As for Kingdom Hearts, we're still in the Caribbean, which is good, because I haven't been able to talk about it very much. One thing I forgot to mention is that when we were in the dry desert underworld place, Sora and Jack Sparrow wanted to chase after the Black Pearl as it was carried along by mysterious rock-crabs, because they're like, "You can't be a pirate without a ship!" and that just reminded us of Galavant. "We're the lords of the sea♫ Just not the actual sea♪" And so that song sometimes gets into my head when I think about this world.
Anyway, after meeting up with everybody, the whole party makes their way back to the world of the living, and then it's a big Heartless battle. I really don't remember all the details, only that at some point Tia Dalma (not sure on the spelling of that) gave a meaningful look to Sora and later whispered in his ear. Apparently (based on a flashback not much later), she said it looked like he could free her heart, so, as the goddess of the sea, she was going to help him out. And he was all sad to think that someone's heart was imprisoned. Aww, Sora.
So then we find ourselves on a little island with Jack for some reason, and I guess the ship was destroyed or something? because he tells Sora and Pals that they need to go get a ship, and indicates that they have to explore the island to do it. And this is where it got to be a lot like Final Fantasy X, because now Sora and Pals are having to go through underwater passageways and stuff, and somehow their lung capacity is infinite. At least in FF10 they had a quasi-plausible excuse in that the underwater breathers were either athletes in an underwater sport or underwater scavengers. Here, they're just swimming forever and ever with no need to come up for air.
And it's super intimidating, because we already thought the worlds have been needlessly gigantic, but now that they're adding an underwater element, it feels like they've doubled the world capacity. Then! they add boat travel and navel battles, and this world is overwhelmingly vast.
Anyway, after fighting an underwater boss, they find a ship, and Jack's already there, and we were like, "But how did he get there?" Jack refuses to swim, you see. So Sora and Pals were swimming around to places you can't access otherwise, and Jack stayed behind, but now here he is. Sora and Pals also asked, "But how did you get here?" which is nice, because it's important for storytellers to pay attention to continuity.
So now that we have a ship, it's time to...run into Luxord and have a boat race! Because of course it is. And we lost about a billion times! But that's not how the story is supposed to go, so we kept trying until we beat him. Heartless ships kept popping up and slowing us down, is the problem. But anyway, we won! So we don't have to give Luxord the chest with Davy Jones's heart in it, which is good, because we don't have it. And Luxord has to give Jack something he wants, and Jack says, "Well, duh, I want the chest that's..." he said a place, but I forget exactly.
And that was exactly the wrong thing to say, because Organization XIII (and Pete and Maleficent) have been looking for a very specific box of some kind, which (we learned from Kingdom Hearts Chi Back Cover) was (probably) the same box that was dragged across everywhere by the Master of Masters's secret apprentice. And now Luxord has a lead to where it is, only it's not that box, it's the box with Davy Jones's heart in it. But of course, only those of us who have seen the movies know that it's not going to be any use to Organization XIII. It doesn't even look like the same box.
So Luxord runs off to go get the chest, and now we're at Port Royal and our ship is in shambles, so Jack's like, "Collect the magic crabs, and I can repair it." And Sora's like, "Uh, how is that going to help?" and Jack is like, "Don't ask questions, just do it!" And this was a very frustrating part for us, because we had just had an underwater boss, then a sailing tutorial with some Heartless naval battles, then a race against Luxord (which also had Heartless naval battles), then an on-deck Heartless/Nobody battle, and it was getting late and we just wanted to save it and go to bed, but they took away all the save points!!! At the time, we were like, "Really? There aren't any save points in the whole town?" But we've since explored the town and discovered that normally, there are save points there.
And now we are inordinately annoyed with the Caribbean, which is already needlessly huge. But we can't get anywhere if we don't keep going, so we got all the crabs, and Jack's like, "Okay, here's the last thing I'm going to do for you!" and he fixes the ship and turns into a bunch of magic crabs, because surprise! He's not the real Jack Sparrow, only a photo copy of Jack Sparrow created by the goddess of the sea to help Sora and Pals. Aww, that was nice of her.
Meanwhile, the real Jack Sparrow is off acting out the movie with the rest of the cast. Crab Sparrow told Sora and Pals to stay out of it because it was a pirate problem. But, and I'm sure Crab Sparrow was aware of this, he had just told Sora and Pals that they were real pirates (because he asked Sora what he wanted a ship for, and, forgetting his whole mission to awaken his awakening powers and his own determination to save Roxas, he said he wanted to sail the sea freely, which is at least in keeping with his original goal from the very first game, to build a watercraft and explore the world(s)). So Sora and Pals were all, "It's a pirate problem, huh? Well that means...it's our problem!" And off they went to help!
So we sailed our ship (the Leviathan) to the next plot point area, and Luxord's like, "You aren't going anywhere!" and a big naval battle broke out, and we kept getting destroyed. So we decided we needed to level up our ship (this, of course, is accomplished by collecting more magic crabs, which can be earned through Heartless naval battles as well as found on islands all across the enormously huge Caribbean). And that's what we've been doing for the last few stints of gameplay, and gosh it would be nice if we could get on with the story, but on the bright side, they really did put a lot of beautiful detail into these worlds, and it does feel nice to just be in Kingdom Hearts, so it's not so bad exploring. (What is so bad is the idea that we might have missed a treasure somewhere that's going to be impossible to track down later.) Besides, if the game ended too quickly, it would be over.
And that's where we are with Kingdom Hearts.
Today I'm thankful for making good progress on Sailor Moon today, Page being such a good snuggle buddy, still having some chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels drizzled with salted caramel, having time to exercise, and getting to help our nephews with their fundraiser.