What Makes The Luxord Data Battle So Awesome; Kingdom Hearts III Limit Cut Deep Dive #5

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 8 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:

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The fifth data fight I will discuss is Luxord, which is undoubtedly the most unconventional compared to every other battle throughout the game. Instead of having a standard health bar, Luxord has a time gauge that has to be reduced to 0 to win. Sora also has his own time gauge coupled with a health bar, resulting in two distinct avenues to be wary of. While this sounds familiar to how Luxord was fought in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, he is far less of a ‘normal’ boss fight in Limit Cut. First, however, let’s dive into Luxord as a character to appreciate his fight’s attributes better.

Luxord, to this day, remains one of the most enigmatic characters in the franchise. Even though practically every major original character has been receiving critical backstory, Luxord has only recently approached the deeper character layers that will likely be fully unfolded in the next saga. He debuted in Kingdom Hearts II and was one of the Organization XIII members who received the least screen time, though he certainly made an impression thanks to his battle style and poetic way with words.

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Throughout most of KH2, Luxord is shown in Where Nothing Gathers, essentially the meeting room for the Organization. He never initiates conversation and only partakes in the currently discussed subject matter. Further, he played a crucial role in the second visit to Port Royal, where he scattered the medallions and brought about the Grim Reaper heartless. Story-wise he was only fought in the final world of Kingdom Hearts II, where his loss led to his temporary demise.

While not a driving force, he was also present in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, where he primarily just went on a few missions with Roxas to Wonderland. Lastly, he most recently appeared in Kingdom Hearts III and the Re Mind DLC as one of the Seekers of Darkness. Despite his relative lack of screen time, Luxord’s lines are consistently thought-provoking in delivery as they tend to allude to him possessing a greater understanding of forces beyond our current knowledge. His board game and chess metaphors add to this sense of mystery, making his reveal in Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind all the more compelling.

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When defeating Yozora in the Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind Secret Episode, he is seen waking up in the backseat of a car, and well, while not confirmed, the driver that speaks to Yozora seemingly has the same voice actor as Luxord. Further, while only seen from the back, this driver and Luxord look remarkably similar to each other. This one appearance, coupled with Luxord’s conversation with Xigbar at the start of Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind, almost makes it seem like he isn’t attached to the world, or rather reality he’s currently presiding in, perhaps viewing it as a literal game.

Luxord’s perception of life as a game pervades through his fights. During the Keyblade War in Kingdom Hearts III, he was fought alongside Larxene and Marluxia, though he was admittedly not much of a threat, fading after one simple card-based minigame. However, in the Limit Cut battle, his ‘limits’ seem to have been lifted, being incredibly different from how he was dealt with in the story.

Players must win the various ‘games’ imposed by Luxord to gain an opportunity to damage him, for he can not even be struck normally outside of specified stagger points. This factor alone makes him inherently different from his Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix versions. Though he dealt a myriad of minigames that led to a reduced time gauge, he could still be struck whenever desired outside of his Desperation Move (DM).

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Still, there are at least a few chances where players can correctly retaliate against an attack from Luxord to deal damage, so progress isn’t entirely dependent on minigame success. As for the minigames themselves, they are all honestly relatively straightforward to achieve victory in. Firstly, Luxord can envelop himself in a barrier with several cards circling him. Then, players must strike the cards that have a red circle icon. While many do complain about Sora’s combos needlessly tracking to other unlocked cards, it isn’t an issue at all. Unequipping Sora of any combo modifiers solves this potential issue alongside not spamming attacks and, instead, being patient and adequately timing your hits.

The second minigame Luxord can initiate has him morph into a card while shuffling with other cards on the ground. The cards then scatter around the arena, and Sora must either strike the cards with the red circle icons engraved on them or strike Luxord’s cards. The camera doesn’t hide these cards’ front sides, so it’s pretty simple to prevail against. Interestingly enough, the number of cards on the ground depends on whether players choose to evade or guard Luxord’s attacks throughout the battle. Dodging cards leads to them landing on the ground, adding to the shuffling minigame, which I genuinely love as that provides legitimate consequence and impact for staying on your toes for the duration of the battle. Even when accounting for how easy the minigame is, its impacted in-battle customizability is a neat touch.

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The last minigame that Luxord performs is his Desperation Move (DM). When his time gauge is reduced to a certain amount, he initiates a lengthy sequence where players must interact with his card amid various circling ones. The addition of sneaky strikes here and there makes it easier said than done, but just like the last 2 mentioned minigames, it all requires patience.

Luxord’s data battle necessitates that one factor more than any other fight because he can not be ‘cheesed’ with Links or the like. He can only be damaged at set intervals, and one attempting to brute force their way through his attacks is ultimately performing more harm than good, as you need to know how to counter his moves and win his minigames to even damage him in the first place.

As for his non-minigame attacks, Luxord can summon 4 cards to Sora’s sides before closing in. The animation for this move is ripped straight from Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, which is an excellent callback. A standout attack from data Luxord is when he rides atop a mountain of cards while throwing several down at you. I don’t usually discuss the animation for any of these battles, but data Luxord’s is my favorite in that department. The sound design and general visual feel of the cards as he adeptly shuffles them is surprisingly satisfying to the ears.

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Another noteworthy attack is when gargantuan cards with elemental engravings close in on Sora. Using the correctly depicted elemental spell on these cards dissipates them, and I always love whenever magic is stellarly incorporated in these fights. It is very transparent in this case but appreciated nonetheless. Aside from a few minor attacks, that’s essentially how Luxord’s data battle works. I view him as the easiest to prevail against since, despite his opportunities for any damage being exclusively tied to openings, they do not require much effort to contend with.

I did label the Xigbar data battle as the one that teaches players to be defensive, but Luxord is perhaps almost equally vital in teaching that lesson. Gaining access to several of his weaknesses is wholly dependent on defensive tactics. And, as they say, defense is the best offense. Above all else, the data Luxord battle is fair and ingeniously designed to incorporate his desire for vivacious thrills. Luck does not needlessly bog down the battle’s elements, which is honestly a factor I was worried about pre-Re Mind release.

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Data Luxord’s theme is an arrangement of “The 13th Struggle,” a prominently used Organization XIII battle theme in the series. This iteration of the track sounds entirely distinct, emitting a sense of seemingly evasive gravitas. However, it does have the ambiance of a ‘game’ where the looming eventuality of the excited victor lines up with gradually increasing intensity.

His battle quotes are eager and to the point, significantly amplified by his talented voice actor. “It’s more fun when you beat the odds,” and “Figured the rules out?” are my top picks. “I always win in the end!” is a noteworthy one because it depicts a rarely shown side of Luxord, where his enthusiasm for potential victory is laid bare. Still, each of his battle quotes is laced with an infectious, non-overwhelming charismatic jubilance that Robin Atkin Downes expertly captures.

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Luxord is not openly antagonistic, instead finding pleasure in the simple complexity of games. Personally, I foresee him as an ally in the future hence his giving of the Wild Card to the Sora near the end of Kingdom Hearts III. Regardless, we will simply have to wait and see what developments occur. It is worth noting that Nomura labeled Luxord as his favorite Organization member over a decade ago.

While I’m unsure if that claim still holds up, I’m vastly looking forward to seeing how Luxord is utilized in the franchise’s future. Attitude-wise, he is standout from the other Organization members with a more passive, long-game perspective. And, he manages to remain a genuinely engaging enigma because of his traits, making him one of my favorite characters in the franchise.

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Orpheus Joshua

Random gamer equally confused by the mainstream and the unusual.