, his ultimate move that he spammed at the end of the fight was basically unavoidable. He was going to kill you and he was going to kill you a lot. It didn't even really matter how many times King Mickey stepped in to help out. Xaldin was going to laugh in your face and there was nothing you could do.

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Kingdom Hearts 385/2 Days
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This world just felt pointless and dragged out. You had to help Xion regain her Keyblade abilities and thus fight with a wooden stick, which is never fun if you recall the beginning of Hollow Bastion in the first game. Then you had to fight a giant Heartless which turned out to be an incredibly hard fight, for me at least. Yet the level still continued. You then had to track down Xaldin to figure out why he had yet to return to Organization XIII. That would be all well and good if we didn't already know the reason why Xaldin was there. Kingdom Hearts 2 was released over three years prior to Kingdom Hearts 385/2 Days. At that point, all the fans should know why he's there.

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Image source

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Olympus Coliseum/Hercules

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Olympus Coliseum had some cool concepts that fell short. And then crashed and burned.

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Kingdom Hearts
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The level is small. There's three areas you can enter and that's it. In the movie, there's Mount Olympus, the human world, and the Underworld. We get a very small glimpse of only one of those areas. It felt very underwhelming.

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The training in this level was annoying too. It wasn't too hard once you figured out what to do, but it was poorly timed. Olympus Coliseum comes after Destiny Islands, Traverse Town, and Wonderland. You could do this world even later than that if you wanted to. At least four worlds into the game, and just now you're giving us training? The player figured out how to fight properly ages ago. It was needed to kill the numerous bosses already fought after all.

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Kingdom  Hearts 2
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They made the level longer! We get to explore the Underworld! How underwhelming. The level was not designed well. All the areas looked exactly the same, just grey walls with some smoke here and there. It wasn't that great.

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The story for the level wasn't great either. The first visit was nothing but a collection quest, trying to retrieve the Olympus Stone. You do that and fight the Hydra, a disappointingly easy boss. In the second visit, you do another collection quest (big surprise), getting Auron's voodoo doll. Then you fight Hades. The level ends. 

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Kingdom Hearts 385/2 Days
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Roxas trains with Phil. He has memories of Sora. He then fights some Heartless and a Guard Armor. It's dragged out and it gets really annoying having to continuously go back. 

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Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
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As much as I appreciate Square Enix taking the beginning of the Hercules movie into account, it was poorly done. Ven just fights some Unversed. Terra has a moment of fighting the inner darkness with Hades obviously edging him along. Aqua continues her quest of trying to find Terra and Ventus and then fights Hades (like we hadn't fought him a million times before). The level design is very short, and, as before, a little useless.

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Tournaments
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The tournaments were pretty cool. It was a nice test of ability and fit well with the feel of the world. It even gave us a chance to fight cool bosses like Sephiroth that didn't really fit anywhere else in the universe. However, the tournaments got annoying and felt very useless. Most didn't net you any experience points. I'm fighting all of these Heartless, Nobodies, or bosses and I'm not getting EXP. It was a bit of bummer really. I know I got some weapons here and there for completing the tournaments solo or with a time limit, but that didn't make it any less disappointing considering how many enemies you had to fight. 

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You also had to wait around for them to spawn. I'm not a patient person. I want them available to me from the beginning.

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No Mythology
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Hercules centered around Greek mythology. Kingdom Hearts takes none of that into account. You fight the Rock Titan. You fight the Ice Titan. You fight Hades. Can you not see or talk to Zeus? Can you not explore Mt. Olympus? What about Hermes? At least add them into the tournaments as bosses so we have more to fight than just Heartless, Nobodies, and the same bosses over and over again.

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Image source

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I've seen a lot of lists when it comes to Kingdom Hearts and almost all of them revolve around the worlds. They're someone's favorite worlds or the most anticipated worlds or the worlds that someone most wants to see in Kingdom Hearts 3. I've decided to put a negative spin on it. These are some of my least favorite worlds out of the entire Kingdom Hearts series. I don't want to see these coming back.

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Warning: On the off chance you are reading this list prior to playing the Kingdom Hearts games, there are some very minor spoilers that you may want to avoid.

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Image source.

"}]]]>
Op-ed: Xion's story in Kingdom Hearts is a transgender narrative https://www.gameskinny.com/8dywq/op-ed-xions-story-in-kingdom-hearts-is-a-transgender-narrative https://www.gameskinny.com/8dywq/op-ed-xions-story-in-kingdom-hearts-is-a-transgender-narrative Wed, 15 Jul 2015 02:30:01 -0400 Jackson Ingram

[Contains major spoilers for Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days]

Xion is not transgender.

