Kingdom Hearts II was the third game released in the Kingdom Hearts franchise, shortly after Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, in 2005 in Japan for the PlayStation 2. The game developed on all the features of the first Kingdom Hearts and improved on them tenfold. The game almost doubled the content and lore from the previous games, making fans of the franchise fall in love all over again and wait in hope for the next big game that would better this sequel… that only took fourteen years. Because of this, I’m going to be splitting this game into two articles, so without further ado, let’s get right into it!
The End of Summer Vacation
Roxas wakes up in Twilight Town, and is attempting to enjoy the last few days of his Summer vacation with his friends. As he spends the days with his friends, weird occurrences happen involving important photos being stolen and time freezing. Struggling with his dreams showing the events of Kingdom Hearts, Roxas is visibly upset when, on the fourth day, Roxas and the hooded man, revealed to be Axel, are forced to fight. He gets even more visibly upset when, once Axel is defeated, DiZ and Axel tell Roxas to join them and to ignore the other. Screaming out the names of his friends, time resumes with both DiZ and Axel no longer around as the day continues.
The sixth day is where Roxas finally breaks down. After his friends are suspended in time and Axel and Dusks(lesser Nobodies) attack him, he runs towards the mansion. Finding a secret entrance into a lab, he is forced to fight Axel again, but this time Roxas uses two keyblades to defeat him. Roxas continues through the lab to find the pod room, containing Sora, Donald and Goofy. Choosing to merge with Sora, Roxas states that his Summer vacation is officially over.
Sora, Donald and Goofy wake up in the pod room, and leave the mansion, confused at a message left in Jiminy’s journal that reads ‘Thank Naminé’. As they head to the train station, they are attacked by Dusks. Mickey comes in to save the day before the group is overwhelmed, and tells them that they need to take the train to Yen Sid, who will be their guide for the next journey.
Upon reaching Yen Sid’s tower, Sora, Donald and Goofy find a large character trying to break in. When confronted, he reveals himself as Pete, acting under Maleficent. He sends Heartless to attack them once they reveal to him that they had defeated Maleficent and that she was no longer around. Once the Heartless has been defeated, and once the group scale the tower, Yen Sid explains the state of the worlds in the year that Sora had been slumbering. He explains that Nobodies are the empty husks left behind when someone loses their heart, and that a group, Organization XIII, control them and are attempting to recreate Kingdom Hearts. Yen Sid also provides the group with new clothes and new powers, allowing Sora to become even stronger than he could before by using new forms. The group then embark the Gummi Ship and prepare for their new adventure, heading to Hollow Bastion.
Organization XII and the 1000 Heartless Hoard
When Sora, Donald and Goofy land in Hollow Bastion, they are reunited with a large cast of characters from the first game, such as Leon and Yuffie. Since the worlds that were previously destroyed by darkness are remade, they were sent back to their home, even if it isn’t in the state they left it in. As part of the reparation project, a security system was rebooted from Ansem’s computer to protect the general populous. However, a gate that leads to the main city is unprotected, and Leon asks Sora to help out. Once the gate is secure, Sora is introduced to the remaining six members of Organization XIII, including their leader Xemnas. They begin to taunt and mock Sora before leaving. As this is happening, Maleficent is being revived by her crow and Pete, and their aims to plunge the worlds into darkness continue.
From here, Sora and the group explore new and old worlds in an attempt to defeat the heartless and nobodies. Some members of Organization XIII are lurking within the worlds and are encountered twice: once as an introduction, and once as they are defeated.
Sora encounters Xaldin in Beast’s Castle, who had enraged Beast by manipulating him into thinking that Belle wasn’t trustworthy. Xaldin then tells Beast that Sora and his friends are all supporting Belle, forcing Beast to fight Sora. Once returned to his senses, Beast tells Sora about Xaldin and what he was doing, and Sora heads to defeat the large heartless in the ballroom. Xaldin tells them that it isn’t over as Sora leaves for the next world.
Demyx is in Olympus Coliseum, and is first seen by the group running away from Hades’ chambers. He meets Sora and the group later as Sora needs the Olympus Stone to use his powers in the underworld. Demyx attacks Sora when he is unable to awaken Roxas, using spectral water forms that are generally useless. Once defeated, Demyx continues to run away and out of Olympus Coliseum, begging Roxas to return to them.
When Sora returns to Twilight Town, he is informed by the residents that Kairi had fled Destiny Islands to search for him, but she had been kidnapped by Axel. Sora is also introduced to Saïx after saving Seifer from some Nobodies. Saïx applauds Sora’s fighting and warns him of Axel, stating that Axel will stop at nothing to have Sora turn into a Heartless. When leaving, Sora attempts to jump in after him but Saïx stops him, saying that he doesn’t want Sora to end up like RIku.
When these, and other worlds, have been visited and opening their gates through the keyholes to get to new ones, Sora returns to Hollow Bastion and is transported into Ansem’s computer as a result of the security breach. After debugging and updating some programs, Sora manages to get back to Hollow Bastion, and provides Leon with the password for the computer. They share the information with King Mickey as the bailey breaks open, pouring Heartless throughout the world. Sora runs to help defend the world, when he encounters Demyx for the second time.
Demyx happily greets Sora, but Sora and his friends respond aggressively, taunting Demyx by saying he is unable to fight. Losing his patience and friendly facade, Demyx attacks the group with all his power, trying to defeat and capture Sora. However, Demyx takes a fatal hit and fades into nothing, being permanently defeated.
As the group continues, a Heartless shoots a boulder that start to fall onto King Mickey, if Goofy didn’t push him out of the way. Goofy falls unconscious, leaving Sora, Donald and King Mickey to think that Goofy was dead. They clear out the Heartless throughout the ravine in their rage, only to find out that Goofy was only knocked unconscious. They move onto the Great Maw, where Xemnas appears as they are surrounded by 1000 Heartless. Xemnas leaves towards Villain’s Vale, with King Mickey giving chase. Sora, Donald and Goofy separate to deal with the Heartless to make it quicker, and a long battle ensues to clear out Hollow Bastion from the invasion. As the trio reunite and push onward towards Villain’s Vale, they encounter Xemnas and King Mickey again. Xemnas leaves and King Mickey follows him through the corridor of darkness that Saïx prevented Sora from entering previously. The trio then encounter Axel again before they leave Hollow Bastion. He explains to them that Organization XIII wants Sora to harvest hearts from the emblem heartless so that they can take them, but he doesn’t elaborate why. He also directly apologizes for kidnapping Kairi, as Saïx has kidnapped Kairi from Axel. Axel then flees when Saïx appears. Saïx apologizes for Axel, ensuring he will be punished. Sora gets on his knees and begs Saïx to take him to her. Saïx refuses, and tells Sora to take out his anger on the Heartless in order to create Kingdom Hearts so that the members of Organization XIII can finally exist. Maleficent then appears behind Sora and claims that Kingdom Hearts belongs to her and summons even more Heartless to attack Saïx, who then summons Dusks to get rid of them. Maleficent protects Sora, Donald and Goofy, sending them back to the Gummi Ship so that they would be able to defeat Organization XIII.
A Brief Respite
The 1000 Heartless fight is where the game starts to really pick up speed in terms of the lore, and it really accelerates a lot what has already been put into motion by both Organization XIII and the real Ansem, so much so that even the developer Tetsuya Nomura believes that this battle is what should ultimately be taken away from this particular game, if anything at all. So I’ll be leaving it there and I hope you’ll join me next time where I’ll be finishing up this game.