Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep 0.2-A Fragmentary Passage: The Perfect Bridge

Hello everyone! The FINAL final Kingdom Hearts game review (up until III finally drops), and it’s all about…

File:Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep 0.2 A fragmentary passage Logo.png

And before I begin,

The game is short.  My file says it took me about five and a half hours to play the game, but I did go out and hang out with a friend for about an hour and a half or so and just left the game on, so total actual play time isn’t that long.  But, what it lacks in length, it packs a tremendous punch in story and tying all the threads together so we can dive right on into III without any effort.

So, the main story follows the tale that Mickey is telling Riku and Kairi about Aqua, and how she is lost in the depths of the Dark World.  And throughout Mickey’s tale, Aqua goes to three of the worlds that have been lost to the darkness in the story that we have been to before…Cinderella’s world, Snow White’s world and Sleeping Beauty’s world.  Along the way, we meet Heartless old and new, including our first ever boss Darkseid, or multiple versions of it anyway.  We then get the help of King Mickey, and we end up on the Destiny Islands, where we get a little more detail into the ending of Kingdom Hearts I with Riku and Mickey closing the door.  Though, I don’t remember if Mickey wasn’t wearing a shirt in the ending of the original game…

Then, there’s that ending.  If that’s a nice little bow to top off a package, I don’t know what is.  Acting as what should be an introduction into III, we see Riku and Mickey get new garb and take off to the Realm of Darkness to finally retrieve Aqua.  Kairi, along with Lea/Axel, will train under Merlin to be Keyblade wielders.  Meanwhile, Sora, who has lost most of his abilities (again!), is tasked to start gaining those back, and what better way to do that than to visit an old friend…at Olympic Coliseum.  Which is where I hope the game starts us out, is at Olympic Coliseum.  That would be pretty awesome.

But, another thing I really appreciate about this game is the fact that we are getting a taste of what KHIII may have in store for us.  I love how the game plays on Unreal Engine 4, and how the world just looks in general.  Sure, we have gotten teasers of it in the previous Kingdom Hearts III trailers, but still…just being able to PLAY using UE4 and just seeing the beauty of the world makes me really anxious for KHIII now.

Well, enough from me.  You’ll just have to play the series to pick up on all of the nuances that this series provides.  I’m not able to do it justice.  But, until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

 

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance: Fractured in More Ways Than One

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another video game review.  This round:

Yes.  Dream Drop Distance.  The last full release game in the Kingdom Hearts universe, at least as of this writing.  It’s been a very long journey to get here, and man, do I have to say that this game does feel rather…disjointed.  Now, yes, this game was originally released on the Nintendo 3DS, and so a lot of the actual gameplay is a little disjointed when it comes to the Flowmotion and Reality Shift commands that we get in the PS4 re-release as a part of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue.

Now, I do mention that this game is “fractured”, and it is.  In more way than one.  But, before I begin…

There.  This game is fractured primarily in it’s personal story by playing as both Riku and Sora trying to make it through their Mark of Mastery exams.  But, as soon as the first world, we learn that there’s something a bit…amiss here.  Sora and Riku never really interact with each other in person, only seeing each other through a portal in one world, and reaping the benefits of their actions in other worlds.  That, all comes to a head in The World That Never Was, when you finally realize that Organization XIII, yes, the “same” Organization that Sora and Riku “defeated” at the end of Kingdom Hearts II, is after Sora.  Looking to make Sora a “vessel” (I’ll explain shortly).  The story ends with Riku becoming an official Keyblade Master, while Sora looks to strengthen himself on his own personal journey.

That brings me to Organization XIII, and trying to use Sora as a vessel for a piece of Xehanort’s heart.  One of 13 pieces.  Does anyone else think that’s just a little bit…overkill? I mean.  Look at Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter.  He has seven Horcruxes, and in the end, it backfired on him because of the power of love conquering all in that case.  Here, it’s 13 dark entities, each bearing a little piece of the original.  How is this going to work out in the end? Will that little piece of heart get destroyed when the bearer gets defeated? Or will it return to Xehanort? And we only see a select handful of characters here…Young Xehanort, Ansem, Xemnas, Xigbar, Master Xehanort, etc, all in the name of resurrecting Kingdom Hearts and the [chi]-blade, uniting the seven Keyblade users of light and the thirteen seekers of darkness, with Sora seemingly being the key to it all.  And it will all come to a head in Kingdom Hearts III.

