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Played in 2023
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Another one of those games in my collection that was a "gift" that I had no interest in nor asked for. There are plenty of stinkers I have received in a similar manner, especially in the PS2 era.
I remember thinking the game was pretty trash...but I did end up beating it. And if I recall correctly, upon beating the game it gave me the opportunity to save...and when doing so, it started me over at the very beginning when loading my save file... I was not best pleased upon that realization, and never touched the game again.
Friends told me to get this shitfest of a game. "One of my fav. RPGs ever" they said. Pfft. What a terrible recommendation from them. I remember trying to drag myself through the game's first 5-10 hours, before I just couldn't do it anymore.
There are so many other better JRPGs than this... don't waste your time with this game.
This game is a bit of an enigma to me. I simultaneously both love it and hate it, think it is the best KH game and think it is the most overrated... why is this? Well, it is hard to explain, but I'll try my best.
Firstly, I enjoy Organization XIII (Axel & Roxas specifically), Twilight Town, King Mickey's badassery, the black coats, the Organization's theme song that exudes mystery, and the re-introduction to our main trio: Sora, Donald, and Goofy. But by god... does the opening draaaaaag on... so much so, that it is hard for me to name a worse opening 2-3 hours of a game than KHII. It isn't just that it is slow either, but it is egregiously boring, with incredibly poor mini-games, that it is very hard to go back through it after already playing it once.
And yet, I still like Roxas as a character and the tranquil and melancholy setting of Twilight Town. The Roxas vs Axel and unveiling of the 2 Keyblades is a highlight at the climax of the prologue... and I could consider it being one of the best moments in the entire game. Yoko Shimomura does legendary GOAT things again (can never not bring up her amazing work on this series), and the 13th Struggle boss theme elevates the fight between the two former friends even further.
Unfortunately, after the tearful farewell from Twilight Town and the beginning of the adventure, the game nosedives again... unlike the first game which felt like it did a much better job trying to merge the KH original story with the Disney stories, for the first 10 or so hours of KHII, you are forced to speed through the Disney stories before you can get to the more interesting stuff... This kills me about this game every time I play it - having to force myself through a more condensed, poorly voice acted, Disney movie is, to put it mildly... not great... combine that with the world/level design which, outside of a few areas, isn't that great either.
I'm just sick of KH games rehashing the Disney movies verbatim. It isn't until you visit Hollow Bastion for the second time and revisit the Disney worlds does the actual game's story kick-in and the game picks up immensely. After this point (more than halfway in...) does the game become great. And it finally maintains its upward momentum up to and through the ending.
The battle system, especially once you have all the Drive Forms and Abilities, is where the game truly shines - I believe this is the tighest and best combat in the entire KH series by far. If only KH didn't constantly try to introduce new concepts and gameplay mechanics in its subsequent sequels and spin-offs... they had something special here with the gameplay/battle system that they should have kept.
Hopefully, this makes sense as I feel like I've rambled and ranted on this for a while. I still really enjoy KHII, but there have always been things that bothered me about it.