Daily Rant

Day 154: Kingdom Hearts and How Grinding is Keeping Me from Catching Up

Okay, let me give you a little context before we begin.

So, during my senior year of high school (around that time, it might’ve been my junior year) I developed a fascination with the Kingdom Hearts series. It was around that time that 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (I still can’t believe that’s a thing, by the way) had come out, with the 1.5+2.5 bundle coming soon after that, so I figured that if I were gonna jump on, that would’ve been the time.

I still haven’t beaten them all. I enjoyed my time with them (for the most part) but I still haven’t gotten around to beating all of them. Up to this point, I’ve beaten Kingdom Hearts 1, the Sora side of Re:Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts 2, plus Dream Drop Distance HD and 0.2 Birth By Sleep. I’m near the end of the Riku side of Re:Chain, and I’ve only just gotten started with the Terra side of Birth By Sleep.

It probably wouldn’t take as long if I weren’t doing them all on the hardest difficulty, but that’s beside the point. Mainly because the difficulty doesn’t matter a whole lot: while it does take some skill, it’s still a Square Enix RGP, which means it’s more a numbers game than a skill based game.

Which means grinding. Lots of grinding.

Now, I don’t mind Kingdom Hearts grinding. It’s actually kind of zen and satisfying to me; at least it is in Kingdom Hearts 2. Plus, if you’re playing on the highest difficulty (which I am, because I’m stupid) then it actually doesn’t take that long at the higher levels. For example, while grinding for the final boss, I continued to run through the final level from start to end over and over. By the time I reached the final room, I’d be two levels higher than I was at the first room. I did this for an hour and wiped the floor with Xemnas.

On critical mode. I don’t mean to brag, but… I kinda wiped the floor with the fucker.

The main reason I don’t mind the grinding is the load-times, or in this case: the lack-there-of. Unlike say a Final Fantasy game, you don’t go through a small loading screen with an elaborate animation before you can finally murder everything, get the EXP and move on. Instead, they just spawn in, you kill them, and move on to the next group. It doesn’t sound like much, but it goes a long way to reducing the tedium of grinding.

Which is why I really don’t like Re:Chain of Memories.

Not only is it a mediocre action-card game (fight me), but it’s built in every way to be tedious. You need to grind for exp, for cards, hell even for extra rooms so you can move on (rooms are also cards, by the way). The levels are repetitive, the enemies are repetitive, and the constant flash of the logo before combat starts now haunts my nightmares.

Again, I must ask: why the hell did I decide to play this on the hardest difficulty?

That’s probably the main reason I haven’t caught up with the series yet. Re:Chain of Memories is such a hurdle simply due to it’s grinding and tedium that I would’ve preferred to do literally anything else. Hell, after I finished the Sora side and learned that I had to do it all again as Riku, I said fuck it and just went straight to Kingdom Hearts 2.

Which is great and I fucking love it, tedious grinding or no.

Still, I do intend to get it all finished before January. Kingdom Hearts 3 looks fantastic, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I won’t necessarily enjoy catching up, but I intend to.

Even though that means watching not one but three pretty bad Kingdom Hearts movies to stay up to snuff.

The love-hate relationship I have with this series is fucking real.

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