-Time to head back to Traverse Town because all other roads are closed! I receive a Gold star when I dive as Sora, which nets me a rare command as a reward. Shoulda guessed they would try something like that, so I guess I have to go back to other worlds now and try to Gold Star them as well. Mine is a rough and challenging life.
-Sora seems to be surprised he's back in Traverse Town, but he's soon faced with an even bigger surprise- it’s Fab Jazzy J, sitting on the top of a building and telling us oh so cattily that he’s waited a long time for us. Doesn’t Sora know it’s rude to keep a diva waiting?
-Sora points out that Joshua COULD have waited for him on the ground like a normal person, and this momentary instance of Sora sporting the sassypants makes Joshua bemoan the fact Sora ”is turning more into Neku every day.”
-It’s hard out there for a god-tier manipulator. It’s hard and nobody understands and just calls you on your BS all the time.
-So apparently the two teams have been reunited (Joshua doesn't say how he pulled it off but I'm gonna guess Rhyme's poor portal has seen a lot of traffic), but their latest objective in the Reapers Game is to kill a Dream Eater that can spawn hundreds of copies of itself. So maybe Sora and Riku with their big strong Keyblades could help them out with this teensy little favor? Sora is gung-ho-ready to go and is sure Riku feels the same way, and when Joshua points out that he technically has no way to verify that Riku is by his side what with the whole alternate dimension deal Sora just pats his chest and says he knows. It takes all of Joshuas divine will to resist the temptation to pat the puppy.
-Luckily Sora then says Joshua and his friend (don’t know which one he means) are also lucky to have each other, so Joshua can mask his overwhelming "daww"-feels by snarking at Sora.
-”I appreciate you saying that with conviction, even though you have no idea what you’re talking about~.”
-Stay sassy, Jazzy J. Stay sassy.
-Soooo... are they still playing the Reapers Game, even if they’re no longer in Shibuya? How does that work? Are there Dream Eaters back in AU!Shibuya instead of Noise and this was their task before they got sent over to Traverse Town? Weren’t they brought here to get away from the game while their world recuperates from being swallowed by darkness? Is Shibuya a sleeping world, or was it awakened when Sora saved the worlds way back when? How long has Joshua been trying to put his crew of Humpty Dumpties together again, and should I just stop questioning stuff and move on?
-Let’s do that. Off we go to help Neku and Shiki…
-When we arrive Neku and Shiki are fighting the Nightmares on their own since the system from TWEVY is apparently back to power.
-I say apparently because I see a green lightpuck pass between them, even if they’re both still in the same world and we don’t see them use any Psychs.
-SO INCLUDING AND EASY FOR NEWCOMERS TO UNDERSTAND.
-Shiki gets knocked assbackwards into a fountain and spends some time flailing her legs around, but Sora sweeps in to the rescue! Not that Neku wants it. I-it's not like he NEEDS Sora or anything! Que a fight that’s actually challenging, for once. The enemies are throwing status effects up my metaphorical wazoo including dark (which makes us unable to target opponents and minimizes the screen to a tiny circle), paralysis which locks us in place (though we can attack) and one attack that makes us unable to use commands. PRETTY DARN STRESSFUL when that familiar ”low HP” chime starts up.
-I manage to kick ass and win a ”Sliding Sidewinder”-command, whereupon we get a little moment with Neku, Shiki and Sora. Shiki tells Sora she’s heard all about him from Neku, and Sora proceeds to be adorable.
Sora: ”Girl you shoulda heard Neku he was looking everywhere for you and was so despondent and totally cried and talked about how he needed you :)”
*Neku tries to desperately cut Sora off*
Sora: ”But Neku you said so many nice things about her why are you so upset? :) ”
-Oh god, Neku’s just… SHAKING IN IMPOTENT FURY. And when Shiki told him he’s sweet:
Neku : ”I need you to stop annoying me (actual quote).”
-Joshua realizes the wold can't handle such massive tsun-levels, and intercedes to remind us that the Dream Eater who summoned all the monsters escaped to Rikus side of the world, so we have to trap it in one place and finish it off simultaneously.
-And I'm certain vagblocking Shiki was just a nice bonus.
-And when the gang runs off to enact the plan Neku stops and asks Joshua if they’re really gonna make it home.
”Give up on yourself, and you give up on the world~.”