Kingdom Hearts isn't anywhere close to being that socially progressive. They barely give their female characters any screentime and they won't touch sexuality with a ten-foot keyblade. So do I expect them to actually have a confirmed transgender protagonist? Nope.

But all media, video games included, are open to consumer interpretation. You can take Sora's feelings for Riku and Kairi as evidence of pansexuality. You can head-canon Saix's jealousy as the by-product of scorned romantic feelings for Axel. And yes, you can believe Xion is transgender. And no one can tell you that you're wrong.

How is Xion transgender?

Realistically, she isn't. Kingdom Hearts is a fantasy series. Xion's experiences are obviously not the same as an actual trans* person's. We're not equating the two here. We're comparing them.

Xion is a memory-based replica. Upon creation, she had no identity. No face. No sex. No gender. As she taps into Sora's memories, particularly those of Kairi, she begins to take on a sense of self, eventually identifying as female.

A hooded Xion sits next to Roxas on the Clocktower in 358/2 Days.

Not everyone sees her the way she sees herself, however. Xigbar sees her as Ventus. Xemnas sees her as Sora. Saix only sees a hooded doll.

Because of this, Saix purposefully refers to her as an "it," despite being corrected by Roxas, Axel, and Xion herself on multiple occasions. Transgender people face misgendering on a daily basis. While this is sometimes accidental, misgendering is often intentional and malicious. Saix isn't just ignoring Xion's pronouns, however. He's intentionally dehumanizing her, reducing her down to an object that he can label and reject.

Even when Xion's body physically transforms into Sora's at the game's climax, she still retains her pronouns, stating that "this puppet will have to play her part." Her body takes on a male form, but she is still female. Her sex is not her gender. She identifies as a woman, therefore she is a woman. It's that simple.

Xion appears as Sora at the end of 358/2 Days.

Her very existence as a replica can be seen as transgender symbolism. Xemnas designed her as a mirrored form of Sora, whose female presentation is merely a copy of Kairi's appearance. To him, every "feminine" aspect of Xion is fake. But the game is very clear that, despite being regarded as a sham, Xion is a person in her own right. Her story may be different than Kairi's, but her identity is just as legitimate. Trans women are often accused of "copying" cis-women. This is wrong. They are all real women, regardless of how anyone perceives them.

Why does any of this matter anyway?

LGBT+ people already face abysmal representation in the media. Yes, it's gotten better over the years. No, that doesn't mean we've achieved equality. The stories we're given predominantly feature white, straight, cis-gender men. They get to be the heroes. Their white, straight, cis-gender girlfriends are the love interests. Minorities don't have the privilege of flipping through TV channels and immediately finding a protagonist that looks, loves, and identities like they do. They have to actively seek out representation.

Within entertainment, the video game is one of the least queer-inclusive mediums. Within the LGBT+ community, transgender is one of the least recognized identities. Now you do the math on the quality and frequency of transgender characters within video games. It (typically) ain't pretty.

Birdo - the first transgender video game characterWhen transgender characters do manage to make it into a game, they're usually the villain, a damaging precedent set by Super Mario Bros. 2 back in 1988. While Birdo has since reformed to enjoy rousing games of tennis with her former adversaries, she was originally introduced as a male "that thinks he is a girl," who also happens to enjoy shooting Mario in the face with giant eggs.

On the rare occassion that transgender characters aren't antagonists, they're often played for laughs, usually under the twisted belief that a non-cis-female person wearing a dress is "comedic."

So yeah. If people want to read the Kingdom Hearts canon a little differently, let them. The world needs more transgender protagonists.

Okay, but do people actually care about this stuff?

Um, yes. They do.

Being able to identify with game protagonists is a privilege that not everyone possesses. Very few series feature relatable queer characters. Even fewer have transgender heroes.

And I'm not the first to recognize Xion's experiences as similar to those within a transgender narrative. One blogger in particular has spoken out about this connection on multiple occasions, championing its importance.

Xion smiling on the Clocktower.

Am I saying you have to view Xion as transgender? No, of course not. This is just one interpretation. Whether or not you agree with it, however, does not determine its validity.

Xion is a girl, even if she wasn't designated as one at birth. If someone can relate to her experiences with identity, then why would you tell them Xion isn't transgender?

]]>
13 fan-made Kingdom Hearts musical arrangements that will break your feels https://www.gameskinny.com/yd94d/13-fan-made-kingdom-hearts-musical-arrangements-that-will-break-your-feels https://www.gameskinny.com/yd94d/13-fan-made-kingdom-hearts-musical-arrangements-that-will-break-your-feels Fri, 26 Jun 2015 10:58:05 -0400 Jackson Ingram

[{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/244da6e380046985433fae2d0d91e59f.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/244da6e380046985433fae2d0d91e59f.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6228","description":"

14: "Xion's Theme"

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And that concludes our- Wait, what? Isn't this thing only supposed to have 13 arrangements?

