I hadn’t really planned on writing anything today…not to say Valentines Day is a call to arms in any serious manner.
That’s not to say it can’t be seriously cute, either.
The urge to write kicked in regardless of what I wanted, which is healthy in a sense. I think I’ve successfully worked in this guilty reflex, where if I game for several hours in a row, it’s my duty to share and entertain, lest I be forgotten entirely. Gaming can be a rather insular experience, which in and of itself has it’s merits and virtues. Though I do believe not enough people are comfortable with the idea of some quality alone time, I also believe, and V-Day may be magnifying this within me: sharing is caring.
As you may have discerned from the posts name, ramblings about Kingdom Hearts are close at hand. I spent a chunk of time today playing some Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix/63 Coded Sleep Drops [chi] or whatever the fuck they’re calling this one. Leave it to Square Enix to fuck up the name of something as simple as an HD Collection, but I’m sure they’re not the only ones with naming issues.
Continued idiocy with naming aside, I was super psyched to finally sit down and play some KH1 after such a long time away from the experience. The choice of game, and what it’s about seemed fitting, considering what today is. I’m referring to of course, the games emotionally dark undertones of struggling to accept reality, and the harsh truth existentialism represents.
Er…I meant hearts and stuff…emotions etc.
It’s actually all in there, if you can believe it, and it’s a pretty god damn manic experience to tell you the truth.
It all just really adds to Kingdom Hearts charm, really. While the games have taken a nose dive into a cluster fuck of convoluted bullshit since day one, the first title still stands out as ambiguous enough to be appropriately come hither with it’s darkness.
Not that the story is what really drives the experience, Kingdom Hearts knows this on some level. With a stable of characters from the likes of Disney and Final Fantasy at the ready, it doesn’t matter what is happening to the characters, but which characters it’s happening to. Getting Mickey Mouse and Sephiroth into the same room will never make any fucking sense, and that’s perfectly god damned reasonable.
Crossovers, no matter what they may be, are always going to be unapologetic fan service, it’s just finding the right creators who know how to say more than sorry when they merge our favorite universes. I speak to the quality content connoisseurs, who know how to imbue value and content into these fictional mash ups. The ones that end up creating meaning beyond the heavy exposition that makes up the light entertainment that it all truly represents.
You know what, asses to the logic of it.
You had me at Jack Skellington.
Again, KH isn’t really trying to boast engaging narrative, more so just fun storytelling, which is fine enough for a game involving Existentialism and Winnie The Pooh. The first game, as mentioned, had just that right contrast of dark undertones covered up by light subject matter, something Square(soft) was a master of in another life time.
Besides, the gameplay always reigns king, and KH has that in spades. Being an action RPG, the game is never short on energy. Between the crazy worlds you pop in and out of, child hood memories crashing in at a moments notice, or being swarmed by a legion of heartless, KH has an excellent pacing about it. Considering this is a game you can easily get 40+ hours out of, it’s an impressive feat…to say the least.
Then again, Square(soft) could most certainly brag about an electrifying streak by the time Kingdom Hearts released.
I know Kingdom Hearts is not officially within the Final Fantasy pedigree, but considering the modern day alternatives, it’s preferable, story nonsense fully intact. I was avoiding (and will continue to avoid) making this post into a “Shit On Square Circus“, as they really need no help in producing any more crap. More my point, Kingdom Hearts quality deserves my attention, it’s just hard to remember the title without the historical context, as it was the only game in the KH series released by Squaresoft, the beauty to Square Enix’s beast. Not to mention one of the last from the RPG Noble, before under going one hell of a transformation (merger).
But I digress.
So yeah, Kingdom Hearts 1 definitely had that cool crispness about it, fun concept, great design. The HD overhaul helps, as the in game aesthetic still totally holds up: the game just has the added benefit of cleaner visuals. The better art direction of any great video game tends to hold up long after the historic fact. A personal example would be why Wind Waker retained more visual charm than Ocarina after their respective times. Not to say both didn’t look good, but Wind Waker’s refined visual antics made it stand out, and that art style most certainly had legs.
The sights in KH are just as enveloping as the sounds, as each track coaxes you right into the mood of the scene. Whether it’s lost in a sea of seething darkness, or bouncing around on a tropical island, the game knows how to make you feel like you belong.
Home is where the heart is.
From a simple combat system to a charming little facade, there isn’t much Kingdom Hearts 1 doesn’t do with fabulous style. Mind you, this isn’t a segway into another 2000 words of analysis contrasting the duality of the experience (which wouldn’t be out of my norm), it’s simply a celebration of hearts and kingdoms lost.
To put it another way, On V-Day, I normally go one of two ways.
First Way: Darkness
Second Way: Fuzzy
As far as my reference to being fuzzy, I would have happily discussed Zelda this very day, but I feel like that has been fucking covered. In any case, if you consider I kicked my day off by murdering hookers in GTA: Vice City, in conjunction with beating A Link Between Worlds, I was simply all over the place in deciding how best to deal with beating hearts.
Needless to say, this odd dynamic gave way to a healthy gambit of emotions, and combined to give me some well needed light, with a healthy dose of darkness. This emotional contrast was rich, and fulfilling, and is likely what drove me to explore my various moods, through the sincere inclination that is Kingdom Hearts.