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 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.

Resident Evil VII: Biohazard: Diving Back into Horror

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another video game review.  Now, I haven’t done very many of these.  Well, technically this is my third one.  But, I don’t beat very many games.  Instead, I play through one and skip over to the next one.  And so on and so on, leaving a plethora of unfinished games in my wake.  One of these days, when I can start being a LPer/streamer, I’ll have to go back and finish a lot of those games.

But, in the meanwhile, we’ve got this game.  Since the first whispers about the game at E3 2015 with KITCHEN, and later updates a year later with the demo known as Beginning Hour, which to my knowledge is the first demo to get updated as time progressed.  And boy were there secrets in there.  But, enough about Beginning Hour.  Let’s get right into the game that I finally finished.

If you haven’t played this game before, and are wanting to experience this game for yourself, be warned because there be…

Ok.  So, since playing Layers of Fear, I’ve been really into the first-person exploratory style of games.  Both in terms of horror, and what people like to call walking simulators.  Either way.  I really love that style of game.  I love being able to go out and explore the world.  And yes, this game is a little bit linear.  But, up until a certain point, you can backtrack to retrieve things that you weren’t able to in the past.  Different items like the grenade launcher, more ammo, and secret in-game items that one would find along the way.  But that’s ok.  Yes.  I, a man who loves open world exploration, find that it is ok that we have a mostly linear game.  It works out well here.

Like some of the other Resident Evil games that I’ve played (which, isn’t a lot, considering I won’t touch 4-6), inventory management is vital to your survival in this game.  Towards the end, I was debating over which weaponry I wanted to take with me, so that I could have a chance of surviving the end game (more on that in a minute). Each weapon has their own advantages and disadvantages, and using the wrong one in a certain scenario could spell disasterous for Ethan.  I did find myself constantly switching between weapons, not only as a way to save ammo on the shotgun, but also to better use my environment to my advantage.  Taking on multiple Molded is a lot easier with the handgun rather than the shotgun.  But remote bombs would better if you could cluster them up.  And the Grenade Launcher would be just as good, but better not to run out of ammo for it.  Oh, can’t forget about health packs.  Should I fashion first aid kits with this chem fluid I’ve found, or should I go for some ammo.  In my case, I did go for health packs.  By the end boss, I had plenty of ammo to burn through.

But, let’s get right into why I’ve got the spoiler tag up above.  The ending.  After injecting Eveline with that serum that you created, she become mega-mold monster and attacks.  Then, Umbrella swoops in, drops down a very powerful weapon, and you defeat Eveline.  The kicker.  After Eveline crumbles, and Redfield address Ethan, Ethan says something along the lines of “about time you guys showed up.” Does Ethan work for Umbrella? Or did Ethan contact Umbrella before he left for the Bakers? There are so many questions that don’t have answers.  And like an impatient child, I want them.  And speaking of the final fight, since I’m here…it didn’t seem very involved.  You were locked up in the attic with Eveline to start, and all you could do is fire.  You couldn’t hide.  You couldn’t have any strategy.  You were just firing away.  And that kinda soured on me a bit.  After all, there were some loose plot ends that we had to work with.  Like Lucas. We don’t see Lucas again after surviving the Happy Birthday trap area, but we don’t hear from him again.  One would figure that he’d stick around to be a thorn in one’s side after killing off his parents.  But, is there something in store for Lucas? I don’t really know, and I’m interested to see where the developers are going to go from here.

Now, I’m still in the process of trying to get my DLC to work (at this time, I went to play “Banned Footage”, and the game kept crashing on me.  So, I decided I’d try to uninstall and re-install the game.  Maybe I’ll get some answers there.  For those of you who really like first-person survival horror games, and want to try a new foray into the Resident Evil series, then you should totally check this one out, and prepare to jump out of your seats.

First Impression: Resident Evil VII: Biohazard

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the blog! I know, I haven’t really been taking much of a breather, but it’s nice not to sit here and try to figure out content to schedule ahead of time.  Makes things so much nicer.

So, what are we doing here? Well, I’m here to talk about Resident Evil VII: Biohazard.  Now, I got this game a few days ago, and I’m just now getting into it.  Part of it is just finding some time to play it.  And play I have.  I’ve made it the first major section, and have gotten to a safe room in the second.  And I have to say, I’m pretty thrilled as to what has transpired so far.  Controls are easy to understand, even though I’m not sure whether or not certain sections need to press a certain button rapidly or hold it.  That I’m still learning on.

Mind you, I’m not very far in the game, but the game is already super gruesome.  And I’m not just talking about the action.  I’m also referring to the whole atmosphere of the game.  For those of you who have played the demo will recognize some of the beginning section, you’ll already know where to go, but that familiarity will quickly go away.  The grittiness of the demo-explorable section gets carried on throughout the rest of the beginning section, which is great that they keep the atmosphere…gritty.

There are a few times where I was startled, and that’s a good thing.  There were a couple of times where we get jumped, and even though I “know” that something is going to happen (“know” as in the atmosphere suggests something is going to happen), but that does not prepare me for whatever jumps me.  The game also gives you a couple of shocking moments, and those moments bring up questions that, as of this time, I cannot answer through my playthrough.

One thing that I have noticed is that there is very little combat involved so far.  I’ve only needed to actually attack a couple of times; most of the other action sequences were more defending myself or having to run.  Which excites me.  Yes, there was combat in the original Resident Evil game, but it was also more about exploration and puzzle solving.  So far, I haven’t found any puzzles yet, but it’s been more about survival than anything.

If you are a fan of the Resident Evil series, horror games in general, or just a fan of getting the pants and socks scared off of you, this is a game for you, whether to play or watch.

Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.