Kingdom Hearts Articles RSS Feed | Kingdom Hearts RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Kingdom Hearts Shines Its Light on PC Soon Thu, 11 Feb 2021 16:16:02 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Kingdom Hearts is coming to PC on March 30, exclusively on the Epic Games Store. Square Enix made the announcement as part of the Epic Games Store Spring Showcase event. 

It's not just one Kingdom Hearts game on PC either. The entire Seeker of Darkness saga, a total of 11 Kingdom Hearts games, is landing on the EGS on March 30. They're split up over the following bundles:

Kingdom Hearts 1.5+2.5 Final ReMix ($49.99)

  • Kingdom Hearts Final Mix
  • Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories
  • Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (HD Remastered cinematics)
  • Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
  • Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix
  • Kingdom Hearts Re:coded (HD Remastered cinematics)

Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue ($59.99)

  • Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD
  • Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep –A fragmentary passage–
  • Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover (movie)

Kingdom Hearts 3 + Re:Mind DLC ($59.99)

Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory ($59.99)

Bringing Kingdom Hearts to PC has been a long time coming. Producer Ichiro Hazama said:

Our collaboration with Epic Games is one that stretches back to the development of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, and as part of this ongoing relationship, the team at Epic Games have been incredibly supportive in helping us make this a reality.

I’m incredibly excited for so many new players to discover and enjoy the action, magic and friendship of Kingdom Hearts on PC.

Those who purchase the Kingdom Hearts 3 + Re:Mind bundle will receive the in-game Elemental Encoder Keyblade. All Kingdom Hearts games on PC are available for pre-order now. On top of the news, there's a pretty good sale going on over at EGS, too. 

[Source: Epic Games]

Tetsuya Nomura Wants to Shake Things up for the Next Kingdom Hearts Thu, 19 Nov 2020 16:52:09 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Kingdom Hearts turns 20 in 2022, and director Tetsuya Nomura has big plans for the series' birthday. Nomura spoke with Dengeki Online, translated by Gematsu, about tying up loose ends and shaking things up for the next Kingdom Hearts game.

Nomura said the team is working to deliver "good news" for the series' 20th anniversary, though there's some mystery surrounding it. When Dengeki asked Nomura about a Kingdom Hearts on PS5 or Xbox Series X|S, Nomura said "if" they make a KH for next-gen systems, it won't come until later on.

Whatever the plans are, Nomura said fans should expect new story beats and characters. Xehanort's time as the series big bad is done, though he does still influence Melody of Memory. Nomura said he's looking to start new threads instead:

I intend to tie up remaining loose story ends but also want to change the format a bit. I want to drastically change the world and tell a new story, but also tie up the loose ends.

Hints of that drastic change exist under the surface in Kingdom Hearts 3, though whether Sora, Kairi, and Riku face their fears in modern Tokyo or some other sanctuary is still beyond the door of the future. Meanwhile, if you're aching for some more Kingdom Hearts, Melody of Memory is an entertaining romp through the series' musical history you shouldn't think twice about.

[Source: Gematsu]

Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory Demo Out October 15 Wed, 14 Oct 2020 13:36:00 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Square Enix is releasing a Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory demo on October 15 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The Kingdom Hearts rhythm game demo is already available on the other side of the international date line for those with accounts from other regions.

The Melody of Memory demo includes six playable songs, four field battle stages, and two co-op stages. Some with early access to the demo have shown the tracks the demo includes.

Field Battle

  • Welcome To Wonderland
  • Hand In Hand
  • Rustling Forest
  • Wave of Darkness I


  • Sinister Shadows
  • All For One

Dive Into The Heart -Destati- gets thrown in the mix as a tutorial stage.

The full Melody of Memory game boasts a track collection of over 140 songs spanning the Kingdom Hearts series and 20 playable characters, among other features. And because it's Kingdom Hearts, Melody of Memory combines a canon chapter with re-tellings of key moments told from Kairi's viewpoint.

Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory releases November 13 for PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Kingdom Hearts news as it develops, including our review.

[Source: Gematsu]

Kingdom Hearts Series Rumored to be in Development at Disney Thu, 28 May 2020 10:40:13 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Disney might have an animated Kingdom Hearts TV series in the works if chatter among Disney insiders is anything to go by. There aren't any concrete details yet, and there has been no official announcement from Disney, but the initial rumors — assuming they're true — suggest the series will be developed in conjunction with Square Enix.

Cinema Spot's Emre Kaya originally heard the news and planned on running an exclusive article about it, but other insiders became aware of the plans as well. Jeremy Conrad, founder of MCU Cosmic, said the rumors are true. Then, Skyler Shuler, editor-in-chief of The DisInsider, was tagged in Conrad's post; he responded by saying not only was Conrad's post true, but he had additional information.

So, the KH series will be a Disney+ series (no surprises there) and not a movie, and Disney voice actors are expected to reprise their roles. Kaya's original post mentions the enterprise is a joint project between Square Enix and Disney and that it came from a failed effort at making a live-action Kingdom Hearts movie.

What we don't know is whether this would be a new episode in the Kingdom Hearts universe or some kind of retelling of the games' (sometimes confusing) storyline. And it's important to keep in mind these are still just rumors so far, with nothing officially confirmed yet.

But with the Uncharted movie, plus The Last of Us series, and PlayStation Productions ramping up for more video game movie and TV adaptations, we'll probably be seeing a lot more of this in the not-so-distant future. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Kingdom Hearts TV series news as it develops.

PlayStation Store's Big in Japan Sale Live Now Fri, 21 Feb 2020 13:09:34 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Early each year, Sony usually holds a massive PlayStation Store sale highlighting the biggest and niche-est Japanese titles. This year is no different, and the 2020 Big in Japan PlayStation Store sale is now live.

The sale runs through March 6 and offers up to 70% off a huge range of titles, including Kingdom Hearts: All in One Package, NieR: Automata, Code Vein, and so much more. It includes titles on the PS4, PS3, and PlayStation Vita.

Here's a short list of what's on offer.

Game Sale Price Regular Price
Kingdom Hearts: All-In-One Package
 $29.99  $99.99
Code Vein  $35.99  $59.99
NieR: Automata — Game of the YoRHa Edition
 $19.99  $39.99
Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness and the Secret Hideout
 $41.99  $59.99
Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon Every Buddy!
 $19.99  $39.99
Contra: Rogue Corps
 $19.99  $39.99
Danganronpa 1+2 Reload
 $19.99  $39.99
Disgaea 4 Complete+
 $34.99  $49.99
Dragon Quest Builders 2
 $35.99  $59.99
Final Fantasy 8 Remastered
 $11.99  $19.99
Final Fantasy 15 Royal Edition
$17.49  $34.99
God Eater 3 $29.99  $59.99
Life is Strange 2 — Complete Season
$15.99  $39.99
Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time
 $9.99  $49.99
My Hero One's Justice
 $14.99  $59.99
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Legacy
$20.99  $69.99
Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom
$20.39  $59.99
Nioh — The Complete Edition
 $19.49  $49.99
One Piece: World Seeker
 $29.99  $59.99
Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection
 $27.49  $54.99
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
 $14.99  $19.99
Saga Scarlet Grace: Ambitions  $22.49  $29.99
Shenmue 3
 $35.99  $59.99
Street Fighter 5 $7.99  $19.99
Tales of Berseria
$14.99  $59.99
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel
 $23.99  $39.99
Ys 8: Lacrimosa of Dana  $29.99  $59.99
 Zanki Zero: Last Beginning
 $17.99  $59.99


And that's just the beginning. Head over to the official Big in Japan post on the PlayStation blog to see the full list. Sony is also holding the PlayStation Essentials sale until March at 8 a.m. PST, which discounts dozens of games and DLC packs not included in this sale. Be sure to check it out for discounts on games like Jedi Fallen Order, The Last of Us, and Uncharted 4

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more PlayStation 4 and video game sale news as it develops.

New Kingdom Hearts Mobile Game Announced, Coming Soon Thu, 23 Jan 2020 13:12:51 -0500 Josh Broadwell

[Update: 1/31] The Project Xehanort Twitter account was updated to reflect the new mobile game's name: Kingdom Hearts: Dark Road. More information will be revealed in mid-February. The original story follows below.

Kingdom Hearts: Re:Mind just launched, and we've already got news of another Kingdom Hearts game on the way. This time, it's a mobile-and-Amazon game, codenamed Project Xehanort. It is set for a release sometime in spring 2020, and will be available on iOS, Android, and Amazon.

The news comes from the official Project Xehanort Twitter account, which gives very little indication of what we can expect from the title. There's a shot of young Xehanort holding a chess piece, referencing the opening sequences of Kingdom Hearts 3, and... that's about it.

The game's slot on the Kingdom Hearts website provides a tiny bit more detail, saying the new title will explore why Xehanort became a seeker of darkness. Sounds a bit like Maleficent if we're being honest. However, since it's Kingdom Hearts, with all the twisting lore that entails, we can probably expect a lot more depth to the story than that.

There's also a name guessing competition running until January 28 at 6:59 p.m. PST/9:59 p.m. EST. Entrants can guess what they think the game's official title will be, using two hints Square Enix provided: it's two words and contains eight letters.

The site has more details, but you can enter on Twitter.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Kingdom Hearts and Project Xehanort news, and look forward to our Kingdom Hearts: Re:Mind review soon.

Kingdom Hearts 3 Re:Mind Introduces Customizable Combat, Data Greetings Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:43:31 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Square Enix recently lifted the lid on some new Kingdom Hearts Re:Mind news. A fresh information page for the Kingdom Hearts 3 DLC expansion shows off some just-for-fun modes, along with options that let you customize your battle experience as you see fit.

The update is only on the Square Enix JP website, though Gematsu translated the screenshots and accompanying text blurbs.

First up is the Premium Menu. This screen hosts PRO Codes, a shmancy term for additional features you can toggle on or off, and ones that have a pretty significant impact on Re:Mind's battles. It's like Dragon Quest XI's Draconian Quest; for example, you can set it so Sora and other party members can't cast Cure, Team Attacks can be disabled, and Form Changes can be turned off.

