Well, it took a while, but I finally made it all the way through KH2 Final Mix. Since the last time I wrote, I had just opened up the whole world, and was slowly making my way through each level. This game has quite the mix this time around…you got to visit Agrabah, Halloween Town, Atlantica, Hundred Acre Wood and Olympus Coliseum again, plus the Land of the Dragons (from Mulan), Beast’s Castle, Space Paranoids (Tron), Port Royal (Pirates of the Caribbean), the Pride Lands (Lion King), and even The Timeless River from way, way back to Mickey’s first appearance in a cartoon in Steamboat Willy. All the levels were really cool. They all seemed much smaller, but unlocked a bit more as you visited each one a second time later on in the game. Hundred Acre Wood was still a non-battle world, but you were going through playing minigames again to try and help Pooh remember who Sora is (and still adorable). Atlantica this time around wasn’t a battle area either, but more a music-based level where you had to hit the keys and move the sticks to the prompts on screen. The music was cool, but honestly, the sequences were a little tedious. Space Paranoids looked really cool (with all the neon lights and music….pretty much like it was taken right from the movie). Port Royal was an odd world. It’s the only one that was “realistic” (or as realistic as a PS2 game can be). Sora, Donald and Goofy were still in their same clothes, but everything else was way more toned down (from a color perspective), much like the Pirates movies. It was really neat.
Besides the worlds from the movies, you also got to visit Hallow Bastion, which has been totally remade and updated since the last time we were there. There’s not a town on the outskirts of the castle where Cid, Merlin, Yuffie and Leon all ended up. You come back here a few times to fight the Heartless and Organization XIII, and even Sephiroth makes an appearance. The final world is somewhat reminiscent of Castle Oblivion from Chain of Memories, but it’s actually a different place, called The World That Never Was (yeah, very dramatic). This is where the Organization actually lives, and your goal is to make it to the end and battle Xemnas, who is the leader of Organization XIII (who was really the Ansem you fought in the first game, because the real Ansem was a good guy who helped Mickey out…yeah, batshit insane!!). It was a complicated battle with many phases (including one riding a magic flying thing that Riku pilots and you have to chop at enemies). I beat him once, but that wasn’t the end, as there’s more to unlock on a New Game + (which isn’t really a New Game +…you just start the game again at the end, but with more stuff to do). As per usual, I went through and tried to complete everything I could.
This time around, it involved many things….first, collecting all the treasure boxes (and some of them were well hidden). Also, made sure I levelled up my synthesizing skill so I could make the best weapons for Sora, Donald & Goofy. I didn’t synthesize everything (that would have taken way too long), but I got the most important parts of it all. Final Mix introduced a bunch of new stuff to do too. There were these puzzle pieces spread over the world which you needed to collect and assemble. They brought back the mushrooms from the old games, but this time there are 13 of them, and each one asked you to do a specific task, like kill it in 20 seconds, or pick out the fake one. To me, these were the hardest tasks to do in the whole game….I probably killed 15 hours just retrying these guys over and over. There was a super boss called the Lingering Sentiment. He was alluded to in one of the final videos of the game (once you beat it the first time), but you really have no context for him. Once you battle him, you see he mistakes you for someone else, and tries to kill you. He was crazy….he had the maximum number of health bars you can have (I think 18-20), and took about 45 minutes to kill. He was rough, but somewhat predictable. It was more of an endurance match than anything. There were also these Absent Silhouette battles where you faced off against all the Organization XIII members that you defeated in Chain of Memories. Those were a bitch too, but not nearly as bad as what was to come. The final task was a secret area found in Hollow Bastien called the Cave of Remembrance. This was a challenging level where you had to use all the skills you had (like glide, double jump, etc) to navigate, and once you got to the end, you had to battle all 13 Organization members, only this time they were all much, much harder. I probably attempted each one 15-20 times (sometimes more), as they all employed the same tactics as their previous battles (either as the Absent Silhouette or the level boss battles), but this time they had WAY more health. They were killer, but I still think the mushrooms were harder. After completing all this though, and you beat the game (again), you get an extra ending video showcasing what might be coming (which extends from the one you saw earlier with the 3 Keyblade masters).
Overall, I loved the game. I was thinking all the Organization XIII stuff would just be dumb, but knowing that they’ve expanded on them in later games (which I have no idea about), I really appreciated it this time around. I also really loved the gameplay too. There was much less focus on platforming (except the Cave of Remembrance, but it wasn’t too bad), and way more on the cool fights. I’m really excited about what’s to come next.
I’ll be playing the DS game 358/2 days next (I’ve actually already started….been trying to complete this blog post for a while). I’ll be posting initial impressions shortly.
Thanks for following along, and until next time…