Kingdom Hearts III can’t come soon enough, and if what I’ve read about Kingdom Hearts 0.2: A Fragmentary Passage is true, we can get a taste of just what Kingdom Hearts III is going to be like.  But, I’ll tell you more about that in the next review.  Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix: A Great Way to Give Us Backstory

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another edition of my video game reviews.  This round, we’re looking at:

Image result for kingdom hearts birth by sleep final mix

And as previously stated throughout these reviews:

Seriously.  Take my warning here.  If you don’t want this game spoiled for you AT ALL…turn back now.

Image result for abandon hope all ye who enter

Alright.  So I’m going to do things a little differently this time around.  See, this game is broken up into different sections, following around each of the three main characters until the final clash comes around.  So, as I complete each section, I will put when I completed that section, and my reviews about the character’s story.  So, let’s start off with…

Terra.  For the record, I cleared this section on June 8, 2017.  And what a section to start out with.  When initially given the option to choose between the three characters, I was perplexed as to who I would start with.  After doing some research, I found that the game sequence told us to start with Terra.  Which is fine with me.  See, Terra is a “strength” character.  Which means that his attacks are usually physical based.  Granted, I did load up his Command Deck with a whole bunch of magic attacks.  Oops.

Anyway, the main gist of Terra’s story is that he’s trying to figure out what he wants to do with the darkness in his heart.  Is he going to succumb to it, or will he fight it and become a strong warrior.  And fight it, he does.  Throughout the story, with each event that comes along, something gets revealed to him that makes him certain of the direction that he chooses.  Which is his friends.  A noble thing to be sure.  But, it doesn’t work out for him in the end.  In fact, it works against him as he ends up letting the darkness take over.  Which doesn’t bode well because we get the formation of the younger Xehanort in the end as Xehanort possesses Terra. We get left on a bit of a cliffhanger though.  We beat this younger Xehanort (as we fight Xehanort in our mind wearing our traveling armor), and at the end, Terra (at least, we assume it is) in his armor kneels underneath the evaporating light of Kingdom Hearts.  We will have to wait to see where the story goes from here.

Next up is:

Ventus.  He certainly…looks familiar.  For the record, I cleared this section June 12, 2017.  Ventus is the speed user of the trio, with rapid attacks and quick movements.  There is so much to Ventus’ story, and a lot of that is crucial to the main plotline of the series. To keep it short, Ventus was once the apprentice of Master Xehanort.  Xehanort disapproved of Ventus’ progress, so he used his Keyblade to separate the darkness from Ventus; which became the boy in darkness, Vanitas.

Look familiar? Anyway.  Most of Ven’s story revolves around finding his friends, mainly Terra.  Along the way, he makes a lot of friends, and also spurs back the dark Vanitas along the way.  In the end, Ven fights off Vanitas, who has somehow managed to forge a very unique looking blade (possibly the chi-blade), and fights Ventus in a very unique arena that is very familiar to long time Kingdom Hearts players.  After the fight, both Ventus and Vanitas vanish from their battlefield, but are they still around? Much like Terra’s story end, it ends us off on a cliffhanger.  Do we have another combined character like Terra-Xehanort? Or did they both completely vanish? And how does this face get to become Roxas?

