Only one more week until Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance comes out!
I’d look for a better quality gif, but I won’t dare go near any Kingdom Hearts tumblrs right now, when I could get accidentally spoiled! Anyways, found this one on GifSoup.
Time for another spoiler warning. I’ll be discussing what was revealed about Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance in trailers, previews, and previous games, as well as the plots for worlds that appear in the game. So if you want to go into the game completely blind, please don’t look any further. Also, if you’re the kind of fan who does like spoilers and already knows how the game ends, PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS. Thank you.
Ready? Okay, onward!
(Picture found on IGN)
10. The Return of Vanitas
Few characters can actually get me to SQUEE out loud just by appearing in a trailer- with Vanitas, I did it twice. First of all, it’s Vanitas. Second, he’s shown talking to Sora. Unfortunately, we never see Sora’s reaction to an evil version of himself, and Vanitas just suddenly appears next to Young Master Xehanort before Xehanort leaves. So it’s possible that he isn’t physically there and it’s meant to symbolize something. Can Sora even see him?
But if Vanitas actually returns to the series somehow, that could mean a battle between him and Sora, and who doesn’t want to see that? Then there’s the possibility of what could happen if an evil version of Sora was on the loose now, with Sora being the important Keyblade wielder that he is. If Vanitas found a way to change his hair and eye color, no one could tell them apart, and things could turn really crazy, really fast.
This is all speculation, of course, because he only appeared once in the trailers, and it doesn’t look like he was there for very long (unless the trailer was purposefully cut up to make it look that way). Still, if Vanitas is making an appearance in a game that takes place over ten years after he died, it sounds like the writers are planning to bring him back. Let’s hope they do it in a way that makes sense and develops his character further!
9. The Super Secret Bonus Ending
Almost every Kingdom Hearts game (except 358/2 Days) has one of these, and they always leave us fans screaming for the next installment. They also get progressively better with each game, and as we get closer and closer to finally getting our hands on Kingdom Hearts 3, I’m sure the writers of the series plan to raise our anticipation levels even more. The regular ending is supposed to be shocking as well, so I’m excited to see how the story continues to unfold.
8. Trying out the gameplay, especially Flowmotion
Oh yeah, the actual game.
This probably makes me a heretic among gamers everywhere, but when it comes to video games, it’s almost always the story that attracts me, not how to play the game. The gameplay is always just kind of there, in the back of my mind, as an important element in making the story fun to experience, but that’s about it.
But then Square-Enix released Birth by Sleep, and that was the first time that I was suddenly aware of how much I enjoyed playing it as a game, not just as a means to experience a good story. I loved the Command Board, the Mirage Arena, and the general battle gamplay with the Command slots and the special Limit attacks. And given that so many of the worlds were new and had new areas to explore with three different, lovable characters, and they all faithfully replicated classic Disney movies, Square-Enix managed to pull off an unbelievable feat. They got me to love level grinding.
It looks like Dream Drop Distance is continuing in this direction by keeping the Command slots, but now Square’s adding even more to the gameplay, with Flowmotion that allows the characters bounce off walls, swing off lamp posts with their Keyblades, slide down ramps, and basically do all sorts of crazy tricks using their surrounding enviornment. AWESOME. Needless to say, I can’t wait to try it out!
7. Riku: The Final Redemption
How is Riku awesome? I would try to count the ways, but that’d be like asking me to count the number of grains of sand on the beach.
Not only is Riku one of the best developed characters in Kingdom Hearts, but he is also one of my favorite characters with a redemption arc. His path to maturity wasn’t filled with sunshine and roses and puppy dogs named Dug, which made it feel more realistic to me.