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Well, just like the enigmatic Organization, this set of 13 contains a surprising 14th member. Xion's theme, also known as "Musique pour la tristesse de Xion" ("Music for the sadness of Xion"), is one of the most popular character themes of the series, quickly garnering the attention of fan-arrangers everywhere even before the English release of 358/2 Days.

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What this brings us back to . . .
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This song plays during what is arguably the most heart-breaking scene of the series: Xion's death. After spending the entirety of the game grappling with the question of her existence, Xion decides to do what she believes is right and return to Sora. Knowing that she and Roxas cannot coexist, Xion engages him in battle, forcing him to absorb her.

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As a memory-based replica, Xion's destruction means erasing every memory of her. Though Roxas immediately begins to forget Xion after the battle, he pulls his memories together long enough to cradle her dying body. Needless to say, Roxas wasn't the only one crying as Xion's form iced over and dissolved into the sunset.

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Do you have any fan-made arrangements to add to the list? Or maybe these pieces reminded you of a different classic Kingdom Hearts moment. Tell us about it in the comments below!

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/5df05ebd828d21ccb2ab220af9123d0c.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/5df05ebd828d21ccb2ab220af9123d0c.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6227","description":"

13. "Dearly Beloved" - Kingdom Hearts III Version

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"Dearly Beloved" is no doubt returning as the title theme for Kingdom Hearts III. It's even appeared in the most recent trailer. Prior to that, however, we had no idea how composer Yoko Shimomura would top herself. Sam Yung took it upon himself to arrange a potential version for the long-awaited finale to the Dark Seeker Saga, incorporating several well-known character themes into this classic KH number.

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What this brings us back to . . .
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Nothing. Yet. But it definitely gets us hyped for the destined clash between the 13 Seekers of Darkness and the 7 Guardians of Light by reminding us of how far we've come.

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Midway through the song, Xion and Roxas's themes hit us hard. While Sora, Riku, and Kairi may have made it home relatively unscathed, many other characters didn't fare quite as well. As illustrated in the secret movie "Blank Points," several people with whom Sora's heart connected are still waiting, lost in pain and darkness. A major part of KH3's plot is going to be finding a way to save them.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/8cd57e8c9fe4e10a02c0a05ddcb3f2dc.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/8cd57e8c9fe4e10a02c0a05ddcb3f2dc.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6226","description":"

12. "Passion"

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Also known as "Sanctuary" by English-speaking fans, "Passion" is Utada's second gift to the series, notably replacing "Simple and Clean" as the main theme for Kingdom Hearts II. Kyle Landry's arrangement, first released in 2003, has become a fan-favorite among his uploads and reappears as the finale in his Kingdom Hearts medley.

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What this brings us back to . . .
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"Passion" and "Sanctuary" are both love songs, be it romantic, platonic, or both.

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"In you and I, there's a new land . . . Where fears and lies melt away."

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When you're with this person (or these people), you're safe. You're home. They are your sanctuary.

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This is illustrated perfectly by KH2's ending, one of the only happy ones of the series, in which Sora, Riku, and Kairi are finally reunited on Destiny Islands. A new version of the song, subtitled "After the Battle," plays as they feel secure and complete for the first time since their journey began, back before keyblades, and heartless, and the darkness. Nothing is the same. They've changed. The worlds have changed. But they still have each other, and that's all they've ever needed.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/7df25c2b4f563ebec2343535d446d4a6.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/7df25c2b4f563ebec2343535d446d4a6.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6222","description":"

11. "Duet of the Keyblade Masters" or "Darkness of the Unknown"

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"Darkness of the Unknown," the song that plays during part of the climactic battle with Xemnas at the end of Kingdom Hearts II, is also known as "Duet of the Keyblade Masters," so-named for the perfect harmony exercised by Sora and Riku during the fight.

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What this brings us back to . . .
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Despite how easy it would be to attach Sora and Riku's tender moment on the Dark Margin to a title like "Duet of the Keyblade Masters", "Darkness of the Unknown" feels like its significance remains firmly tied to those deemed unworthy of existence. Xemnas's boss music is highly reminiscent of the "13th" series ("Struggle"/"Dilemma"/"Reflection") that is used for the other members of the Organization. Xemnas manipulated them all, using them like the emotionless tools he led them to believe they had become. It seems fitting that his theme, only heard after every other member had been finished off in one way or another, is the culmination of all their final dirges.

