A Tale of Two Titles
I can’t think of a more disparate pairing of logos.
I finished Kingdom Hearts II on Friday, and I am glad that I finally admitted that I was never going to play Chain of Memories and got on with the series. I’ve heard that if you DO play Chain of Memories, the stuff in KH2 makes a lot more sense, but I was able to piece together enough of the story to get what was going on.
I felt like the Disney fan-service parts of the story definitely took second fiddle to the new elements of the story, because they had a LOT of new mythology to introduce. It kind of feels like Square-Enix wrapped up the first game not really expecting too much from it, saw the sales numbers, and decided that the best way to milk their new cash cow was to retcon in a massive and convoluted backstory with all sorts of hooks for sequels and spin-offs and so on and so forth and you wind up with The Little Mermaid being reduced to a rhythm game section so they can get in more Questionable Male Bonding.
That shouldn’t be taken as a bad thing, really. The whole crazy Organization XIII / Nobodies / Ansem / the Real Ansem / The Fake Ansem / The Other Fake Ansem / What the Heck Is Going On actually started to make sense after a while, and I am cheerfully going to start Birth by Sleep next. Depending on how that goes, I may even try some of the DS titles. Just nothing card-based ever again.
When I started KH2, I was forewarned that I’d be playing as “The Other Guy” for some time before stepping back into Sora’s improbably-sized shoes, and I’m glad for the warning. I actually found myself quite enjoying the Roxxas part of the story and was a bit disappointed when it ended – if I’d gone into it cold, I probably would have spent the entire time wondering what the heck happened after KH1 and what I was doing running around Twilight Town.
Overall, I think KH1 was the better game, but KH2 opened the way to a bunch of different possibilities for the universe, added some new worlds and was plenty fun in its own right. I have lots of hate for one or two of the boss fights, but running around the Tron level a few times made up for them.
I needed something a little less cute afterwards, however, and that lead me to the C section of my Steam Library.
Somehow, I’ve wound up with a set of Every Dang Call of Duty Game, even though I’ve only ever played numbers 2, 4, and 5 in the series. I have considered, occasionally, starting from scratch, but that kind of fizzled about 20 minutes into CoD 1.
OK, so I guess I’ve played 20 minutes of 1 and then 2, 4, and 5. The next logical thing to do would be to start #6 (Modern Warfare 2).
I’m not always logical, and I wanted to see if I could find something that would actually let my gaming PC stretch its legs, so I skipped ahead to Call of Duty: Black Ops II, which I’m pretty sure is just Call of Duty 9: This Time, You Shoot Stuff In The Future.
I’m embarrassed to say that I’m really enjoying it. It’s the ultimate in dudebro gaming, and I should feel really guilty about spending my evening playing this instead of something from the artsy indie section of my Steam library, but sometimes it just feels good to make things blow up.
I did run into a crashing bug at the end of the third level, which is apparently caused by having too many Steam friends, and which had the vexing side effect of making me start the entire level over from scratch three times. How that got through QA, I won’t try to understand, but trimming out some friends who hadn’t logged on to Steam in ages made it so that I could get past the sticky bit.