For six years, Kingdom Hearts fans have been waiting for the third game in the series. And now, with six games in total, the plot is a near labyrinthine mess of connections and revelations. It's with that in mind that I have decided to unravel the plot of the entire series for those who may have missed the opportunity to play some of the spin-offs and those who just want a refresher before diving into the new game. Today we explore Part 27 of our ongoing feature.
The final world turns out to be Hollow Bastion. Data-Sora vows to be of some help to Mickey, even if it just means rescuing Journal-Riku. On the outskirts of the castle, he comes across Pete. Pete tells him to scram, but Data-Sora asks where they’re keeping his friend. He decides he’ll tell Data-Sora if he can catch him but since he just finished rigging the castle with traps, it’ll be near impossible. Still, Data-Sora is determined to help and goes after him. Despite the fact that he has no Keyblade, he’s able to navigate the corrupted blocks and make it inside the castle. Pete blocks off the exit as soon as he’s inside and sends a group of Heartless after him. With no Keyblade, Data-Sora can only vainly try to dodge the Heartless and encroaching glitches.
He’s only saved by the arrival of Goofy. He thinks that they want to take him back to the library, but instead they decide to go look after Pete. As they work their way through the castle, Goofy tells him that he got split up from Donald while they were searching for him. Data-Sora hopes he’s okay and keeps an eye out for him as they follow Pete. The two catch a glimpse of him and finally reunite. Data-Sora apologizes for causing them so much trouble, but Donald and Goofy say they like getting pulled into his adventures. Helping him like this is just like old times. It’s their turn to protect him as they search the castle for Pete, the King, and Journal-Riku.
Using the power of teamwork, the trio is able to navigate through the corrupted Hallow Bastion and find Pete. He immediately calls forth a group of Heartless which Donald and Goofy go after, but it’s only a ploy by Pete. He traps them in glitch blocks leaving Data-Sora to fend for himself with no Keyblade. Pete chides Donald and Goofy for risking their necks for mere data, but they don’t see Data-Sora that way. If he had no heart and was merely data, there’s no way he would fight for them as hard as he has. Sora is their friend no matter what form he may take. Data-Sora is touched by their words and tries to help, but the blocks are only squeezing tighter. But when it look like it's over for his two friends, the Keyblade appears back in his hands.
Pete is confused as to how he could possibly get a new Keyblade when he watched Maleficent destroy the other one. Mickey arrives and says that Data-Sora is just full of surprises. The Keyblade reacts to the strength of heart of its wielder. Mickey gave him his Keyblade as data, never expecting it to match the real one. But as Ansem the Wise said before he disappeared in the blast, “A heart is so much more than any system.” Data-Sora has somehow made a connection to all of them and earned the right to wield the Keyblade, just like his real world counterpart. Now, together, they’re ready to take on Pete and get back Journal-Riku.
But as they turn to face him, the world begins to shake and rumble. Pete uses the momentary confusion to leap through the keyhole. Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are ready to chase after him, but Data-Sora asks them to leave it to him. They’ve done so much for him, and he owes it to them as their friend. As he enters the pathway, Jiminy sees that the data recovery has reached 60%. Once on the other side, his battle with Pete begins. Data-Sora is able to defeat him, but Pete isn’t done yet. He calls forth Journal-Riku, who has donned the old Heartless armor that the real Riku once wore. Journal-Riku begs Data-Sora to run as he’s lost control of himself. Pete has loaded him with glitches and ran off, leaving things up to Journal-Riku. He begs Data-Sora to finish him off as the two are forced to fight. Data-Sora emerges victorious which repairs all of the glitches within Hollow Bastion. However, Journal-Riku is still in danger. The glitch blocks have merged with his body leaving him in a weakened state. But the Keyblade begins to react and unveils a keyhole that will allow him to enter the world of Journal-Riku's data. The only way to save him is for Data-Sora to repair the glitches. The others promise to provide him back-up as he opens the path inside.
