I’m going to say this again, though I’ll eventually have to stop prefacing everything with “quarantine does things to people” because ya’ll’re going to see how shallow that statement is. Honestly, it’s my get-out-of-jail-free card for all the stupid, twisted, goofy things my brain does and the thoughts I choose to write about. It’s a sham, but at least the cards are on the table.
I have very few obsessions, very few things I take a true, passionate interest in. Most folks will agree those very few things are… odd in combination with each other and odd alone given my glamorous personality.
One of those things is Kingdom Hearts. I loved the games in my adolescence, though I never finished the second one, and obsessed over the storyline, the friendships and unconditional love between the characters. Bonus: Disney characters. There’s not a thing about KH that I’ve found to dislike. I’ve completed about half the saga over the years on the various platforms, but I haven’t completed the actual games.
In three days, I completed KH2. This morning, I cried like an absolute fiend. It’s 1900, and I still don’t know why I was crying. The overdramatic scenes are eyerolling and the dialogue is rough, to be sure. But there I was, tears splashing onto my controller and I couldn’t contain them.
I think at best it’s the nostalgia that caught up to me in junction with the reconnection of my beloved characters. At worst it’s the nostalgia that reminded me how goddamn emotionally difficult that age was when I first discovered the game. The year I began KH was the year my depression cloud settled on my brain. The leading plot of the entire saga is about friends fighting to be with each other. I needed a friend at that time, and damn it if I don’t yearn for close connections still.
Today I count myself lucky that I have 5 very close girl friends. Unfortunately, one lives in Boston, one’s moving to Kansas City, another is in Chicago, and the last is in Atlanta. The one geographically close friend I’m so lucky for, Iza, is too kind to me. I wish we could hang out more, and I’d love for the quarantine crap to be done so we can just be out in public and get a coffee. I’m so lucky to have her in town, but she feels so distant.
Even together (and I’m working on this, so don’t think I’m not!), we’re still distant. She and I are completely different women than we were when we first met. I mean, 2007 was eons ago. The fact is, we weren’t women when we met, we were just girls in art class together with the strange obsession with Harajuku fashion, lolita in particular. So we’re taking the time to learn each other. Shy, innocent, sheltered Iza is not that woman and I’m so proud of her! She’s genuinely developed into a cool person who’s not totally afraid of the outside world, and is accomplishing creative projects around the city. I live vicariously through her, she’s a tremendous artist. We are working to get closer, and I really love how honest she is about her feelings, welcoming me into her life without skipping a beat. I need that, we all need that.
I’m not going to make this post solely about me and my stupid feelings, I swear. I also discovered a great way to grind and form level that I want to share. If all you wanted to read was about some idiot’s feelings over a videogame, you are now done with today’s post. However, if you’re a huge flippin dork and are trynna level up your growth abilities, I’ve posted some comments (about 13 years too late) about the grind:
Essentially, the forms are not necessary to level to beat the game. I actually didn’t focus on the forms aspect until lvl 55, so my way of doing things may not be feasible for folks picking up the controller for the first time. I’m rocking 2.5 (remix), so there’s the special cave in Hollow Bastion / Radiant Garden that made me focus on it. Also, the puzzle pieces – gotta have them growth abilities for Jiminy!
Limit Form: Agrabah, Cave of Wonders: Chasm of Challenges (warp pad) > Treasure Room. There’s a large mushroom that will revive itself indefinitely. Wack the shit out of that thing, using your Limit finishing move. Once you run out of drive, keep whacking it to get your drive back up, and have at it some more. The mushroom will stick around for exactly 1:40:01. You can do a surprising amount of damage in just 100 seconds!
Valor Form: This form is just based on hits. So you can hit anything and level up – just go where the easy points are. I used the same mushroom in Agrabah, Cave of Wonders: Treasure Room. Only went anti-form twice, leveled through 7.
Wisdom Form: Level up is based on specifically defeated heartless. As I was well done with the game, I chose The World That Never Was, Alley to Between (warp pad) > Fragment Crossing. Tiny classic heartless everywhere, lined ‘em up and went to town. I’m almost certain the XP only counts for the final blow. I got mixed results with the same room, Goofy doing his own thing. I guess in retrospect, I should have disabled all his attacking abilities, but he helped me clear more groups quickly. On average, I could clear 16 enemies and still make it to the warp pad to keep 5-bar drive. Anti-form 3 times, leveled through 7.
Master Form: Level up based on collected drive orbs. This is where I differ with most of the posts I’ve read about leveling this form. I highly suggest Beast’s Castle, Beast’s Room (warp pad) > West Wing Hallway. I would average 80 XP points per round, with enough time to return to warp pad and return with 5-bar drive. Anti-form 1 time, leveled through 7.
Final Form: Level up based on defeated nobodies. Twilight Town, Tower Entry Way (warp pad) > Tower. This one was a bit annoying as it’s harder to control gliding Sora, but the bottom of the tower has easier to kill nobodies, meaning you can get more quicker. As you ascend the tower, they get more difficult and spread out. I had to make a few trips to Agrabah to re-up my drive bars, but most the time I was able to get back to the warp pad to keep 5 bars on return. Anti-form 0 times, leveled through 6.
Each time I had to go to Agrabah to fill my drive bar, it took 25-28 seconds to fill 5 bars, so it’s not a waste of time. However, there are some abilities and an ounce of strategery that play into this:
- Berserk – continuously attacks while MP bar is reloading
- Drive Boost – continuously charges Drive bar while MP bar is reloading
Hit the crew with a cura, drain that MP bar, use bezerk to go to town on the mushroom. 15 seconds later, you’re sailing out of there with 5 bars of drive, ready to grind away.
Like I said, I joined the form game late. They’re cool, but complicated to me and I like to just charge in and whack stuff in my video games. So I didn’t pay attention until lvl 55. The cool thing is you’ll still level up regularly during the grind, so I ended somewhere around lvl 63. Then I got side tracked into hunting the puzzle pieces, so I think I completed the game at lvl 75 this morning.