What Makes The Larxene Data Battle So Awesome (Kinda); Kingdom Hearts III Limit Cut Deep Dive #6
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 a year and a half 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 7 other times, as I attempt to rattle on why I love each of the 13 data fights in Kingdom Hearts III’s Limit Cut episode.
If you missed them, check out my appreciative pieces on the following data fights:
The sixth data fight I will discuss is Larxene, arguably the most straightforward data battle next to Luxord, though perhaps even easier when accounting for her lack of distinct gimmicks. Still, data Larxene stellarly demonstrates how low challenge doesn’t necessarily equate to meager enjoyability, even if her utilization doesn’t feel fully realized. However, as usual, let’s dive into her characterization and backstory first to better appreciate the elements of her fight.
Larxene is a somewhat middling character regarding reception, being either beloved or straight up despised depending on the person. Personally, I view her in the former light, and part of why has to do with her unapologetically scathing attitude. While some of the Organization members and other antagonists generally tend to have reasons for acting the way they do, Larxene is, to be blunt, just kind of a bitch, and I love that. She’s a welcome change of pace who provides genuinely notable exchanges. Though, my interest in her mostly has to do with Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross], which is a subject matter we’ll dive into in a little bit.
Larxene debuted in Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories as one of the Organization members assigned to Castle Oblivion. However, it was revealed that she was a traitor, siding with Marluxia in his efforts to turn Sora into a puppet via Namine’s memory manipulation. She then faced her temporary demise in the same title, but she undoubtedly left a lasting impression. Her acts in Chain of Memories were notably cruel in a more emphasized fashion than the other Organization members, primarily thanks to how much evident pleasure she derived from inflicting misery upon others.
For instance, she straight up unsubtly abuses Riku Replica prior to him getting his memory controlled by Namine and torments Sora over his unknowing descent in memory mania by Namine’s hands. Not to mention, she slaps Namine like a ragdoll and treats Riku Replica like a literally broken doll. Yeah, I’ve forgotten how dark of a game Chain of Memories is, thanks in no small part to Larxene.
Anyway, aside from optional, non-canon combative encounters in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Larxene was next seen in Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross] as a Keyblade wielder under her original name, Elrena. She was also a member of the Dandelions, essentially a group of Keyblade wielders whose collective goal was to evade the Keyblade War. Eventually, she meets Lauriam looking for his sister Strelitzia and decides to aid him in doing so, though neither party are aware of her grim demise. Elrena’s attitude was entirely different than how it is as Larxene, being timid and supportive. Although, her Chirithy stated that she is not much of a people person, implying that she holds Lauriam, and likely Marluxia by extension, in high regard.
While her personality in Union χ[Cross] does not really relate to her battle skills in later chronological titles, especially since she is never seen battling in the mobile game, I find the sheer contrast between her former attitude and the current one to amplify the mysterious spectacle of her character and combative prowess. The only instance in which her softer, Elrena-esque side appears in modern times is when she fades away at the end of Kingdom Hearts III, feeling uncharacteristically accepting of her loss.
In regards to combat, Larxene excels at speed and the element of lightning. Her fists are a threat with throwing knives that tend to become infused with electricity when thrown. Data Larxene tends to dish out waves of lightning columns at Sora, and simply striking her as she delivers the final column leads to an opening. Further, she has an attack where she throws her knives to the ground emitting electricity. Guarding these sparks leads to a Risk Dodge and an opening by extension.
The real challenge with Larxene is intimidation since, in a manner loosely similar to Xigbar, her seemingly grandiose movements make her come off as more threatening than she truly is. Due to this design, I recommend her as one of the first data battles to attempt as she teaches players the basics of openings and evasion.
Regarding her Desperation Move (DM), Larxene has two primary variations depending on how much her health has depleted. Still, both types are relatively similar, consisting of her summoning various clones performing swift strikes highly reminiscent of her Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix iterations. A neat touch during this spectacle of strikes is that it is possible to eliminate the clones before their attacks initiate to shorten the DM’s sequence, granting experienced players who are privy to the battle’s intricacies opportunities to hasten developments in their favor. Additionally, a couple of her attacks can be parried, which provides a satisfying thrill by interrupting her speed.
However, this is essentially the entire fight, aside from a few combos that lightly replicate her attacks from Re:Chain of Memories and 358/2 Days. In truth, I find Larxene somewhat underwhelming when compared to the other data battles. Her move pool is limited, and there isn’t much variety in what attacks she performs. I believe more frequent utilization of her clones and more mix-ups in close-combat would have provided the necessary spice. As it stands, practically most, if not all, of data Larxene’s openings are a tad too obvious to the point where she doesn’t feel like a super boss.
These factors do not lessen the inherent quality of the battle by any means because she is well-designed as her telegraphs are sensical, and her openings are fulfilling to discover. Still, the central issue is the lack of variety in delivered attacks. This is the one battle where I prefer the original data variant back in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix since it feels like there is more of a thrill with figuring out her moveset and countering it.
Even her battle theme, an arrangement of “The 13th Dilemma,” is my least favorite track in Re Mind. While there is nothing particularly grievous regarding the song itself, I don’t find it as standout or memorable as the other 13th Dilemma arrangements. At most, I can detect swifter instrumentation, but I simply don’t care for it for some reason or another. Again, I can see how it represents Larxene, given its slightly chaotic tempo and speed, but it just feels lacking similarly to the fight itself. Further, this iteration of “The 13th Dilemma” reminds me of “The 13th Anthology” in tone, but not quite as majestic.
I must reiterate that I enjoy this data battle, like all the others, just not as intensely. At least, in the realm of battle quotes, Larxene still excels. “Really? Do we have to do this?” and “What’s the matter!?” are my personal favorites as they are perfectly reflective of her aggressive, no-nonsense attitude. Her victory line, “What a dumb way to go,” also stands out purely for the memes.
Data Larxene might be my least favorite data battle in Limit Cut, but that’s solely due to how high the bar is raised from the other battles. As it stands, this fight is designed fairly with visual flair and attacks representative of Larxene’s belligerent characterization, but I wish there were more elements to appreciate when compared to the ingenious design of the other data battles. On another note, I am immensely looking forward to her appearing in future titles, perhaps as a pseudo-protagonist? Who can say, really?
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