owlmoose: (kh - roxas)
KJ ([personal profile] owlmoose) wrote2019-01-31 10:56 am

Birth by Sleep thoughts

We finished it last night.

This game is old enough that maybe I shouldn't bother to cut for spoilers, but I'm going to do it anyway. We started with Terra before we knew that Terra, then Ventus, then Aqua was the recommended order, so we got lucky in that respect. Terra's story is also the most straightforward -- he's the first person to arrive in most of the worlds, and the "strong young man fights the darkness inside him, sometimes wins, sometimes loses" is pretty classic. His final battle was actually the most heartbreaking to me - when Xehanort took his body, and then Terra pulled together his armor and kept fighting, I almost teared up a little. Aside: his voice sounded very familiar to me, but I couldn't place it until I looked it up, and was entirely unsurprised to learn he is Jason Dohring, who also plays Logan on Veronica Mars. Hmm, a young man who has a good heart but sometimes give into his darker impulses? Nah, no similarities there.

Ventus's story gets more opaque and Kingdom-Hearts-like in all its twists and complications. Also his timeline gives me a headache -- how could he be at Dwarf Woodlands after Terra left, but then beat him to Enchanted Kingdom? It only works if things get wibbly-wobbly timewise with the travel between planets. (They could also have fixed it very easily by swapping Ven's first two worlds.) Anyway, as I commented to [personal profile] lassarina, poor kid. I suppose that's a thing that always applies to KH, but it seems more true about Ven than average.

Finally we played Aqua, and although I love her as a character, I wasn't as thrilled by her story. It sometimes felt more like she was filling in the blanks of the story than having her own adventure, and I side-eye a bit that the only female PC is also the character who wraps up all the romantic happily-ever-after endings. I get what the story was trying to do, showing her the importance of bonds of love over darkness, but it still bugged me, especially in combination with the ways the game sometimes highlights her femininity -- her high-pitched shriek whenever she falls in battle, for example, or how Zack kept hitting on her. It's not a major issue, but I kept noticing it.

I'm really glad I played the game overall. Getting 20-some hours to sink back into KH-style gameplay was fun, and I feel like I did fill in some of my gaps on the big-picture story. Because we played the game a bit quickly, not really going back to other worlds once we'd cleared the story and hardly playing any mini-games at all, we didn't get enough Xehanort reports to trigger the True Ending, and we only had complete story saves. So rather than starting over, we watched both that and the secret ending on YouTube. Learning that Terra is still fighting back against Xehanort is heartening, and I'm also pleased to finally have some understanding of why Sora's Nobody didn't look quite like him -- he looks like Ventus instead. (Serious, Ven looks so much like Roxas that I worried we'd somehow started the wrong game when we first launched it.) That still doesn't explain why Vanitas looks like Sora, but maybe we'll find that out later.

I find myself wishing that I'd bought KH: The Story So Far a month or so earlier -- then I'd have had time to play Dream Drop Distance, too. But I don't want to wait that long to start KH3, so I've read a plot summary and will take my chances with being confused. Let's be real: given that this is Kingdom Hearts, there's a fair chance that I'd be confused anyway. We did, however, start Birth by Sleep 0.2 (what a terrible name for a sequel) almost immediately after finishing Birth By Sleep (we watched the True Ending while updates were downloading). Didn't finish yet, but the prospect of getting more Aqua story is pretty exciting, and I hope it serves as a good bridge to KH3.

At this rate, I'm hoping that we get to start KH3 tomorrow. I literally cannot wait.