As soon as he enters, balls of light escape from his body. A version of Journal-Riku explains that he’ll only be able to fight off the glitches for a little longer. It’s those same glitches that made the light fly off from Data-Sora. They’ve weakened him by stealing some of his data. Journal-Riku says that he should just take a collection of special data that was partitioned from the rest of him. It contains information that somebody added to the Journal after the fact. With all of the worlds repaired, all that remains is to solve the mystery of this extra data which will also reopen the way home for Mickey and the others. In the meantime, he’ll take the glitches into the deepest darkness to protect everyone. But Data-Sora doesn’t believe that his idea is the the only way. He promises to save him from the glitches no matter what.
Journal-Riku can only relent knowing there’s no way to convince Data-Sora otherwise. He explains that he’ll need to retrieve his own data first in order to be powerful enough to take on the source of his glitches. Data-Sora sets off on his mission to save his friend. It takes him to a version of each of the worlds he visited before though they are immersed in glitches. One by one, Data-Sora clears them out and learns of Journal-Riku’s reasoning for keeping his identity a secret. It seems like it was a way to toughen Data-Sora up for the difficulties ahead. He was also trying to protect Huey, Dewey, and Louie since they each had a piece of the keyhole and were therefore targets. He thanks Data-Sora for always being there for him and tries to apologize for his own weakness. But Data-Sora doesn’t want to hear it and says that he’s always too hard on himself. Despite everything that’s happened, he’s still his best friend.
Finally, Data-Sora is able to repair all of the data save the source of the initial corruption. Once that is gone, the datascape will be fully back to normal. Data-Sora thanks Journal-Riku for all of his help along the way since he was there from the moment he woke up. But Journal-Riku corrects him and says that he first encountered Data-Sora on the beaches of Destiny Islands. Data-Sora doesn’t know how that could be since he saw someone in the same black cloak when he first awoken by Mickey. Confused, Data-Sora can only push forward and deal with the problems ahead. As soon as he arrives in the final world of Journal-Riku’s data, Data-Sora is confronted by Riku in his Heartless armor. Data-Sora is shocked at first, but quickly realizes that this one is not the friend he knows. Instead, it’s a manifestation of all power that the glitches stole from Journal-Riku. He duels the fake and destroys him completely. With that, Journal-Riku should be back to normal. Back in the library, Jiminy sees the data recovery reaches 90%. According to the computer, the conditions for awakening have been met.
Data-Sora returns to Journal-Riku triumphant, but the ground begins to shake around them. Journal-Riku realizes that Data-Sora has to get out of his data before the road back is closed forever. Data-Sora rushes off but is stopped right before the exit by Maleficent. She is still here, trying to re-corrupt Journal-Riku. The witch transforms into her dragon form, but Data-Sora is able to defeat her. With Journal-Riku now completely safe, Data-Sora escapes while ejecting Maleficent from Journal-Riku’s data.
Outside, Mickey and the others are waiting for him. They tell him that all of the glitches have been completely erased and that they couldn’t have done it without his help. Journal-Riku awakens with all of his functions intact and creates a pathway for Mickey and his friends to return to the real world. Chip and Dale welcome them back confirming that they have indeed returned home. Journal-Riku appears on the monitor and tells them that he has some news for them. With all the glitches gone, the Journal is destined to return to its original state. Because of that, both him and Data-Sora will revert back as well meaning that they’ll forget any of this ever happened.
Mickey and the others are saddened by this news, but their friends in the datascape aren’t worried. After all, this was how things were supposed to be. And besides, though the words may be gone from the journal, the memories will always remain. But just as they’re about to give their final goodbye, an alarm on the the computer begins to ring. The data recovery has reached 100% and a glitch has been found in the darkness. It is now awakening the Dark Glitch. The option to completely delete the datascape comes up and some unknown force types yes.
The world of the datascape begins to shake violently as Journal-Riku realizes that whatever caused this will escape to the real world if the datascape is deleted. The only hope is for Mickey and the others to lock the datascape. But Mickey is reluctant since it would mean losing both of them and the hidden message they found in the journal. Jiminy remembers that Maleficent and Pete are inside as well. If they datascape is deleted, they’ll be gone forever. Whether they’re evil or not, Mickey can’t just let that happen. Data-Sora decides to help by finding the two troublemakers and getting them out of there. With them gone, they can safely lock the journal.
It’s already apparent that the datascape is slowly disappearing. He rushes through it until finally finding Maleficent and Pete facing off an enormous data-laced Heartless. Data-Sora tries to convince them to escape, but Maleficent refuses to listen. Suddenly, they are both absorbed by the Heartless which speaks through the monitor. It demands more glitches so that it may feed. Seeing this, Journal-Riku realizes that Data-Sora wasn’t the only one to change and evolve because of Mickey’s presence. This Heartless, Sora’s Heartless, was the exact same way. Data-Sora doesn’t understand, but Journal-Riku explains that because his transformation into a Heartless was in the journal, the memories of it also entered the datascape.
He believes the reason the words never returned to Jiminy’s journal when they got their memories back is because Sora’s Heartless absorbed them and kept them for himself. The same thing applies to all the Heartless he defeated within the datascape. Instead of freeing their hearts, all he did was free their minds. Those minds, filled with dark intentions, were absorbed by Sora’s Heartless and used to recover itself to full strength. It is the source of all the glitches, and it’s escape into the real world would be a catastrophe. Data-Sora takes it on directly, hoping to save his friends. He fights valiantly, but it uses the remaining glitches in the system to evolve itself once more. It finally takes shape as a dark version of Sora and attacks.
The duel is an intense one with Sora’s Heartless able to create multiple copies of itself. It all becomes too much for Data-Sora, and he falls to his knees as it prepares the final blow. But a voice rings out for him not to give up as Mickey appears before him. He’s returned to the datascape to help his friend. Mickey uses his Keyblade to extract the essence of Sora’s Heartless while Data-Sora destroys it completely. The two return to the data version of Hollow Bastion where Journal-Riku is waiting for them along with Pete and Maleficent. It turns out that they were lost in a rift of data. They finally agree to leave and do so. With Sora’s Heartless gone, the deletion process has been stopped and the datascape is saved. Soon, everything will return to the way it was. Mickey promises to always treasure their time together, realizing that the journal isn’t just a listing of events but a memory of times with friends. He promises to tell the real Riku and Sora what happened there so that they can all share the memories together.
They shake hands one final time, and Mickey leaves the datscape. Using the Keyblade, Data-Sora seals it behind him so no evil can threaten it ever again. Mickey is greeted by all of his friends in the library before they see a final goodbye message from Data-Sora on the monitor. As they look at it, Goofy realizes that they never did find out the secret of the mysterious message. It’s then that Journal-Riku appears and tells them that a new world has been discovered. It seems that someone added extra data once all the other data was restored. They realize that if they can explore that world then they’ll finally be able to answer the mystery of the message.
Mickey plans to ask Data-Sora to explore that world for them, but Donald and Goofy remind him that he’s probably forgotten all about them since the data has been fixed. Journal-Riku explains that he’s still fine because of a partition, but if Data-Sora is sent out there, he’ll have no clue what’s going on or who any of them are. Mickey suddenly gets an idea and asks Journal-Riku’s help in getting him back into the datascape. Once inside, he greets Data-Sora as he first arrives in Traverse Town. He again tells him about the message, the Keyblade, and that they need his help. Data-Sora doesn’t understand until the Keyblade materializes in his hand signifying that he may have lost his memories but his powers remain intact. He’s confused but as willing to help as ever. Together, he and Mickey open the way to the new world.
The Timeline concludes tomorrow as Data-Sora discovers just who left the secret message in the journal and what it means for the future. Be sure to keep up by reading Parts 1-26 of the Timeline:
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