“Now for the classic ‘get my butt kicked by a hard boss and then way over-level-grind to compensate.’ Classic Kingdom Hearts.”
-on time-honored rituals
That’s right, folks, Clickbait Boyfriend is back on that grind., and so is the blog after a holiday hiatus! With less than two weeks until Kingdom Hearts 3, everyone’s favorite KH newbie (if he can even be considered a newbie anymore!) is within striking distance of finishing every game released so far. This week, we’ve got a super-sized edition to wrap up Dream Drop Distance! Look for a bonus Back Cover post this weekend, 0.2 next week, and finally, a Kingdom Hearts 3 predictions post on that most holy of days, January 29th. It’s all Kingdom Hearts all the time, and we are LOVING IT.
(New to Clickbait Boyfriend? It’s a great companion to your Kingdom Hearts 3 prep! Catch up on every post here.)
“First person shooters, man!”
-on Candy Goggles, part one
“I feel so silly doing this. This is emasculating.”
-on the wide-ranging impact of toxic masculinity AKA Candy Goggles, part two
“It’s like big game hunting. Something felt so dirty about saying that.”
-on Candy Goggles part three
Clickbait Boyfriend spent a lot of time pampering his spirits as part of his prep work for the final bosses. In a series packed full of incongruous mini games, the whole spirit training system has to be one of the strangest. It should surprise no one that Clickbait Boyfriend was better at Candy Goggles than me, because he is the master at first person shooters and I am the novice. Still, it clearly sparked a lot of emotions for him.
“My elephant has a skateboard! He’s rad AF!”
-on favorite new friends
“Wait a second, with the wings he kinda looks like a Reaper!”
-on subtle crossovers
Look at this fly cutie. This dope elephant would probably be way more successful than any of TWEWY’s real reapers.
“This is too much fun.”
-on the joys of creating Dream Eaters
“This song is so obnoxious, I don’t know why anyone thought this would be a good idea.”
-on the drawbacks of creating Dream Eaters
I mean, the music is appropriate for this silly Pokemon knock-off, but it can definitely make for some weird tonal shifts coming off of a boss fight.
“This world is at a 10 and I’m at a 2. Tone it down.”
-on The World That Never Was
The area titles are…quite dramatic.
“Riku’s a sexy guy! He’s what gamer girls want! He’s what nightmares fear!”
-on bad boy appeal
If you’ve haven’t watched the linked interview clip, you owe it to yourself to take fifteen seconds out of your day to press play. Meanwhile, Riku continues to drop sick one-liners like they’re going out of style.
“Yes! That was so easy! *cackles*”
-on the Red-Eyed Nightmare
“I feel like leveling systems get in the way of my enjoyment of games so often. It’s so hard to calibrate it right.”
-on the dangers of that grind life
After all that level-grinding, Clickbait Boyfriend breezed through bosses that had crushed him before. In between cackles, he makes an important gameplay as storytelling point! I’m no game designer (if you’ve listened to any of our game mash-ups on the podcast, you don’t need to be reminded), but I imagine it’s incredibly hard to balance running time with difficulty with predictions about how many grunts the average player will fight while playing through the story. Rarely do I reach the end of a Kingdom Hearts game and not feel the need to grind a bit before going through the whole boss sequence, but I also lean towards liking my games on the easy side. @Emma, make a Play This video about this concept please!
“Isn’t this what most millennials dream of? Not having to wake up?”
-on chronic sleep deprivation
Wow, too real.
“Don’t tell me I have to fight Ansem again.”
-on foregone conclusions
Yeah…you have to fight Ansem again.
“I missed Ansem. It seems like the way they wrote Ansem was a conscious choice and they’ve really decided to stick with it. He always talks like a pretentious douche.”
-on consistency of characters
“I can’t take him seriously with that 8 pack.”
-on consistency of buffness
Oh Ansem, don’t ever change. Keep hitting that gym of darkness and spouting your pseudo-Niezstchean nonsense.
