Swiss Miss with Lucky Charms Review

Two of my favourite things combined how could I say no !

Swiss Miss Lucky Charms is a hot cocoa mix I was gifted for xmas by my younger brother, I love hot cocoa and Lucky Charms so needless to say I am very excited about this, its also very reasonably priced to import so I might buy it more regularly if I like it.

The back of the box is fun enough it has a little rhyme on the back which says ” The charms are no secret, it’s quite clear to see; Their powers are what create the magicality.”

“They swim in your mug, as awesome as can be; Combined with Swiss Miss Cocoa, filling hearts with glee.”

I think Swiss Miss is another brand from the USA maybe we can more of their cocoa in the future.

The dietary requirements say that one cup of this cocoa has

180 calories

3% daily fat

3% daily saturated fat

8% daily sodium

13% daily carbohydrates

3% daily dietary fiber

54% Daily Sugars !

1g protein

So as to be expected not exactly very nutritional so perhaps use this as a treat more than a daily sweet drink

next I heated some milk in a mug, I chose oat milk due to dietary choices but any milk will do, you can also just use water if you are criminally insane 😉

Inside are multiple stitched together packages holding your cocoa mix and the marshmallows

I first added the cocoa and tasted, the flavour is very nice, it reminds me of chocolate cereal milk and I’m not sure if that’s because I’m thinking of cereal however its very creamy and chocolatey, very tasty even on its own

I added the mallows which are just the ones from the cereal but wow if this didn’t remind me of chocolate Lucky Charms it definitely does now !, this is a really good hot cocoa, I hope this isn’t limited edition as I really want more in future but due to its high sugars not too regularly

there isn’t much of a smell to the drink other than cheap cocoa mix but I assure you it tasted much better than the less than inviting scent it gives off !

Overall this is a great idea and a treat I will be trying again and again!

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Kingdom Hearts: An ever expanding series

Well I figure that its finally time to start our journey with the Kingdom Hearts video game series. I figure tackling these games in chronological order makes the most sense as the plot gets fairly complicated. I am using the Kingdom hearts the Story so far disc for the PS4 and will cover each game in chronological order explaining the plots (so be aware, there will be spoilers!) and my brief thoughts on each game.

Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover (Movie)

For the Collection they comprised the plot of the Kingdom Hearts mobile games into a feature length CGI film called Kingdom Hearts Back Cover.

The film covers the orgin of the keyblades and the eye that you see throughout the series, the plot of the story is as follows

The Light of the World is guarded by seven warriors who reside in Day Break Town, they use weapons called Keyblades and they work for a leader known as the Master of Masters. He forsees a distant war that will drown the world in eternal darkness.

He gives his disciples unique roles and tells them to create unions with other Keyblade Wielders to help in the battle, not long after this he disappears and his apprentice Ira is left in Charge.

Ira discovers a small cat creature called a Chirithy which suggests that one of the disciples had given into the darkness, In the meantime the disciples are each trying to form alliances with each other, It is later revealed that Gula has a lost page from the book of prophecies written by the Master of Masters, this page confirms that there is a traitor among the disciples, because Gula had the page Aced strikes her down, thankfully Gula is saved from death by Ava, everyone wants to see the page and is turned away until it is later revealed that Gula intends to summon Kingdom Hearts so they can bring the Master back to Day Break Town

Ava tries to prevent this but Gula goes through with the summon and triggers Kingdom Hearts and triggers all of the events before Keyblade War, Ava decides to gather Keyblade warriors and go into hiding naming them the dandelions, Later on in the Keyblade graveyard Luxu is standing with the No Name and a mysterious black box engraved with the phrase “χ Super”, and intones his master’s mantra, “May my heart be my guiding key.

The entire movie has been uploaded to YouTube for your viewing pleasure and I have attached it here so enjoy

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

Birth by Sleep is a prequel to the events of Kingdom Hearts, it follows three trainee Keyblade warriors who all dream of becoming masters.

Terra (Left) Ventus (Centre) Aqua (Right)

These friends each live in The Land of Departure where they are trained under the Keyblade master Eraqus for many years before Terra and Aqua are able to take the final test before the great master Xehanort to see if they have what it takes to become Keyblade masters. Ventus being too young to take the test instead stands by his friends encouraging them to pass.

The irony of this test is that while all three of these friends become closer while training to pass it, once the test is over it only manages to push them apart, Aqua passes the test but Terra who shows a slither of darkness fails. This darkness is what encourages Xehanort to take Terra on as his personal apprentice to embrace the Darkness. Ventus leaves the Land of Departure to find Terra after he leaves and Aqua now a Keyblade master is giving her first task to spy on Terra in case he turns evil and must return Ventus back to the Land of Departure for his own safety.

The game takes the approach of having five stories Terra, Ventus, Aqua, Final and Secret that all connect together instead of the traditional one singular story.

I have varying opinions on this gameplay style which I will go into after I quickly go over each characters journey

The Disney worlds each character visits are in no particular order

Enchanted Dominion – Sleeping Beauty

Dwarf Woodlands – Snow White

Castle of Dreams – Cinderella

Mysterious Tower – Home of Yen Sid (Wizard from Fantasia)

Radiant Garden (A city and home to Merlin the Wizard and other characters)

Disney Town (Town ruled by Queen Minnie and King Mickey) This is also the minigame world

Deep Space – Lilo and Stich (Before Experiment 626 lands on earth)

Olympus Coliseum – Hercules

Never Land – Peter Pan

Terra journeys with Xehanort with the intent of overcoming his darkness not realising that he is being manipulated to embrace it fully. I really liked his story because he works with the villains of the lands to help them with various schemes mostly playing into the plots of the films.

For example he helps maleficent steal the heart of Princess Aurora while she is sleeping but soon shows remorse, in fact he does end up turning against most of the villains in his story, but because of Xehanort’s influence he cannot escape his fate and ultimately in the end he loses and Xehanort takes over his body in fact this new form for Terra takes ends up being the final battle of the game if you dont count the secret episode.

One very important moment to Terra’s story is when he meets a young boy named Riku on Destiny Islands, he sees something within Riku and gives him his very own Keyblade.

Ventus’s story mainly focussed in him finding Terra and making friends, this is fine but I feel his gameplay is a lot better than his plot. He has some very unique gameplay compared to the other two because he is only character to learn glide (A power granted by Pan which allows you to fly) this makes getting his collectibles very easy but also allows him explore a little better.

He also has a very unique Castle of Dreams stage as he fully remains the size of a mouse and works with Jaq inside of Lady Tremains Manor.

The only really notible thing about his campaign is the reveal of Vantias a fully created embodiment of Ventus’s Darkness which was stripped from him by Xehanort before he was sent to live at the Land of Departure, Vanitas wants to take over Ventus and turn him dark and by the games finale he succeeds and his defeat leaves Ventus in an eternal sleep.

Aqua is the best character in the whole game for may reasons but for me its the fact that she is mage so focusses on magic it mixed up the gameplay for me as I usually just grind to high levels and beat the daylights out of enemies often overlooking the magic systems, I was surprised because I actually really enjoyed the magic system and after a little research I managed to use it to my advantage for powerful and satisfying attacks.

I like her because she has a sense of what’s right and believes in her friends even Terra after he turns Dark, she never gives up on her goals but also doesn’t stop Terra or Ventus when she gets the opportunity. She is technically the main character of the game in fact you play as her in the secret final episode where she wanders the Realm of Darkness seeking an exit back to her world.

Where Terra meets Riku it only makes sense for Aqua to meet her counterpart Kairi who gives her a flower in Radiant Gardens. She does also meet a younger Sora who is the spitting image of Ventus but she doesn’t realise his importance until the reveal in the secret finale.

In the true finale of the game Aqua meets a mysterious hooded man in the Realm of Darkness who tells her of a Hero who has travelled many worlds and slayed many foes. That person is Sora implying that she has been trapped in the Darkness for a very long time in fact I believe this conversation takes place after the events of KH2 and the Hooded man is Ansem the Wise a character we see in BBS briefly in flashbacks but his character and reason for being trapped in the Realm of Darkness is explained later on in the series.

In the world of light Xehanort has amnesia and has taken the form of Dark Terra but is recued by Ansem the Wise (before he is banshied to the Realm of Darkness) and Braig an apprentice of Ansem the Wise who fights Terra and Aqua during their stories.

At the end of the final chapter Aqua finds the Castle of Dreams in the Realm of Darkness and Stares at the castle in Horror before the game ends.

I only one real complaint with Birth Sleep and that is that it gets a little repetitive visiting the same handful of worlds over the three main campaigns but apart from that it was a lot of fun.

I also though the Collectible were great, I enjoyed finding Xehanorts reports which made a good read and the sticker albums were really cute and a nice little distraction from the main plot.

The majority of these games have at least one mini game world which is not fully necessary to complete, in this case its Disney Town, where you can race hovercrafts, play volley ball with fruit, access a giant pinball machine and play a cute ice cream themed music game. In each campaign one of these games has to be played but never all of them each time.

Disney Town also introduces players to Pete a regular villain in the series, at the end of this worlds story he is cast into another dimension by Queen Minnie but is contacted by Maleficent who offers to release him if he works with her. This plot plays into the future titles.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep 0.2 a Fragmentary Passage

A Fragmentary Passage is often quoted as being a tech demo for Kingdom Hearts 3, it follows Aqua on a ten year journey through the Realm of Darkness as she is starting to let her inner darkness take over.

The game is very simple and extremely short as it is only there to fill in the gaps of Aqua’s story. After finding the Castle of Dreams in the Realm of Darkness Aqua soon discovers all of the other lands from Birth by Sleep, the gameplay has her committing to small tasks like fixing a bridge or defeating her mirror self but the story doesn’t really get interesting until she finds memories of Terra and Ventus.

These memories cause Aqua to see some hope that she has finally found them but also under fears that they too have fallen to the Darkness, after a few stages of chasing them she finally catches up and is able to communicate with Terra, Terra cannot see Ven, they have both partially been taken by Darkness but because Terra’s heart has ties to the darkness his memory can see and communicate with Aqua but for some reason he cannot see Ventus while Aqua can, I think this is because he is mostly Darkness while Aqua and Ventus as mostly made up of good energies, in fact we see that Terra is struggling when Master Xeanhort in his Dark Terra form tries to enter the Realm of Darkness through Terra, Terra only barely manages to fight him off.

After this encounter she meets King Mickey who came to the Realm of Darkness to rescue her, they both travel deeper into the Realm and eventually find the remains of Destiny Island, they find the door to Kingdom Hearts and intend to close it, we are unsure on whether he was successful as Aqua is sent further into the Realm of Darkness but this time feeling more hopeful.

Back in the Mysterious Tower Yen Sid tells Riku and Kairi that Riku is the cause of Aqua falling into the Darkness and didn’t tell Riku because he was concerned that either him or Sora would attempt a futile rescue.

Sora comes into the room later on and is told he failed his test of mastery as Xehanort nearly took over using Sora’s darkness. Because of this Sora, Donald and Goofy head into the Gummy Ship and head to the Olympus Coliseum to seek advice from Hercules who once lost his god like powers and earned them back, the game ends and this ties into Kingdom Hearts 3.

This was a fun little game, it was very short and dark but overall it was worth playing but I dont know if I would do it again, this wasn’t much compared to other games in the series but it was nice to see just how long Aqua has been lost for. from this point on we will be discussing Sora’s journey from the beginning to the end and its good to keep in mind that Aqua has been wandering the Realm of Darkness in search of her friends during the events of the rest of the series.

Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts is the first chapter in Sora’s journey, it takes place at the exact moment that Mickey meets Aqua in the realm of Darkness, in fact the plot of the game revolves around Donald and Goofy seeking out the Keyblade Master (According to the prophecy this is Sora).

At the same time that Goofy and Donald are sent to Traverse Town, Destiny Island the home to Sora, Riku, Kairi and some other kids is over taken by Darkness.

This is due to the games villain Ansem the Seeker of Darkness, He is the hooded figure that appears to Sora and also he sets up all of the events of the game including Maleficent stealing all seven hearts of the Disney Princesses, of course some of these she had already obtained in BBS so here she is only gathering those which remain.

