What Makes The Xion Data Battle So Awesome; Kingdom Hearts III Limit Cut Deep Dive #12

The Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind DLC contains my favorite content in all of gaming, thanks to its stellar and cathartic added story content, phenomenal new music, and unrivaled boss design. However, even after over 2 years since this DLC’s release, I still find its reception relatively underrated. The numerous qualitative boss battles, in particular, warrant the perceived hefty price tag in my book.

But, what is it about these fights that I love so much? Well, I intend to discuss that point once again today, and one other time, as I attempt to rattle on why I love each of the 13 data fights in Kingdom Hearts III’s Limit Cut episode.

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If you missed them, check out my appreciative pieces on the following data fights:

Xion debuted in the fan-favorite entry, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. She was the original Organization XIII’s aberrative fourteenth member and its second of two Keyblade wielders, the other being Roxas. Throughout the title, Xion gradually bonds with Axel and Roxas, with the three becoming a wholesome yet pitiable trio as their time together concludes in tragedy.

It is revealed that Xion is an artificial existence created from Sora’s memories of Kairi. And, due to Sora’s memory-induced sleep following the events of Chain of Memories, both her and Roxas’ very beings were obstacles impeding Sora’s recovery. Sadly, they both had to be eliminated for Sora to eventually awaken, with Xion’s departure consisting of one of the series’ most memorable boss battles and iconic scenes.

Her return in Kingdom Hearts III as a member of the Thirteen Darknesses thankfully had a happy ending, with her switching sides and Roxas arriving soon after. As a data battle, Xion certainly sparked the most interest. In fact, the development team was hesitant even to make her fightable. Although, in the end, they chose to do so, and I’m abundantly glad they did since Data Xion is an unrelenting, demanding, and pretty wild fight.

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What is immediately apparent about Data Xion is that her battle is aesthetically similar to Roxas from Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, with both combatants using pillars of light to assault Sora. Most of Xion’s arsenal comprises Keyblade combos alongside seemingly incessant light rays that are exceptionally dangerous for one primary reason; they can reduce Sora’s maximum health.

The only ways Sora’s health gauge can restore to normalcy are by waiting it out, already being in a Formchange, using an Elixir, or using a Panacea. The lattermost option is not well-known since status effects in Kingdom Hearts III are not a consistent, prominent force. Still, it’s an affordable avenue to pursue if you can withstand being at one health point afterward. Further, while minor, I actually highly appreciate this design choice since it makes a usually overlooked tool quite worthwhile.

Now, I’m sure you can imagine that the prospective reduction of maximum health makes this fight innately more stressful than any of the previous ones I’ve discussed. Constant steadfast vigilance is required to contend with this ailment, with Formchanges being the only passive avenue negating its effects. While there are those who admonish this design choice, I find it to be a natural and welcome incorporation from the previous data battles since one can’t simply rely on Second Chance and Once More via brute forcing.

You’re going to eventually reach a point with the maximum health banishment where Sora literally has one health point, and any hit will finish the fight. I have to give props to Square here for embracing the hardcore nature of these data fights because I sure doubt anyone would’ve expected this following the base game’s lukewarm difficulty.

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As for Data Xion’s actual attacks, she’s notably different from the previous data battles for the express reason that she follows a strict identical moveset across each phase of the fight. While the other data bouts have clear patterns regarding cycles, the bosses would usually select useable attacks from a pool. However, Data Xion is inherently different since she’s solely linear. I’ll admit, the first time I realized this design choice for her, I found it more than a bit puzzling.

After all, why willingly restrict combative freedom when every other fight up to this point embraced it? Now, I can’t say I have a definitive answer, but I like to think of Data Xion as a gauntlet of sorts. Her primary umbrella of challenge is rooted in memorization and not reactionary scenarios. Not only does this help make her more distinct from the rest of the Data XIII, but it also makes progression in the battle arguably more rewarding since you know you surpassed fixed parts of the fight without simply getting lucky via a particularly hazardous attack not being used. Am I reading too much into it? Probably. Still, that’s the best way I can reason Data Xion’s differentiations.

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Her moveset comprises several Keyblade combos reminiscent of Sora’s swings, which is a neat touch, alongside countless uses of Strike Raid. She clearly understands the Kingdom Hearts I meta. Further, Strike Raid can initiate the Stun ailment if one is not in a form or has no prevention accessories equipped. It can easily spell one’s end, especially on Critical. As for her Desperation Move, she kind of has two.

The first occurs roughly midway through the fight. She spawns contained pillars of light before soaring and descending onto said pillars to create extended shockwaves. She also has an armor gauge during this sequence, and while you can simply evade and wait this all out, you can break her out of this quite simply and uniquely. Besides doing the obvious guard and reprisal each time she descends, you can use a shotlock to deplete significant portions of the armor bar while she staggers from your reprisal combo.

From this point onward, the battle becomes an intensified version of how it was prior, with mini pillars of light now accompanying Data Xion’s Strike Raids and combo finishers. It’s a gradual step up in difficulty. And I’ve neglected to mention this until now, but those pillars of light Xion frequently summons are nearly identical to what she uses during her Limit Break in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, so that’s cool.