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Throughout the series, the effects of these manipulations are shown on a variety of characters, particularly Roxas, Axel, and Xion. Several scenes show the trio grappling with orders given to them by the Superior. In one such instance, Axel has to retrieve Xion, who is about to go rogue. As he agonizes over the situation, he is forced to deal with three different ideas of what is "right," coming from Xemnas, Xion, and of course, Axel himself. In the end, he fights Xion and brings her back to the castle, not knowing if he had undone the friendships he had managed to build.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/ec243953474b2bcbdba07fc5562a282a.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/ec243953474b2bcbdba07fc5562a282a.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6221","description":"

10. "Hikari" (Piano Duet)

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What's better than one piano playing Utada's smash hit "Hikari"? How about two? With an extra eighty-eight keys to capture every nuance of the original song, Project Destati's cover is just as clean as its one-piano counterparts, but it's anything but simple.

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What this brings us back to . . .
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We've already talked about how "Simple and Clean" is a song of separation, but "Hikari"'s translated lyrics have a slightly different meaning. Check out these translated lyrics and ask yourself: who are you reminded you of? "I'm just alone / Destiny forgotten"? I think of Naminé, Sora being the "light" that awakens her, and her guardians, the abusive Marluxia and Larxene, being the "family," with which she sarcastically hopes Sora gets along. "And about the recent promises, is it just that I'm so anxious? / A wish that's wanting to be said, but shall be repressed"? This is literally the plot of Chain of Memories. I could go on, but let's get to the scene.

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Throughout CoM, Naminé is forced to manipulate Sora, who she secretly hopes will be her salvation from the Organization. In the end, she turns against her captors to help him, but the damage is already done. Sora is given the choice to either keep the false memories of Naminé or allow her to repair his memories, thereby forgetting her and his time in Castle Oblivion. You can see her heart (that, according to Xemnas, doesn't exist) break as he chooses the latter. As "Hikari" plays over the credits, we're reminded that Naminé gave up what she perceived as her one shot at happiness to set things right. In this way, she has a lot in common with her eventual ally, Riku.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/5315d00fa975fbb183b27e67be604913.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/5315d00fa975fbb183b27e67be604913.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6216","description":"

9. "Riku" (Orchestral Version)

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Backer Ruth fills out Riku's theme beautifully with a driving beat and a variety of additional instruments. Its steady and persistent style is perfectly suited for Riku's journey towards self-redemption.

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What this brings us back to . . .
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Riku's theme is utilized particularly effectively during 358/2 Days, in which Riku works behind the scenes, trying to orchestrate Sora's awakening in collaboration with DiZ and Naminé. Most prominently, it appears as Riku defeats Xion outside of Beast's Castle midway through the game.

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Riku's story arc runs on his tenacity. He's willing to do whatever it takes to make things right again. Along the way, he's forced to make several sacrifices to save Sora. Xion's very existence becomes a major moral conflict, as her absorption of Sora's memories makes it impossible for him to awaken. In this early scene, Riku, dressed in an Organization cloak, remarks that Xion's keyblade is a sham. When Xion asks him who he is, he answers that he "is the biggest nobody of them all." Cue spine-chilling Xion scream of frustration.

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This scene, and the accompanying track, are so important to Riku's character because it isn't just Roxas and Xion's existences that he has to contend with. Riku essentially gives up his own life and future to fix what's been broken. Whatever it takes "to make sure [his] best friend sleeps in peace."

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/0372a856258496413463531a500090b3.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/0372a856258496413463531a500090b3.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6212","description":"

8. "Enter the Void"

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While this number only appears in the Vanitas Remant battle of Birth by Sleep Final Mix, "Enter the Void" has quickly surged in popularity among the fandom. HypochondriacPiano returns to bring the piece to life, and her performance is anything but "Unversed" with our ears.

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What this brings us back to . . .
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While "Enter the Void" is technically one of Vanitas's themes, its energy and direction follow the unraveling of the Wayfinder Trio (Terra, Aqua, and Ventus). Throughout Birth by Sleep, these three find themselves manipulated as pieces in an ancient game of light against darkness. In many ways, Vanitas fares no better, being created and valued specifically because of his potential to forge the X-Blade. While Master Xehanort may have been playing Terra when he described Vanitas as an "abomination beyond hope of salvation," its pretty clear that the old man thinks of Vanitas as no more than a tool.

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The paths of the these young people converge at a crossroads in the Keyblade Graveyard. "Enter the Void," a song encapsulating the process of losing oneself completely, is particularly apt for this moment. Ventus' words still give me goosebumps every time I hear them. 

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"I'm asking you, as a friend. Just . . . put an end to me."