“I’m so good at Kingdom Hearts. Dab on it, dab on it, dabbing on those hearts.”
-on post-boss celebrations
He really said this.
“Good thing bad guys who die in Kingdom Hearts never come back.”
Fully expecting Clayton to reppear at the climax of Kingdom Hearts 3 as one of the thirteen darknesses, tbh.
“Me this whole game. That’s all I say anymore.”
-on becoming a broken record
“I’m not even rolling my eyes because of the inevitable boss battle but because they’re about to pull the rug out from under me.”
-on the threshold of revelation
If I mentioned every single time Clickbait Boyfriend heard a line about not understanding something or being confused and replied “me this whole game,” I would have a whole other blog series. Shockingly though, he doesn’t seem thrilled to finally gain some knowledge. Isn’t this what he’s been complaining about for a year and a half???
“Oh. A lot makes sense now. Here’s the annoying thing: it doesn’t help me make sense of anything that’s come up to this point, it helps me make sense of one scene in a trailer.”
-on getting some answers for once
“You know what else is really cheap? This whole game feels like it’s just tying up loose ends so that we can go headfirst into Kingdom Hearts 3.”
-on the obvious purpose of this game
Clickbait Boyfriend talks a big game about Kingdom Hearts being too confusing, but when he finally gets the answers he’s looking for, he always seems strangely disappointed. It’s almost as if he loves the game because it’s confusing. Controversial analysis, I know. Still, I’ll give him some credit here: it’s wild how far the developers are willing to go to weave a few loose ends from the very first game into the current lore. I screamed when they revealed the true purpose of the mysterious hooded man on Destiny Islands, and it only gets crazier from there.
“You know what Nomura was like ‘what doesn’t our game have enough of?’ and someone was like ‘Xehanorts, we only have five.'”
-on behind-the-scenes development secrets
They must have a whole floor of whiteboards at Square Enix dedicated to keeping all of the story connections straight, plus a team of interns tracking how many Xehanorts exist at any given moment of the series. This is why they get paid the big bucks, people.
“I think I might be on Xehanort’s side. Sora has all this touchy feels BS, Xehanort actually elucidates the plot. Sora just goes around saying ‘friendship is my power.'”
-on being tempted by the darkness
“Aaah! Ah! My friends! They are my power! I’m gonna cry!”
-on returning to the light
We almost lost Clickbait Boyfriend to the darkness there. It’s true, Xehanort has meticulous plans and clear explanations on his side. Put it that way, and the darkness sounds much more appealing, at least to me. But can he summon all of his friends to take a dope group shot whenever he yells “my friends are my power?” Well…he can make them all sit in tall chairs together. Does that count?
“I’m just laughing imagining people who say ‘oh, the side games don’t matter.'”
-on THINGS THAT CLEARLY MATTER
Remember how I was one of those people until about six months into the podcast? It’s not just Clickbait Boyfriend who’s come a long way.
“Oh my god. Oh clap my clap god.”
“Honestly I was beginning to think, this is all getting too satisfying, some BS is gonna happen soon, and of all the things, they make him say Stopza.”
-on unwelcome rescuers
Not that anyone would know this if they had only played Kingdom Hearts, but -za is the fourth level prefix for Final Fantasy spells. The whole magic naming system is a little silly until you get used to it (even after you get used to it), but this dramatic moment was maybe not the time to introduce this new level to the convention. Clickbait Boyfriend literally had to pause the game to get out all of his Mickey Mouse-fueled rage.
“What has this gaslighter been doing the whole game? What was that F-plot?”
-on Maleficent and Pete and Minnie Mouse and…I give up.
“I’m so done with Mickey. They tried in this game, but I failed. Mickey knows so much that he doesn’t tell anyone. It’s such a classic emotional abuser cycle of appearing to comfort the victim and then disappearing and going back on your BS again.”