As for her openings, she tends to be open after her third consecutive Strike Raid and combo finishers. Discovering the openings isn’t all too difficult; it’s just reaching them that will take most players’ time. An overlooked opening is how Data Xion can be broken out of her third consecutive Strike Raid with magic right before she initiates it. Once again, clever utilization of magic is always a positive in my book.

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Moreover, she can now cloak her Kingdom Key as a falsity, teleporting it directly in front of Sora as pillars of light surround him. This attack can be countered, though only via a well-timed risk dodge that is immensely more challenging to pull off compared to the previous openings. Further, while present in the first phase, Data Xion will perform more instances of overhead Keyblade swings with the sole intention of stunning Sora. Multiples of these strikes can occur consecutively as well, so you have to be aware of her spaced-out teleports telegraphing this maneuver and not simply guard spamming.

Lastly, Xion’s second Desperation Move is undoubtedly the most eventful. It essentially comprises each of her standard attacks, except in more threatening and grander scales. Her light pillars are numerous, and her physical strikes are more constant. What I’ve noticed gets players here the most is how the sheer frequency of light is overwhelming, rather than their actual effects. They tend to remain on screen for a considerable amount of time before actually doing anything, primarily serving as an intimidation tactic of sorts. Losing your cool here is honestly the easiest way to fail, so careful examination will serve you well.

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While I significantly respect this battle, there are two absences I wish were included. Firstly, I would’ve preferred it if Data Xion’s face was visible throughout the battle and not shrouded by the hood (like this article’s featured image, which I made via Data Greeting.) I do appreciate the consistency of her antagonistic form matching with how it was during Kingdom Hearts III’s story, but I’d find it more engaging if her face were fully viewable. Though, there is a neat detail many may not have noticed, that being that her eyes are golden if one looks closely enough.

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(Via a mod by VaultLink that removes the shadows from Xion’s hood.)

Secondly, and this one is a tad more of a pipe dream, I wish Xion’s transformed states during her battle from the end of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days were utilized in some way. Maybe her Sora armor could’ve been worn during her second DM? It wouldn’t quite make sense with Sora no longer being in a memory-induced coma. Rule of cool, though, you know?

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Battle quote-wise, Data Xion has some standout ones. When initiating the fight, she inquires, “Why do you fight?” It’s a general existential query that befits her strife. “Let it rain!” when she summons her countless light pillars is genuinely aggressive, and “Not done” is quiet and stern, stated in a matter-of-factly insidious tone that emphasizes her belief in her combative proficiency. Data Xion also has some sass with “That all you got?” which makes even more sense when one considers how she was initially created as a physical manifestation of Sora’s memories of Kairi, who also has quite a bit of sass.

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Although, her most chilling quote is, “You’re going where I belong…” when defeating Data-Sora. This line directly references her closing moments in 358/2 Days when speaking to Roxas. Finally, when defeating her, she mutters, “This is how… it’s supposed to be,” highlighting the grim acceptance of her fate and her lack of self-worth.

Also of note; the track that plays throughout this encounter is an arranged version of “Vector to the Heavens,” Xion’s final boss theme from 358/2 Days. This is easily one of the most well-known tracks in the franchise, and this new version more than does it justice. It’s a far more intense and less somber take on the theme, perfectly encapsulating the chaotic frenzy of data bouts. It’s not one of my favorite data battle songs, but I can’t deny its sheer efficacy.

Data Xion is hands-down one of the more formidable data battles for newer players. However, I’d argue she gradually becomes one of the easiest after considerable time is spent due to her overt moveset consistency. This alteration in design approach helps her stand out from the rest of the pack, even if the lasting appeal isn’t as prominent.

Unlike the other battles, the joy from re-fighting Data Xion is solely steeped in emphasizing memorization mastery rather than improvisation based on context. Still, its individualistic striving is admirable. Initially, Xion’s lack of moveset originality may seem disappointing, but it fits her creation and character. Plus, she at least uses these tools creatively. She is only unlocked after defeating the other 11 data battles, and I’d say the hype-up is worth it.

Next up, we will finally discuss the last data battle in Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind, Master Xehanort, who is unlocked alongside Data Xion.

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Check out our review of Kingdom Hearts Dark Road.

In Kingdom Hearts IV, Sora is in Quadratum with Strelitzia, a prominent character from Kingdom Hearts Union χ. This setting is an afterworld for the two characters following their tragic fates. Additionally, this new saga has been titled the Lost Master Arc. Further, some combat footage was showcased, with Sora performing Keyblade transformations against a giant entity that seems to be a Heartless? We don’t know for sure.

“The heart resides within the soul, which in turn is guided by fate to its rightful place” is a crucial phrase used at the start of this trailer for the upcoming mainline game.


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Orpheus Joshua

Random gamer equally confused by the mainstream and the unusual. Fan of JRPGs, Action, Platformers, Rhythm, and Adventure titles.