Last solo story belongs to:

Aqua.  For the record, I cleared Aqua’s story June 17, 2017.  Aqua is the magic user of the three teams, and it took me a bit to get used to her fighting style at first.  With her low strength stat, it’s a little more critical to plan her attacks using the command deck because her keyblade strikes are much more ineffective than Terra’s or Ven’s.  That being said, Aqua’s story is one of tying up loose ends, so to speak.  That is, if you’ve played through it through the recommended manner (which, is another good thing about this game, you don’t have to play through this game in the order recommended by the developer).  And to answer my earlier question, Ven and Vanitas did fuse together, only to be…unfused by Aqua.  Most of Aqua’s story happens after both of the guys arriving on the separate worlds (minus Radiant Garden, Deep Space and Keyblade Graveyard).  Oh, and Aqua is the only Keyblade “master” between the three of them, after passing the mastery exam at the beginning of the game.  Along the way, she’s looking for her friends.  First on orders form Master Eraqus, and then just for herself, as she’s worried about them and wants to make sure that they are ok.  Her kindness and compassion may just be the saving grace for our trio…or will it?

It’s time for the FINAL BATTLE!

First off, before I forget, in order to get the final battle, you have to find all of Xehanort’s reports.  There’s one that you’ll miss if you skip the Mirage Arena.  Anyway, we get a interesting cutscene where we get the locking of The Land of Departure, transforming it into Castle Oblivion.  After that cutscene, it’s back to Radiant Garden for the final battle against Terra-Xehanort, and the Guardian.  And as soon as the battle is over, Aqua dives into the darkness after Terra, and sacrifices her light for him.

And, during the course of all three stories, we get various scenes with the main trio of Kingdom Hearts: Sora, Riku and Kairi.  Throughout each of these different stories, each of the three characters get some recognition in their own way, whether it’s with Riku and Terra; Sora and Ven; and Aqua and her interaction with Kairi.

Now, I’ve finished all of the playable games within the 1.5+2.5 ReMix.  I’ve got 2.8 on order, which includes a new-to-the-universe game sequence that involves Aqua that I can’t wait to play.  But, until then, it’s on to the next game.  Until the next review, book or otherwise, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

Kingdom Hearts II: (Over)Reaction Time

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another video game review.  Since Opening Atlantis is taking far longer to read than I expected it to take, I figured I’d grace your screen with another Kingdom Hearts franchise game review.  And for those of you who haven’t made it this far into the series,

Now, I’ve off and on played through this game, but I cannot remember for the life of me if I had beaten the final boss.  That doesn’t mean much, considering just how many games that I’ve played over the course of my life, and just how long it has been since I first played this game all the way through, as the original PS2 release.

That being said, there’s a lot that has changed since the addition of all the extra content in Final Mix.  From the Absent Silhouettes, to the Mushroom XIII, to even the Cavern of Remembrance, which I have still yet to complete, this game has a LOT going on, that sometimes it can be too much to do.  Then, there’s the reaction commands.  While I do think that it can certainly turn the tide of battle, it also does a lot of harm.  Unlike the first game, where there were no reaction commands, and all of the battles turn into a hack and slack attempt at defeating bosses, it feels like this game relies too much on them; to the point where the final fight with Xemnas is over-saturated with them, and there’s not a lot of Keyblade strikes.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE this game.  There is the constant theme of love (seriously now, can Sora and Kairi just kiss already), and the constant battle between light and dark that is prevalent between our core group of travelers, the Heartless and Organization XIII.  Though, I always felt the mid-game explanation of using the Keyblade to power up Kingdom Hearts kinda went by the wayside though.  I think there should have been more hesitation on Sora’s part there.

However, I do love the update to the series with this game, and the expansion of the series as a whole with this game (referring to the Final Mix).  I’m really, really getting hyped for the last numbered game in this “series” (since I do have a feeling that it may live on with a whole new storyline after III).  You should totally put all the time you can into this game to collect all of the puzzle pieces, treasure chest, and unearth every last secret going into the rest of the series.  Speaking of, I’m going to dive right on into Birth by Sleep, the last playable game in the 1.5+2.5 ReMix pack on the PS4.

That’s all I’ve got for you now folks.  Thanks for reading.  As always, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories: Cards are Difficult Man

Image result for Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another video game review.  As the image above alludes to, I’m reviewing:

Image result for Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories

As I continue on through my playthrough Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX in order of the playable games available (not including the two games that are included, but are movie only (358/2 days and Re:coded).  By the way, if you haven’t played this game yet, beware, because there are

and you have been warned.  So, let’s get started.

