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Let me start off by saying, that I'm a huge fan of the Kingdom Hearts series. I must have played KH1 and KH2, at least over a dozen times from start to finish, fighting bosses over and over again just for fun, looking for any sort of clues that could reveal something for the next KH game or beating Sephiroth over and over again just for a challenge. But I've always had plenty to criticize about the differences in Kingdom Hearts 1 and Kingdom Hearts 2. Other than controls, and certain game play elements being implemented poorly (which i'll get to later). My main gripe with the two games is the difficulty between the two. KH1 was a challenge, you had to prioritize and gathering your bearings before plunging into a room filled with heartless or potentially a boss. I can't speak for easy mode as i never played the game on that difficulty. But normal was a challenge and a good one at that. Going into the game, you had to make damn sure you had the best keyblades, armor, accessories and abilities equipped. Because you only had so much AP (Ability Points) you had to sacrifice some of the stronger flashier moves ( i.e. Ragnorok, Trinity Limit, etc) because lower costing abilities would benefit you more in the long run. There's a certain ability where you can gain magic for each time you hit an enemy with your keyblade. A great ability since once you run out of magic and your ethers in your item pouch are gone, that's it. Kingdom Hearts 2, gets rid of this entirely by having your magic regenerate overtime. There was never any need to prioritize your attacks and using spells wisely because the player would always know that magic would just regenerate entirely in a matter of seconds, and yet ethers were still kept in the game, they might as well have not been included cause i certainly didn't use them in any of my playthoughs. I've seen a video of a player fighting Leon, Cloud, Tifa, and Yuffie all at the same time with just Sora, as its a requirement in one of the Hades Tournaments, and the player casted a spell called trinity limit, one of the strongest spells in the game which depletes all your magic, and then proceeded to glide around the edge of the arena until his magic was full and repeated the spell again and again until the 4 bosses were defeated. To me that's one of the most boring boss fight i've ever seen. But it's not just regenerative magic in KH2 that ruins the difficulty curve from the first game, but also some gameplay elements that just i felt were poorly executed.. I'm talking about reaction commands. Oh boy, there basically quick time events but its only one button. And the fact that square didnt even bother to make it so that there was some sort of consequence for not timing the buttons down really killed me. In fact you don't need to time the buttons, you can literally just mash the triangle button and you completed the reaction commands. And while were on the topic of quick time events, why is the entire Little Mermaid level a giant quick time event? My god, how uninteresting and a waste of a world. I mentioned some controls being implemented poorly in the beginning, one such problem being the entire Little Mermaid level in KH1. Don't get me wrong, its entirely doable. But moving around in this underwater level fighting the giant shark and Ursela was a bit tough your first time through. By the time you get to the Little Mermaid level, your so used to running around with your feet planted firmly on the ground, its definitely a bit of a learning curve, and i can see certain people not liking it which might explain why the Little Mermaid level came back as a giant quick time event instead of the traditional KH fast paced action. The same argument can be said about the flying in KH1, since flying and swimming basically controlled the same way, but at the same time, the amount of time you spend flying doesn't equate to the amount of time you spend in the ocean with the little mermaid. If i remember correctly you only fly in KH1 maybe 3 times all for boss battles.There's also the issue of the camera in KH1. You could move it around but it was with the L2 and R2 buttons, which didn't break the game for me, but it was kind of an inconvenience in a fast paced Action RPG with these enemies flying and jumping all over the area. KH2 fixed this by putting the camera control on the right analog stick. But you can still work with the camera in KH1 so its not entirely a big deal. To fix the problems in KH2, i'd get rid of regenerative magic and bring back the ethers, elixirs, etc. The items are in the game, let's use them! I'd make "reaction commands" a skill instead of button mashing. It'd be different buttons instead of a giant flashing green Triangle button, and would also require some degree of skill, with the consequences being perhaps the boss gaining a little health back for each time you fail or the player would lose some health. I'd also make abilites, keyblades, armor, etc a main priority again where the player has to make some sacrifices in order to survive. Perhaps it can be done by making the enemies have some sort of ability where there attacks can deal more damage depending on what armor the player is wearing. Or make the keyblades + and - strength and magic stats actually matter. I'm fully aware of other difficulty settings like critical and proud mode in KH2, and still found them to not be that hard, because of the reasons above. Maybe it's just me, but KH1 just a very charming and magical experience , while i thought KH2 was just lots of flashy moves slapped together with the difficulty of the first game being thrown out the window to make it easier for the 8 year olds that square/disney tried to market this game to.
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