Tetsuya Nomura has announced that the long awaited critical mode will be arriving today via a new update. Critical mode, an integral part of the series after its addition in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix is a mode that is supposed to bring out the best in a Kingdom Hearts game and the worst in a player. It elevated Kingdom Hearts II’s combat system to a much respected status among the community by forcing players to memorize fight patterns and utilize every move at their disposal. Why this mode was not included already in KHIII, considering that the initial prologue of 2.8 had an insane difficulty spike is still baffling.
There are actually a lot of baffling things about this game that I still think about and don’t have a convenient answer to. An easy difficulty even when set to proud mode, no Final Fantasy characters, a plot that held all its big punches right to the very end, the saddest depiction of Twilight Town, a lack of meaningful post game content, lack of original non-Disney ideas, and a combat system that emphasized flair over strategy. The only decent explanation I have is that this time around it was more necessary to bring in new fans to the detriment of series veterans.
Yet, despite these shortcomings I did everything that it had to offer with a smile on my face for the most part. Curses to that terrible cooking game with Remy, the keyblade you get is pretty cool though.
The Gummi ship sections in this game were really good, I thoroughly enjoyed that offering and don’t think it gets praised enough. No one likes Gummi Ship sections but hey at least they tried. Classic Kingdom while a nice touch was given too much importance, I doubt many players spent much time playing each of the games offered. The story had the payoffs that I was looking for and treated most of their characters right except Kairi. Poor Kairi.
I believe that this update will go a long way in changing the game for the better. The combat, who many would say is a critical aspect of the Kingdom Hearts series was ruined to an extent by giving the player too many options to spam their way to victory. It also didn’t help that this didn’t line up very well, narratively, as it gave Sora too much strength at a point where he lost his powers after Dream Drop Distance.
My hopes is that critical mode can somehow add the necessary challenge that was found in other Kingdom Hearts without making the game feel too cheap. It will add weight to many of those endgame battles that could have been so much more epic. The developer teased that there would be some new things that have never before been seen in a critical mode. As long as content keeps getting pushed out I will keep supporting this game and series that I hold dearly. The game can only go up from here. I look forward to testing out critical mode and dying many many times.