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"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/9f1a6dff227d49c27f73ce23e2fa2861.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/9f1a6dff227d49c27f73ce23e2fa2861.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6211","description":"

7. "Kairi"

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Project Destati takes Kairi's short, sweet refrain and elevates it into a masterpiece. Each movement artfully pulls the listener through all the emotions that Kairi hasn't been allowed to fully express in-game.

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What this brings us back to . . .
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Not that I'm salty, but Kairi hasn't exactly been the poster child of positive female representation in the series. She's constantly pushed to the side, captured, or forgotten. This song reminds me of all of her best moments, like when she dives right into Axel's corridor of darkness, or when she shows Riku's true form to Sora, or even back in the original game when she shoves her way through a group of Heartless to save Sora after he turns into a Shadow.

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It also gives me hope for Kairi's future. If her theme can express complex emotions, or just be active and engaged in general, maybe Kairi can too.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/9a14bd55ad4807f36ea12a108b7f8823.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/9a14bd55ad4807f36ea12a108b7f8823.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6210","description":"

6. "Terra's Theme" (Violin Loop Cover)

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Autumn Raine brilliantly uses pedal-operated recordings of himself playing every part to pull together Terra's theme from Birth by Sleep.

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What this brings us back to . . .
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Terra kind of gets the shaft within the fandom. Yes, he's pretty gullible. Yes, he made a ton of bad decisions. That doesn't make his path into the darkness any less tragic.

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There's no doubt that Terra reaches his lowest point while fighting his father figure, Master Eraqus, in the Land of Departure. While he fought to protect his friend Ventus, Terra was also being manipulated by Master Xehanort, who struck Eraqus down after Terra gave into the darkness and won the match.

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Terra's theme builds in parallel to his rising feelings of guilt, envy, and anger that eventually overtake his heart.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/763167e432ece4184f17130c2966284d.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/763167e432ece4184f17130c2966284d.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6208","description":"

5. "Roxas's Theme" (Violin and Piano Duet)

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Piano powerhouse Lara6688 and incredibly gifted violinist Taylor Davis team up to weave together a masterful rendition of Roxas's theme, as featured in Kingdom Hearts II.

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What this brings us back to . . .
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When it comes to sad moments, Roxas has an endless supply. It's hard to choose just one when his theme seems to capture the full range of his experiences throughout the series. For this reason, Taylor and Lara's performance reminds me most of the end of Roxas' seven days in the simulated Twilight Town.

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As Roxas returns to Sora and realizes his "summer vacation is...over," his theme undercuts the brutal heartbreak of gaining some semblance of a normal independent life before losing it all to those who consider him to only be a "a tool," at best.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/242e0f7003fb51795f56ddc0ffd0c065.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/242e0f7003fb51795f56ddc0ffd0c065.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6207","description":"

4. "Destiny Islands"/"Missing You"

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HypochondriacPiano brings us back to Sora, Riku, and Kairi's home on Destiny Islands, taking the soothing tropical number and easing down its tempo. About two minutes into "Destiny Islands," the key and the listeners drop somberly into "Missing You." The transition is seamless and chilling.

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What this brings us back to . . .
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The arrangement arguably puts us in Kairi's shoes between the events of Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. She has returned to Destiny Islands, her home, and everything's been left unchanged...except for her. The Kairi that finds the paopu fruit addition to the drawing in the secret place is not the one that drew Sora in the first place. She's back, but it feels like an empty homecoming. The choice to slow down "Destiny Islands" represents Kairi's reflections on these feelings.

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And then, of course, there's the question of whether or not Destiny Islands even feels like home to her anymore without Sora and Riku. "Missing You" is full of her longing to be with them again.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/f9f4ec8bc424f39eb17fbe10314db3e2.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/f9f4ec8bc424f39eb17fbe10314db3e2.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6202","description":"

3. "'Twas a Sunset of Marmalade"

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While they admit that coining titles isn't their strong suit, dreadjoker10 has certainly found their niche at the piano. Combining Twilight Town favorites "At Dusk, I Will Think of You" and "Lazy Afternoons," they've created a bittersweet lullaby that's equal parts heartwarming and breaking.

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What this brings us back to . . . 
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"Day 352: Us and the Sunset

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Me and Xion and Axel had ice cream. The sunset was beautiful.
I don't have to write anything else down, because I'll never forget this day."

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That was one of the last excerpts from the diary Roxas kept throughout 358/2 Days. This piece feels specifically connected to that last sunset they were able to share together. While nostalgia for the old days was enough to briefly bring Roxas, Axel, and Xion back to the clock tower amidst the Organization's foreboding plots, their time together was increasingly tainted with sadness, mistrust, and anguish.

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"'Twas a Sunset of Marmalade" is their time together. It may have been twisted by secrets and impossible decisions, but it still pulled at emotions they didn't know they could even experience. This arrangement beautifully orchestrates the deep sadness permeating Roxas's time with Organization XIII.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/8f34fab5d4d5e631eb499d207ecbbfdb.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/8f34fab5d4d5e631eb499d207ecbbfdb.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6199","description":"

2. "Dear to My Heart"

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Combining classics like "Simple and Clean"/"Hikari," "Dearly Beloved," and "Hollow Bastion," "Dear to My Heart" is an eight-minute ride through Sora's first adventure in the original Kingdom Hearts.

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What this brings us back to . . .
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Obviously, this arrangement is an homage to the first game, and it seems to be pulling us right into the climax. The scene it most directly embodies is Sora's confrontation with (the then Ansem-possessed) Riku before the Princesses of Heart are used to unlock the Final Keyhole. After spending the whole game scattered across the worlds, Sora, Riku, and Kairi are physically reunited, but still hopelessly disconnected.

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"Simple and Clean" itself is a song about falling apart. This relationship that was once complete and nurturing is now filled with uncertainty, miscommunication, and fear. "Don't get me wrong I love you, but . . ." is an accurate summary of Sora, Riku, and Kairi's friendship in the first game. What was whole is now crumbling. And so Sora reaches this place, this Hollow Bastion, a twisted imitation of something that was once beautiful, and finds his friends - one lifeless and missing her heart, the other estranged and jealous - both so far gone from their time together on the islands.

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But Sora, being the optimistic little scamp we've grown to love, knows that his friends are still somewhere in his heart (quite literally, in Kairi's case). After all: "Regardless of warnings, the future doesn't scare me at all. Nothing's like before."

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/057f59f6a3287c0689c45a57c40890cd.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/057f59f6a3287c0689c45a57c40890cd.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"6205","description":"

1. "Dearly Beloved 2014"

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Since the original Kingdom Hearts dropped back in 2002, "Dearly Beloved" has been used as the backdrop of the title screen, setting the tone for the series before you even press "New Game." With each new game in the series, "Dearly Beloved" returns, usually having evolved in complexity, not unlike the central plot. 

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Popular YouTuber and pianist Kyle Landry has done covers of countless video game songs, but "Dearly Beloved" has fittingly captured his attention to warrant a revised arrangement every year. Counting his first cover of "Dearly Beloved" back in 2008, and his most recent rendition this year, Landry has released seven versions of this iconic opening number.

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What this brings us back to . . .
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Rather than a specific scene from the series, Kyle Landry's "Dearly Beloved" takes us back to our first Kingdom Hearts game, whichever title that might have been. Sitting there, controller in hand, we were welcomed by some spiky-haired character and this sweet, simple melody, suggesting that there would be more to this quirky amalgamation of Disney and Square Enix than first meets the eye.

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In-game, the song seems to represent a simpler time that has since been lost. Usual spots where friends could meet and share thoughts or feelings - a crooked palm tree, a clock tower, the edge of a fortress wall - now empty. "Dearly Beloved" is the music of a self-made home.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/d/4/d/d4d1e82e50607f0fa5006274a339da85.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/d/4/d/tiny_d4d1e82e50607f0fa5006274a339da85.png","type":"slide","id":"71383","description":"

The music of Kingdom Hearts is known for being both beautiful and emotionally destructive. With the brilliant minds of people like Yoko Shimomura, Kaoru Wad, and Utada, the most poignant moments of the series are made far more impactful by the gorgeous soundtracks cradling them.

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Naturally, Kingdom Hearts' dedicated fanbase has spent a good portion of the past decade learning, covering, and sharing these iconic numbers. Here are 13 fan-made arrangements to bring you back into the raw emotions of the series and break your heart all over again. 

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Warning: this slideshow contains major spoilers for the series.

"}]]]>
6 infamous ship wars that almost broke their video game fandoms https://www.gameskinny.com/fa2pe/6-infamous-ship-wars-that-almost-broke-their-video-game-fandoms https://www.gameskinny.com/fa2pe/6-infamous-ship-wars-that-almost-broke-their-video-game-fandoms Thu, 11 Jun 2015 07:25:46 -0400 Jackson Ingram

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. . . Kingdom Hearts (again): "SoKai" vs. "SoRiku"

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The Kingdom Hearts franchise is launched with a love triangle between childhood friends Sora, Riku, and Kairi (dubbed the "Destiny Trio"). Somewhere along the way, however, Sora moved out of a tangent role and into the epicenter of the great relationship debate. Ironically, this beloved series built around friendship and Disney characters has triggered one of the nastiest ship wars in video game history.