”… I have the strangest feeling of deja vu right now.”
”Is it usually followed by a feeling of dissatisfaction because the last time was much more poignant, heartfelt and satisfying?”
”… That too happens, but usually not to me. Honest. Ask anyone else and they'll tell you I give great deja vu! It’s not easy performing under pressure! Maybe it's you, ever thought about that?!”
-Neku tells Joshua they’ll go home together because they are tomodachis and whatnot, and Joshua remarks that maybe it’s Neku that’s turning into Sora. And we can't have that- dumb Jesus-types are Joshuas elemental weakness!
-AND OFF WE GO. But first we drop because the meter is getting pretty darn low.
-… So that was informative.
-Riku drops back into Traverse Town (which is a surprise for him as well, for reasons I can't fathom), and has a lenghty chat with Joshua on what is up. Riku quickly surmises that Sora has also arrived solely from Joshuas choice of words, leading to this little exchange.
”Bravo Riku- why can’t he be this quick on the uptake~?”
”Yeah, well, Sora’s a little…”
*Awkward laughter on both ends*
-I'd frown at this, but Sora abandoned Bruce to get reprogrammed- Riku giving his buddy some shit behind his back ranks pretty low on the scale of friendbetrayals.
-Riku goes off to get stuff done, but Joshua isn't finished: he's found out something quite interesting. When the pairs were reunited, their hand-timers had somehow become desynchronized: some had more time left than others which causes Joshua to doubt that they’re parallel worlds.
-Actual Riku qoute: ”So what? That’s true of every two worlds. Their home world would be running on a different time axis too.”
-When he figured this out I have no idea. Looks like SOMEONE fancies themselves a metaspatial quantum-scientist all of a sudden, throwing fancy words and stating things like it’s obvious.
-Okay I’m not gonna be so grumpy because they DO in fact pontificate further on this part. Joshua says that while every world does run on it’s own time-line (which if I interpret it correctly could mean that a year in Atlantica is not a year in Disney Castle), he had presumed the two Traverse Towns were parrallel yet equal in all aspects- time would flow the same in both. Riku suggests one is the ”future” version and one is the ”past” but Joshua isn’t buying that either. I don’t know HOW he makes the jump but apparently Joshua thinks that the two worlds are two different dreams of the same world, and if I’m interpreting him correctly it may be so that time is dependent on Sora and Riku participating in the worlds: time moves relative to THEM?
-Meaning that they’re the ”masters” of the dream and that any accomplishments Joshua and friends reach may be pointless because it's all about Sora and Riku… presumably.
-Truth be told I’m extrapolating a lot here, because once more- I. DON'T. KNOW. HOW. DREAM WORLDS. WORK.
-Showing me something is strange is just going to make me shrug my shoulders because WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO COMPARE IT WITH?
-Although I will say it’s nice to have the game actually go more into detail how dream worlds are supposed to work.
-ONLY TOOK THEM ABOUT TWENTY HOURS.
-The chat ends with Riku saying he’s heading over to the plaza to get shit done.
”Wow. I’m running out of bravos~” (actual quote).
-Okay seriously there can be no pants sassier in this game than Jazzy Jays pants. He probably has them handsewn from that fancy Dragon-brand. And on that note time to have Riku team up with Beat and Rhyme. I predict this will be very silly.
-My predictions were correct.
-Because as soon as Riku shows up Beat starts playing the tough guy, which lasts about five seconds until Rhyme points out that Beat was totally clamoring for his silven-haired saviour and his deep electric blue orbs and whatnot. Beat freaks out while Rhyme makes causal small talk with Riku, prompting Beat to tell her to stop ”garnishing” his reputation (”You burned that bridge all by yourself”), and it all devolves into a very loving and surely platonic squabble amongst siblings who never let anyone know they are siblings.
”Yo Riku, you gonna sit there and let her get in my grill”?
-OH HE’S OPENMINDED he doesn’t care about what you two do to each others grills in your spare time.
- Although Riku does say that ”you two are cut from the same cloth” at least (”I ain’t made of cloth!”) so there is that. And they talk and gambol and laugh and have a frabjous time until the Dream Eater throws a temper tantrum because DAMMIT IT’S HOVERING RIGHT THERE AND YOU WILL RESPECT IT’S AUTHORITAH!
