There’s a famous Wittgenstein quote that says, “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” His point wasn’t that people should remain quiet on matters they’re unqualified to speak about, but that silence can be its own form of expression. Silence can paint a picture in vivid detail in ways that speech isn’t equipped for. To illustrate this point, let’s consider a negative example: the 2013 remake (more a light re-imagining than a strict remake) of Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse.
Broadly speaking, the original game tended to leave things unstated because it didn’t have the tools to speak at length about them. It was an approach that worked well for what the designers had in mind. The remake, on the other hand, has those tools at its disposal and is determined to make its voice heard. The problem is that this Castle of Illusion doesn’t know how it should express that voice but feels compelled to express it anyway. It overspeaks; it overexplains; it fills previously quiet moments with activity. What you end up with is a game that, while technically sound, leaves too little to the imagination while adding little to our understanding of the experience.
Me and the Kingdom Hearts franchise have a history together. I’ve been forming memories with the series since it first saw release in 2002. I played the first game to the point of breaking the disc. I first discovered YouTube not through tired memes, but through strategies on how to beat Sephiroth in Kingdom Hearts II. (It’s gliding, by the way. Just glide above him where he can’t hit you.) Despite all this, until I played the game on the PS3, I hadn’t touched the game in seven or eight years. And given how I’m not the same person I was seven or eight years ago (who is?), you’d expect my view of the game to change based on how I’ve changed in the intervening time.