First off, like Kingdom Hearts I, it has been a very long time since I’ve played both parts of this game.  Yes, I did say both parts.  ‘Cause you see, this game gives us two different game modes.  The first mode sees you play through your memories as Sora, exploring each of the previous game worlds (minus Deep Jungle and The End of the World), and relieving the events of those worlds for the player, but ending up making Sora forget it all.  The storyline itself is full of very heavy theme involving memory and loss.  One could very well dissect this story and apply it to the real world with brain disorders.  But, that’s a topic for another time.

Once you defeat Sora’s story, you then unlock Reverse/Rebirth, which lets you play through as Riku, who is fighting the darkness that Ansem unleashed inside his heart.  Riku’s story is much simpler, by just going through the various worlds and fighting the various bosses to move on until we make it to the more relevant parts of his story.  In the end, Riku defeats Ansem, and we get the setup for Riku’s side of KHII.  Also, before I forget.  Why does Riku keep on having to point out that people smell different? Are we supposed to think that Riku is part dog? Or does it have something to do with him getting overwhelmed by the darkness in the first game, and that being able to distinguish people by their smells is just a side effect of that? I’d really like to know that one.

This game has a very…unique view on battling by implementing a card deck with different cards (three types: Keyblades in red; magic in blue; items in green); and it’s up to the player to strategize by using combinations of the different card types, as well as sleights that you can learn by leveling up or find in treasure chests throughout the worlds.  Each player can fight as they see fit with the cards that they end up finding, but even then, combat can be hard at times.  In Sora’s story especially, there were a couple of bosses that I would come back the next day to beat just because I wasn’t using the right strategy.  In Riku’s story, however, things are different.  Riku’s deck is set in each world, and it’s up to the player to use his deck in the best way possible with Riku’s dark side, which has all the sleights.  I found Riku’s side both easier and harder to deal with than Sora’s.  Easier, because there wasn’t the constant shuffling around of the deck to make it stronger (or having to take out all the fire-based cards to prevent Axel healing himself with every strike); but it was also harder because there are a couple of worlds where you only have 10 attack cards, and you have to maximize strategy rather than brute force through it.  As I told Beth at one point, I died…to myself.  Long story there that I don’t think I can adequately explain.

However, despite the wonky combat, I urge you to not skip this game.  This game is VITAL in bridging the gap between I and II (how did Sora get in that pod?), it introduces us to Twilight Town; and it gives us the first major introduction to Organization XIII, which, as a whole, is the big bad in II.  As much as I struggled on some of the Organization members in battle, and frustrated as to deck building; this game will make you strategize, but also give you a deeper appreciation for the story.

Now, I’m onwards to Kingdom Hearts II, and one step closer to getting ready for Kingdom Hearts III, whenever they FINALLY release the stinking game.

It’s been TWELVE years Square Enix! Enough with the waiting!! I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

Kingdom Hearts Final Mix: Faded Nostalgia

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another video game review! This time:

Image result for Kingdom Hearts Final Mix

Oh, and before I begin:

for whoever wants to play this series, but hasn’t done so yet.  I won’t spoil too many plot points, but I’m not going to shy away from giving information either.

Now, there’s a bit of history to this game for me.  Back in 2004, I was a bit of a loner in school.  Didn’t have many friends my age (all of my friends were either a year older or younger). Which, in a class of 29, doesn’t make a lot of sense (then again, that’s maybe where my feeling like nobody likes me comes in).  Anyway, the summer after my sophomore year in high school (Grade 10 for my international readers), I went to a summer camp.  Called the Summer High School Institute, it was for like minded students who were, for the most part, eager to learn and continue their education.  I made many friendships in that three week camp, some lasting on to this day.  But, one friend, Luke, let me play Kingdom Hearts for a spell.  And man, let me tell you.  I fell in love with the game.  And ever since, I’ve enjoyed the entire series, and have been just as frustrated as the rest of you on the release of Kingdom Hearts III.