Apart from that, Re:Mind is getting a fun little snapshot mode. You can choose specific characters, backgrounds, expressions, and poses, then snap a shot known as a Data Greeting. Stuff these into an album, set unique background music for each, and you've got a custom Kingdom Hearts slideshow unlike any other.

Kingdom Hearts 3 Re:Mind releases for PlayStation 4 on January 23 and Xbox One on February 25. We quite liked Kingdom Hearts 3 and we're looking forward to the expansion quite a bit, actually. We'll have our review for the DLC up shortly after the PS4 launch date, so stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Kingdom Hearts 3 DLC news as it develops.

Re:Mind Seems Like the Most Kingdom Hearts Kingdom Hearts Has Been in A Long Time Mon, 30 Dec 2019 13:12:01 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Ask Kingdom Hearts fans and detractors alike whether the Final Fantasy-meets-Disney mashup is convoluted, and you'll get answers ranging the spectrum from "absolutely not" to "I lost track of things after the first game."

It's not hard to see why. The series' plot is a gloriously tangled mess of time travel, MacGuffins, big villains with even bigger villains behind them, body switching, and a million other contrivances only possible in fantasy and video games — and I love every bit of it.

However, there's no denying the Kingdom Hearts we have now is vastly different from the first Kingdom Hearts that graced our screens on the PlayStation 2. The focus not-so-gradually shifted from telling the growing up stories of three conflicted children to losing sight of the same characters — and brands — that made it shine once.

After getting a glimpse of what Kingdom Hearts 3's DLC, Re:Mind has in store for us, though, it looks like the storytelling pendulum might be swinging back in the other direction again, focusing on the characters and their challenges as a way to lead us into the next chapter of the Kingdom Hearts saga.

Once Upon A Time...

Once long ago, we were introduced to a gaggle of children living free from adult supervision on an island. Because that's normal.

One day, a great darkness arrived on the island and seemingly devoured everything there. Sora escaped somehow, but in the process, he lost contact with Riku and Kairi.

Thus began Sora's fairly straightforward journey to find his friends again. He uncovered a mysterious plot to kidnap pure-hearted princesses, because Disney. He learned of the precarious balance that held all the worlds he visited, and came face to face with the one who wanted to redefine that balance in favor of darkness and so gain the power of Kingdom Hearts — or so he thought.

Along the way, Riku had fallen victim to his inner darkness, while Kairi remained pure as ever and dangerously close to being renamed Plot Device.

In other words, the original Kingdom Hearts was a relatively simple plot following the usual RPG narrative beats made unique thanks to the unlikely combination of Final Fantasy and Disney characters and concepts. Those were special combinations, but the personal stories and struggles, the universal appeal of friendships strained by envy and new feelings, were the game's backbone. And the game knew that too, because that's what it chiefly focused on.

Lurking Darkness?

In a way, Kingdom Hearts is a lot like Star Wars. What started out seemingly simple grew in unexpected ways and drew on an increasing number of plot devices and MacGuffins to develop its narrative, a story that vastly overshadowed the original, even while there are hints of that bigger picture from the start.

For example, the dark Ansem boss at the end of Kingdom Hearts means there has to be some force that created the darkness, a real Ansem, and, thus, a bigger story than Sora — and we — could possibly realize. It's just like A New Hope. Because it's "The Empire," there has to be an emperor ruling it somewhere, a story about how he seized power, and a big black chair waiting for him to retire to later. We just didn't see it at first.

Because frankly, I wouldn't be too surprised if there was a huge change of mind (or heart?) regarding the series' direction after the first Kingdom Hearts released.

Following this analogy further, Kingdom Hearts Final Mix is basically like George Lucas' special editions of the original Star Wars trilogy, adding in new ideas that weren't really sticking to the original ideas but reflected later thinking that fit with the overall whole. We see the hooded folks who would become Organization XIII and play a big role — but not for long — and the Kingdom Hearts that opens up is way different from the one Sora encounters in the first game.


Chain of Memories kickstarted this process of change by introducing some of Organization XIII without really setting its significance in stone yet outside the existence of Nobodies. Then we get to Kingdom Hearts II. Suddenly, the Princesses of Heart aren't important because you can apparently get to Kingdom Hearts by just releasing a lot of hearts. Kairi's still important, now because of Namine, which means Namine is important.

We learn the truth about Ansem and meet Xehanort — well, one incarnation of him — find out what Nobodies really are, and see how Riku grew.

Only Riku. Kairi herself gets demoted to damsel in distress because Disney, and Sora sort of gets sidelined by the various conflicts his friends and the Nobodies are dealing with. Development in general takes a backseat to plot, and hoo boy, does plot start to take some big turns.

Another New Story

So far, we've got two Kingdom Hearts and two people who are and aren't the same wanting to get it for different but similar reasons. Then Birth by Sleep happens. Now we've got the real mastermind behind the masterminds who manages to manipulate people throughout time to try and restore his youthful self to its real power and claim the power of worlds — yeah, like Star Wars.

The three heroes have stories, but more importantly, they have plots that mirror the three original heroes, and that turns them into types more than characters.

On top of that comes supernatural body snatching, time travel (which is never a good thing) the three new protagonists get connections to the original three heroes and the new ones introduced in the Organization XIII stories, and villains with yet another changed end-goal. First Princesses of Heart, then Emblem Heartless, now the X-Blade. Only the X-Blade has its own twisted history and story that you absolutely cannot convince me the team had in mind when Kingdom Hearts was created, and it's the latest Big Important Thing that will surely, this time of all times, help the baddies unlock Kingdom Hearts or something.

Now the Princesses' light dwells in 7 others, including Sora of course, and it's balanced by 13 bits of darkness that are actually just bits of Xehanort. There's a big war from the past that Kingdom Hearts 3 tells us will probably get repeated again, but we still can't play as Kairi, and the Nobodies are surprisingly mobile and alive for being, well, fused with their hosts and/or dead (or both) before hopping in some Replicas.

There is internal logic here, but it's starting to seem like Kingdom Hearts re-invents its plot and core ideas in each iteration without satisfactorily finishing off any of the previous ideas, all with gradually less of what made the first game so addictive and charming. Kingdom Hearts 3 is the biggest offender of the bunch.

Not only is there less Final Fantasy than ever before, but there's the MacGuffin of traveling around the worlds to regain Sora's strength again, gathering the bearers of light again, lots of convenient Replicas, followed by the (hugely satisfying) event of everything coming together at the end to finally destroy Master Xehanort. We guess. Who knows, he might be back later because Master Xehanort v.2 is really the Master of Masters with more Replicas in tanks and a fleet of Death Star Destroy... wait.

Anyway, while all this plot is happening, and people are waking up from the past, fighting specters, and trying to tie up lots of story threads, these same people are getting lost in their own action. It's hard to see the emphasis on the power of light and hope as genuinely significant when it's just light and hope, the same as we see in countless other RPGs.

Apart from the ending with Xehanort suddenly deciding he'd been a bad boy, take Aqua for an example of this. Aqua's story is one of the most intriguing that also gets the least attention until it matters at the end. Even then, we only get a surface look at the reason her darkness is so strong until Sora restores her heart's light because he's Sora.

Assuming you've played Birth by Sleep, you can connect the dots and realize why she might feel the way she does, including the fact that the Mouse Himself was a bit of a dirtbag to her, but still. Her troubles just vanish like that because someone re-introduced light to her life. Why? Seeing her work through them and feeling that anguish and frustration would make all the difference here.

Re:Mind — Kingdom Hearts Comes Full-Circle?

It boils down to this: Along the way, Nomura and his narrative team seem to have been caught up in the excitement of action and big plot points, forgetting the characters are what drive our interest in that story to begin with.

Enter Kingdom Hearts 3's DLC, Re:Mind. It's supposed to follow Sora's journey into the unknown as he travels the connections between the seven hearts of light and learns the stories behind the people who helped him save the world — again. Plus there's Aerith.

That's pretty important stuff and it hearkens back to what made the original so good, with plenty of opportunities to examine some of the thornier issues that got swept under the rug along the way, i.e. what it means to be alive, how the heart works, and how one overcomes one's own darkness. Kairi will hopefully get more of a story and more of a starring role in her own story, not to mention us getting more insight into Riku's and Aqua's respective troubles.

It will, without doubt, add so much more significance to the game's ending not just by tying together loose ends KH3 couldn't deal with, but because it helps everyone involved seem more human. I care much more about a developed character engaging in a thrilling final battle capping off their tortured character development spanning in-game decades than I do a plot device smacking another plot device with a key until he decides he really prefers light over dark.

It also seems significant there's going to be Final Fantasy in Kingdom Hearts again at long last as well. It could just be fanservice, but Aerith and Yuffie were with Sora from close to the beginning in his original adventure, so there must be some kind of something planned by re-invoking these figures from the past in the quest to find Sora and understand the hearts of the heroes.

If Square Enix is actually taking Kingdom Hearts in the direction of Shin Megami Tensei and bringing it to some version of the real world like the secret ending suggests, these changes will probably be pretty important.

Characters from each arc — Ventus, Riku, Aqua, Sora, etc. — are all hinted at having more trouble to deal with in the future. And it seems like that trouble could very well relate to a mix of our world and other Final Fantasy titles, assuming references to FFXIII Versus and The World Ends with You really are what they seem.

What better direction for Kingdom Hearts to go than taking these characters we finally got to see deep inside of on new, difficult journeys alongside Final Fantasy characters? It's essentially what the original Kingdom Hearts promised us before the story veered off into another timeline anyway.

Square Enix Details Kingdom Hearts 3 Re:Mind Price, Contents, Versions Wed, 11 Dec 2019 11:51:38 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Square Enix treated us to a trailer for Kingdom Hearts 3's upcoming DLC Re:Mind yesterday and followed that with some additional details covering Re:Mind's price and what it consists of.

First off, there's one thing Square Enix didn't say during today's State of Play and it probably left many wondering whether Kingdom Hearts 3 Re:Mind coming to Xbox One.

The answer is yes, Re:Mind is coming to Xbox One. However, it's a bit later on Microsoft's platform, releasing February 25, 2020.

Kingdom Hearts 3: Re:Mind follows what happens to Sora as he visits the Keyblade Graveyard.The trouble is, he doesn't have a body during this time and can't leave. So, instead, he travels the connections binding the hearts of light together and uncovers the stories behind each heart he travels to — hence playable Kairi and seeing more of Aqua.

Re:Mind will cost $29.99, and here's what it includes:

  • The additional story: Re Mind
  • Limitcut episode and 13 boss battles
  • Secret episode and boss battle
  • Data greeting feature
  • Slideshow feature
  • Premium menu (Diverse difficulty settings and gameplay challenges)

There's also the Concert Version. This one costs $39.99 and contains everything you see above, along with the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra - World of Tres - concert video, which includes 19 tracks.

Both versions can be pre-ordered here.

Finally, the base Kingdom Hearts 3 game is getting a free update around the same time, introducing

  • A main story update
  • Newly added abilities
  • Keyblades Oathkeeper and Oblivion + new formchanges added (In-game requirements in Kingdom Hearts III to acquire Keyblades)
  • Expanded Sharing Features

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Kingdom Hearts 3 DLC news as Square Enix dreams it up.

Kingdom Hearts 3: Gummi Ship Exploration Guide Fri, 01 Feb 2019 22:21:06 -0500 Synzer

Gummi Ships have always been an important part of the Kingdom Hearts series, but Kingdom Hearts 3 takes it to another level. In this new entry, you have complete freedom to explore the space between worlds, and there are many battles to fight, treasures to find, and missions to complete during your Gummi Ship travels.

This guide will explain the basics of Gummi Ship exploration, and it will outline the rewards you can get from doing it.

Exploration Basics

When you're in the world map, you can choose a travel location. If you have been to the location before, you can warp there instantly, and, if it is a world, you can choose to land at any of the discovered save spots.

Alternatively, if you have not previously visited a location, you can place a waypoint and explore on your way to the destination. There are a total of three areas to explore: Starlight Way, Misty Stream, and The Eclipse. You'll start in Starlight Way and unlock the other areas as you progress through the story.

When you begin to explore, there are several things to look out for on your mini-map:

  • Heartless Battles
    A Heartless icon means that there is a Heartless ship battle nearby. These battles work similarly to classic Gummi Ship levels in past games, and they come in three categories: Countdown, Speed Skirmish, and Boss Battles. 

    Countdown requires you to defeat a certain number of enemies before time runs out, Speed Skirmish requires you to defeat as many enemies as possible within a time limit, and Boss Battles are straightforward and only require you to defeat a boss.

    Each battle has a level indicated by a number of stars. The higher the star count, the harder the fight.

    You can also get ranks for completing each battle. A is the highest rank you can achieve, and ranks are determined by your score. You can increase your score by defeating more enemies, by finishing the fight more quickly, and by not taking damage.

  • Constellations 

kh3 endymion constellation

Taking pictures of Constellations grants you a special gummi ship. Special Gummi Ships can be used even if it goes over your limit, so these are great to have.

You can find these by looking for the huge white dots while exploring. They will form a shape and if you take out your camera, you will see exactly what it looks like.


  • Blue and Pink Crystals
    A blue diamond icon means that you will find blue or pink crystals at its location. Blue crystals give you Gummi Ship parts while pink crystals give you pieces to the zone's special blueprints.

  • Boost Rings and Spheres
    The yellow "+" icons on the mini-map indicate a boost ring or sphere. If you travel through one, you will get a burst of speed.

  • Treasure Spheres
    These gold spheres have a lot of treasure inside, including Keyblade Forge materials. When you reach one, you must shoot the gears until they line up with the circuits in order to open the sphere. 

Exploration Tips

Here are some tips on what to do while exploring:

  • Shoot the Black-Glowing Blue Rocks
    These rocks are scattered all around the areas. Shooting these rocks grants mostly Gummi parts, but you can also get crafting materials.

    The biggest reason to shoot as many of them as possible is that they can contain Damascus and Electrum, which are needed for high level Keyblade upgrades.

  • Collect Special Blueprint Fragments from Pink Crystals
    Each zone has 15 fragments that you can collect and combine to get a special+ Gummi Ship blueprint. You can get these fragments by destroying the pink crystals, so search all around the zone to find the blue diamond icon on your mini-map.

  • Aim for A-Rank in Heartless Ship Battles
    When you achieve a high rank in space battles, you will get treasure for that zone. At A-rank, you will get all the available rewards for that particular fight.

    You can view all the treasures available in each zone by pausing the game, then selecting Information. From there, you can select Treasures to see what you already have and what you can still get.

    You can also select Gummi Records to see which battles you've done and the rank you achieved for each.


That's all you need to know to get started with your own Gummi Ship space adventures. For more tips and information, please check out our other guides for Kingdom Hearts 3.

Kingdom Hearts 3 Orichalcum+ Locations for Ultima Weapon Wed, 30 Jan 2019 15:28:13 -0500 Tobbpitt

There are a few steps to getting the Ultima Weapon Keyblade in Kingdom Hearts 3. However, the hardest part is finding seven additional Orichalcum+ to make it. 

Finding all seven pieces of Orichalcum+ requires a fair amount of world-bouncing and playing minigames, but the end result is more than worth it for longtime fans of the series or Final Fantasy diehards. Who turns down Ultima Weapon? Nobody, that's who.

The most difficult Orichalcum+ to get are the ones tied to Trinity Sled, the Flantastic Seven, and the Omega Machine Gummi Ship boss. The one at the Moogle Shop seems a little flaky, but using the method outlined below will net you the ore in no time.

1. Moogle Shop Postcards

There's a random chance you can obtain a piece of Orichalcum+ from the Postcards you get for making purchases at the Moogle Shop. You have to be a little lucky here, though.

You can make getting this one more bearable by entering the shop and purchasing a single potion. If you're not given a Postcard, you can leave the shop and come back to try again as many times as needed to get the Orichalcum+.

2. Obtain 10 Treasures in Trinity Sled

You have to obtain all 10 of the treasures found within the Trinity Sled minigame to be granted a piece of Orichalcum+. Check out the following video showing the locations of all 10 treasures. Speak to Elsa to receive your Orichalcum+ as a reward once you've found them all.

3. Find 80 Lucky Emblems

Lucky Emblems are found throughout the game and 80 is a lot. You'll be hunting these things down throughout a playthrough, and with luck, you will have 80 before you even start to worry about Ultima Weapon.

4. Find a Chest in The Caribbean

The chest containing this piece of Orichalcum+ is found on Exile Island in The Caribbean world. Head to the island and look for the chest among the rocks on the island.

5. Find a Chest in the Keyblade Graveyard

This one's easier to get than most.

Spawn yourself in The Badlands and turn around. You should see a portal you can step into to get to the chest containing Orichalcum+. Very easy compared to some of these others.

6. Beat all Flan minigames with A rank

Finding the Flantastic Seven isn't that bad, but getting high scores in their minigames can be a little tough.

Below, we've just listed these out with the worlds they're in, along with the most important part: the minimum score you need to get an A rank. Good luck!

  • Cherry Flan: Found in Olympus (Min. score 20000)
  • Orange Flan: Found in the Kingdom of Corona (Min. score 23300)
  • Banana Flan: Found in Monstropolis (Min. score 22000)
  • Strawberry Flan: Found in Toy Box (Min. score 17000)
  • Grape Flan: Arendelle (Min. score 20000)
  • Watermelon Flan: The Caribbean (Min. score 29000)
  • Honeydew Flan: San Fransokyo (Min score 15000)

7. Defeat the Omega Machine Gummi Ship Boss

This big bad can be found in the game's final galaxy, The Eclipse. Make sure you bring along a decked out Gummi Ship for this fight. Beat it, and you've got the last piece of Orichalcum+.


It took forever for Kingdom Hearts 3 to come out, do you feel it was worth the wait? Let us know in the comments, and look for our upcoming review and guides for Kingdom Hearts 3, including our keyblade list as well as how to upgrade keyblades.  

Kingdom Hearts 3 Complete Keyblade Info Guide Wed, 30 Jan 2019 12:32:58 -0500 Synzer

Kingdom Hearts 3 has multiple Keyblades to choose from, and they are all unique. Some Keyblades are better suited for magic, some for physical attacks. Most of them have game-altering form changes.

With so many options, it can be hard to keep track of all the Keyblades and what they do. This guide will make that easier. Here we have a sort of Keyblade list, going over each of the ones obtainable in Kingdom Hearts 3 along with their stats, special skills, and form changes.

Keep in mind that there will be slight spoilers that reveal where you get the later Keyblades.

Kingdom Hearts 3 Full Keyblade List

Kingdom Key

kh3 kingdom key

  • How to Obtain: Starting Keyblade
  • Form Change: Second Form
  • Special Skill: Treasure Magnet
  • Starting Stats: 4 Strength, 3 Magic

Second Form is just an enhanced version of Sora's normal fighting style. It adds wider area attacks and a Stun Impact finisher that stuns enemies.

Treasure Magnet automatically draws in and collects nearby loot, and you can stack the ability to increase the effect.

Phantom Green, Midnight Blue, and Dawn Till Dusk

kingdom hearts 3 phantom green keyblade

  • How to Obtain: DLC
  • Form Change: Second Form Variation
  • Special Skill: Elemental Boost (See Below)
  • Starting Stats: 4 Strength, 4 Magic

You get these Keyblades by pre-ordering a copy of the game. Microsoft Store pre-orders come with Phantom Green, Playstation Network pre-orders grant Midnight Blue, and Amazon pre-orders give players access to Dawn Till Dusk.

These Keyblades all have a version of Second Form, but the form change behaves the same way across all three of them.

Regarding Elemental Boosts, Phantom Green gives Thunder Boost, which increases Thunder damage by 20%, and unlocks the Thundaza situation command. Thundaza is the highest version of the Thunder spell.

Midnight Blue gives a comparable boost and command for Blizzard magic, while Dawn Till Dusk comes with these bonuses for Fire magic.