-on psychological analysis (and also rage)
You know, at first I thought Clickbait Boyfriend’s hatred of Mickey Mouse was cute, but misguided. I mean, he’s Mickey Mouse. But the more of these games I’ve watched him play, the more I’ve started to realize that Mickey Mouse is, in fact, an asshole. Where was the Kingdom Hearts game explaining to me what his rodent majesty was up to while Sora and Riku saved the world(s) over and over again? Oh right, there wasn’t one, because he was probably chilling on his Steamboat yacht sipping mimosas and having a grand old time, gallivanting off to save the day whenever he starts to feel a bit bored. Mickey Mouse is the true darkness, you can’t change my mind.
“Wait this guy is actually hard.”
-on Young Xehanort
“Are there fifteen more bosses? They love their bosses.”
-on justified fears
No, just like two or three. No big deal.
“You have the audacity to even ask me how I’m doing? Stopza right now.”
-on breaking the gaslighting cycle…or at least making snarky comments about it
“How old is Mickey? Food for thought.”
-on perplexing questions
Much like Goofy, Donald Duck, and yes, even Huey, Dewey, and Louie, Mickey Mouse does not seem to have aged in the past decade-plus since he last thought about his friends Aqua, Terra, and Ven. Before that, as we saw in this game, Mickey had a lot of adventures as an apprentice and as a vigilante king or whatever. This means that Mickey is, at minimum, solidly middle-aged, but more likely pushing senior citizen status. Alternately, he is immortal. I’m not sure which is worse.
“Why is this dude obsessed with taking young men, making them his vessels, and putting himself inside them.”
-on uncomfortable synopses
Speaking of things I hate, here’s Clickbait Boyfriend’s disturbing take on Xehanort’s plan to acquire Thirteen Darknesses.
Yes! I was waiting for it!”
-on “old coot”
I wonder what the Japanese version of “old coot” is.
“Yes! Axel’s like the opposite of a gaslighter!”
-on fire puns (?)
“Oh Lea yesssss!”
-on new faves
“It isn’t, first of all. I refuse to believe his name is Lea Dark Rescue…don’t think we know his last name. Also, he’s about to say ‘got it memorized?'”
Believe it or not, for the first time in series history, Lea did not say “got it memorized?”
“No way, no way, no way. I’m playing a game of tag?”
-on Riku’s final dive
It’s a super dramatic game of tag…but yeah.
“I always have to flip off the world after I beat a Kingdom Hearts boss because it feels momentous.”
-on traditional celebrations
I can confirm that he really does this, although I cannot truly explain why.
“It was a choice-based game all along!”
-on unexpected genre shifts
“Were these the questions they asked me in the first game?”
-on yet more callbacks to the past
I found it oddly touching to revisit the questions I was asked in the original! Emma claims that the answers determine whether you unlock the secret movie though, which makes it a little less fun, and more just a game of What Would Nomura Do?
“Oh my god. WTF”
-on DiZ’s digital heart library
Everything you’ve ever lost around the house has also somehow made its way into Sora’s heart. By the way, WHO LET DATA BE A REAL PART OF THIS STORY.
“Was this the best Kingdom Hearts ending ever for you?”
-on the tea party
I am a tea fanatic, it’s true.
“*GASP* Oh, that’s a fruity Keyblade.”
Despite all of the foreshadowing in the world, Clickbait Boyfriend was still astonished by Lea’s Keyblade reveal. And hey, at least there are no flowers on it like Kairi’s.
“I know what he’s got to take care of ;)”
-on wrapping things up at home
Clickbait Boyfriend is gross. Sora just wants to visit his adorable spirit friends, ya perv!
“I can spell.”
-on decoding the secret message
“”This leads to Kingdom Hearts 6???”
They’re in groups of three, silly! Clickbait Boyfriend might be able to spell, but it’s unclear whether he can count.
It’s true folks, this does lead to Kingdom Hearts 3! But first, we’ve got to try make sense of whatever the heck is going on in Back Cover!