Riku is taken away by this Dark Power created by Ansem thus leaving Sora to fight the Heartless, he try’s to find save Kairi before she falls through a mysterious door, Sora also falls through and wakes up in Traverse Town where he meets up with Donald and Goofy.

In Traverse Town Sora also meets with Leon (FF8), Yuffie (FF7) and Aeris (FF7) they have also lost their world to the darkness and after realising that Sora is the chosen one they choose to help him with basic uses of the Keyblade to help prepare him for fighting the darkness. Not long after this a small boss fight with a giant Heartless occurs and Sora, Donald and Goofy enter the gummi ship and begin exploring various worlds to find Sora’s friends and the king.

I feel this is a good time to quickly go over the Disney worlds represented in this game, in no particular order we have

Deep Jungle (Tarzan)

Wonderland (Alice and Wonderland)

Monstro (Pinocchio) Inside of the Whale

Olympus Colosseum (Hercules) An area specifically made up of Challenging boss fights and lots of enemies

Atlantica (Little Mermaid)

Halloween Town (Nightmare before Christmas)

Neverland (Peter Pan) On Hooks ship.

Hundred Acre Woods (Winnie the Pooh) The mini game world

Not a Disney world but worth mentioning that Radiant Garden returns with its original name Hollow Bastion.

All of these Disney worlds pretty much follow the story of the movie’s in which they are based on so there isn’t much to go over with them but some of them do stand out to me.

The first notably interesting world is Deep Jungle I really like that along side basic game play this world has some very unique ways of exploration, you can swing from vines and slide down tree trunks, once you beat the world a really fun sliding game is unlocked where you can collect fruits and slide throughout the world of Tarzan.

Monstro is unique because it takes a design that it very complicated and is practically a labyrinth, I can see why people would dislike this world but its one of my favourites because I love Pinocchio and its the first time we really see Riku has been manipulated to turn to the darkness and wants power this is very similar to Terra in BBS.

Atlantica and Halloween Town are worth bringing up because they both change up the design of the main trio, I always like this because it is a lot of fun to see different costumes, I almost wish there was a costume shop in the game so we could try out lots more.

I liked the mini game world here it was better than what BBS gave us but honestly the games were a little bit too simple and easy for my liking, at least it gave us a cute little side story and a very useful XP boosting prize for completing it.

In the game every world you finish closes a keyhole and what a lot of people do not realise is that this does include both Hundred Acre wood and Olympus Colosseum so make sure you do both of these to make the most out of the cutscenes.

There is a boss fight with Hades that is worth beating from a story telling narrative but the Hades Cup in the Colosseum is very challenging and will likely require some time grinding XP.

As you advance towards that final Keyhole in Hollow Bastion you have a handful of very challenging fights, the first against Riku is very memorable because he actually steals your Keyblade leaving you beat him a wooden sword, after this you get your weapon back but the fights continue to get tougher. There is another against Riku before you take on his new master Maleficent, she has two forms and the second is very tough I struggled to beat her at level 50 on standard mode so that should give you an idea on how tough this was.

It’s worth mentioning that the plot with Pete from BBS is not mentioned in this game but he does turn up in later titles.

After closing the final Keyhole its time for our three heroes to enter the End of World and get ready to fight Ansem the Seeker of Darkness.

I highly recommend level grinding XP as much as you can before this fight it has multiple rounds with no breaks in between and even on the standard difficulty it is brutal, I beat the game at level 78 and even then this fight was not a complete breeze.

After beating Ansem, Sora finds the Door to Kingdom Hearts and kills Ansem the Seeker of Darkness with the power of light. King Mickey appears along side Riku who now is back in control of his own body, they help close the door from the inside and lock it with their keyblades both knowing that they may never return and light is brought back to all of the kingdoms. Kairi finally appears at the end but is unfortunately taken back to Destiny Island once the worlds seperate and return to their regular states. but a determined Sora vows to reunite them again.

Sora, Donald and Goofy continue their journey to find the King once again before they are interrupted by Pluto carrying a letter from Mikey, they chase him down ready for their next adventure.

The Secret Ending takes place one year later, a mysterious keyblade wielder finds Riku who demands to know where Sora is. In the Finals Mix version of the game an additional secret ending shows the mysterious figure fighting the Oath Keeper in an epic battle, he finally spots Riku who asks of Sora’s where abouts.

Another Scene then shows this figure approaching Ansem the Wise in the Realm of Darkness in the same area where he met with Aqua previously.

I love this game so much but it isnt perfect, it does definitely feel like the first in the series which is too be expected but for the most part it is great. What I feel falls short here is actually the side content there are a lot of things to do in this game and some of these tasks are very repetetive and boring. Finding the Dalmatians is not too bad but when on top of that to get the best ending you also need to get all of the trinity marks, find and beat every mini game, interact with every character and collect ever single Ansem report it is a lot.

It wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t have to go back to worlds to collect the majority of these, the game doesn’t really guide you very well in what areas you might have missed something, the worlds don’t have a checklist so without a walkthrough its hard to know where to look.

The other complaint I have is the gummy ship segments they are very boring and repetitive but luckily you do get the ability to fast travel to worlds you have already visited later in the game so its not so bad.

Let me reiterate how much I adore this game, I have a lot of Nostalgia for it but it is hard to look past the few problems I feel it does have. I truly believe this is a must play game for anyone and is the KH game I recommend playing first if you’ve never played the series. It has a great story and gives a good example of what type of commitment is expected to fully enjoy the series.

Kingdom Hearts : Chain of Memories

Originally a Gameboy advance title, Chain of Memories was remade into a 3D action RPG for the PS2 and that is the version I am talking about here.

So this going to be short because I didn’t manage to finish this one, I couldn’t get used to the battle system and even on beginner mode I really struggled with it which is embarrassing to admit but I do need to be honest.

I know a little bit about how the game works so I will show that but from a plot summary I think I’m going to get some help with this one.

In the game you have a card deck which you build using different types such as magic, summons, attacks etc, then in the usual Kingdom Hearts style you can endlessly defeat enemies to gain XP but difference here is you need to attack in the order of your deck so for example ATTACK, ATTACK, FIRE MAGIC, GENIE SUMMON, SIMBA SUMMON, ATTACK, HEAL might be in that order in the deck so you will have to use those cards in that exact order. This means that during boss fights you might need to change the deck order about a bit, this is what I couldn’t understand, this is likely because I have only just managed to wrap my head around turn based RPG’s so I’m not exactly a strategic gamer.

When you level up you have to pick either health increase, card point increase (allows more cards in your deck) or sleights (Combining cards to do heavy hitting attacks).

And thats about all I got from this game, I really did not like the battle system, for me it was frustrating, it made me genuinely quite depressed and I really didn’t have the motivation to keep playing it.

I have seen the remaining cutscenes on YouTube but I wont try to write a plot summary myself and I cant guarantee it will be right as I didn’t fully experience the game. I will say though that for the games in this collection that are only cutscenes, I will be writing the summaries for myself as there is no gameplay involved at all !

This is a plot summary from Wikipedia, it seems accurate that it lines up well with the cutscenes I have seen so I will let you read this and we can move onto Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 days which I promise will have as good of an effort put into as I did the first Kingdom Hearts game.

Chain of Memories Plot Summary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_Hearts:_Chain_of_Memories#Plot

Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Jiminy Cricket walk down a winding path in search of Riku and King Mickey. A man dressed in a black, hooded coat appears and directs Sora towards a massive fortress called Castle Oblivion.[10] Upon entering, the travelers realize that they have forgotten all their abilities.[16] The hooded man explains that the deeper they go into the castle, the more memories they will lose, but they will also uncover new memories in the process.[20] He creates a deck of cards made from Sora’s and his friends’ memories, and tells them that everything they encounter in this castle will be based on their memories.[6]

Sora ascends the castle, facing off against other hooded figures who form a group called “the Organization” along the way. As Sora loses his memories, he gradually appears to remember a girl named Naminé as an old friend of his, and learns from Organization member Larxene that she is being held prisoner in the castle.[21] He also clashes with a replica of Riku created and controlled by another Organization member, Vexen, and believed by both Sora and the replica himself to be the real Riku. Axel, an Organization double agent, releases Naminé and allows her to meet Sora in person. Sora discovers Naminé to be the one manipulating his memories, having been forced to do so by Marluxia, the lord of Castle Oblivion and the figure who lured Sora there, as part of his plan to overthrow the rest of the Organization with Larxene.[22] Sora climbs to the highest floor and defeats Marluxia, after which Naminé puts Sora and his friends into pod-like machines to help them regain the memories they have lost, even though they will forget the events that transpired in the castle.[23] Before they are put to sleep, Sora and Naminé promise to meet again as real friends once he reawakens, Sora firmly believing that his memories of her and the castle will remain in his heart despite being forgotten.[24]

In Reverse/Rebirth, which occurs congruently with the game’s main story, Riku is transported from the realm of darkness to Castle Oblivion’s deepest basement, and he fights figments of previous enemies to combat his inner darkness as he climbs upwards. Vexen fights Riku to obtain his data and creates his replica to counter Marluxia’s plan. Ansem, still possessing Riku’s body, tries to regain control of Riku, but Mickey’s power keeps Ansem at bay.[25] On the way, Riku battles and defeats Lexaeus, a member of Vexen’s circle, only to be dragged into the realm of darkness. However, he is saved by Mickey when Ansem nearly succeeds in taking Riku’s body as his own. With Marluxia eliminated by this time, another of Vexen’s allies, Zexion, attempts to dispose of Riku by drowning him in light. Riku is saved by Naminé disguised as Kairi, who helps him to control his darkness, allowing him to defeat Zexion. Riku later meets DiZ, an enigmatic individual interested in Riku who sends him to find Naminé.[26] Riku’s replica, who has since learned of his altered memories, seeks to justify his existence by killing Riku, only to be destroyed by him. Riku chooses to face Ansem upon learning from Naminé that Ansem lives in his heart, and defeats him after DiZ summons him for Riku to fight. Riku then sets out on a journey to utilize both his darkness and his light with Mickey as his companion.[27]

Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days

Unfortunately the Story so Far disc I used only has the cutscenes for this game as well as some text to help fill the players in with the plot, from what I understand this is often considered one of the weaker games in the series so maybe having just the cutscenes wasn’t such a bad thing. I am going to go over the major plot points and briefly cover my thoughts on the new characters and their relationships.

This game takes place at the same time as Chain of Memories, I know this because the plot of that game is talked about in a present tense with characters disappearing because they are working to stop Sora on his journey.

This is Roxas, he was chosen by Xemas the organisations leader to become the 13th member, his job as a Keyblade wielder is to go to various worlds and defeat the heartless to collect hearts, once the members collect enough of these hearts they should be able to create Kingdom Hearts.

The worlds in the game are the same as in both Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, obviously by not playing the game I cannot comment on what the gameplay was like but I must say revisiting these same Disney Worlds is feeling a little old now and I really hope the next game gives us something new !

Roxas is put under training by a Keyblade master called Axel, when Axel is later on sent to Castle oblivion for missions Roxas makes friends with the fourteenth organisation member a young girl named Xion and later on helps her recover her Keyblade after she loses the ability to summon it.

I really love the relationship these three have, the way the friendship was written comes across as very genuine and watching them can be heartwarming at times.

also I really want some of that Sea Salt Ice Cream it looks so good !

Roxas and Xion have a lot in common, they both do not remember their lives before becoming members of the organisation and both of them end up in comas during the game and have visions of Sora’s memories.

Xion keeps going into coma’s and seeing Sora’s memories, this triggers her to break into Castle Oblivion and find out more about herself, Axel tries to stop her but she soon discovers that she is an artificial replica of Roxas in case he ever becomes useless, Roxas was born when Sora sacrificed his heart to save Kairi meaning that he is Sora’s nobody a vessel of a person which is created when they fall to darkness. Xion was created to absorb those memories from Roxas and prevent Sora from ever getting them back.

Xion goes missing for a long time after she makes the discovery of her origins

Roxas and Axel finally discover Xion in Traverse Town where she refuses to go home with Roxas and puts her Keyblade to him, Axel comes out and fights Xion and defeats her they both disappear leaving Roxas alone.

The three friends remain distant after this awkward encounter and hardly speak to one another. Xion is restored and Axel does at one point try to be friends with Roxas but a distrust has grown between all three of them.

