The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet


Why I didn’t like Kingdom Hearts 2 reason #5: Cinematic reactions

In Kindgom Hearts 2, when you’re fighting mobs (most notably bosses, but seriously just about every mob), you’ll frequently see a thingus pop up on the top of your menu that says "Triangle: Something Cool." when that’s showing, if you hit the triangle button, Sora will automagically flip way high in the air, cut down the chandelier, drop it on the boss, and then set it on fire. And probably slash the dude’s tires while he’s at it.

I can sort of picture the strategy meeting that went into that decision. One guy says "you know what this game needs? Really large, spectacular combat moves," and then another guy says "yeah, but a lot of our players are crap," and the first guy’s like "yeah, fuck it. Let’s just do what we always do and throw in movies of cool things happening instead." Because that’s the net effect of this strategy: instead of doing something awesome, you’re watching a movie of something awesome happening. You don’t actually have to jump Sora up there and knock the thing down, it just happens on its own.

Now, it may sound like I’m splitting hairs, but that’s the exact thing I’m getting at: the two things do sound pretty similar in theory. I mean, either way you’re sitting on the sofa pressing a button to make the little man on the screen do something, right? But in practice the cinematic reaction method makes the game seem remarkably uninteractive. No matter where you were or what you were doing before, Sora can magically reach to do what he’s going to do. There’s no working to get in position needed, there’s no moment of "hey, look at this awesome thing I figured out" because all you did was press one button when the game explicitly told you to. It’s a serious letdown, and it’s a total violation of my Third Rule of Cinematics, which states that the coolest things in the game should never happen in the cinematics.

Because you know what? My remote control has buttons on it that I can press to watch a movie, and I don’t consider that to be riveting gameplay either.

November 16th, 2007 Posted by | Games | 2 comments


  1. Wow. You *really* didn’t like this game.

    Comment by Dave | 16 November 2007

  2. Funny thing is, I thought it was okay. There are plenty of games I liked a lot less. I just think it’s funny to be long-winded on odd subjects.

    Also, this game was very well-regarded in general; seems only M.C. Chris and I didn’t like it.

    Comment by Darien | 17 November 2007

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