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Team Kairi
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There's a strong case to be made for SoKai. For one thing, they're probably as "official couple status" as any original pairing will ever be in Kingdom Hearts. Kairi is constantly referred to as Sora's "special someone" or his "light" and he thinks about her constantly while they're apart. Sora carries her lucky charm to the end of the worlds and back twice. Kairi's heart is able to restore Sora's form after he sacrifices himself to save her. Then there's the whole thing in Kingdom Hearts II where they're both super willing to take on Saix mentally or, in Kairi's case, physically for the possibility of their reunion. Oh, and Sora draws himself giving Kairi a paopu fruit, basically the most romantic gesture in the KH universe. And Kairi reciprocates.

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Team Riku
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Riku may have started out feigning a crush on Kairi, but he quickly drops that and proceeds to be as gay as humanly possible for the rest of the series. All of his actions - following the path of darkness, trying to redeem himself, taking on Ansem's form - were all for Sora. By the time Riku's swooping around to wake up his best friend between Days and Kingdom Hearts II, the fandom forgot about their rivalry entirely. This is obviously a boy in love. When everyone's finally reuniting before the final showdown in the World That Never Was, Sora actually falls to his knees, crying, begging Riku not to go. 

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Shortly afterward, they have the most romantic fight with Xemnas ever and happily resign themselves to dying together on the Dark Margin. Just to really hammer it in, Dream Drop Distance has them going on another adventure together in which their hearts are intimately connected and Riku dives into a nightmare to awaken Sora's sleeping soul. They're like a regular Orpheus and Eurydice, except with a happy ending.

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It's such a shame when ship wars get in the way of enjoying a great franchise, especially when there's such an easy, perfect solution. Do you ship? What are some clashing pairs you've run into? Tell us in the comments below!

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Kingdom Hearts: "AkuRoku" vs. "RokuShi"

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Roxas, Axel, and Xion, the fan-dubbed "Sea-Salt Trio," are the major players in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, during which they complete missions for the antagonistic (and highly shippable) Organization XIII. Despite being told they don't have hearts, these three all demonstrate deep emotions throughout the game and manage to establish a norm-defying friendship with one another. Naturally, the fandom decided that all these feelings needed to be channeled romantically. Only one question remains: with which pairings?

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Team Axel
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Kingdom Hearts II includes a pretty significant subplot in which Axel attempts to retrieve the critical "Key of Destiny" Roxas after the thirteenth member goes AWOL. It soon becomes clear that Axel isn't doing this just because the boss told him too. In fact, he himself ditches Xemnas soon afterward to find a way to bring Roxas back from his summer-ending merger with Sora. Rumors were soon flying about that these two weren't just "buddies," as the English translation states, but actually "partners," as in the original Japanese. They certainly have enough meaningful exchanges to make it a valid interpretation. And if all of that doesn't sway you to Team AkuRoku (a portmanteau based on their Japanese names), remember Axel's dying words to Sora. "[Roxas] made me feel . . . like I had a heart."

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Team Xion
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Poor, sweet Xion. When she was first introduced in Days, AkuRoku shippers were already out for blood, assuming that the mysterious fourteenth member had been shoved into Organization XIII for the sole purpose of ruining their One True Pairing. Whether you love her or hate her (and there doesn't seem to be an in-between), there's no denying the strong feelings between Xion and her counterpart, Roxas. And if you didn't break down when Roxas cradled her dying body, then maybe you don't have a heart, okay? I just . . . I just need a minute.

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Sonic the Hedgehog: "Sonamy" vs. "Sonadow"

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For a franchise about super-fast hedgehogs freeing cute woodland creatures from diabolical robot casings devised by a mad scientist named after eggs, you wouldn't think relationships would factor in too much. You would be so, so wrong.

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Team Amy Rose
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In mirroring the Mario/Peach relationship sweeping the gaming industry, Sega initially introduced Amy Rose as a damsel in distress. This quickly evolved into a one-sided obsessive crush. Seriously, Sonic should have filed a restraining order. But he didn't. And Amy mellowed, eventually. And while they're still not Facebook official, "Sonamy" seems to be getting closer and closer to canon.

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Team Shadow the Hedgehog
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Two destined rivals bound in eternal conflict . . . sounds . . . steamy? Okay, so I don't personally buy into hedgehog sexual tension, but a large chunk of this fandom does, so more power to them. If you look at it from the perspective of Shadow, you can kind of see it. Like, Shadow is already more-or-less obsessed with Sonic. Sometimes the lines between hatred and love can be a little blurry. The hedgehog heart wants what the hedgehog heart wants.