Hero's Origin

kh3 hero's origin keyblade

  • How to Obtain: Complete Olympus
  • Form Change: Counter Shield
  • Special Skill: Defender
  • Starting Stats: 5 Strength, 2 Magic

Counter Shield changes the Keyblade into a shield that you can use to block attacks. Each block gives you one charge, and you can hold up to two charges. These charges unleash a powerful strike when you attack.

Its Finish Command starts a short ride with Pegasus where you throw lightning bolts at nearby enemies.

Defender potentially increases defense by two when your HP is at 25% or below.

Shooting Star

kingdom hearts 3 shooting star keyblade

  • How to Obtain: Complete Twilight Town
  • Form Change: Double Arrowguns, Magic Launcher
  • Special Skill: Magic Treasure Magnet
  • Starting Stats: 3 Strength, 5 Magic

Double Arrowguns changes the Keyblade into two guns that allows you to shoot in all directions. If you continue to build the Form Gauge to max before time runs out, the Keyblade can transform into Magic Launcher.

Magic Launcher turns the Keyblade into a huge cannon that can shoot big projectiles at the enemy.

Magic Treasure Magnet automatically pulls in and collects loot from enemies defeated by magic.

Favorite Deputy

kingdom hearts 3 favorite deputy keyblade

  • How to Obtain: Complete Toybox
  • Form Change: Hyper Hammer, Drill Punch
  • Special Skill: Lucky Strike
  • Starting Stats: 5 Strength, 3 Magic

Hyper Hammer changes the Keyblade into a huge hammer that moves slowly but hits hard. If you continue to build the Form Gauge to max before time runs out, the Keyblade can transform into Drill Punch.

Drill Punch turns the Keyblade into a giant drill that lunges at enemies and can go underground to attack.

Lucky Strike increases how often enemies drop items.

Ever After

kh3 ever after keyblade

  • How to Obtain: Complete Kingdom of Corona
  • Form Change: Mirage Staff
  • Special Skill: Leaf Bracer
  • Starting Stats: 2 Strength, 6 Magic

Mirage Staff changes the Keyblade into a staff that shoots rays of light and creates mirage clones of yourself when you dodge.

Leaf Bracer allows you to continue casting recovery magic, even if you are hit by attacks in the process.

Happy Gear

kh3 happy gear keyblade

  • How to Obtain: Complete Monstropolis
  • Form Change: Agile Claws, Twin Yo-Yos
  • Special Skill: Focus Converter
  • Starting Stats: 7 Strength, 3 Magic

Agile Claws changes the Keyblade into rotating claws that allow you to do damage while using evasive maneuvers. If you continue building the Form Gauge, it can transform into Twin Yo-Yos.

Twin Yo-Yos turns the Keyblade into yo-yos that can attack distant enemies and move you close to them.

Focus Converter converts all Focus Prizes into large Focus Prizes. This allows you to use Shotlock more often.

The max Shotlock for Happy Gear allows you to create a network of portals and attack from all directions.

Hunny Spout

kh3 hunny spout keyblade

  • How to Obtain: Complete 100-Acre Wood
  • Form Change: Hunny Blasters, Hunny Launcher
  • Special Skill: Harvester
  • Starting Stats: 6 Strength, 5 Magic

Hunny Blasters changes the Keyblade into guns similar to the Shooting Star Keyblade's form change. Building up the Form Gauge further unlocks Hunny Launcher, which also works like the Shooting Star's Magic Launcher.

Harvester allows you to pick up one extra cooking ingredient each time you gather.

Crystal Snow

kh3 crystal snow keyblade

  • How to Obtain: Complete Arendelle story
  • Form Change: Blizzard Claws, Blizzard Blades
  • Special Skill: Freeze Protection
  • Starting Stats: 4 Strength, 7 Magic

Blizzard Claws works very similarly to the Agile Claws from the Happy Gear keyblade. If you continue building the Form Gauge, it can transform into Blizzard Blades.

Blizzard Blades gives you ice arm blades to attack with and ice blades to skate along the ground.

Freeze Protection prevents you from getting the Freeze status.

Wheel of Fate

kingdom hearts 3 wheel of fate keyblade

  • How to Obtain: Complete The Carribbean story
  • Form Change: Highwind, Storm Flag
  • Special Skill: Waterza
  • Starting Stats: 8 Strength, 5 Magic

Highwind transforms your keyblade into a spear that gives all your attacks an extended range. If you continue building the Form Gauge, it can transform into Storm Flag.

Storm Flag changes your spear into a flag that can create storms and prevents your weapon attacks from being deflected.

Waterza allows you to generate the Waterza situation command without meeting the requirements.

Nano Gear

kh3 nano gear keyblade

  • How to Obtain: Complete San Fransokyo story
  • Form Change: Nano Arms
  • Special Skill: Stun Protection
  • Starting Stats: 7 Strength, 5 Magic

Nano Arms transforms the keyblade into one that uses a combination of the other keyblades' form attacks.

Stun Protection prevents you from getting the Stun status.


kh3 starlight keyblade

  • How to Obtain: Complete Keyblade Graveyard story
  • Form Change: Second Form S
  • Special Skill: MP Haste
  • Starting Stats: 4 Strength, 4 Magic

Second Form S is very similar to the Kingdom Key's Second Form, except it has a different ability for the 3rd finisher. Ancient Light is a huge area attack that deals massive damage, which is determined by your Magic stat.

MP Haste recharges your MP 10% faster when you run out. Stack the ability to increase the effect.

Grand Chef

kh3 grand chef keyblade

  • How to Obtain: Get Excellent on every normal recipe in Little Chef's Kitchen
  • Form Change: Frying Pan
  • Special Skill: Wizard's Ruse
  • Starting Stats: 5 Strength, 7 Magic

Frying Pan transforms the keyblade into a frying pan that can be used as a shield and use flame attacks.

Wizard's Ruse potentially recovers HP proportionate to the MP you use.

Classic Tone

kh3 classic tone keyblade

  • How to Obtain: Get a high score in all 23 Classic Kingdom mini-games.
  • Form Change: Boom Hammer, Clock Drill
  • Special Skill: MP Haste
  • Starting Stats: 6 Strength, 9 Magic

Boom Hammer and Clock Drill work exactly like the form changes of the Favorite Deputy (Toy Story) keyblade.

MP Haste recharges MP 10% faster when it runs out and can be stacked.

Ultima Weapon

kh3 ultima weapon

  • How to Obtain: Craft in the workshop
  • Form Change: Ultimate Form
  • Special Skills: Combo Boost, Air Combo Boost, and Situation Boost
  • Stats: 13 Strength, 13 Magic

Ultimate Form allows Sora to deal very high damage with wide area attacks. It is by far the strongest of all the keyblade forms.

Combo Boost and Air Combo Boost increase damage done by combos and air combos. Situation Boost fills the situation command gauges more quickly as you defeat enemies.


That's all for the this Kingdom Hearts 3 Keyblade guide list. Now you can plan out which Keyblades you'll want to upgrade first in the Keyblade Forge. Remember to head over to our Kingdom Hearts 3 guides hub for more tips and strategies, including where to find Orichalcum+ for the Ultima Weapon, and how to upgrade keyblades

9 Plot Points Kingdom Hearts 3 Needs to Resolve Fri, 11 Jan 2019 17:19:15 -0500 Josh Broadwell


Balance Between Light and Dark


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


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.


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.


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.


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




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


Master Xehanort's True Intentions


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


Time Travel


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?


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.


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?


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.


It would make sense.


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.


What about Namine?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Roxas and Xion


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Radiant Garden


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


Dead Nobodies?


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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


Image via The Arcade


The Nature of Nobodies


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


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.


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


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?


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


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.


What Happens to Ventus, Terra, and Aqua?


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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 Mon, 24 Dec 2018 14:00:02 -0500 Josh Broadwell


Moment 1: Battle of 1,000 Heartless

Game: Kingdom Hearts II

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.




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


Moment 2: Goodbye, Summer

Game: Kingdom Hearts II

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.


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


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’.


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.


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.


Moment 3: Xion Fades Away

Game: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Moment 4: Hollow Bastion

Game: Kingdom Hearts

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.


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.


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.


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.


Moment 5: Traverse Town

Game: Kingdom Hearts

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.


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.


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.)


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.


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.


Moment 6: Re: Beast's Castle

Game: Kingdom Hearts II

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.


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.


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.


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.




Moment 7: Aqua's Finale

Game: Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

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.


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.


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.


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.


Moment 8: Lea's Keyblade

Game: Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

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.


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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. 

The Tea: 10 Characters That Should Never, Ever Be in Super Smash Bros. Thu, 09 Aug 2018 10:11:32 -0400 Jackson Ingram

I’m not here to add to the never-ending hot takes of who I think should be in Super Smash Bros. I'm neither interested nor qualified to choose more Nintendo warriors to beat the snot out of each other in the upcoming (glorified port) Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

After the recent Nintendo Direct, there's already going to be more fighters than there are Harley Quinn cosplayers at Comic-Con. It's a swollen roster, people. And besides, there are only so many cases one can make for Waluigi before we have to give up.

Enough of that! Just get your Waluigi fix in Mario Tennis and on like the rest of us!

Anyway, I'm instead here to stir the pot. I’m going to start controversy!

I’m going to make a listicle because Buzzfeed has conditioned me into thinking that's an acceptable way to make an argument. So without further ado, here are the Top 10 Characters who absolutely should not be in Super Smash Bros. under any circumstances.

Fight me.

1. Pauline (Donkey Kong, Super Mario Odyssey)

The Original 8-Bit Damsel has really made a name for herself as the mayor of New Donk City. She has an infrastructure to run, city council meetings to schedule, jazz bands to lead. As much as I’d love to kick DK’s monkey ass while rocking that (iconic) red pantsuit, my girl Pauline, is too busy fighting the unemployment rate to throw down in Final Destination.

2. The Titular Hollow Knight

Yes, it’d be so baller to throw down as the little bug dude, except Hollow Knight is just so hard. In my clumsy hands, I'd just send the Knight scuttling off the nearest edge again and again and again, all while better, worthier platformers used their Knights to do backflips over me. And then they'll turn me into a bug-kabob. My self-esteem doesn’t need that.