Now.  I still love this game.  But, after not playing it through for a while, and then picking it back up here and there, I realize that there are some things that are wrong with some aspects of the game.  Jumping, for one.  I don’t know how often it is that I wanted to make a jump, only for Sora to float over the spot I wanted to land on and make me miss my jump entirely.  Which infuriated me to no end.  I’m glad that they fixed that in later games, because it was a little ridiculous.

Another thing that I was like “I don’t like this anymore”, is the camera.  There were times, like on Geppetto’s ship inside of Monstro, for example, where I had an issue of getting the camera to stay where it was so I could make a jump.  I don’t know if having the option to have a fixed or manually operated camera was an option in the original release or if it came with the Final Mix (and the subsequent re-releases), but I was rather annoyed by it at times.  I do like the ability to control my camera, but I don’t want it to do its own thing.

However, let’s not let the negatives damper what is a wonderful game mixing Square Enix properties with those from Disney.  I enjoyed diving into the different worlds like Wonderland, Agrabah, Halloween Town and Hollow Bastion all over again.  Each world is unique, and for some of the later worlds, have their own unique feel to them.  The combat is simple, yet customizable through the various keychains and abilities that you gain throughout the game.  Not only that, but you can swap out companions throughout the various worlds.  So you can play with Jack Skellington, Peter Pan, Tarzan, Aladdin, Ariel and Beast on their own respective worlds, as long as you don’t mind getting rid of Donald (cause c’mon, Donald isn’t exactly all that good of a AI character).

If you like Japanese RPGs with a little bit of action to it, then you’ll enjoy this game.  Oh, and you’ll be singing “Simple and Clean” for days afterwards.  Here, let me plant that earworm for you.

That’s all I’ve got for you today folks.  Tune back in next time for another review, whether it be book or video game.  Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

Top 10 Roundup #17

Hello everyone, and welcome back once again to another edition of the Top 10 Roundup! Now, remember last week how I talked about the films that I grew up with? Well, today, we’re going to take a slightly different take on that.  Today, it’s ten of my favorite Disney/Pixar films.

Oh UP! How I love thee so! Besides the beginning that would make even the manliest of all men tear up, it’s a wonderful movie full of fun.  And, c’mon.  Who doesn’t love SQUIRREL!…ahem, Doug.

One of my all-time favorite movies, I can’t help but sing along to Jack and Oogie Boogie every time I watch the film, much to any of my companion’s chagrin (Beth would cover my mouth to stop me from singing when we watched this movie).

While not necessarily being a film that I grew up watching, this movie holds a special place in my heart because it was what Beth and I dressed up as for our wedding (obviously I wasn’t Beast in his more hairier form, though that may actually would have been better haha).

I…LOVE this movie.  Seriously! It’s so much FUN! The frying pan, Pascal’s sass, the interactions between Maximus and Flynn…ALL of it. Not only that, but our best man and maid of honor went as Flynn and Rapunzel from the end of the movie for the wedding.

C’mon…don’t you want to be a cat?

I don’t know why I love this film so much.  Maybe it because it spoke to a very young, very small me? Or maybe it was the humor.  Either way, one of my favorite Pixar films, and that’s saying something.

C’mon, when you here Baloo start singing, don’t you wanna just get up and dance? Admittedly, I don’t remember much about this movie, having ONLY seen it as a young child, but “Bear Necessities” has stuck with me.

By far, at least in my opinion, the CUTEST Disney/Pixar film on this list, Wall-E has a lot of heart, and just the right amount of fun.

Almost wore out this video watching it time and time again.  And what’s not to love about this movie?

Ok, so, before you shoot me, I adore…OLAF! Really need more Olaf in my life.  Whoever thought that they needed to give life to a snowman and make him the life of the movie is wonderful.  Between his song about summer, and his “I’ve been impaled” comment is wonderful.  Nevermind the oversaturation of the main track from the movie, give me more Olaf!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you today.  Thank you so much for dropping by! What are some of your favorite Disney/Pixar films? Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.