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The Legend of Zelda: "Zelink" vs. "Midlink"

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For almost 30 years, Princess Zelda and Link (known colloquially as "Zelink") have been the couple of the Legend of Zelda series. Sure, they've had their share of alter-egos that ironically were considered threatening to the ship (Link/Sheik shippers can be pretty intense), but overall they seemed pretty stable. Well, stable until their first legitimate challenger came on the scene in 2006 with Twilight Princess: Midna.

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Granted, a significant portion of the fandom doesn't bother with shipping at all since Link isn't very, y'know . . . vocal about his feelings, but the small groups of die-hard Zelink and Midlink shippers have made this clash the talk of Hyrule.

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Team Zelda
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Um, hello? She's kind of the main character of the series. Zelda appears in almost every game, and it is her legend. For each incarnation of Link, there seems to be an incarnation of Zelda, so they have the whole "soulmates in every lifetime" thing going for them. Plus, they've been through a lot together. Hyrule is perpetually in danger and date nights spent battling Ganondorf are frequent and mandatory. 

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Team Midna
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Link and Midna spend a lot of time together in Twilight Princess. Like a lot of time. Their relationship is fun and dynamic, and also laced with some romantic undertones. It all culminates when Midna regains her true form and she jokingly asks him if she has become so beautiful that he cannot speak. I mean, he doesn't say anything, obviously, but he seems pretty choked up by her appearance. And then, as Midna is leaving, there's that highly interpretative unfinished sentence before the Mirror of Twilight is shattered forever . . . "Link... I... See you later."

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Tales of Symphonia: "Sheloyd" vs. "Colloyd"

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Tales of Symphonia, part of a well-known Japanese RPG series, follows Lloyd Irving as he accompanies Colette on her journey to replenish their world, Sylvarant, with life-giving mana. On the way, they meet Sheena, an assassin from a parallel world, Tethe'alla, which vies for the same supply of resources. The two worlds aren't the only forces at odds with one another, however. The Lloyd/Sheena vs Lloyd/Colette ship war easily dwarfs that conflict.

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Team Sheena
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While admittedly not quite the "official couple" of Tales, Lloyd and Sheena have crazy amounts of chemistry and a quite a bit of heart. Lloyd admits that he feels like he can be himself around her, despite how flustered Sheena seems to get, and their mutual feelings become clear in the optional "skits." But that's just it. Most of these skits are optional. The player has to choose them to really get to the meat of their relationship.

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Team Colette
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Another pair with childhood friend points, Lloyd/Colette are very in tune with one another's thoughts and feelings and are bolstered by non-optional affectionate scenes near the beginning of the game. There's even a scene in Dawn of the New World, in which Lloyd tells Colette he loves her. That is, however, one of the optional skits. So even though Tales lays the groundwork for this pairing, the player has to follow through if they want it to be legit. 

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/4/b/7/4b7985f4e0a05293ae47b3050440bd58.png","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/4/b/7/tiny_4b7985f4e0a05293ae47b3050440bd58.png","type":"slide","id":"69599","description":"

Final Fantasy VII: "CloTi" vs. "Clerith"

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This debate has been raging on for almost two whole decades, and the opposing sides don't seem to be any closer to reaching a resolution. Screw Sephiroth. If you go on Tumblr, the real villain of FF7 is apparently either Tifa or Aerith, each being frequently demonized by the rival perspective. Who should Cloud be with?

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Team Tifa
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Tifa and Cloud go way back. Originally childhood friends, Tifa convinces Cloud to join AVALANCHE to fulfill an age-old promise to protect her, though it's really she who wants to keep a closer eye on him. Tifa is there for him after he's manipulated by Sephiroth. She's there for him again when he's consumed with guilt. And finally, she's there after the defeat of Sephiroth's remnants, giving Cloud a family to come back to.

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Team Aerith
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Two words: Tragic. Romance. Remember that spoiler warning earlier? Pull it back up, because this is kind of a big deal. Ready for this? Aerith dies. It's like one of the most famous video game deaths ever, I'm kind of surprised you didn't know this yet. It's pretty clear that Cloud and Aerith shared a deep connection, especially given her spiritual reappearances throughout the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. Things get significantly more complicated, however, when you throw Aerith/Zack shippers into the mix. So let's not.

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For those of you who don't know, "shipping," occurring within fandoms, describes the act of desiring two (or more) characters together in a romantic and/or sexual fashion, rooting for the progress of their relationship. Don't make the mistake of not taking this seriously. Some shippers don't mess around. When two popular pairings conflict, the results can be catastrophic. Think Alien vs. Predator. Godzilla vs. Mothra. Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda.

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These Ship Wars have ravaged several video game franchises. Here's a closer look at 6 of the most infamous examples.

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Beware of potential spoilers.

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