3. Epic Mickey Mickey

Despite how much Kingdom Hearts conditioned me to like this game, I now have the hindsight to see what a mechanical mess it was. I just wish I could’ve realized this before I bought the sequel, which I recently exchanged at GameStop for a whopping $1.99. Thanks, Disney.

4. Kingdom Hearts Mickey

“Say fellas, did someone mention the Door to Darkness?” No, GOD, get OUT OF HERE. And stop making my Kingdom Hearts obsession more embarrassing than it already is. Every time "the King" mouse-rolls into the scene to dual-wield more hamfisted wisdom, I fondly think back to the days when Mickey was a mute.

5. Professor Layton (Professor Layton Series)

Okay, he had a few sword fights, just two or three, among countless hours of puzzle-solving and mystery-cracking. That doesn't make him Indiana Jones, folks. Just because P. Layton could skewer me (and I’d probably thank him afterwards) doesn’t mean the good Professor should have to go toe-to-claw with Ridley. Let the poor man retire to some quiet cottage in the English countryside. That goes double for you and your watered-down spin-offs, Level-5.

6. The Enormous Eel From Super Mario 64

The eel isn’t on this list because I think it’s a bad idea. I’m just thinking about screen space here. Back when Smash forced you into hyper-competitive four-person friend groups, this could’ve worked, but now that Nintendo has merged those friend groups into a whopping octet, Eely just ain’t gonna fit onstage.

7. Tingle (Legend of Zelda Series)

Out of the laundry list of reasons why Hyrule Warriors shouldn’t exist, Tingle floats to the very top, like a spandex-clad, homophobic caricature of a hot-air balloon.

8. Tony (Earthbound)

On the other end of the spectrum, Tony would be the gay icon I’ve been waiting to join Smash. But just because he would totally die for Jeff, that doesn’t mean he should have to. For the greater good, he should stay side-lined while my friends and I fight over who gets to be Peach.

9. Any of the Arms Characters

Um, pardon me, no one invited you, Betty Spaghetti.

10. The entire cast of Homestuck

This is from the dystopian future AU in which Nintendo not only buys out MSpaint-adventures, but decides to completely lean into Smash overpopulation. Super Smash Bros X will include all 900 Homestuck characters, moving en masse. Instead of attacking, they just obfuscate the whole screen and suck other fighters into massive plot holes.

Fandom Freak-Out

Instead of giving you a thought-provoking, artistic piece of fan culture this week, I’ll leave you with this, the greatest Smash Bros mod ever made, and then drop the mic.


What characters don't you want in Smash? Does using "smash" as a verb sound vaguely dirty? And finally: did anyone actually like Hyrule Warriors?

Until next time. Stay steamy.

The Tea (never timely, always hot) is a weekly column steeped in gaming culture and the fandom experience. Tune in Thursdays for another cup of steamy content.

The Tea: This Kingdom Hearts Project Turns a Let's Play Into Art Fri, 20 Jul 2018 16:09:30 -0400 Jackson Ingram

Remember when Kingdom Hearts was just “Disney meets Final Fantasy”? Who knew that would be as simple (and clean) as it’d get. Spanning nine titles and nearly as many platforms, KH has built a franchise the way I might build a cake: foregoing the advice of actual bakers to add layer after layer until I have a deliciously unstable cake-tower, loosely held together by candy-sweet frosting and regret.

Call it complexity or convolution, but we’re like seven “side games” from calling KH coherent. It’s a growing pain Square-Enix has been scrambling to alleviate with PS4 remasters of the entire series, all in the hopes that new fans can theoretically get up to speed before the long-long-long-awaited release of Kingdom Hearts III next year.

But let’s be real: who has time to replay all those games? Better question: who actually wants to keep playing Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]? Yes, there are now official recap videos, but this story’s been brewin’ for 15 years. How can a cutscene compilation do it any justice?

Enter Marco, better known as Everglow, who’s made a bit of a name for himself among KH diehards for his playthroughs, Union χ[Cross] story translations, and, of course, the 30-min extended KH tracks that have quickly taken over my music playlists. À la Jiminy Cricket, Everglow’s been a steady KH chronicler since 2012, but this past April, he launched his most ambitious project to date: retelling the entirety of the Kingdom Hearts saga. In video. Chronologically.

At first glance, Everglow’s Kingdom Hearts Timeline (KHT) might sound deceptively simple, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is just another playthrough. KHT lines the very scattered pieces up in the exact order they occur. So like, Aqua is chugging through the Realm of Darkness while Sora is making his first (of so, so many) trips through Agrabah. Untangling 15 years of interwoven plot threads would be a huge undertaking on its own, but KHT takes it several Sora-shoe-sized steps further by setting out to retell the KH saga as effectively (and affectingly) as possible.

Top and above: Most episodes pull from several titles to realign the story chronologically.

We’ve seen cutscene compilations before, of course, but even Nomura-certified ones, like the Days and Coded “movies”, fall flat because video games, by virtue of their medium, tell the bulk of their stories through first-hand experience. With this in mind, Everglow creates each episode with a balanced mix of cutscenes and gameplay, carefully curating a unique rhythm that gives viewers a full experience without getting bogged down with wave after wave of button-mashing.

It’s Everglow’s unique blend that sets KHT apart, and, in my opinion, the franchise should look to this style and pace of storytelling as we take our first uncharted steps into whatever the hell they have cooked up after the Xehanort Saga.

[Re]Birth by Sleep

The Timeline begins, of course, by taming the international cash cow that is Kingdom Hearts χ (including its browser title, the mobile game before and after its rebranding, and the almost nonsensical CGI movie) into a story that not only makes sense, but means something. As impressive a feat as that is, however, it’s when we hit Birth by Sleep that the Timeline really begins to shine.

To be quite honest, I’ve never been a huge BBS fan. It’s whole ~thing~ back in 2010 was having three player-characters, which is conceptually dope as hell. The less dope part was that the tri-pronged approach made you play through the same events through three different perspectives, in three separate playthroughs. And let me tell you, Disney Town’s happy-go-lucky minigames weren’t any more charming the third time around than they were the first.

The pacing goes to hell almost immediately, and the characterization goes with it. We spend about 15 hours with each of the main protagonists -- Terra, Aqua, and Ven -- and get told over and over what a special friendship they have, but we never see it for ourselves because the gameplay demands that they stay isolated until the game's climax (which KH2’s secret movie spoils almost in full).

That makes it really hard to care about them as a fractured friend group, instead of just seeing a handful of whiny young adults who could use some communication counseling. Stop telling me about your problems! Talk to each other! Geez!

Everglow braids these three separate threads into a much stronger, united story. Instead of running the level gauntlet one keybearer at a time, we stick around in each world for complete, cohesive, well-paced arcs (typically starting with Terra accidentally screwing something up, Ven wandering around like a dope, and Aqua trailing after them, picking up the pieces).

The dissonant highs and lows of their friendship begin to harmonize.

More Than a Let’s Play

The way I see it, there are two types of people: those who ask, “Why would anyone want to watch a video game?” and those who backlog their Watch Later playlist with Let’s Plays. Like it or not, video games have carved out a cultural moment in which Mario Tennis is as much a spectator sport as its real-life counterpart. It’s a thing.

And while I’m truly allergic to obnoxious YouTuber culture, I often power through the bad jokes and running commentary because there are some games that I want to experience even when my bank account won’t let me. It’s kind of like having to go over to an annoying friend’s house to play something, and they almost ruin it by never shutting up.

With the Timeline, it’s all the joys of Kingdom Hearts with none of the usual Let’s Play detractions. In fact, I’d almost rather watch Everglow’s videos than play the games myself. His gameplay is so masterful and so artistic that it quickly becomes an integral part of the storytelling.

Birth by Sleep has one of the most robust ability systems in the franchise, filling out each character’s deck with individualized skillsets with which Everglow makes every fight dynamic. Some of the larger beats of each boss battle I’m sure he planned out in advance, but because this is a video game, he also has to choreograph as he goes, tweaking and improvising so that the finishers goes off like clockwork, leaving the most lasting impact every step of the way.

Like a painter in front of three distinct color palettes, Everglow uses Terra, Aqua, and Ven's moves to engineer cinematic moments on the fly, all while incorporating stylized touches to evoke their distinct personalities. Watching him, it’s almost like seeing an actor embody a character onstage.

Ever-patient Aqua takes her time in battle, often letting her opponent strike first and, in the climax of the story, shows serious restraint in some of the fights against her own friends. Meanwhile, Terra rushes in, fitting for his impulsive nature. And the way Ventus breezes around the arena, the fights are as much a carefree game to him as they are to the player.

It’s these tiny, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it details that elevate the gameplay to an art form I’ve never seen in Let’s Plays before.

Check out the 16:00 mark for an excellent example of how Everglow blends gameplay and storytelling.

Perhaps the best example of this project’s thoughtful innovation is its use of Trinity Limits. While the Trinity Limit has been a staple Kingdom Hearts attack, Birth by Sleep uses it specifically to evoke the bond between Terra, Ven, and Aqua. When Everglow deploys his Limits at key moments, he ups the emotional stakes by editing in character voiceover that best illustrates the complex dynamics between the three.

Let me tell ya, the "dynamic" in question is not always unconditional love, which makes it all the more interesting. I honestly thought I’d get bored of them toward the end, when there was at least one Trinity Limit per episode, but because of the nuance behind the chosen dialogue and the Limit’s use as a finisher to critical boss fights, Everglow makes each of them feel just as fresh and impactful as the first.

The cutscene edits and in-game characterization truly work wonders together, fittingly coming to a head at the climax of the game in “Episode 30: Destiny is Never Left to Chance,” whose montage (recapping the Wayfinder Trio’s friendship amidst its collapse) actually left me breathless.

Fandom Freak-Out

This week’s entire column is technically the the Fandom Freak-Out, but it’d be wrong of me to (rightfully) laud the Timeline as the greatest multimedia contribution to the Kingdom Hearts fandom without giving mad kudos to some of the brilliant contributors to the "A" side of this AV masterpiece.