-Except when both Riku, Beat and Rhyme turn their attention to it it decides to summon hordes of beasts and then high-tail it out of there. Riku gives chase and oh man WE FIGHT A HORDE OF DREAM EATER TRICERATOPS.
-It is my eternal sorrow that I can’t immediately build an army of these as soon as I am able to leave the fight and get back in the action.
-Also we win a command that allows me to counter every attack with a dark blast- pretty darn useful I’ll say.
-The chase goes on until Joshua teleports in from the other world with orders to corner the Dream Eater in the third district. We do, and… it teleports back to the other world. Sora apparently beats it quick as lickety split, because Joshua barely has the time to float down, tell a grumpy Beat to stop bitching on how someone else got ”their” kill and show off Beat’s real name before the Keyhole appears and Riku locks the world… a second time.
-For some reason.
-That I’m sure exists and was well-thought out.
-Joshua warns Riku that if the worlds are dreams, they will try and lie to Riku to convince them that they’re real. Which I take to mean that we shouldn’t trust things dream-people, that is Situation XIII, say. And then they all (including Riku) share a laugh at how dumb Beat and Sora are and what a silly name Daisukenojo is. I am not kidding. Riku actually laughs in this game. Because Beat is just that fantastic magic.
-BACK TO SORA.
-So the boss turns out to summon OTHER bosses- the Nightmares Sora has fought so far. And it may just be my diligent over-leveling but I steamroll their asses in one try. I simply go in and use my Dream Links (Rudinudi with his "Roll Call" Dream Link is GREAT when fighting big bosses in cramped spaces) and wail on them until they croak. A few moments later and I’ve hacked my way through three different boss-battles without using much strategy beyond ”hit them hard and often”.
-It is all in vain however as the Spellican (that is what the game calls it) escapes through the worlds Keyhole, and Sora promises to go after it and thus complete the mission for the others. But before he goes Neku says Thank You for the first time ever, Shiki comments that Neku is finally becoming a little bit less of an Awkward Turtle, and laughs are had by all before Sora locks the Keyhole… again. I was almost waiting for the freeze-frame and canned laughter, it's that wholesome and wacky.
-Now onto less wacky business: Maleficent and Pete have travelled to Disney Castle and kidnapped Minnie! Que a stare-down where the standard quips are exchanged, though I must admit I snickered at seeing Maleficent chew out Pete for letting Donald and Goofy insult him straight to his face. Even if Pete is all "whatever lady I'm dumb muscle and I know it", Maleficent expects him to at least ACT like he's a grand champion of darkness. That's... almost sweet, in a way? She wants him to be all he can be!
-Mickey asks what Maleficent wants she says she wants to conquer Disney Castle, but Mickey isn’t buying it.
-”Not even you would go through this much trouble just for that.”
-… what trouble?
-There's not a single guard in the room, from the look of things she pretty much walked right in through open doors and met no resistance whatsoever.
-I can totally believe she would go for such a ripe, unguarded unplucked low hanging fruit.
-But Maleficent admits that Mickey busted her, and starts to… fangirl Xehanort.
-You think I’m being facetious, but I’m not.
-She starts talking about how Xehanort taught her about worlds beyond her own.
-How Xehanort taught her to win a heart to darkness.
-How Xehanort taught her about the seven pure hearts of light.
-I swear to God they couldn’t make her sound more fangirly if they tried. It’s kinda weird.
-She then acts like her first attempts to conquer the worlds failed because ”the worlds were too complex for even me to contain”, whatever that means.
-I guess she means that she couldn’t keep her grip on them all at once and that Sora was unexpectedly strong but godDAMN.
-Actually lets talk about two things right now.
-The writing in this game is so damn FLOWERY.
-Whenever someone starts expo-dumping they do so with as many euphemisms and fancy-sounding words as is humanly possible. It's like someone gave Tetsuya Nomura the Metal Gear-collection and he thought "I can do that, and I can do so in an EVEN MORE OBTUSE MANNER".
-Whoever wrote this did NOT know how to write smart characters because the only time I understand what's going on is when someone like Sora summarizes long scenes of expo-talk HOURS after they're done in a concise, simple manner.
-Everyone else just sounds like they’re writers getting paid by the word, so they crack open an energy drink, open up thesaurus.com and go hog-wild.
-The second is the use of Disney villains and
-On second thought let’s save that for after the recap or we’ll never get this over with.
-Maleficent says she now plans to conquer the worlds in her own way, and in order to do that… she needs the ”world-data” from king Mickey!
-”… World what now?”
-”Darnit Mickey don’t try and act like you don’t remember! I know re:Coded made no rassafrassin’ sense, but some obscure thing in it that nobody remembers is totally what we’re gonna use to conquer the worlds!”
-Yes they won’t let us forget re:Coded.
-Truth be told I never played it, but I did watch a play-through.
-That games story is the most nonsensical and asinine in the entire Kingdom Heart saga.
-I don’t even remember what the world data is and what you can do with it. I actually kinda doubt it was even part of the plot of that game to begin with! But Maleficent wants it so I guess it was actually superimportant ALL ALONG, even if Maleficent won’t tell Mickey what she wants to do with it because
-Having grown tired of negotiations, Maleficent lashes out with dark fire! Mickey is just about to casually bat it out of the way while pretending this is in anyway a big deal or a legit threat against his life after facing down people like Xemnas and Vanitas.
-This is what’s actually going on in this scene and you cannot convince me otherwise.
- But his act is so convincing that Lea, who just arrived via dark portal, thinks he needs to step in and block the attack with one chakram while the other heads for Pete. Pete freaks out and lets go of Minnie, who proceeds to use her Holy spell from KH2 and stunlock both Pete and Maleficent, whereupon the two turn tail and run.
-Mickey turns around to admonish ”Axel” for taking such a risk by using dark portals to enter the castle (which isn't even supposed to work what with the Cornerstone of Light protecting the castle, but lets ignore that because pretty people are talking), but then thanks him for the assist. His response is that he’s thanking the wrong name: he’s "the Lea formerly known as Axel" these days.
-And with that the stage ends and we can move on to my second point. Disney-villains in Kingdom Hearts.
-On the one hand I get it- Disney themselves has said they don't want characters from one movie interfering with the plot of another movie, the only exceptions being the classic crew and apparently Maleficent. So Square-Enixs hands are tied with most of these characters: they can only affect their own worlds and as such they can't hope to become proper shakers and players. As such the only ones left to move the plot along are Square-Enixs OC's. I get that.
-But Maleficent went from queen of darkness and commander of the forces of hell to Xehanorts pawn inbetween KH1-BBS, was pretty much neglected during KH2, her plan in Re:coded was just eyebrow-raisingly convoluted and she was then beaten by a artificial computer recreation of Sora.
-Meanwhile all the Keyblade wielders just get more and more and more powerful and have more and more tricks and tools available to them, but Maleficent can't grow in the same way. She is shackled to canon, and it just ends up unbalanced. When they suddenly try to make her seem frightening and relevant again, I just spend the entire scene going: ”Mickey teleport in and grab your girl. Donald cast Stop on Pete, Goofy throw your shield, someone do something WHY ARE YOU STANDING STILL THIS IS NOT A THREAT TO YOU…”
-And then, as if to prove my point, Maleficent is cast aside by Minnie.
-Never mind how exactly she got inside when the Cornerstone was supposed to protect Disney Castle against the darkness. All I want is for Maleficent to be treated consistently. And to think she was once one of the top dogs of the game… kinda sad, really. Kinda sad.
-Real short world this time, but I’m not complaining about that, at least. It gave me time to start levelling up my Dream Eaters, whom I now have in quite a surplus. So far:
Bulkhead the Meow Wow, Count the Komory Bat, Knuckles the Pricklemane, Slimer the Toxymander, Charmander the Hebby Repp, Benny the Kooma Panda, Bambi the Yoggy Ram, Bloomindale the Wheeflower, Hornswoggle the KO Kabuto, Snooze the Tama Sheep, Glenn the Sir Kyroo, Kefka the Jestabocky, Max the Majik Lapin, Rudinudi the Escarglow.
-While I’m still liking the fact that each dream Eater gives me a set of buffs and I’ll have to juggle different buffs to properly fight, it is kinda frustrating petting monsters and hoping blindly THIS time will be the time when I finally get around to change its nature in such a way that I get me some new commands.
-And with that said, it is time to get my ass over to another world that will surely be a blast from the past.