Sometime after these events Namine, Kairi’s nobody explains to Diz that Sora’s memories have stopped and if they are not returned he will never wake up from his slumber.

Roxas and Xion begin hanging out again but Axel is nowhere to be seen, Roxas begins having coma’s and becoming weaker when using the Keyblade a role reversal of what was happening to Xion previously, Xion also becomes stronger at the same time which confuses the two of them.

Axel later informs Xion that she is robbing Roxas of his powers making her the more useful vessel.

Xion is taken to Destiny Island by a much older Riku than we have seen previously, his eyes are covered for reasons unexplained and he tells Xion the harsh truth that Sora cannot wake up while she is alive and allows her time think about giving her self up to save Sora.

Meanwhile the organisation secretly sets up a fight to the death between Xion and Roxas but luckily Axel stops the fight and informs them of everything and the three become good friends again and all three consider leaving the organisation.

Xion ultimately decides to leave seeking more answers, Axel stood back and watched her leave the organisation which angers Roxas after being confronted Axel decides to tell Roxas of the truth behind Xion’s purpose and that she needs to be destroyed.

Axel is told that he has no choice but to bring Xion back otherwise he will be completely destroyed, Roxas asks that he atleast not hurt her.

In an unknown realm Riku meets up with King Mickey to inform the King of how the mission to wake Sora is going, Riku has been trying to overcome the influence of his darkness and is worried that one day the darkness might take over him again.

Roxas leaves the organisation in search of Xion, this hurts Axel who truly wants the two of them to remain the best of friends. Xion has gone to speak to Namine who informs her that she is an embodiment of Sora’s memories of Kairi, Xion accepts that these memories are not her own and decides to sacrifice herself to wake Sora.

Axel against his better judgement finds Xion and begs her not to sacrifice her self but she refuses causing the two of them to fight and again Axel winning. After he brings her body back and she wakes up again her heart is still set on her sacrifice so she goes to say goodbye to Roxas and there and then she fully accepts her fate and merges with Sora, her body dying so she can restore his memories of Kairi.

After Xion is gone Roxas goes to find Sora to get Xion back, he ends up fighting Riku who wants to protect Sora, this is an extended version of the fight we see in the secret ending of Kingdom Hearts.

Riku has to accept the darkness within him in order to defeat Roxas, unfortunately this also transforms Riku into Xehanort’s heartless form Ansem it seems a villainous thing to do but deep down we all know that Sora has to be awakened in the end no matter the cost.

Roxas is put into a virtual version of Twilight Town with no memories of his time with the organisation waiting for when he is ready to be merged with Sora, finally awakening him

A bitter sweet ending to say the least but it does make a lot more sense to the beginning of Kingdom Hearts 2 which really confused me when that game originally came out, That games next and I cannot wait !

Kingdom Hearts 2

Kingdom hearts 2 takes place one year after the events of Kingdom Hearts and actually begins with players taking control of Roxas (Sora’s nobody) in the Simulation of Twilight Town.

This part of the game has a very eerie vibe especially if you know the story before this game takes place, this whole section is very sweet in the sense that you get to see this small friendship group hang out and all have a great connection, it has a really good feel to it, I really enjoyed going on the train adventure, skateboarding around the town, doing chores to make money and just watching them bond over Sea Salt ice creams. It just makes it even sadder when you know that none of this is real and is a virtual reality.

After having visions of Sora in his sleep, Roxas seeks answers which leads him to the creepy abandoned mansion in Twilight Town, here he meets Namine (Kairi’s nobody) who informs him that he is a nobody, Roxas has no memories of anyone from 358/2 days so he doesn’t remember Namine, he even is confronted by Axel but he has forgotten him as well.

When the time finally comes to wake Sora, Roxas is confronted by a man names Diz who takes him to the sleeping pods of Sora, Donald and Goofy and its here that he forms with Sora and wakes him triggering the next chapter in Sora’s storyline.

After waking up Sora, Donald and Goofy continue the search for Riku and King Mickey, they meet the old friends of Roxas who don’t mention him or even make reference, its quite sad really because deep down I do wish Roxas was real but I understand why he existed and his purpose in the story as a whole.

After meeting Yen Sid, Sora and the gang are informed that they need to go on another mission, this time to try and stop the increase of nobodies and heartless and prevent the plans of Organisation 13. Here they also have their first run in with Pete who is now finally working for Maleficent after she freed him from the dimension he was banished too.

Pete’s role in this game is more of a henchman than a villain, he does Maleficents evil bidding and often turns up in the other words following Sora on his quest, he tends to work with the other villains in an attempt to prevent Sora from reaching his goal. It is cool to see Pete take different forms in certain worlds but apart from that I thought he was quite forgetful and it never felt like he needed to be in the game as I think it would have worked just as well without him.

Drive forms are new here and they are given to Sora by the three fairies of Sleeping Beauty, they allow him to temporarily gain new abilities while sacrificing some others, for example on form may increase strength while weakening magic, another might increase magic while weakening defence and so forth. There are six forms you can unlock in the game and all of these can be leveled up the more you use them. Honestly I hardly used these at all as I found this game to be the easiest so far, during my standard playthrough I only died once and I never really needed to grind for XP.

This is one of the first games where I didn’t really enjoy the side content, the coliseum was cool and I really liked that the missions had different rules, such as only Sora, or unlimited drives etc but the collectibles sucked here, the issue for me was with puzzle pieces a lot required glide and the only you can get that is to hope you unlock final form at the end of the game and to then get glide as an ability you needed to grind that final form to level 3. I understand that for some this is ok but personally I didn’t really see the benefit because even the “Secret ending” by finishing Jiminy’s journal is just a teaser and glorified trailer for Birth By Sleep, a game I have already and played through because I did these in Chronological order which was my choice but still for me this secret ending just wasn’t really worth working towards especially when the collectibles required so much effort to even collect.

Ok put your pitchforks down, I know I’m complaining about everyone’s favourite Kingdom Hearts game but this is is just my opinion and the rest of the game I really enjoyed so lets swiftly move onto the best part of this entry the worlds (which I only dislike a few of…sorry)

The Disney Worlds represented in Kingdom Hearts 2 are as follows

Land of Dragons (Mulan)

Beast’s Castle (Beauty and the Beast)

Olympus Coliseum (Hercules)

Disney Castle (The home of King Mickey)

Timeless River (Classic Disney Cartoons – Steamboat Willie era)

Halloween Town (Nightmare Before Christmas)

100 Acre Woods (Mini game world)

Atlantis (Music based world)

Agrabah (Aladdin)

Port Royal (Pirates of the Carribean)

Pride Rock (The Lion King)

Space Paranoids (Tron)

It is getting a little tiring revisiting areas we have seen over and over again but thankfully some major changes were made to the Olympus Coliseum, previously we could only slightly explore the outside with the main purpose of the world being the cups. In this game we get a full storyline taking place in the Underworld and as mentioned previously the Cups here are a lot more fun because they implement different rules.

I also really enjoyed that Halloween Town now adds Christmas Town, it really helps to mix up the scenery in what is a fairly dark area of the game, also the Christmas outfits are so cute !

Disney Castle was a part of the first game that I always wanted to explore so I was really happy when they added it here, it doesn’t really serve too many story purposes but it is a fun place to find secrets and later on in the game is a good area to gain some levels if you need them

Timeless River is amazing ! This world based on the old Disney shorts is incredible I love that they used the old original designs for Donald and Goofy and I also really like that while primarily based on Steamboat Willie there are levels inside of the world which are a homage to 1930’s style animation. My only complaint is Sora’s designs here I think they should have made him an animal because what they did to him is a bit too Playmobile for my liking.

The 100 Acre Woods is a much better designed in this game, Pooh has lost his memory and doesn’t remember any of his friends, Sora helps him by completing Mini games and here they are all really fun, my favourite was an on rails reaction based game where you had to race through various seasons and areas from the Winnie Pooh cartoons.

There are only two worlds in this game that I dislike, the Pirates of the Caribbean area isn’t very interesting, its good that they show many different areas but they all look very similar and it is quite boring, the voice acting here is also really bad I understand it may have been difficult to get the actual actors but someone who can imitate the voices would have been fine or they could have just used audio clips from the movies since Disney owns those properties.

I cant talk about Kingdom Hearts 2 without discussing the abysmal Atlantis segment, for whatever reason the developers wanted to add a music based world to the game where players have to press buttons in time to the music of the Little Mermaid and original songs. This is really bizarre compared to the rest of the game and its just nothing to get excited about, mini game worlds like the 100 acre wood are fun because they are a nice break from the action packed rest of the game but also follow the games narrative, there is always a serious problem to solve and you want to see it resolved.

The problem here is that there is no issue really apart from Ariel wants to be human but this area acts like the rest of the game isn’t happening, The heartless didn’t attack Atlantis this time and when King Triton asks Sora if there is still a threat he says no almost like this is trying to be a different game entirely, I don’t know a single person who likes this part of the game and now that I have played it I can see why.

After saving all the worlds, surviving an onslaught of nobodies only one member of Organisation 13 remains. Xemnas was surprisingly very easy for a final boss compared to the others we have faced so far. I beat him level 70 with very little issue. He has some pretty cool forms but compared to that Ansem fight in Kingdom Hearts this one just doesn’t compare. The part where you take over Riku while he is slowly killing Sora was different and really caught me off guard, trying to figure out how to save Sora nearly had me killed during the fight so I will give them props for that.

After finally killing Xemnas Sora and Riku unite closing Kingdom Hearts and are both returned to Destiny Islands where they meet Donald, Goofy and Kairi, Donald and Goofy return to the castle but Sora and crew take a well deserved break before receiving a letter from King Mickey which we don’t get to see ….yet

As I mentioned earlier the secret endings are both a teaser and a trailer for Birth By Sleep so we wont discuss those as they don’t hold any important plot details I haven’t already covered so far.

Kingdom Hearts 2 is a really great game and while I do prefer the original this is clearly a much better title, I didn’t like the collectibles in this one and Atlantis really sucks but apart from that this is a really good time and is a much better experience when you play this series in chronological order. I really appreciated that it added a lot of new worlds and revamped some of the older ones to mix it up a bit.

This is the best game in the series I have played so far so I really hope the next few games hold up just as well.

Kingdom Hearts Re-Coded

Another collection of cutscenes here, so I will try my best to explain the plot of the game

A mysterious message has appeared in one of Jiminy Crickets journals, the message reads “Their hurting will be mended when you return to end it”.

He takes the message to King Mickey who uses the journals to create a digital world and a digital version of Sora.

He guides this Sora on a journey to Destiny Islands to ask questions and find out who is hurting.

While on the islands he finds the secret place from the first KH, here he meets a mysterious figure in a black hood resembling Organisation 13. The figure seems to be giving Sora riddles as a means of guiding him towards something but he soon disappears

After a fight with a giant heartless Sora is blown away from Destiny Islands and ends up in Traverse town triggering the events with Pluto from the first game, however back on Destiny Islands a small scene with Riku and a hooded figure in gold garments is shown, which surprises everyone in the real world as this was never written in Jiminy’s journal as they never previously witnessed this moment.

After sealing the keyhole and helping Hewey, Dewey and Louie in Traverse Town, Sora continues to follow the hooded man to the next world, in the mean time back at the real world, Disney Castle is being over run with heartless.

After dealing with the heartless King Mickey and the gang continue to watch Sora in the digital world as he travels across the same kingdoms from KH1, in each world he helps solve the mystery of small problems and unlocks the keyholes. Each world he saves unlocks a new message in the journals.

Back in Disney Castle the digital version of Sora turns up shortly followed by the hooded figure who reveals themself to be the digital version of Riku, Riku explains that they are all now inside of the digital world and that his data body represents Jiminy’s journal.

After this revelation Sora is sent to continue his mission to clear all of the worlds and complete the journal .

After saving Cloud in Olympus Coliseum Pete from the real world turns up to cause trouble before quickly running off after declaring that he wants to take over the digital world.

After defeating Jafar in the cave of Wonders Maleficent finally shows up with Pete, she destroys Sora’s Key blade and kidnaps Riku taking him back to the Darkness, this leaves Sora no choice but to continue without a weapon until King Mickey can return to the real Disney Castle and program a new Key-blade into the digital world.

The final world that needs saving is Hollow Bastion and against King Mickeys orders Sora goes there to fight Pete with out use of the Keyblade, Donald and Goofy eventually turn up as well offering to help him in his battle.

Halfway through the fight Donald and Goofy are trapped by data bugs and through the power of heart and friendship he manages to summon the real Key-blade and with this new power Sora chases after to Pete and defeats him but unfortunately Pete has had an ace up his sleeve the whole time!

In a rather messed up turn of events Pete has managed to gain access to Riku’s data and has been mixing the Bugs into it. This has made Riku go back down his path of Darkness wanting to kill Sora, Sora of course defeats him for now and accesses Riku’s Datascape to deal with the problems from the inside.

After travelling through Riku’s memory’s and defeating the data bugs, Sora is faced against Data versions of Pete and Maleficent in Hollow Bastion, He defeats them and makes the brave decision to rescue the real Pete and Maleficent from the Datascape before completing the journal.

He finds them both about to be attacked by Sora’s Heartless, Sora encourages the evil duo to leave while he fights the monster himself, only Pete really wants to leave however they are both forced to disappear by the heartless anyway.

The real Pete and Maleficent were pulled out into the real world through a data rift, after they have been rescued King Mickey erases the journal and wiping the memories of everything in the datascape

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A new door has opened in the Datascape, King Mickey goes back inside to help Data Sora get his memories back, he does this by leading him back to Castle Oblivion

He is taken to a room of memories by a member of Organisation 13, he is shown memories from the journal including places hes been and the people he has spoken too, Riku soon shows up and shows Sora a memory of Kairi to remind him of real world Sora’s journey in the first Kingdom Hearts game.

After this Sora encounters the hooded figure again who monologues about how nothing is real and that everything is packets of data and has no heart.

This is proven wrong when Sora feels sadness at not remembering the friends he meets, he begins to feel emotional which is a characteristic of the real world Sora.

Sora nearly gives up not wanting anymore pain due to forgetting everyone he meets but has his mind changed when King Mickey sends memories of Donald and Goofy to him reminding him of their close friendship.

Data Sora and King Mickey travel through one final door where they meet Data Namine, she reveals that it was her who put the bugs in the journal and added the mysterious messages, the bugs were a side effect of her trying to restore Sora’s memories.

She gives Data Sora all of real world Sora’s memories including those in which hides the deepest secrets within the recesses of his mind, memories he doesn’t want to remember and ones he is beginning to forget, this includes memories of people Sora never met but who are connected to him including Aqua, Ventus and Terra, she showed them this so that King Mickey could tell real world Sora who he needs to help.

This is also the meaning behind the “Thank Namine” message

After this revelation from Namine, King Mickey writes a letter to Sora explaining everything to him, preparing Sora, Riku and Kairi for the events that lie ahead and telling Sora about the adventures of Aqua, Ventus and Terra who he will need to save.

In the secret ending Yen Sid inform King Mickey of the return of Xehanort now that his two halves (Ansem and Xemnus) have been defeated, this gives him the idea of putting Riku and Sora through the Mark of Mastery exam to become true Keyblade masters.

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

Due to revival of Xehanort, Sora and Riku are put through the Mark of Mastery exam to become full Keyblade Masters which would allow them to achieve complete power to prevent Xehanort’s return. The two are separated as part of the exam and sent to worlds previously affected by the heartless which need awakening from a Deep Sleep.

Surprisingly considering that these are worlds once affected by Heartless apart from two these are all new worlds that we haven’t seen in the franchise yet and one of these is even from a direct to video movie

In no particular order the worlds we can play in Dream Drop Distance are

Traverse town

Symphony of Sorcery (Fantasia)

La Cite de Cloches (Hunchback of Notre Dame)

The Grid (Tron)

Pranksters Paradise / Monstro (Pinocchio)

The Country of the Musketeers (The Three Musketeers)

For all of the new franchises this game uses the majority of the worlds feel very empty and they dont feel very alive, the only characters we see are the ones used for story telling, Tron makes sense as that worlds is meant to feel lonely but the Hunchback of Notre Dame could have really used some more NPC’s because between areas you are just running down empty streets and I think that by adding just a few background characters the worlds in the game would feel so much more alive.

The other Kingdom Hearts games don’t use lots of background characters but the ones they do use make those games feel more like you are in the movie than just running between scenes.

There are two worlds in the game that I really appreciate and enjoyed, the first was the Country of the Musketeers based on the direct to video movie “The Three Musketeers”.

I think it is a really great that they included this very underrated film to the Kingdom Hearts Franchise and this is actually a pretty fun level in the game, the use of Mickey, Donald and Goofy was nice as your usual two companions do not join you in your Mark of Mastery Exam, also the areas of this world are very cartoony as to fit in with the themes of movie and they are all very good, there is even a really unique boss fight with Captain Pete near the end.

Symphony of Sorcery based on the Fantasia shorts was a really surprising choice and I must say it is absolutely gorgeous and the areas change seasons and have different elemental obstacles such as the wind carrying you through autumn and sliding across the ice throughout winter. They even used the music from the Fantasia movie and it sounds really good in this game, its very relaxing and a nice change of pace to the action packed tracks we have gotten used too.

The gameplay has some major changes in this one and I really appreciated the new gameplay elements, first of all you get to play as both Sora and Riku who both play simultaneous campaigns throughout the same worlds, before each level you have to commit to a dive a short minigame where you are free falling and need to complete a goal such as collecting a set number of points, killing a number enemies or beating a mini boss before you can enter each world. These are genuinely really fun to keep replaying and trying to get better scores.

Dream creatures can be created from recipes or by combining spirit pieces and there is a nice collection that can be obtained, you can raise the creatures by petting them, playing some basic mini games and feeding them treats. Once you assign them to your party they will protect you and help with fighting the other Dream creature enemies that have bombarded the games worlds.

You can upgrade your dream buddies using ability link graphs by spending points you collect, I completed all of these for the spirits I did have and I didn’t really see too much difference in how they performed as I did most of the battle work myself.

There are no coliseum matches in this game but a new style of minigame was added where you can battle your various Dream creatures, this is a very similar system to Chain of memories where you can use a card deck to combine numbers for high damage or as good defense. I played a fair bit of this but I couldn’t get into too much as the gameplay style wasn’t all too enjoyable for me personally but considering I didn’t enjoy Chain of Memories this is not surprising.

After waking all of the sleeping worlds, Sora and Riku head to the The World that Never Was, Sora is greeted by a younger version of Xemnas who reveals that Sora has been lured into a trap.

Sora fights Xemnas and sucessfully defeats him however his heart is swallowed by Darkness and placed into Ventus’s armour from Birth by Sleep.

After these events it is revealed that Riku has been exploring Sora’s dreams as a Dream Eater and has actually been fighting the darkness that is within Sora’s heart.

At the end his story Riku fights Ansem and successfully defeats him only to be confronted by a younger Xehanort who is setting up Organisation 13 and wants Sora as the final member which would completely erase all of the events of KH 1 and the rest of the series.

Thankfully King Mickey freezes time to help Riku defeat young Xehanort, Riku is unsucessful in this but luckily Lea, Axels somebody recues Sora’s body and brings it to the Mysterious Tower.

Back here Riku decides to risk his own life by entering Sora’s Dreams again and fights Ventus Armour and wins releasing Sora’s Heart and finally waking him up.

Back at the tower both contenders are congratulated for their efforts but only Riku is crowned Keyblade master as Sora showed weakness towards the darkness, he is not too upset though and is happy for Riku and chooses to return to the sleeping worlds to see his Dream Companions again.

In the secret ending of the game Yen Sid is telling King Mickey of his plan to gather seven Keyblade warriors to help prevent Xehanort from using the Princesses of Heart to forge the X-blade.

He sends Riku to collect to someone and when he returns he is very confused as to why this person was chosen to be trained as a Keyblade warrior.

This person just so happens to be Kairi.

Dream Drop Distance really surprised me because I had never heard many good things said about it but I really enjoyed this one. Yes the worlds feel a little empty but apart from that the gameplay changes are a nice touch and the high focus on Riku was much appreciated.

Because I played these in chronological order I knew that Sora was going to fail his Mark of Mastery exam but I never expected him to show weakness to Darkness and have to Rescued by Riku which really goes to who how much Riku’s character has grown since his early debut’s in the series.

It was also really nice to see Kairi getting a more important role even if it was right at the end I am looking forward to seeing what they do with her in KH 3 as well as what they do with Sora’s journey now that he has shown connections with the darkness.

Kingdom Hearts 3

Not long after the events of Dream Drop Distance Master Xehanort is almost ready to start the second Key-blade war, Keyblade Masters Riku and King Mickey dive into the depths of Darkness to find and rescue Aqua, a challenge which is much harder than they anticipated even having a set of their own Key-blades destroyed in the process.

Kairi and Lea are training as Keyblade wielders hoping to gain enough skill and technique that they can defend their friends in the final battle.

Sora has perhaps been given the most important mission of all, he lost all of his strength and abilities when he succumb to darkness and now he needs to help save other worlds to regain his powers and re-obtain the power of awakening which he is to use on Venus finally releasing him from his eternal slumber.

The gummy ship segments from KH 1 and 2 return to this third main installment and I quite enjoyed them here, instead of the linear on rails segments which were quite boring before now we get full control of our ship and can explore space to our hearts desire, I will be honest there isn’t a whole lot to discover minus some treasure safes, warp locations and air shooting boss battles but it is a vast improvement to what he had before, I think with some secret areas, paths and more emphasis to explore this could have been great fun and I hope this idea is expanded upon in future entries.

The Disney World Represented in KH 3 are

Olympus (Hercules)

Toy Box (Toy Story)

Monstropolis (Monsters Inc)

The Kingdom of Corona (Tangled)

Arendelle (Frozen)

The Carribean

San Fransokyo (Big Hero 6)

100 Acre Wood (Mini Game World)

Most of the worlds are great and a few stand out to me as being my personal favourites, first of all Olympus is now a fully explorable world with a story and they got rid of the tournaments in exchange for this, it is way better than its ever been and genuinely a really cool place to explore as most of it is in clouds, the underworld doesn’t return but this is welcome as we did get to fully experience that in KH2 and we really did not need to see it a second time. It should also be noted that this is the first introduction to Maleficent and Pete’s quest to find a mysterious black box in the game, a mission that they try to complete in almost all of the worlds without much luck.

Toy Box is easily my favourite world in the entire game because it is really creative from start to finish, Andy’s Room while small is filled with Pixar Easter Eggs and imagery from the movies, you can then explore the outside neighbourhood before moving onto the best part a three story shopping mall with various shops to explore and mini bosses to defeat.

There is a even a massive boss fight which takes place in a vast toy set at the end mimicking those opening cinematics from the Toy Story Movies, this might just be the best world they have ever done and I think they are really going to struggle topping this.

The Caribbean has had some major improvements, they fixed the voice acting and now it sounds much better, it is still obvious that this is not the original voice cast but it is passable, we can now also drive a boat freely across the seas allowing us to discover multiple small islands each with secrets, some the islands are not even part of the story and if you want all of the collectables discovering them is a must.

There are only worlds that I wasn’t very fond of in the game, the first is Sanfransokyo I found this one way too short and not very interesting to explore, a lot of the buildings look the same which made the collectibles frustrating to track down, I will admit that the Day and Night cycles were unique but apart from that this one was just a little boring for me.

The worst part of the game has got to be the Hundred Acre Wood, they completely ruined it here by giving it a really short story with no threat whatsoever, they did the same mini game three times in a row with very little changes which is extremely lazy and pointless, they would have been better leaving this out, I get that they did add mini games to other worlds such as Toy Box, Corona and Arendelle but that is no excuse to do this area so dirty considering that it has much more importance in KH 1 + KH2

There are 90 Mickey shapes to find and photograph throughout the game, these are a reference to the Hidden Mickeys of the Disney Theme parks, another reference would be the special moves which represent certain rides including the tea cups, splash mountain, Buzz Lightyears Space Rangers Spin and so on

The best collectibles are the Classic Kingdom Games , there are 24 in the game to find and each one has a small mini game you can play in the style of an LCD game mirroring those from Tiger Electronics and other similar companies from back in the day, the games themselves are pretty forgettable and don’t offer too much replay value but they are pretty cool to collect and are harmless ways to pass time.

After Aqua is rescued Sora finally manages to wake up Ventus and after a quick battle with Venitus the seven guardians of Light (Sora, Riku, Kairi, Ventus, Lea, Mickey and Aqua) head to the Keyblade graveyard to take on the vessels of organisation 13 and Master Xehanort, at first they are unsuccessful and Darkness controlled by a possessed Terra takes over leaving all of our character without a heart, Sora is killed and sent to Limbo (referred to as the Final World in KH lore) where he is a given a second chance to rescue his friends and reverse time giving the heroes one last attempt to win.

Upon returning Sora makes sure that he doesnt let the Darkness takeover and the guardians manage to defeat 12 of the Organisation members leaving only Xehanort left.

Knowing that Light and Darkness need to clash to form the X blade and trigger Kingdom Hearts, Xehanort does the unspeakable to enrage Sora, he cold heartedly, murders Kairi, this enrages everyone but only Sora, Donald and Goofy go into the final battle, the fight has three stages and is genuinely very challenging which is a step up from KH 2.

After the lengthy Battle Xehanort is dying and once the guardians return to Sora it is revealed to Xehanort that Master Eraqus had merged hearts with Terra upon his death in Birth By Sleep, he shows Xehanort a memory of their childhood where he promised to always support Eraqus, this triggers Xehanort to give up the X-blade to Sora and he dies finally giving up his own Darkness.

With the Keyblade war finally over most of our heroes go home but Sora decides to return to Limbo and re-awaken Kairi after being warned that such use of his power by waking the dead, he himself could lose his heart. At the end of the game we see all of the guardians of light including Donald and Goofy on Destiny Island, they spot Sora and Kairi sat on the big tree before Kairi sheds a single tear and Sora’s body fades away.

This officially closes the Dark Seeker saga of Kingdom Hearts

In a post credits sequence we are shown a mysterious hooded figure guarding the Black box Maleficent and Pete were looking for throughout the game, this figure reveals himself to be Luxu and his new identity being non other than Xigbar a member of organisation 13 who survived the Keyblade war, we see Maleficent and Pete watching this from a distance before we cut to black.

The Secret ending of the game shows Sora waking up in the world from the game The World Ends with You, this perhaps this shows that he has been banished to another dimension or this is another way that KH is representing the Afterlife considering those games have a lot to do with Death?

Riku is next seen in the video game of Verum Rex (A minigame in the Toy Box world) we see that games protagonist watching Riku and a Mysterious hooded figure in Organisation garbs is spotted staring at the moon making a heart shape with his hands.

Kingdom Hearts 3 was pretty fantastic and easily one of my favourite games in the series, I love that we see more modern Disney films getting some love and Pixar too, I thought the collectibles were the best have ever had especially considering that some of them even give you fun little games to play and minus the the two worlds I didn’t like this was almost perfect.

With this being a conclusion of the Dark Seekers Saga which began with Birth By Sleep there was a lot of storylines to tie together and a big issue this has is a lot of cutscenes between the gameplay, it can be a lot to take in at times and upon a second or third playthrough I feel like it may be a bit much, the game is 30 hours long and over 10 hours of that is cinematics.

I have already talked about the two worlds I disliked so I wont do that again, my final complaint is that apart from the final boss the game is way too easy, I understand that this was made so that new players can start with this game but I really hope this simple gameplay is not going to be the standard with the series going forward otherwise I may just need to start playing on the proud difficulty setting.

Other than that I don’t understand why people dislike this game, I feel it has the same vibes as its predecessors and does a great job of concluding the storyline and introducing its new worlds and characters, I still prefer KH2 but this is definitely in my top 5 games in the series so far.

Kingdom Hearts 3: Remind DLC

For the first time ever we get KH DLC and Im going to completely honest here, I didn’t purchase or play this as its very expensive for what you actually get, however the plot points are important to the series, I have copied this plot sypnosis from the website https://kingdomhearts.fandom.com/wiki/Kingdom_Hearts_III_Re_Mind

It is very well written and easy to understand without actually playing it, I might actually play this one day and if I do I will update this but for now here is the plot to the KH3 Remind DLC

The titular scenario centers around Sora’s rescue effort of Kairi. Assuming an incorporeal form, Sora travels back in time to the battle between the guardians of light and the Organization, traveling through the guardians’ hearts to reach Kairi.

After passing through the hearts of Ventus, Aqua, Terra, and Roxas, Sora enters his past self’s heart and tries to avert Kairi’s fate, but fails. However, Mickey reveals to Sora that Xehanort has hidden the crystal fragments of Kairi’s heart as a last resort.

Sora finds five fragments in Scala ad Caelum before his past self’s final battle with Xehanort, and then traces the remaining two through Riku and Mickey’s hearts during the guardians’ battle against Xehanort’s replicas, restoring Kairi.

After defeating Xehanort’s merged replicas, Sora and Kairi travel to the Final World to meet Chirithy, whom Sora persuades to return to the realm of light. Sora and Kairi then visit their friends’ worlds—reuniting Chirithy with its owner, Ventus, and restoring Naminé’s heart—before returning to the Destiny Islands, where Sora vanishes.

The “Limitcut Episode” is set one year after Sora’s disappearance; his allies have since lead an ongoing search for him, while Kairi has entered stasis after volunteering as Ansem the Wise’s test subject to help Sora. During a visit to Radiant Garden, Riku analyzes digital copies of Sora and the Organization’s members programmed into Cid Highwind’s computer, hoping to uncover clues to Sora’s whereabouts through their battles.

After the Organization’s copies are defeated and the analysis proves inconclusive, Riku is approached by the Fairy Godmother to meet Yen Sid, who suspects that they may be able to find Sora through the dreams of Riku, Kairi, and a nameless girl Sora encountered in the Final World.

The “Secret Episode” focuses on Sora, who has become trapped in the Final World since his disappearance. There, Sora encounters Yozora, whom he recognizes as a character from the video game Verum Rex in Toy Box, and whom he learned about from the nameless girl.

Yozora claims that he has been requested to save Sora, but questions his identity and battles him in Shibuya. If Sora wins, Yozora fades away before Sora returns to the Final World; if Sora loses, Yozora crystallizes him and goes to the Final World instead. Afterward, regardless of who wins, Yozora awakens in a car while a closing narration ensues in his and Sora’s voices, with the battle’s victor saying, “None of this makes sense to me.”

Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory

The first game to be considered a true spin off is this musical rhythm based game where we get to re-experience all of the most popular musical tracks from throughout the series.

The game focuses on Ansem the Wise exploring Kairi’s memories to see if there are any clues to Sora’s whereabouts, The game shows hints at Kairi’s childhood and shows us all of the events from the previous games but from Kairi’s perspective as she is narrating the stories in between the tracks.

The gameplay is really quite simple you need to press the action button to the beat of the music, sometimes you need to press multiple buttons at once and other times you need to glide across areas or flick the thumb sticks, this can be very difficult at times and I realised while playing that I don’t really have much rhythm as I really struggled even on standard mode but thankfully the secret ending only requires you to beat the game on any difficulty so this wasn’t an issue for me.

There are boss fights in the game and while they are a little longer than the standard stages they follow the same gameplay format.

From a gameplay perspective there isn’t really much more to cover, you can change teams in the game although I wouldn’t recommend this as each team starts at Lvl 1 so you may as well just sick with the Sora, Donald and Goofy Combo, also in some stages you are joined by various characters from your adventures they don’t too much different but they are a nice touch and very much appreciated.

After recounting all of the events in the series thus far, we are shown a new vision, Kairi is a child running for her life from heartless, she is found by Terra in his Xehanort form who saves her and sends her to live on Destiny Island giving her the mission to find the chosen one.

We then see Kairi in Limbo where she battles the spirit of Master Xehanort she isnt strong enough but luckily Sora partially manifests to assist her, the spirit is defeated but allows Xehanort to learn of Sora’s whereabouts.

When she wakes up back at the lab Kairi informs Riku of what she has learnt and tells Riku a clue she learnt in her sleep “that Sora may be in a reality not made of light or dark”.

Fairy godmother appears and tells Kairi and Riku that they are both 2 of 3 keys that can help Sora, the third is a mysterious girl who has taken the form of a star in Limbo.

After hearing Riku describe the city in his dreams, the mysterious girl informs him that it could be the City of Quadratum, The girl opens a gate allowing Riku to travel to the city, he goes leaving Kairi behind to continue her training, Master Yen Sid sends Donald and Goofy to gather allies for the continued battle to bring Sora back and Kairi chooses to study under Master Aqua.

I quite enjoyed this game, It’s not quite as epic as the other KH games but for a fun little game this can be quite addictive at times and I look forward to trying to get all of the remaining mission stars, plus we got see a tiny bit more of the current story as well, also it was a good opportunity to really appreciate all of the excellent music from the franchises history.

And that’s it we have officially gone through Kingdom Hearts in it’s entirety and lets face it what a journey this was, it took me one year to get through these and I have no regrets. I grew up with Disney and as I grew older I always wanted a darker take on these stories, Kingdom Hearts was the first time Disney was made for a mostly adult audience and the use of other Final Fantasy and Square franchises surprisingly mixes really well with the Disney universe.

I have no idea what direction this franchise will go from this point on, we have seen the Keyblade war and have explored the life of Sora inside and out. I think a new franchise main is needed now, either Riku or someone new entirely, perhaps after we eventually get Sora back we may even want to do a fresh take with new heroes and a new franchise, perhaps a certain other animated studio? Perhaps one that can give us Egyptian lore, lost cities, fairy tale kingdoms and dragons?

For now we have to wait but until then I want wish everyone a Merry Christmas, this ridiculously long article is my gift to you all, the final upload of Not so Christmas 2 and now I’m going to a take a few weeks off until 2022 when I will return again.

Happy Holidays everyone, keep safe and follow all the rules of your respective countries!

Padawan

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Not So Christmas 2: Paddington (2014) Review

Time for something a little more cheery than a murderous barber!

Paddington is a live action comedy film based on the Paddington Bear Character who was originally created by Michael Bond.

The original stories involve Paddington being a polite young bear trying to live a life in London and learning lessons while always having the best manners, in the stories he is living as an adopted son to the Brown family who give him the name Paddington Brown as his bear name is too difficult to pronounce, the 2014 film adaptation uses this story as its premise and expands upon it.

The movie opens with a family of bears in Darkest Peru, they live on a diet consisting of only Marmalade after an explorer gave them some during a visit.

This explorer told the bears that they would always be welcome in London if they were to ever visit and this message is remembered by Aunt Lucy who sends Paddington to London after their rainforest home is destroyed and his uncle is killed.

While Paddington stows away to London, Aunt Lucy chooses to live in the home for retired bears as she is too old to go along on the trip.

Similarly to the original story’s in the movie Paddington is adopted at the train station by the Brown family however there are some major differences to the characters helping to give them more personality.

Without including Paddington there are 5 members of Brown household, Mr Brown an overprotective and anxious father, Mrs Brown a very caring and nurturing woman, Jonathan Brown a young boy with a love of science and space, Judith Brown a teenage girl with an attitude and is easily embarrassed, finally there is Mrs Bird an elderly relative who lives with the Browns as a housekeeper.

The three adult family members are really great in this, the two younger actors do a good job as well but they are not very memorable compared to Mrs Bird and the two parents of the Browns house.

Mrs Bird portrayed by Julie Walters is great in this and is played as a very caring but over protective nanny, she is a bit of a bad ass and doesn’t take crap off of anyone.

My favourite performance in the movie though was a tough choice between Hugh Bonneville as Mr Brown and Sally Hawkins as Mrs Brown but I think Sally takes the cake for me.

She really does a grand job of portraying the character and has quite the important role in the film as she is the one who really fights to keep helping Paddington to find the explorer who will give him a home, this gives her character a little bit more screen time than the rest, Mr Brown also has his own scene which is very funny but I did prefer the more serious scene we had with Mrs Brown in the antique shop.

Scarlet Johansson plays the role of the films villain and quite the nasty character she is too, she is obsessed with taxidermy animals and goes as far as murdering endangered species if she needs too, she wants to add Paddington to the collection for personal reasons (which I wont go into as it would ruin the films twist), during this scene we see a vison of a dead Paddington posing on a tree which is a quite a horrifying sight and probably what gave the film its PG 13 rating.

The film is very funny and uses innocent humour that is not played for huge laughs but its the perfect timing that makes the jokes work so well, the hard stare is a classic and re-used in the sequel but probably my personal favourite comedy moment is the flashback to when Mr Brown used to be a free spirit and cool biker and was changed into the worrying dad the literal second his first child was born, its pretty silly humour but it works very well in this.

I think to me Paddington feels like a holiday film because of how innocent and sweet the story is, it reminds me of Christmas movies not necessarily in its theme but how it feels, it definitely has a slightly magical and whimsical feel to it and I always seem to stick it on around this time of the year.

Paddington is a wonderful movie and my favourite adaptation of the original storybooks, I think for a adaptation this is a great example of how to do it correctly because a lot of the time adapting something to screen fails to capture the same vibes as the original, however Director Paul King and the cast did a phenomenal job of bringing the Marmalade loving bear to life and sticking so closely to the original source material with only a few new additions being added on.

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Not So Christmas 2 – Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) Review

In 2017 I wrote a series of unique December reviews of non Christmas movies that I personally feel are staples to watch every year around the holidays, last time we chose Chicken Run, Bridget Jones Diary and About a boy, last year I even discussed growing up with the Lord of the Rings movies so there are few exceptions to my Not So Christmas movies and I wanted to start this year off with one of my favourite movies of all time, the gory and gothic musical adaptation of Sweeny Todd from director Tim Burton.

The sad tale of Sweeny Todd is that of Barber Benjamin Barker who was wrongly convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, he managed to escape his prison in Australia and sneak back to London under the name Sweeny Todd.

It was the malicious Judge Turpin who sent Barker to prison in order to get close with his wife Lucy, after she denied his advances he sexually assaults her which causes her to attempt suicide by poison which she fails and ends up going insane instead. Judge Turpin adopts Benjamin Barkers daughter and raises her as his own with the sick plan to marry her when shes old enough. This is one of the reasons that Sweeny Todd comes back to London to seek revenge.

Sweeny Todd has revenge as its main theme and the movie does not shy away from how evil Judge Turpin is, so that that viewer is rooting for Todd even though he himself becomes a mass serial killer and villain throughout the movie.

Apart from Johnny Depp who plays Todd, we have a lot of big names in the movie, Timothy Spall as Beadle Bamford, Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin, Sasha Baron Cohen as Senior Pirelli and Helena Boham Carter as Mrs Lovett and many more.

Helena as Mrs Lovett stands out because she really shows the pure evil side to the character that I feel a lot of the stage productions don’t do so well. She is a selfish person who convinces Todd to murder so she can make pies from human meat but not only that she has no heart and only cares for herself.

She loves Todd but he never feels that way back but she is so self centered that she doesn’t even notice this, she even lies to him and says that his wife is dead when she knows she isn’t and the worst thing she does in the movie that shows this pure lack of empathy is when the young boy she is using as free labour tells her about his worries of Todd and calls her mum, her response is to lock him in the pie house and get Todd to go down there and slit his throat.

I have a theory about the colours and lighting of this movie and it will be interesting to see if you agree.

I genuinely believe that in order to make the “protagonists” of the movie stand out brighter choices for clothes and the environments these characters inhabit were used so that we as an audience would be able to see what is considered Good over Bad, Sweeny Todd is a bad person no matter how sad his back story is but it is hard not to root for him since he is the main character, I’ve always noticed that everyone in this film bar the main protagonists use darker and grey tones, Jonathan still uses these but his dress colours do stand out a little bit more than the likes of Todd or Judge Turpin, Johanna’s dress colours are very positive and bursting off the screen and even her room is the most colourful area in the entire film apart from the flash backs.

Any flashbacks or day dreaming segments also use very bright and positive colours I feel this is again so that these stand out over the current events of the film, this is only time we ever see Mrs Lovett and Sweeny Todd in bright colours, we did see Benjamin Barker in bright colours before his imprisonment as this was before he got corrupted and the same can be said about his wife, she uses bright colours until she goes mad and joins the rest of the darker toned characters.

The music for the film is the same as the stage production, originally these songs were written by Stephen Sondheim who sadly passed away this year.

His music for Sweeny Todd is easily some of the best that has ever hit Broadway, it has a lot comedy in it but still manages to remain dark and twisted, all of the actors in this film sing very well in the movie and there isn’t any songs I really dislike but my favourites are “The Worst Pies in London” Pirelli’s miracle elixir” and ” Epiphany” but all of the songs are great and this is easily one of my top 5 musical soundtracks.

I don’t know why this movie reminds me of Christmas but for whatever reason it just seems like a holiday flick perhaps its all the blood, I mean red is a big colour of Christmas right?

In all seriousness Sweeny Todd is just a fantastic film, it has a great cast, one of the best soundtracks in musical theatre and is just bleeding that Tim Burton charm and visual style which myself and a lot of others cannot get enough of !

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Metroid Dread (2021) Review

Metroid Dread is the 5th game in the 2D Metroid videogame series, It was developed by MercurySteam for the Nintendo Switch. The game was a long time coming and was originally meant to release on the Nintendo DS, it was cancelled due to Hardware limitations of the system and now 15-20 years later it finally came out for Switch much to fans anticipation. But how does this new Metroid hold up?

After the events of Metroid Fusion, the federation has received video satellite showing that some of the X parasites had survived the desolation of the Planet SR388, The planet ZDR believed to be the location of the transmission is sent E.M.M.I robots to investigate but after they seem to go rogue Samus Aran is sent to the planet instead to make some investigations of her own which in turn becomes her toughest and most dangerous mission yet!.

As per usual with Metroid games we as players are thrown onto the planet with no idea where we are supposed to go, these games encourage exploration in order to find health and missile upgrades to help you survive.

Exploring in this game is particularly encouraged due to the the extreme difficulty of this entry but also because of how beautiful the art style and environments are, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the most modern 2D Metroid game is better graphically than its predecessors but the detail and the realism that the team put into the environments is absolutely breathtaking, I almost wish this was 3D so I could appreciate the work of the art team so much more.

There are many returning upgrades to Samus’s Armour, series staples include the morph ball, the Super Bomb. The Gravity Suit, Ice Missile and Screw Attack amongst many others, a few were added to this game as new entries, the Flash Shift ability I found myself using constantly it allows Samus to quickly flash across the screen. This came in handy to get past obstacles and avoid boss attacks.

The Phantom Cloak allows Samus to turn herself invisible for very short periods of time before she takes serious damage to her energy tanks. This one I didn’t use too much although it did occasionally help me avoid detection by the corrupted E.M.M.I Robots.

If I have any complaints about this game it would definitely be how familiar the game begins to feel when it comes to the E.M.M.I, These robots are extremely high tech search bots which are built to find Metroid’s or Parasites and remove them, because Samus has Metroid DNA in her body they will kill her at any chance they get. The first two times these segments are fine but they are all pretty much the same, the E.M.M.I don’t behave differently to each other and even hide the same mini boss before getting the upgrade to defeat them.

This doesn’t get boring or anything but I really think they could have made the robots behave differently, for example one that crawls, one that flys, one that swims, one that does everything etc. This could have added more challenge and kept these segments more interesting than they were.

The main boss fights here are some of the best in the series and definitely the most challenging, I often had to take day long breaks between them just so that I could refresh my mind enough to focus on the quick reactions I needed to survive.

The return of Kraid was a welcome sight, I always found him the least interesting of the original Mother Brain crew but he was more fleshed out in this but it was weird seeing him chained up, I’m assuming he was being kept prisoner and experimented on without Samus knowing since he definitely seemed dead after his battle in Super Metroid.

My favourite boss of Dread was Drogyga an underwater sea monster who proved very difficult but could be defeated with a lot of patience and good timing, although this could be said for all the bosses I just really liked the design of Drogyga and it being underwater Samus’s jumping and movements are slowed down adding more challenge to the battle.

The music in Dread is of course just amazingly immersive and creepy as it has been for more than 30 years but there is something a little different this time around, for the first time this game in the series has a heavy use of robotic enemies over the usual aliens, a lot of the music here feels very different to the past as it matches the robotic vibes, it is still quite chilling but you can listen to this and imagine killer robots chasing you down for the kill. It might be my second favourite OST only being beaten by Super Metroid which is also my favourite game in the series.

Metroid Dread is one of the best video games Nintendo has released in years, this very much feels like a reboot of the Metroid franchise an introduction for new gamers, for a lot of switch owners this was their Metroid game and watching them complain about how hard the game is on forums and group chats definitely goes to show how easy video games have become.

You really should take your hat off to Nintendo because they gave zero help with this one and in fact I would say Dread is the hardest game in the series so far or at least the 2D games. It is a satisfying game to progress through and after I beat it I was smiling with satisfaction, I cannot wait for the next 2D Metroid game after Dread but in the mean time I think a remake of Super Metroid with the this new art style would be a nice addition.

And with that all said and done I reward Metroid Dread a very nice score of 9.6/10

See you next mission.

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Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (2016) Review

I always knew one day I would be concluding my look into the Uncharted video game series and I went into this final entry with scepticism considering I was a little disappointed with the last game but does Nathan Drakes final adventure hold up as well as the masterpiece Uncharted 2?

Taking place several years after the events of Drakes Deception, treasure hunter Nathan Drake is recently retired and living as a regular person with his wife Elena.

One day out of the blue his long lost dead brother shows up alive and well but is on the run from the notorious drug dealer Hector Alcazar.

Hector helped Sam Drake escape from his Mexican prison in exchange for a share in the treasure of the pirate Henry Avery, he gives Sam three days to deliver the treasure before he kills him leaving Sam no choice but to hunt down his famous brother and convince him to go on one last adventure to help pay off his debts.

This game differs slightly to the second and third game as it follows a very linear story that doesn’t encourage you to differ to far from your own path, of course there are secret treasure to find and many are from exploring but there isn’t many memorable locations or things to find outside of that goal but I don’t really think its needed here. This is the final chapter in Nathan Drakes story and a lot of is revealed from his childhood, his relationship with his brother Sam and even his mother.

There is a lot of different types of gameplay besides the usual puzzle solving, driving the Jeep’s was my absolute favourite part as it was really fun to just drive around and even though there wasn’t anything to substantial to see driving was a really nice change to the gameplay as these parts only came up once in a while.

Swinging on the rope works extremely well and was needed often to traverse large gaps, you can climb up and down the rope too and isn’t always obvious where you can jump too so paying close attention to your environment is very important.

The puzzles in this game are the best we ever got from this series because not only are they challenging but they really stand out as feeling believable and very creative, I loved the puzzles in the third game but I feel like some of those did feel a little silly compared to these and I could actually see these in something on the lines of an Indiana Jones film and some maybe even in historical documents. The hardest puzzle in my opinion was rotating the stone wheels to match the correct symbols to the lights in Avery’s Crypt, it took me a good while to figure these out and I felt very accomplished afterwards.

The most beloved parts of this game for myself and a lot of others is actually the parts with differ from the main Henry Avery plot and focus on either back story or have more interactive moments, its very well known now that you play the original Crash Bandicoot twice in the game trying to beat Elena’s high score, I failed on both attempts but I am certain that it is possible never the less this is a very cool reference to developer Naughty Dog’s early roots.

The segments with younger Nate and Sam are both very interesting especially the second part when you break into a mansion to steal back their mothers journal and you get to meet her very old partner (in a way this is foreshadowing what Sully is to Nate, his partner but much older and sadly her death is also foreshadowing the loss of Sully he will need to deal with one day).

And then you get the small surprises, the Crash Bandicoot reference was one of them but there are a lot of these in the calmer segments of the game, sometimes is just old journal entries or photographs and other times they are interactive such as eating all the food and playing with the lemur in the market, only small details but this is the type of things I love in video games the smaller things that differ from the regular action.

As I was playing the game I had to keep reminding myself that this is an early release for the system because graphically it is stunning, it looks real for the most part and only the character models look a little odd compared to the environments because they have less details although still look very good. The environment’s themselves are gorgeous and its quite mad how much detail the developers put into elements that not that important such as the clear blue waters and grains of sand but it pays off to give us genuine pieces of videogame art.

The soundtrack here was composed by Henry Jackman, the original three games were composed by Greg Edmunson who gave them beautiful orchestral scores that suited the games perfectly, Jackman did a really great job here and the music is just as wonderful as it has been previously. One thing this soundtrack has that the other games lacked was those much slower paced segments such as walking around Nates house or the market and the music here changes to really make those parts more immersive. The third game did have one segment like this but because this game has a bigger focus on these moments the music works a lot better.

Uncharted 4 is a great conclusion for Nathan Drake it focused on his backstory and how he has matured since the first game, It was nice to see him genuinely just settle down and be satisfied with a regular life, it was really cool to see his brother Sam get a lot of story revolving around his character as well and after the events of the game if they wanted to do another series based on his adventures with Sully that could make for some great spin offs.

I loved finally playing this game, it controlled well and had a great story but it’s most positive moments come from its conclusion and the growth of Drakes character, the soundtrack once again did not disappoint and the visuals are the best we have had in the series not just because of the more powerful hardware but the clearly higher budget that was put into making the landscapes realistic and visually beautiful.

This is yet again another Nathan Drake adventure I will never forget but its far from beating Uncharted 2 as my favourite in the series, however second place is still a fair spot and I reward Uncharted 4 an excellent 8.5/10

Check out my reviews of the first three games !

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Pokemon Gen 1 – Red,Blue,Yellow (1996/1998) Review

Pokemon its officially the best selling videogame franchise of all time and one of my personal favourites to sit down and play, I have only ever covered spin off’s on this website so far but I feel that we should start deep diving the main series, starting with Generation 1 and covering Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue and Pokemon Yellow (Green never left Japan so I wont be discussing that one here)

If you are new to this series you may be a little confused as to why we are covering three games today, to makes things even more complicated all three are the same game with just minor differences. The reason for this is because Pokemon games are made with the idea of trading with friends as its main feature, in order to make it impossible to catch all 151 Pokemon on one cartridge developers split the Pokemon into two packages, the basics are in both but certain Pokemon were only either in Red or Blue meaning that in order to catch them all you needed a friend with the other copy and a Gameboy link Cable. Yellow was released two years later in 1998 and changed some dialogues, sprites and gym battles to better represent to anime television series.

I will be covering as many differences as I can throughout this review and will try to give Gen 1 as much justice as I can.

After your initial set up and introduction to the Kanto Region by Professor Oak you soon find yourself at his Laboratory where he will offer yourself and your rival one of three of Pokemon, you get to pick first first from either Charmander a fire type, Squirtle a water type or Bulbasaur a grass type. I always choose Grass as it is strong against Rock and Water types which just so happen to be the first two gyms of the game.

In Pokemon Yellow, you dont get to choose instead you are given a Pikachu, your Rival who most name Gary would then be given an Eevee.

Either way after choosing your first Pokemon you take part in your first battle, at this point your level 5 Pokemon will only have a few moves, normally scratch and growl, Scratch an offensive type will damage your opponent and growl will weaken their attack.

As you level up by battling you will earn money to buy moves but with patience Pokemon will learn most of the best moves when they reach certain levels or evolutions.

In the games there is a total of 151 Pokemon and players can build a small team using Pokemon that they trap in Pokeballs, their are different types of Pokemon who will have advantages and disadvantages against others. In Gen 1 there are 15 types you can get Normal, Fire, Water, Electric, Grass, Ice, Fighting, Poison, Ground, Flying, Psychic, Bug, Rock, Ghost, Dragon, Dark and Steel.

As you progress through the game these encounters become more challenging and better Pokeballs such as Ultraballs are needed to ensure capture.

There are specials moves you find throughout your adventure which allows certain Pokemon to interact with the environment, these HM moves are generally very useful for example cut allows you cut down certain trees, flash can light dark areas, surf means you cross water, strength can move heavy boulders and finally fly allows you to fast travel back to areas you have already visited.

As Pokemon level up they may start to evolve this will change their form and ultimately make them stronger, it will also count as a completely new Pokemon which helps you on your quest to get all 151 (if you decide to actually do that) some however cannot exist or evolve without help from an item, early on in the game you get to choose between two fossils and which one you choose can resurrect an extinct Pokemon later on in the game. Items such as elemental stones or moon stones can help evolve Pokemons for example I used a moon stone on my Nidorino to get a Nidoking and then I used a thunderstone on the secret Eevee you can find to get my Jolteon.

Your journey takes you through many trials and landscapes, the main goal is to beat the gyms these are buildings with trainers and a leader focusing on one specific Pokemon type, gaining badges allows you further access to use HM’s and in turn further progress through the game.

For me the best part is actually exploring the different areas throughout the world, the SS Anne is a ship that is filled to the brim with Pokemon battles, its a great place to level up early in the game, Pokemon Tower a grave site for deceased Pokemon’s while pretty creepy its a fun place to catch the few ghost Pokemon of the game and my absolute favourite thing to do is find and catch the four legendary Pokemon Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos and Mewtwo (Mewtwo is only obtainable after beating the elite four)

A casino area in Celadon City is available in all three games, here you can play slots to earn or lose money, once you get high amounts of casino coins you can trade for rarer Pokémon’s, in Yellow a surfing minigame was added as one of the new features, it is a pretty fun game and is one of most memorable parts of Pokemon Yellow.

The Safari Zone might also be considered a type of minigame, you need to complete this to get Fly but its main purpose is as giant wild area filled with easier to catch Pokemon’s, you cant battle these but can make them angry or bait them in hopes of having a better chance of catching them, you only get 30 balls and can take 500 steps so try to finish the area and get Fly before you are forced to pay and start again.

As you slowly progress towards Victory Road and the Elite Four you will be catching and training many different Pokemons, its up to you to decide who will be your main team but you want strong Pokemon with a good balance of status and offensive attacks to win, this final stretch has you fighting 5 battles in a row with no chance to heal at a Poke Center so taking all of the potions and healing items you need is completely necessary.

This time around my final team was Venosaur, Ninetails, Snorlax, Nidoking, Jolteon and Lapras.

The soundtrack is one of my favourite videogame soundtracks of all time, there is not a single song that I dislike, I feel they all suit the game extremely well, the opening gets you so pumped for the adventure your about to go on and from there it just gets better and better, the creepy music from lavender town always comes to mind as quite unsettling, the silph co music is ton of fun and of course that battle music is insanely good. It could be nostalgia talking but this particular soundtrack really does mean an awful lot to me.

The first generation of Pokemon is what made up a lot of people’s childhoods, many a day was spent trading Pokémon’s and battling our friends using the link cable and today it holds up very well, there are not many people to trade with these days but the actual main campaign is a lot of fun, it has a great story, memorable characters and really fun areas to explore. The game can be very challenging because the difficulty does increase vastly as you progress so some grinding and strategy is required to beat the game.

The only issue I had with the game was that the item storage system was badly organised and I had to rearrange it and empty it a lot, the PC storage system has a limit so that filled up quickly as well, one final slight annoyance was that status effects happened far too often, I would get poisoned or burned then use the item to get rid of it but the opposing Pokemon would just reapply the status effect almost immediately, this happened a lot and while I know it is part of the game I feel maybe the developers could have made these effects happen just a little less often than they did.

Apart from these tiny set backs Gen 1 is a really a great set of games, obviously Yellow is slightly better than Red and Blue because you can get all of the starters in that game and that extra minigame is a bonus but these are pretty solid titles that even today I would give Red/Blue 9.0/10 and Yellow 9.3/10.

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Ranking the original Child’s Play movies

Hes everyone ones favourite killer doll with an impressive film collection to his name but how do the 7 movies in the original Childs Play series holdup?

Today I will be ranking and discussing all of them, I wont be covering the remake as I want to focus on the original storyline but I do have plans for these horror film remakes in the far future.

Obviously this is just my personal opinion and I will be ranking this list based more on which ones I want to re watch more than the quality of the films, this is purely rated by my own viewing pleasure and your list may be very different to mine.

With all that said and done lets get straight into this crazy series of films !

Curse of Chucky – 2013

The only curse this movie has is how boring it is and the fact that it makes very little sense in the timeline of events

The very much alive Chucky doll is shipped to a wheelchaired bound girl in a posh old mansion, the doll is in near mint condition considering that the last movie had his head, arms, and legs cut off.

The face is later revealed to be a mask hiding Chucky’s wounds but the arms and legs are never explained neither is what happened after the events of the last movie Seed of Chucky.

The casting is pretty decent here no one does a bad job and the main character Nica and her niece Alice are fantastic in their roles, Summer Howell who plays Alice is exceptionally good here and in my opinion is actually a lot more likeable than the series first hero Andy Barclay.

A couple of fun cameos from Tiffany and Andy are in this film and were some of the only really memorable moments for me, never the less its great to finally see Andy return as his “ending” in Childs Play 3 was less than satisfactory.

The twist ending was unexpected and a highlight of the movie, it was really cool to see a teeny bit of back story for Charles Lee Ray and the events which led to him running into the toy shop in the original Child’s Play.

I know I’m biased here because a lot of people really like this movie but I don’t really get it, yes I know its gone back to the horror side of the franchise and that’s great but I just found it no where near as entertaining as any of the other films, they don’t even have any great sets in this it practically takes place in one building minus a few scenes.

The kills were pretty basic compared to the last two movies and while overall it continues the Chucky storyline this is one film that I personally will not look forward to watching again if I decide to another Chucky marathon in the future.

Seed of Chucky-2004

Where to start with this one..

Taking place 3 years after the events of Bride of Chucky, a young adolescent doll named “shitface” later to be renamed as Glen” is trying to figure out where they belong.

The old Chucky and Tiffany dolls are being used as props in their own feature film, Glen notices that these two dolls on TV also have “made in Japan” so insists that they are their lost parents. So they travel to the movie studio to resurrect Mum and Dad !

This movie is insane, this is 100 percent a comedy film and it works as such, it being so ridiculous in its premise and delivery makes for a lot of funny moments. My favourite is Tiffany calling the wife of a cop she killed in the fourth movie and apologising and saying that she was seeking help after a self help book says she should make amends with the people she’s hurt, the scene where she is on the phone with Jennifer Tilly and her personal aid is also pretty funny as they both sound the same being played by the same actress.

We got double Jennifer Tilley she’s plays her self in this as well as the Tiffany doll and she is just amazing as she always is in her performances, she works so well in comedy films and parodies and even playing two characters in this she pulls off two very memorable performances.

Unfortunately I don’t have much more positive things to say about this one. I think Child Play works so much better when it’s taken less seriously but there needs to be a fine line and I think this jumped too far over it.

Everything from its premise to the kills is so over the top that this feels more like a Robot Chicken or Scary Movie segment and that’s the best way I can describe it. It doesn’t feel right more of a parody than an actual entry in the franchise, I like silly Chucky but this is just way too much !! There is a way it can be done well and it has been done much better in this very film series.

Seed of Chucky is a fun movie in its own ways but for me it just doesn’t work as well as some of the other films in the franchise, I understand that this is meant to extremely ridiculous and they took a comedy route here but even some of the other silly movies didn’t go quite this hard and I feel that’s this movies biggest issue, it steered a little bit too far from that nice balance of silliness and seriousness and that’s why Seed of Chucky is so low on this list.

Childs Play 3 – 1991

Childs Play 3 is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to these movies, this is because while it is generally a pretty underwhelming film it is still entertaining enough that it is enjoyable

The casting is really bad in this movie as well, it primarily takes place in a military academy, Andy this time played by Justin Whalin and plays the character as a young adolescence and he does an ok job but its nothing to write home about, a lot of the acting from the entire cast is either very monotone or extremely over the top.

They play the military stereotypes really hard in this movie, you have the bully character, the nerd, the pychopath, the abusive drill sergeant, the struggling newbie and the cool character. Its cliche and nothing special, Chucky is straight up silly in this movie dropping lines like “This means war” and DONT FUCK WITH THE CHUCK!

If there one thing I can say about the film its gotta be that last set they made for theme park., it is so cool inside of the Ghost train, the graveyard scene with all the zombies jumping out is quite scary even though its fake and the final battle with Chucky in the hell segment is very symbiotic of his evil and again it just generally is really cool to look at, I wish they made ghost trains like that in real life.

Child Play 3 is an entertaining movie but its just bad for a movie in this series, it lacked in creativity not only doing the whole voodoo soul stick for the third in a row but also taking place in a school full of weapons which did take a tole on the creativity of the kills. The only redeemable moment in the film was that ending ghost train scene and apart from that while it isn’t boring it just plain sucks.

Cult of Chucky – 2017

After a disappointing and forgetful prior film this movie in my opinion really took the franchise to a place where it needed to be a well balanced silly but serious movie.

Nica now in a mental institution is convinced by the system into believing that she was the person who murdered her family that is until Tiffany disguised as Jennifer Tilley delivers the Chucky Doll directly to her which starts to trigger not only awful memories for Nica but a series of creative murders as well.

The kills are not the best that we have seen in the series but they are a upgrade to the last movie, we get another glass ceiling death similar to Seed of Chucky which was definitely my favourite death in the film.

A really cool idea introduced to this film was that Chucky is now able to transfer his soul into various dolls and people allowing him to be in multiple places at once, this idea could be quite scary if it wasn’t made clear who was possessed at anytime, but because we are told who has the soul transferred into them it takes away a lot of the suspense and I hope the upcoming TV series handles this a lot better.

The original Chucky dolls head is still alive and being kept at Andy Barclays home, it is really beat up but looks pretty damn awesome, also it was great to see Kyle back even for such a small cameo

Cult of Chucky was a fun movie, it took the franchise to new levels by changing up its rules, I like that Chucky is more of a transferrable soul now than just stuck in his body, like I said it could be a scary premise if they wanted go down that route, other than that, the acting is great here and there is much more screen time for Tiffany who at this point I think I like even more than Chucky himself.

Child Play – 1988

Oh dear the one that started it all and barely making the top three !

The first Childs Play is easily the creepiest film in the series although that doesn’t mean it isn’t at all goofy

Moments like Charles Lee Ray saying a voodoo ritual to get his souls transferred into the good guy doll is pretty ridiculous and of course we have the infamous voodoo torturing scene which both stand out as pretty non intentionally hilarious.

Yeah this is a pretty voodoo heavy film !

But that’s not to say that this does not have its creepy moments, there is one scene where the mom character finally discovers that the doll is possessed and once Chucky realises the iconic line “Hi I’m Chucky wanna play” is said and its actually quite memorable for being the biggest scare of the film, well that’s my opinion anyway.

The scenes building up to this moment we only see Andy putting the doll to his ear, there are kills that could easily link to Andy having serious mental problems and being the killer and these moments are very well directed, of course once the doll actually being alive is revealed it does go a little bit off the rails with chucky saying curse words and becoming the comic relief of the film.

The only other thing to really note here is that there a good number of explosions which are not exactly realsitic considering their size, at times I had to wonder if this had been directed by Michael bay they were of such epic proportions.

The casting here is fine enough the only person who is remotely memorable bar Chucky is Catherine Hicks who played Karen Barclay I thought she gave a really believable performance, she played Andy’s mother and she fitted her role perfectly portraying a desperate woman who is dealing with her son murdering all her friends and trying to prevent him from being taken away from her.

Alex Vincent who plays Andy was only a little boy when this movie came out so I don’t want to rip into his performance too much but most people would agree that he is very annoying in this and obviously his acting is not great due to his age but that’s all I will say on the subject as I feel its unfair to really criticise him in this.

I love this movie, the first Childs play is half phycological horror and half comedy but its never too overtop compared to its many sequels, I watch this every Halloween and any other time I get the chance, its a super fun movie and one of personal favourites.

Bride of Chucky (1998)

This movie is where the series took a complete U-turn and completely rebranded its self while also sticking to the original storyline and events.

Before we begin I want to explain that this takes place 10 years after the events of Childs Play 3 and Andy is missing from this movie and never mentioned once, its very weird considering he was such a big part of the first trilogy but keeping that in mind lets get straight into it.

A new killer is shown in this movie Tiffany, a freaky cook played by one of my favourite Actresses Jennifer Tilly, Tilley’s comedic scene chewing works extremely well for her character in this.

Her reading Voodoo for Dummies gets me every time, its little moments like this that goes to show that this is not at all meant to be a full on horror movie, most of the kills and moments are goofy, its works really well as a comedy but still has some serious storytelling on offer and I think it was a great direction to take the series.

When they are both dolls I think the movie starts to get really fun because because both of these killers personalities bounce of each other very well and in a weird way they make a creepy but cute couple.

I cant discuss this movie without talking about the sex scene, Chucky get laid in this movie and it is hilarious, while this is important to set up the sequel this is probably the funniest scene in the movie, its super weird but pretty funny to know that even though they are trapped in their doll bodies the sex organs work just fine!

The kills in this movie are fantastic, early on Tiff tells chucky he needs to up his game and give up the boring stabbings, from this point on all murders are ridiculous but in a good way and it makes these movies standout from the competitors, I think my favourite was the couple being killed by the broken glass ceiling in the hotel room quickly followed by Chucky stuffing a burning t-shirt into a cars petrol tank and blowing up the ass hole cop that was inside.

What else can I really say about this one, it is such a great movie and by far its up there as a classic, I think Chucky works better when he not taken too seriously, a lot of the slasher movies from this era went goofy and didn’t work but it seems for Chucky hes better being silly than scary, in fact he was never really a scary character and when Bride of Chucky came out the new owners Universal definitely seemed to know this.

The casting is pretty good in the film Jennifer Tilly is amazing and of course Brad Dourif as Chucky is fine, the rest of the cast are good and while none of them stood out apart from the dolls I have no complaints.

stick this one on your spooky marathon list, it is great, really freaking stupid but it works so flipping well !

Child’s Play 2 (1990)

The second Childs Play is my favourite movie in the series for a lot of reasons.

The casting here is great and a massive improvement to the first movie and even know a lot of the later films had memorable performances, this was one of the only films where I think everyone did a fine job.

Andy is less annoying by this point and of course Chucky is fantastic in this, his character is just starting to get more into the goofy side than horror so his moments are memorable for being a little over the top as well as a little menacing. The death of the teacher is one of my favourites mainly because shes a massive bitch and seeing her get her comeuppance by the toy doll she confiscated is just too funny.

In the film Andys mother is in a mental health facility as no one believes her about Chucky so Andy is placed into temporary care with a Foster family.

The family are a lot of fun on screen the two parents played by Jenny Agutter and Gerrit Graham play two very different characters who bounce well off each other as the serious father figure and nurturing mother.

The Foster sister Kyle is one of better side kick characters for Andy is the series, she’s played by Christine Elise who does a grand job as the misunderstood teenager who at first doesn’t believe Andy but by the end of the film she teams up to defeat Charles Lee Ray once again!

Plenty of locations were shot for this film and they are very visually appealing, I love the Foster home with its creepy basement and old fashioned layout and of course the factory is really cool. The opening shots of the movie are of the burned chucky doll getting restored its quite creepy but at the end of the film the final battle in the factory is fantastic, the best part is when Chucky gets sent into the doll building machine backwards and we get to see him as a deformed version himself. He has a lot of great looks in this scene one, he has a knife hand, he gets his legs destroyed so has to wheel himself around and then there is the terrifying melting version before he gets his head exploded by gas pressure, it’s all really awesome and one of the better finales

Childs Play 2 is just a phenomenal film and is in my opinion not only the best in this franchise but one of the best movies ever made especially during the era of slashers, a lot of Chucky’s competitors had pretty weak second movies so its nice to see one work so well.

And that my official ranking of the Childs Play series !, Of course the TV series isnt out yet but I will add it to this list in the future as it does continue the story in this timeline.

So do you agree with my picks or would you have ranked these differently let me know in the comments below 🙂

Here is a link to last years ranking of the original 10 Friday the 13th movies

Happy Halloween 2021, I hope you have a Spooktacular day, have fun but also stay safe !

Next month we are back to regualr reviews before Christmas so I will see you then

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Book Reviews: The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G Wells

The Island of Dr Moreau is 1896 Sci-fi novel by H.G Wells (War of the worlds, The time traveller)

The story of the book follows the journey of Edward Prendick, a sailor who shipwrecks on a small civilized island, he wakes up in a hospital bed and is being treated by the Islands surgeon and scientist Dr Moreau.

Later on in the book Prendick begins to investigate the island after hearing strange noises and finding an animal that has been completely mauled by a large creature. It isn’t until a little further on that he discovers the true horrors of the Island, Dr Moreau has been inserting animal embryos into human captives and turning them into Human/Animal hybrid beasts known as the beastmen.

He soon realises that Moreau is not going to let him go home and likely wants him to join his creations leaving Predick having to fend for himself if he wants to survive and escape.

There are a lot of themes in this book and while it is very dark and quite scary the themes of anxiety, abuse, depression, changes and fear unfortunately mirror what a lot of people go through in real life and I think that’s what makes this story have such a big impact on its readers.

The story and its themes are also very scary, I cannot imagine what it would be like being trapped in such a horrifying place and being the lesser man, you see in this story Moreau is on top, the beastmen below him and regular man and animals are at the bottom of the food chain which makes Prendick the hunted and while he is not a beastman his natural animal instincts come into play during the story’s climax and while I won’t spoil that here I will say that from beginning to end this tale is chilling and captivating.

This is my first H.G Wells book and I have read it twice now because it is really good, I’ve never read a story like this before but I will be checking out more of H.G Wells works in the future as this has quickly become one of my favourite books in my collection,

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American Gothic 1988 Review

Inspired by the famous painting by Grant Wood, this low budget horror film from the 1980’s is one of the most bizarre films I have watched in a long time.

This is a classic broken down car movie, in this case its a plane and our five young victims are stuck on a seemingly abandoned island, they begin camping for the night and the next morning they discover an old farm house which hasn’t changed since the 1900’s there is no electricity and all of the decor and furniture is old and worn, they assume the house is abandoned that is until the peculiar owners arrive.

The disturbing family that lives in this house are just as old fashioned as the house, they are all followers of god and live by his rules.

They all play a role and its quite strange, the mother and father are simple enough they follow very strict rules and swear by the lord but its the children that are the creepiest and most disturbing.

The daughter character Fanny believes herself to be 12 years old even though she is clearly a middle aged adult, she still plays with her dolls and cares for her dead baby which is literally the skeleton of a dead infant, its quite disgusting and could be upsetting for some viewers.

The two brother characters also play themselves as a much younger age, the big fella teddy is particularly dangerous and cannot control his own strength going as far as breaking someone neck without hardly touching it.

The ending of the film is quite unsettling and left me with a lot of questions, im going to discuss it now so if you dont want spoilers you may want to stop here !

The last survivor is Cythia, throughout the film we realise she is struggling from PTSD after she let her baby drown in the bath, she is clearly unwell and she becomes more and more detached from reality as her friends slowly turn up dead.

By the end of the film she has a chance to run away but chooses to go back to the house, here she is dressed up like a little child and begins acting that way aswell.

She eventually ends up killing Fanny over the baby declaring the corpse as her child and the rage of pulling its head off (yes I did warn you this is quite gross and in someways aged quite poorly) she winds up killing everyone else before returning to the baby’s room to rock its cradle.

What I was left wondering after the movie is why were these people living in the past? and are they all blood relations? The reason I ask the second question is because the one son Woody is quite old and doesn’t look too different to his “father” are these other people who have been lost on the island and brain washed? the reason why they live in the past I cant figure out apart from maybe its religious choices inspired by the Amish or something like that but I honestly have no idea.

I stumbled across this movie by complete accident and I am happy I did, its a very weird horror movie, its not scary but is disturbing and unsettling from a psychological standpoint. The dead baby is a bit much for me personally and I have to be honest I don’t really want to watch it again because of that, and its not that I’m offended but its just a bit too messed up for me to really enjoy it.

Baby cadavers aside this is an ok film, its a little slow at the beginning and apart from the family the main victims that we are meant to root for are pretty boring and not very relatable, I like the idea of the film but I feel its ambitious ideas do you leave it with more than one plothole and unanswered questions so I wouldn’t really recommend this unless you really like cheaply made, dumb horror flicks.

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