Beginning around Radiant Garden in the Birth by Sleep leg of the Timeline, Everglow begins incorporating several of Project Destati’s acclaimed orchestrations at key moments. My favorite so far has to be the inclusion of Riku’s theme from their first full-length album Light at the part of Birth by Sleep in which he inherits the keyblade from Terra.

Project Destati made waves this past March with the long-awaited release of their second album, Darkness, and have already hinted (through their surprisingly robust social media presence) at a third in the works (because the best things in KH come in threes).

Project Destati describes themselves as “a celebration of the rich musical score of the Kingdom Hearts games.” Outside the context the cutscenes and boss battles, the music tells a story itself, constructing impressive and moving arcs that flow across their discography. In this sense, Project Destati pairs perfectly with Everglow’s project, both succeeding telling a tale (as old as time) in a completely new way.

I can only imagine what the Timeline will do with Darkness’s 10-minute "Xion" track once we hit Days. I’ll keep tissues on-hand for that one.

The Final Swallow

I can't say it enough: Everglow’s Kingdom Hearts Timeline is a gift. If you’re a newbie trying to machete your way through the lore before KH3 or an old fan looking to experience the story in a fresh light, this project is for you.

Right now, Everglow’s still working his way through KH1 (which plays out interspersed with Aqua’s journey in 0.2), and the parallels are bananas good. Don't believe me? Check out what he did with Neverland. If you start now (and watch pretty much non-stop for three days), you should catch up right before KH's climax, which promises to be a hell of a show.


That's all for this week, folks. In the comments below, tell me about your Let's Play experiences. What are your favorites? Why do you watch them? Let's get talkin'.

The Tea (never timely, always hot) is a weekly column steeped in gaming culture and the fandom experience. Tune in Thursdays for another cup of content!

Ranking the Kingdom Hearts Games From Worst to Best Fri, 25 Jan 2019 00:03:46 -0500 Joseph Ocasio


1. Kingdom Hearts


The game that started it all has to be the game to make it to the top of the list. Sure, the combat isn't as refined as its sequels, and the platforming wasn't that responsive, but it's remarkable that this 2002 title still holds up in 2019.


The combat is simple, but it's still a blast to fight against the hoard of Heartless. Meanwhile, the worlds of Alice in Wonderland, Tarzan, Aladdin, and the rest are beautifully recreated in 3D that still looks good.


The writing manages to perfectly capture each of the various films' spirits, and the simple yet effective story of Sora's search for his friends still manages to hit home. It's the closest that the series gets to feeling like an interactive Disney film.


It is easy to see why Kingdom Hearts captured the heats of millions, and it just goes to show that great game design and storytelling never gets old. Here's hoping there's more of the Kingdom Hearts universe after its third home console installment.


2. Kingdom Hearts II


After 4 years of waiting, fans finally got a proper follow up to Kingdom Hearts in Kingdom Hearts II. Sora, Donald, and Goofy's adventure to find Riku and King Mickey expands upon the original, introducing new combat abilities, like drive forms and limit attacks, as well as improved level design and Gummi Ship sections.


There are more Disney worlds to explore, including Mulan, The Lion King, Tron, and Pirates of the Caribbean, with none feeling out of place.


Kingdom Hearts II has a few stumbles, like having one of the worst tutorials of all time and a lack of difficulty, but it's still a sequel that's almost as good as the original. 


3. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep


First teased in the secret ending to Kingdom Hearts II, this prequel moved away from the story of Sora, Riku, and Kairi (somewhat), and instead focused on a new trio of angsty teens: Ventus, Terra and Aqua.


Taking place 10 years before the events of the original, Birth by Sleep sees the three on their own adventures that sadly ends in tragedy, as they become manipulated by Master Xehanort's plan to obtain Kingdom Hearts. 


Playing as three characters, each with a unique personality, helps mix things up, as it allows us to get to know each of the characters before their unfortunate fates.


While the game has shown a bit of its age, with each world feeling much more confined than past entries and the characters playing extremely similarly to one another, being able to craft new abilities does help alleviate some of the issues that plagued past handheld titles.


Furthermore, the handful of Disney worlds that were chosen to be in Birth by Sleep, including Lilo and Stitch, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White, still manage to retain some of the charm of the films that inspired them. 


Also, how can you say no to a game that features two of the biggest sci-fi actor's of all-time in Mark Hamill, as Master Eraqus, and Leonard Nimoy, as the villainous Master Xehanort? You just can't.


4. Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance


Dream Drop Distance may have been another handheld game, but it does enough in setting up the events of Kingdom Hearts III to justify its existence.


The worlds are decent at making you feel like you're in your favorite Disney films, and they contain much larger environments than some of the games in the series. Meanwhile, the combat is expanded with the new Flowmotion system, allowing you to pull off various attacks by using your surroundings.


It's not perfect, as the Pokemon-like Dream Eaters feels needless, and the plot does start to become convoluted near the end, but it's worth checking out on either the 3DS or PS4.


5. Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories


While it was the first sequel to Kingdom Hearts, many saw Chain of Memories as just a watered downed repeat of the original put out on the Game Boy Advance. It didn't help that it featured a card-based battle system rather than the typical one that many were used too.


While it is an impressive title for the GBA, featuring a card system that requires some strategy and solid looking 2D sprites, its port from handheld to console robbed it of some of its charm.


That is, the 3D worlds of the GBA release feel much smaller and more confined when put side by side with Kingdom Hearts. This was acceptable on a handheld console like the GBA, but not so much with the PS2 version, as expectations are much higher for a home console.


Furthermore, the reused and cramped worlds mean that combat can become a chore to play through, especially since there is nearly 30 hours of gameplay in Chain of Memories. Other games in the series at least try to mix things up with different gameplay types.


Featuring nothing but combat, this game quickly becomes monotonous, and it makes it hard to see the plot through to its conclusion, despite the story holding up adequately.


Also, that Vexen Boss fight can go straight to the darkest realm of the Darkness.


6. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days


After Kingdom Hearts II, fans were aching for the next installment of the beloved series. What they got was... something.


Taking place between Kingdom Hearts I and II, 358/2 Days is sort of the origin story of Roxas, focusing on his days with Organization XIII. Throughout, we see Roxas learning about his true nature and hanging out with his friend Axel and newcomer Xion. What follows is an adventure that... exists.


The best way to describe 358/2 Days is that it is a game of its era. It is impressive to see a game like it on the DS, but it just doesn't really hold up that well.


Its mission structure limits how much you can explore in each of the worlds, compared to previous games, and the writing for these worlds is lacking the spark that the films that they are based on had. Moreover, the main plot moves at a snail's pace.


Top all of this off with a lackluster combat system, repetitive levels, and a story that's only for diehard fans, and you'll see why this and Re:Coded were relegated to animated films in the various HD collections.


7. Kingdom Hearts: Re:Coded


Kingdom Hearts: Re:Coded originally started its life as an episodic cellphone game in Japan, beginning in 2008 and ending in 2010, before being released on the Nintendo DS. This version came late in the DS's lifespan, and many would agree that it's easily the worst game in the series.


Re-Coded is more of a filler game than anything else, with only small details that progress the over-arching story of Kingdom Hearts. It's such a pointless installment that many were relieved to hear that it was just remade into a movie when it was released in Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix.


The game reuses every world from the original Kingdom Hearts and attempts to shake things up by adding different bits of gameplay to each of the various worlds. However, it suffers from being a jack off all trades, master of none.


No element feels interesting or fun, as the various mechanics are not fleshed out, and none of the joy or wonder from past games is present, with the re-used environments feeling like pale imitations of their PS2 counterparts.


I can't speak for everyone, but I'm pretty sure that no fan will say this game is their favorite. 


It has been over 12 years since the release of Kingdom Hearts II, and fans have been patiently waiting for Kingdom Hearts III ever since. Now, this new entry is finally coming out in less than a week, and I think it's easy to say that, with new worlds and tons of amazing gameplay footage already revealed, many are excited to get their hands on the game.


With that said, there have been a plethora of games in the series released after Kingdom Hearts II, and it's about time to see where they rank from worst to best. To make it on this list, the only requirement is that it has to have been released on an actual game console, so don't expect to see the likes of Union X here.

Place Your Bets Now: These Cosplays are Definitely Coming to 2018 Convention Floors Thu, 22 Feb 2018 11:00:33 -0500 Stephanie Tang


Did we miss anyone else you think will really blow up conventions? (And when I ask this, I consider Spider-Man, Deadpool, and Link convention staples at this point!) Who or what is it? And why? 


And before we peace out for good, Geralt above is my wild card... and I suspect it will largely depend on whether or not the upcoming Netflix TV adaptation looks any good.


And while you're here, make sure to check some of our other cosplay articles: 


Mercy -- Overwatch


While we're on the Blizzard bandwagon, we can't help but include a nod to the crazy construction efforts of every Mercy cosplayer (give or take the Dr. Ziegler casual fan iteration) who has ever stepped on the convention floor. 


The latest event to hit Overwatch (Lunar Year of the Dog) has dumped a huge amount of new material on us. And while it's perhaps unlikely we'll see many of the Zhuque versions of Mercy at conventions (although, if you're considering it... oh, hell yes, please!) there are sure to be a ton of other iterations. 




Case in point, Valkyrie (and alternatively, the recolored Sigrun skin), made especially poignant thanks to the recent re-balances (see: nerf) to the character's ultimate/resurrection ability. 


Mercy mains will mourn overpowered Valkyrie 1.0 for months to come, and what better way to do it than to do it while wearing the namesake skin?


(Hero image source: collider)
(Secondary image source: cos album


Nova -- StarCraft II


All right, so StarCraft II isn't exactly "upcoming" in any sense of the word (it only recently went free-to-play last year), but Nova's constant reappearance in other areas of the Blizzard world means something. It also helps that she sports a fairly consistent character design across all of her appearances, making her a pretty easy character to cosplay. 


She's a prime character in Heroes of the Storm, and her character design recently made the jump to Blizzard's big-name shooter Overwatch, as well as a skin for French sniper Widowmaker that should do wonders bringing back this blond bombshell. 



