Yes, I understand that Google is a thing.
I love me some weird video game-y junk, but Kingdom Hearts and its legion of sequels have never ever been something where I thought to myself, “Yeah this looks fun and interesting to play”. I like Final Fantasy, I like Disney and Pixar, but they’ve always seemed like incongruous worlds to me.
The long-awaited sequel is imminent, and people are losing their minds. On here, in my office, at E3, all over the internet. I don’t understand it. There were people who were at E3 specifically to stand in line for several hours to get a glimpse of this game. I feel a little like I’m missing out, like some sort of zeitgeist is passing me by.
Let me be clear- there is no way I’m going to go back and play the first few Kingdom Hearts games. The nostalgia isn’t there for me, and if I’m going to play old PS2 games I’m going to do it for work. The Kingdom Hearts games are spread over so many systems that I don’t even have that any attempt to sample all of them would lead me on a Craigslist quest. I just went to the games’ Wikipedia page and even seeing the collections listed was confusing to me. I am confounded by these games’ release strategies, and the games themselves.
Do they have incredibly satisfying combat that makes the player want to progress and unlock things? Is it the Final Fantasy side of things? I’m sure the music is incredible, but there’s no way I could ever take it seriously. And aren’t these games super long, too? Like, if I’m going to invest 200+ hours in something, I’m going to need some payoff.
Then again, I also don’t understand the appeal of the Xenoblade series, especially after watching Tim Rogers’ video on it- and he even likes the game! But seeing the gameplay all I could think was, “This looks repetitive and boring and holy crap these characters”. Seeing Kingdom Hearts footage I keep feeling the same thing.
Am I a curmudgeon? It’s likely. I know how to have a good time, suspend disbelief, all that good stuff. But my patience for bullshit has eroded over the years. I love reading classic literature but there’s always padding in books like Great Expectations and even The Great Gatsby. Games are no different- even the most highly praised and well-regarded stuff has filler (looking at you, poison swamp in Bloodborne). Kingdom Hearts to me looks like it’s all filler, like some fan-made mashup with a million dollar budget became reality.
I have a similar feeling about the Mega Man series- but at least there’s something to latch onto there. I’m not great at any Mega Man games but I can get why people love them, what the draw is. Great character design, super tight mechanics, rad music, games that pushed the limitations of the hardware they were developed for. All of this forms a cohesive whole that I personally don’t get excited for, but I can look at it objectively and be like, “Yeah, I see it. You like hard games that feel very rewarding after you learn the intricacies of the level design”. Kingdom Hearts feels like... you wanted to see Sephiroth... fight Donald Duck?
I’m not trying to knock anyone’s favorite series here but I genuinely want to know- what draws people to this game? Is the writing incredible? Do you get a free lifetime pass to Disneyland if you find all the collectibles or reach level 100 or whatever the goal is? I want to understand the best that I can, even if I’ll never be able to get involved.
In other news, check out my post about how I think Ape Escape is masterpiece.