Throughout Reverse/Rebirth, the other game with Riku as a playable character, he constantly struggled to resist Xehanort’s temptations, and twice, Xehanort was about to overpower him when Mickey stepped in to save the day. He’s also had to battle his own massive guilt for the things he did in the first game. Often, it took Mickey, or Sora, or Kairi to pull him up again and remind him that they still loved him, no matter what. And that’s how life is. It’s not easy to resist temptation, and God knows, when I make mistakes, I like to beat myself up about it. That makes Riku’s story all the more powerful; in spite of all the pitfalls, he still keeps moving forward. Even if he needs to lean on a friend’s shoulder for a while, he keeps going and doesn’t give up.
Now, with Dream Drop Distance, it looks like we’re finally going to see the culmination of Riku’s battle with his inner darkness, in which he emerges triumphant. The trailer even shows Xehanort standing over him, saying, “I don’t know how you did it. But you really have found a way to trap darkness inside your heart.” And Riku just stares back at him with a little smirk. This game cannot get in my hands fast enough.
6. General Bromance
Given that this is a game that stars Sora and Riku, bromance was pretty much guaranteed from the get-go. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it at first, because the entire series has been Sora-and-Riku-this, Sora-and-Riku-that, and I’d love to see some more of the spotlight shone on their friendship with Kairi. Speaking of Kairi, when is Kingdom Hearts going to show some epic girl friendships along with the bromances?
That said, I really do adore the bromances in Kingdom Hearts. Part of what I love about Riku is how his close friendships with Sora and Mickey (and Kairi) help him to get through his darkest hours, so any reference to that is most welcome. It looks like Axel and Roxas are also back for more epic friendship moments, with Roxas doing an adorable imitation of his best friend’s catchphrase, and Axel doing something dangerous to help the heroes.
I just hope that Square doesn’t let the boys have the heartwarming friendship moments all to themselves. Sisterly love is just as wonderful! Got that memorized?
See, Roxas gets it!
(Picture found on KH Wiki)
On that note…
5. Lea and Yen Sid. Together. Planning stuff. WHAT DOES IT MEAN???
This might sound silly, but I am really excited over Yen Sid giving Lea orders to do something dangerous. Considering they used to be enemies, albeit in an indirect way, it’ll be interesting to see what drives Yen Sid to seek this former Nobody’s help. We also know from the trailers that Lea is going to confront Maleficent and Pete to save Mickey’s group, so that’s probably when they team up. (Maleficent vs. Axel? YES!)
Also, despite leaving me underwhelmed when I first played Kingdom Hearts 2, Axel/Lea has become one of my favorite characters. I’d like to see him at least get some closure with Roxas and Sora, possibly Saix too. And even though almost all of the worlds in Kingdom Hearts are based on Disney movies, only a handful of Disney characters get involved in the overarching plot. The rest are just people that Sora & co. befriend and help out. So, every time someone like Maleficent or Yen Sid interacts with someone like Axel, a character who isn’t just hopping from world to world but is only doing plot-related things, I get super-excited. What I really want in future Kingdom Hearts games is to see other Disney characters, like Aladdin, Cinderella, or Mulan, do more than just fight the random Heartless, but actually aid Sora in his quest. Overhear Xehanort plotting with Braig/Xigbar and pass the information along to Sora. Do something cool with the other Princesses of Heart. Take part in the final battle. Save Terra from himself. Anything would get me excited at this point.
4. Finding out what Master Xehanort’s plotting now
“Master Xehanort!” Mickey squeaks, as he and Riku face off against every single Xehanort incarnation from the series, “We were right about you!”
Right about what??? I’m shaking in my (Organization-style) boots just thinking about what he could be trying to do to the heroes now. Granted, in Birth by Sleep, Master Xehanort had the benefit of being a villain in a prequel where everybody disappeared, so Square Enix didn’t have to worry about making him intentionally stupid so the heroes could win. That might change in future installments, since, y’know, the heroes have to win. But they’re not out of the woods yet, and the games have been building up just how far Xehanort’s gone to ensure that his plans succeed, so it’s just as likely that Sora, Riku, and company have a LONG road ahead of them. Which means lots of epic cutscenes and thumb-aching battles for us gamers! Whoo-hoo!
3. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Square-Enix is finally adding one of the best Disney animated features of all time to Kingdom Hearts. Need I say more?
I might as well. I’m more interested in how Riku’s story plays out than Sora’s, because Riku is the perfect original KH character to challenge Frollo. Like the judge, he started out arrogant and confident that he was strong enough to do whatever he wanted without real consequences. But unlike Frollo, he came so close to losing everything and everyone he cared about at the end of Kingdom Hearts, and developed into a more mature character as a result. While Frollo blames everyone else, including God, for his failures and insists that he’s a good Christian, it’s Riku that best exemplifies the spirit of Christianity by admitting his own mistakes and striving to make himself a better person. He can also relate to Quasimodo’s self-esteem issues and being at the wrong end of a love triangle (if you believe in Sora/Kairi).
Even if the writers don’t play around with those connections, it’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It’ll still be awesome!
2. Tron: Legacy (Or: Why Kevin Flynn Needs to Go Back to Friendship School with Professor Sora)
I’m mostly excited about this:
YES. THANK YOU, SORA.
(Picture found on IGN.com)
I think Tron: Legacy is a flat-out awesome movie and I love it to pieces. But the fate of Tron really bothered me- because it didn’t seem to bother Kevin Flynn as much as it should have. I realize that he needed to focus his attention on the giant army that Clu 2.0 was about to set loose on the real world. But when Kevin finds out that Rinzler was a brainwashed Tron the whole time, all he does is gape in horror for about a split second and then goes back to worrying about Clu, as if nothing happened. Keep in mind, up until that point, Kevin thought that Tron had died protecting him from Clu. Also, that might not have happened if he had listened to Tron’s warnings about Clu.
Most people would feel horribly guilty about a friend sacrificing his sanity and his life to save them, and they’d express some desire to save that friend. But all Kevin does is say, “Tron…what have you become?”
I’m going to assume he felt bad, but it bothers me how he just puts it aside, like it’s nothing, and our heroes don’t have a single conversation about trying to save him and reprogram him back to his original function. There isn’t even an exchange between Kevin and Sam like, “Gee Dad, can’t we help Tron?” “No, son. I wish we could, but there’s no time for that!” Nothing at all. And then, when Tron reawakens himself and sacrifices his life for real to stop Clu from killing the heroes…all they do is cheer, as if they cleverly escaped Clu all by themselves.
Out of all the Disney characters that Sora befriended in past games, he and Tron shared a particularly close bond. Sora is also the kind of character that never, ever turns his back on his friends, regardless of the circumstances. So I’m really looking forward to that plot issue being resolved in Dream Drop Distance. Even if it ends tragically, like in the movie, at least this game will treat Tron’s reprogramming as something the characters should be concerned about.
Oh yeah…and LIGHT CYCLE RACES ON THE GRID!!!!! If only “Derezzed” could be a battle theme in this world; then it would be absolutely perfect!
Speaking of battle themes…
1. The glorious soundtrack
Kingdom Hearts fans tend to disagree on a lot of things: characters, the story, which game was better, whether a game was complete waste of time, the difficulty level, etc. But one thing everyone unites over is the beautiful soundtracks that Yoko Shimomura continues to produce. When Birth by Sleep and 358/2 Days came out in Japan, I listened to all the tracks on YouTube before the games arrived in North America. But this time I decided to stay away from all but a select few, like “Dearly Beloved,” because I was afraid of accidentally running into spoilers. So almost the entire soundtrack is new to me. And this time, I won’t have to import the CD because it’s coming to North America!!! You DO love us after all, Square Enix!
Anyways, I don’t need to speculate over the quality of the soundtrack. I know it will be fantastic.
Sorry for the extreme length of this post, guys! So, anyone who wants to comment, what are YOU looking forward to seeing/playing in Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance?