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Friday, 27 March 2015

Editorial: Top 5 Best Designed Keyblades.

Editorial: Top 5 Best Designed Keyblades.

Here's an editorial that I've kind of wanted to do for a while.

The keyblades in Kingdom Hearts are some of the goofiest and yet maybe the best designed weapons in video games: The simple base design of a skeleton key with a keychain gives designers a lot of leeway to work with while still having maintaining a common element between all of them (which is the reason why Fenrir, the one keyblade that deviates from that common element, will not be appearing on this list).

While with some lists I can easily struggle to find five to put on it, for this list I struggled to trim my list down to just five, and was sorely tempted to make it six. Tradition won out however, even if I did cheat a little by having one of the entries on the list be a draw.

Runners up include Zero/One, True Light's Flight, Circle of Life and Destiny's Embrace.

5. Hidden Dragon.

Themed after Mushu from Mulan, this is one of the simpler and more effective keyblades of the bunch, especially amongst the congrats-you-completed-a-world keyblades, which have a strong tendency towards being massively overdesigned in an effort to stuff everything about that world into a single key.

This is one of the earliest keyblades you'll get in the game, but if you're like me, you may use it consistently almost until the end just because it's so nice to look at. The shape is pleasing, the colours work well, and it's just a very nice concept to design a keyblade around.

The fact that it has a very useful passive ability attached also helps.

4. Crown of Guilt.


The keyblades of 358/2 Days are very often forgotten about - it wasn't as widely played as the other Kingdom Hearts games, and given that many of the keyblades were recolours of each other and all of them were only visible as tiny, low detail sprites, they may not have made as much impression on players as they could have.

I do like Crown of Guilt, though. It doesn't resemble any other keyblade around, with its sharp pink-and-black petals and its use of both hard angles and rounded curves. It looks graceful. It looks like the kind of keyblade that I would love to see rendered larger and in more detail, maybe being wielded by a villain.

3. Ends of the Earth and Rainfell.

I couldn't choose between them. 

Being Terra's last keyblade and Aqua's first keyblade respectively, I feel that both of these are interesting designs that reflect their users well. Ends of the Earth is big and powerful looking, while Rainfell is simple and elegant, utilising sharp angles and negative space - it's a shame that in-game it is eventually replaced by the much less interesting Stormfall.

Neither of them are as complicated as a lot of keyblades are - indeed, they are both very simple designs, because they aren't trying to stuff a million different elements and ideas in - but nor are they as boringly simple as the likes of the Kingdom Key and the Master Defender, and that balance makes them stand out.

2. No Name.

I should probably clarify that I'm talking about the version of No Name that Young Xehanort wields, although the version that Aqua, Terra and Ventus can use is also very nice.

This is one of those slightly overdesigned ones, although it's nowhere near as bad as some, and it starts to look a little silly if you look at it too closely, with bat wings and evil eyes and Xehanort's goat symbol adorning what was already a slightly overwrought clock/laser blade keyblade.

I still really like it, though, and that's largely because it's just cool. The laser blade, although ridiculous, is cool; the big clock on the end is ridiculous but cool; even the solemn looking goats head atop it is cool. This is a really neat keyblade, guys. I like it.

1. Dual Disc.

This is another keyblade that would probably be more appreciated if it didn't come from a game that compels you to view it only in tiny blurred thing format. 

I will say this, though: Dual Disc's design is pretty unique. There aren't any other keyblades that utilise that odd symmetry, where the handle and guard potrude to one end just as much as the key, and while that alone wouldn't be enough to put it on this list, especially in top place, it definitely does when added to the smooth lines, sharp colours, and glowing parts. 

Like Hidden Dragon, this was a keyblade I got early and used consistently until the end of the game, largely because with its glowing blue sections it made for a very pretty sight, and that pleased me.

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