For any cosplayer with a love of LEDs, Nova is a great choice for a simple, streamlined design... and yet she'll always manage to catch your eye on the con floor. And if you don't have Widowmaker-level booty, Heroes of the Storm has a ton of new source material for alternate Nova skins that should keep the inspiration machine churning for months.


(Hero image source: youtube)
(Secondary image source: DeviantArt)


Kratos -- God of War


If you're starting to feel like most of the characters on here are from a Video Gaming's Greatest Hits disc, you're not the only one. It's an interesting year where the biggest upcoming games are either ones that don't exactly lend themselves to interesting costume design (Last of Us 2Red Dead Redemption 2, Metro Exodos, A Way Out) or just don't have any real standout cosplayable characters (Monster Hunter World, Anthem). 


However, God of War 4 brings Kratos back to the world of the living -- and gives him a son. It also flings him head-first into the world of Norse mythology, which is an interesting twist in a seven-game legacy based off of Greek mythology. 



It helps that while Kratos' base design hasn't changed much, his outfit has been given a little more of an update to correspond with his new surroundings. And what's more, while the original unstoppable rage machine of the original games was what gave Kratos his initial appeal, this unchanging, static ball of hatred was beginning to wear. 


A little redemption and a new kind of appeal (what's this, real humanity?) in Kratos sounds like it's in the cards for the God of War franchise, which is why you're much more likely to see a return to cons this year. 


(Hero image source: wccftech)
(Secondary image source: locsalike @ deviantart)


Sophitia -- Soulcalibur VI


A sword-wielding staple of the bounce, bounce jiggle, jiggle fest that is the Soulcalibur series, seraphic Sophitia has always more or less managed to walk a fine line between gracefulness and gratuitous boobage -- at least in comparison to, say, Ivy.


Gravity works in every lady's favor in this fighting game franchise, and Soul Calibur 6 aims to bring more story to the franchise, as well as additional mechanics that will help players through its more-than-button-mash learning curve, which should help bring it back to the forefront of the cosplaying community. 


Although this iteration has her shirt slit down almost to her naval (no one is fooled by those laces), Sophitia still remains one of the easiest of the reoccurring SC characters to cosplay -- one that keeps all the goods in place, while still allowing for a little leeway when it comes to having the perfect body. 


She's also cooler than Cassandra, but that might just be my bias showing.


(Hero image source: polygon)
(Secondary image source: DeviantArt)


Fury -- Darksiders III


Aside from my sheer -- and unashamed -- attraction to any pretty face with bright red hair, Fury, from the upcoming hack and slash Darksiders 3easily makes an appearance on this list. Packing a serious punch in both character design and updated apocalyptic lore, there's little doubt other cosplayers will feel the same about D3's heroine.  


Originally introduced in Darksiders as one of the Four Horsemen, Darksiders 3 will place the blade-mage center stage as a graceful, cartwheeling, blade whipping protagonist.


Fury Cosplay Germia


The main thing holding keeping early cosplayers from cosplaying as Fury is that her costume isn't an overly simple one craft -- and there just aren't enough resources yet to make it a late-stage endeavor for most cosplayers of any craftsmanship level. 


However, this isn't to say that some haven't already gotten a head start: popular Euro cosplayer Germia, for example, has already taken steps to building up several parts of it already! (See above image) 


(Hero image source: darksiders wiki)


Sora -- Kingdom Hearts III


While a release date is still pending (they swear it's coming out sometime this year!), the hype for Kingdom Hearts 3 has been holding fairly steady over the years. Following a number of teasers, trailers, gameplay videos, and just the natural progression that comes from too many HD remakes, there's no stopping the KH3 hype train.


And one of the most endearing characters from the franchise is Sora -- meaning he's definitely going to be appearing at a con near you this year.  


He may have gained a few inches, but our spunky, spiky-haired hero in the over-sized shoes hasn't changed much in terms of character design -- even if his color palette has certainly gotten a shakeup. 



With what looks like more than half a dozen costume changes in the upcoming game, Sora's baby face is sure to be a staple in any group cosplay, particularly since silver-haired pretty boy Riku is guaranteed a larger role in KH3 than he's had in previous iterations -- and is just as likely to make it to con floors.  


(Hero image source: el mundo tech)
(Secondary image source: Pinterest)


Con season is only just starting to heat up and a whole slew of games are set to release in the coming months that will fuel the cosplay fire. 


You're certainly going to see a ton of costumes inspired by new releases, but you're also going to see cosplay inspired by the events and characters of yesteryear -- particularly during the lull where new trends just haven't had time to pop up. See above, for example: never mind her superstar appearance in 2017's Injustice 2, the meteoric hit that was Wonder Woman's origin movie has guaranteed her a girl-power slot on cosplay planning Pinterest boards for years to come.


So in light of that, let's take a look at some of the costumes we think are going to dominate cosplay this con season. From Fury and Mercy to Sora and Kratos, here's what you can expect. 


(image source: kilory @ deviantart)

14 Non-Horror Games to Play for Halloween Wed, 18 Oct 2017 15:59:56 -0400 Josh Broadwell


Costume Quest 1 & 2


It's difficult to find a set of games more perfectly suited for Halloween than Costume Quest and Costume Quest 2. The first centers around your team of characters trying to restore the stolen candy to their neighborhood and rescue a kidnapped sibling, while the sequel has you fighting a team of dental-hygiene fanatics intent on ruining Halloween for everyone.


They are set up as RPGs, with sidequests and turn based battles. However, your gear is more than just what keeps you safe. Why is that? Because your costumes allow you to transform into what they represent, be it a knight, robot--you name it. The games look adorable as well, with a charming mix of spooky and quirky and environments that can't fail to put you in the Halloween spirit.


Plus, until November 1st, both games are discounted on Steam: $0.99 for  Costume Quest, $5.24 for Costume Quest 2 or $4.99 for a bundle with both. Note too that the DLC for Costume Quest comes bundled with it.


Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance (or Complete)


Disgaea is a perfect series for Halloween, and the latest entry is no exception. You play as a demon overlord of some kind or another in every entry and recruit a variety of different monsters to your team as you fight to fulfill morally dubious goals and secure your position as hellish ruler. It's got everything a strategy fan could ask for too: deep mechanics, micromanagement galore, challenging battles, and a plethora of character classes and skills to master.


Then there are the Prinnies. They're fun and slightly cute, plus they explode. But they're also the reincarnated forms of murderers and the worst kinds of criminals. If that alone doesn't tell you, the series prides itself on juxtaposing seriousness with ludicrous humor, all in a very anime style. It's a refreshing twist in a genre usually prone to taking itself too seriously and is sure to provide you with a frightfully good time.




From RPG to quirky platformer and puzzler, there's plenty to tick those spooky seasonal boxes and keep you occupied until -- and after -- Halloween. Let us know in the comments what you're playing for Halloween!


Looking for more Halloween-themed content? Make sure to check our other Halloween articles on GameSkinny!




Lumo is a charming little puzzler that has you take control of what looks quite like a Black Mage from Final Fantasy as you solve the brain-teasing puzzles in each of the game's many rooms. The game looks equal parts Fantasia and Chocobo's Dungeon, with a hint of Harry Potter, and it sees you traverse through a tremendous variety of locations in each of those rooms, from your basic storeroom setting to a hallway filled with lasers and a rotating tower with crumbling steps, among others.


The puzzles are never overly difficult, so it's the perfect game to play with your children, if you have them, but it's certainly not too easy for adults to unwind with at the end of the day. Some of you might recognize it, too, as it's meant to be a revival of the classic British isometric puzzler genre, and it does a superb job of what it sets out to do.


Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2


Continuing on with the theme of costumes means the Kingdom Hearts games are next. Sora and co. change their gear with every world they enter, but there are two real main reasons for having these games on your Halloween list. The story becomes more convoluted as the games progress, naturally, but at the core of it all remain the themes of redemption, friendship, and, of course, the conflict between light and dark. It's a lighthearted take on the concept of battling the darkness within us all that carries with it a certain tone with it that perfectly suits the cold, dark autumn nights.


More to the point, though, is the visit to Halloween Town! In both mainline games, you'll visit Jack Skellington and friends and battle the Heartless that manage to terrify even these monsters. The sequel puts you in Christmas Town—still in Halloween getups—excellently recreating the juxtaposition of happy and spooky that makes the film so enjoyable.


Final Fantasy V


It's Final Fantasy, but with dress-up! But seriously, Final Fantasy V stands out from its brethren for more than the adorable sprite costumes that accompany each change of class. It's a story that takes you across the world, only this time, the world is a lot more expansive, from dealing with mummies in a desert tomb to flying across the mountains on a dragon and everything in between. It's the plot and antagonist that really make this worth putting on your Halloween list, though.


FFVI's Kefka is villainous in his own right, but Exdeath is the embodiment of evil, almost literally, considering the possibility that he was once the spirit of a forest, now turned corrupt. Along with his evil machinations, you've got a haunting (sorry) time-traveling, interdimensional tale of love, loss, and betrayal. That makes FFV much easier to recommend than that other costume-driven game, FFIII, since there is not much story in the latter. Plus, if you really want to scare yourself, you could play the mobile version of FFV.


Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia


The latest mainline Fire Emblem offering, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia provides both an eerie atmosphere and intense gameplay. The land of Valentia is suffering at the hands of a manic priest devoted to a corrupt god. Soulless witches who have offered themselves up to Duma wreak havoc, but that's not all. Fans of later games, including Sacred Stones and Awakening, will see the roots of the undead adversaries in Echoes, in the form of Terrors, legions of the undead controlled by some unknown force and popping up everywhere.


From a gameplay perspective, it provides a serious challenge, too, requiring you to carefully plan your every move and delivering its own form of tension in the process. It's definitely one of the darker entries in Fire Emblem, and it only gets darker as the game progresses, with the final climax *mild spoilers ahead!* taking place deep underground, involving possession, murder, and betrayal.


Hollow Knight


Hollow Knight looks like what you'd get if Tim Burton made video games. Based on the classic Metroidvania genre, Hollow Knight combines the best of 2D platformers with a distinct and attractive art style. Hollow Knight himself, sporting a stylish skull helmet, must traverse the dark, monster-ridden depths of his underworld home to find the secrets buried in it corrupt heart.


The entire world exudes an eerie, almost otherworldly -- netherworldly? --atmosphere, drawing you in and keeping you wondering what might be beyond the next turn. Yet despite focusing on muted tones and various shades of darkness, the art manages to remain appealing throughout the difficult campaign. Even better is the new Grimm Troupe DLC dropping October 31, even more reason to dive back in or pick up the game for the first time!


Dragon Quest VI


"What the heck is a Dragon Quest game doing on a Halloween list?" you might be asking. Well, there's good reason Dragon Quest VI is. You see, long before Halloween became the blood-filled fright-fest it is now, it was one of two times of the year when people of almost every culture believed the veil between this world and the next was at its thinnest. That meant the spirits of the dead could cross, of course, but also all manner of other creatures, including fairies -- not the Tinkerbell kind; the steal your soul and curse your cattle kind -- and other nefarious creatures from beyond could walk in our world.


Dragon Quest VI captures that theme perfectly. It alternates between an illusionary dream world and a real world, blurring the lines between both (and even making you a kind of ghost when you first visit the real world). The main antagonist draws his power from both worlds, breeding a host of monsters and causing nightmares in the dream world to create havoc in the real one.


Luigi's Mansion


The launch lineup for the little purple lunchbox that could might have suffered from its games being too short, but that doesn't mean they lacked innovation and quality. And Luigi's Mansion is one that stands out. It's the first game to feature Luigi in a prominent role and completely changes the style of gameplay one would expect from a Mario-type game.


Over the course of one stormy night, Luigi must explore the depths and heights of the mysterious mansion that appeared from nowhere in order to try and find his missing brother.


You'll come across multiple mischievous ghosts in the process, along with the masterminds behind the kidnapping, the Boos. The original Luigi's Mansion brings with it a much spookier atmosphere than its sequel, owing partly to the fact that the camera is much closer to Luigi and also the fact that the mansion is much, much darker until you solve the puzzles of each room. For maximum enjoyment, play with the lights turned off.


Axiom Verge


If 2D Metroidvania is more your taste, then Axiom Verge is just the game for you this Halloween season. Drawing inspiration from Super Metroid, among other titles, Axiom Verge places you in an unknown environment that blurs the lines between reality and the subconscious. You end up there as a result of a lab accident, so you're not entirely sure at first if you're alive or not.


However, the game gives you a great deal of control over your environment through the glitch mechanic, letting you manipulate your weapons, enemies, and even landscapes -- some you might not have been intended to see. There's a deep story here, too, as you'll uncover the remnants of an ancient, apocalyptic war and try to piece together how this domain ended up the way it did. The entire affair is rather dark and moody, as you would expect, and it's an excellent way to add some atmosphere to your Halloween gaming.


Metroid Prime


The Metroid games are known for creating eerie atmospheres and a sense of isolation, with the possibility of mortal danger lurking around every corner. Any game in the series would be suitable for Halloween (though some fans might say Other M is the most frightening of all, even if for reasons not entirely intended by the developers). However, the original Metroid Prime stands out above the rest in this regard.


Its first-person mechanic and the dreary desolation of Tallon IV combine perfectly, and no matter how many times you play it, that first time the Metroids burst out of their tanks still holds the power to make you jump. If this doesn't quite sound appealing, though Prime 2: Echoes is also a good candidate, with an even darker plot and the terror of the Ing to contend with as well.




Puppets are creepy, and that goes double for marionettes. Puppeteer manages to maintain that creepiness, yet makes it endearing by adding to it with a quirky, eerie aesthetic and a storyline pulled straight from a fairytale. The story begins when the Moon Bear King puts your soul into the body of a puppet to serve as a slave, but your troubles don't stop there. Before tossing you into his dungeon, the Moon Bear King also rips your head off -- but that sets the stage, so to speak, for the game's signature mechanic.


You acquire various powerups throughout the game, and these are incorporated via wearing different heads. Your journey takes you across the world and through a wide variety of landscapes, but it's all presented as though it's on a miniature stage, as you'd see with a real puppet show, complete with audience effects, props, lighting, and the whole works. It's a superbly tight platformer and a joy to play, plus there's the added bonus of it being a form of exposure therapy.


The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask


Arguably one of the darker entries in the LotZ franchise, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask takes everything you know about the series' structure and chucks it out the window. Taking place right after the events of Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask sees Link taken to the mysterious world of Termina, a land where time is quite short because the moon is going to crash into it in three days' time. From there, you travel through Termina's four main regions and try to uncover the mysteries surrounding the catastrophe and the enigmatic Skull Kid wearing Majora's Mask itself.


As you'd expect, masks play an important role throughout the game, providing new powers and abilities and even transforming Link into different Link-forms. Needless to say, the entire atmosphere is quite dark and broody, rivaling even Twilight Princess. And as the days progress, the people you interact with begin realizing their lives are about to end influences the way they conduct themselves in the game, with reactions ranging from desperation to quiet acceptance of their dark fate.


Animal Crossing


Of course, no Halloween game list would be complete without Animal Crossing. With the exception of Wild World, with its grudge against holidays, every Animal Crossing game has some form of Halloween festivity. Whether it be the GCN original's hunt for Jack to get Spooky furniture or New Leaf's wider array of activities involving month-long specials at the Nooklings' store, mask collecting, and neighbor-scaring, there's plenty to do throughout the month of October.


Later entries, especially New Leaf, allow you to customize your look down to the finest details, so you can always be in costume. Or you can just finish a long day by taking an evening stroll through your village, appreciating the change of scenery.


The sun sets early, the evenings are getting darker, and there's a certain something in the atmosphere that sets your hair on end. That's right, Halloween is almost here! But not all of us are fans of horror, blood, and gore, so what's a gamer to do if Resident Evil and Silent Hill are out of the question? 


Never fear! We've got a list of the best 14 non-horror games (because 13 is supposed to be unlucky, right?) you can play in the run-up to Halloween without having to plug in your night-light. Plus, as an added bonus, these are almost all perfectly safe for you to play with the younger members of your family -- and this first one, in particular, should prove widely popular with that specific audience. 

5 Best Composers Currently Making Music for Japanese RPGs Mon, 17 Apr 2017 11:00:01 -0400 Jerline Justo

Yasunori Mitsuda

Alongside Nobuo Nematsu, Yasunori Mitsuda is well-known in the JRPG community with games like Valkyria Revolution, Xenogears, and Soul Sacrifice under his belt. This composer first worked as a sound engineer for Square Enix in 1992, but once he threatened to quit, Hironobu Sakaguchi, vice president of Square Enix, allowed him to become a composer for Chrono Trigger. Since then, he's continued to make music for JRPGs 'till this day.


His sound contains various influences, like jazz and Celtic, but when he composes songs, he approaches it with a minimalist mindset. His songs contained only a few chords, creating a simple and soothing tone. Despite its simplicity, the game still remains magical and adds an atmospheric feeling while becoming something more tranquil and melodious.




There you have it! From the melancholy sounds of Miyoshi to the simplistic tones of Mitsuda, these five composers continue to make amazing -- and unforgettable -- music for Japanese RPGs. Though these composers created some of the most everlasting scores in JRPG history, their work continues even further into future, leaving us to see what they will compose next.


Who are your favorite JRPG composers? Tell us in the comments below!

Yoko Shimomura

Fans may know Shimomura from Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy XV, and the Mario & Luigi series. But before becoming a well-known JRPG composer, she worked for Capcom in 1988, contributing to Samurai Sword and F1 Dream. Once she moved to Square Enix in 1993, she contributed to games like Live A Live and Legend of Mana.


Although she is currently a freelance composer, she continues to work for Square Enix for upcoming projects, especially Kingdom Hearts 3.


This composer mostly focuses on the electronic and symphonic genres, as well as the genres of industrial, rock, and pop. Her sound varies from booming rhythms to soothing melodies by mixing both classical and electronic. Her songs bring out the best moments in the game, making these songs unforgettable to fans.

Motoi Sakuraba

Sakuraba started composing in 1989 when he joined Wolf Team (also known as Namco Tales Studio). Artists like Pink Floyd, Yellow Magic Orchestra, and Outer Limits influenced Sakuraba’s sound, leading him to become a composer for JRPGs like Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile series.


His music consists of progressive and symphonic rock, new age, and jazz. Sakuraba creates fast and complex beats that sonically impact players, both literally and figuratively. But although his booming sound may be tense, it does not over-power the game. Instead, it creates a suspenseful and engaging environment for players, especially during battle.

Shoji Meguro

Meguro started composing in 1995 when he joined Atlus, contributing to games like Revelations: Persona and Devil Hackers. B, but his career took off when he became a lead composer for Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. Since then, he has continued to work as a composer for Atlus, creating music for Persona 5 and Shin Megami Tensei: Deep Strange Journey.


This composer focuses on rock music but also fuses it with classical, electronic, and jazz to create a new, upbeat and edgy sound. This fusion between technology and classical music genres imbues a uniqueness in his work, helping players enjoy the game and the music.

Tomoki Miyoshi

At the age of 16, Miyoshi debuted in 2011 when he composed the music for SOULCALIBUR V, making him one of the youngest composers in the gaming industry. He worked with composers such as Austin Wintory to create beautiful -- and long-lasting, JRPG soundscapes. Soon, he will be collaborating with Nobuo Uematsu for Project Phoenix, a game developed by Creative Intelligence Arts.


He is also well-known for the RPG I am Setsuna, which was released in 2016. The soundtrack relies solely on the piano, which presents a melancholy yet sweet tone. Each song is played with an elegance that compliments the snowing setting within the game.


In Japan, role-playing games were not well-known during the 1970s, but as games like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest were established, Japan created its own subcategory--JRPG (also known as Japanese role-playing game).


JRPGs contain multiple elements, such as a menu selected battle system and a linear exploration, that make players feel connected and immerse with the game. But really, it is the music that makes fans appeal to JRPGs.


Amazing composers, like the famous Nobuo Nematsu, created various types of scores that fans truly remember throughout generations, leaving a legacy in the gaming music. Included in the group are these five amazing composers who are continuing to compose beautiful music for JRPGs.