What Makes The Master Xehanort Data Battle So Awesome; Kingdom Hearts III Limit Cut Deep Dive #13

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 one final time today.


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

Contrary to my initial expectations with this deep-dive series, we’ve actually reached the end. After twelve lengthy articles discussing these fights I adore, there’s just one more remaining; Master Xehanort himself. Just to note, I’ll be calling him Xehanort for the rest of the piece to avoid some repetition.

So, Xehanort is a character who doesn’t warrant an introduction like the other data battles because we’ve already gone into pretty strict detail about him via his separate iterations; Xemnas, Terra-Xehanort, Ansem Seeker of Darkness, and even his younger years. As the primary antagonist of the first saga in the franchise, his presence was felt in every corner of the worlds, with the upcoming saga also implied to contain his influence, though to currently unknown extents.

He’s an ingeniously conniving possessor of people’s wills, utilizing others, both directly and indirectly, as stepping stones for his ultimate goal of rebalancing the worlds. And while undoubtedly noble, his actions are anything but. He ruthlessly shattered the status quo for the Wayfinder trio, while other facets of himself would ruin the lives of the Destiny and Days trios, not to mention the rest of the Organization and countless others.

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Battling this core origin of Xehanort in Kingdom Hearts III was a sort of first, as the only other point this happened was in Birth by Sleep during Terra’s story route. At the time, Xehanort wasn’t taking the bout seriously, instead using it as a convenient scenario to take over Terra’s body as a vessel.

The vanilla Xehanort battle in Kingdom Hearts III is well-crafted with memorable set pieces, his DM in particular. However, as with every data battle, this renewed version is its own beast. And, at least for me, this is the most difficult data fight. The start is identical across every attempt, consisting of Data Xehanort floating outside the arena and shooting dark spheres toward Sora. However, two light cannons emit damaging rays simultaneously, immediately making players have to be mindful of their spacing and movement.

This initial attack can be deceptively brutal depending on how much one has moved between the light rays. Since their arrival is unblockable, you must be able to account for safe ground where the dark orbs can be guarded against. Although there is no break after this barrage since shortly afterward, Data Xehanort will spawn back in the arena, throwing his Keyblade toward Sora as a pseudo-Strike Raid.

Failure to guard and deflect his weapon will result in Data Xehanort summoning massive waves of Fire, Blizzard, and Thunder spell variations that can make first-time players immensely intimidated. These spells emphasize Xehanort’s combative mastery in more gameplay-centric ways compared to the feats he performed during the story’s finale.

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The stage changes right after, though, with the arena transforming into a state mirroring the vanilla Xehanort battle, where Sora’s light is literally snatched, transforming him into Rage Form. But in this scenario, the mandatory Rage Form shift doesn’t occur, which I’m pretty thankful for. As thematically interwoven as that incorporation was in the story battle, opting for the traditional combat style works best for a hardcore iteration such as this.

And this phase goes harder than it needed to. Well, there are several sub-phases within this altered arena, but the latter ones will likely not even be dealt with for expert players since all that’s required to revert to the arena’s previous appearance is to strike Data Xehanort once. Yup, it’s that seemingly simple. The methodology to do so is quite an involved puzzle, however, as the lights swirling around the map are a subtly implied timer denoting the current phase’s presence. And Data Xehanort isn’t exactly lazing about, either.

He continually fires off intricately designed spheres with spikes adorning them. I absolutely love the design choice here since the first few volleys can simply be guarded against with no consequence, but what some may not notice is that they explode upon impact regardless of what form that initiated contact comprises. So, after the first few shots where the spheres accelerate by Sora with the vicinities of their explosions not affecting him, the next shot from Data Xehanort is purposefully slow-going. It’s a classic teaching tool showing the true capabilities of this attack, as being struck freezes Sora, alerting players to either be agile following a guard or to equip a freeze-prevention accessory.

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This choice, distinctly letting players pick between an action-oriented or RPG-centric approach, showcases how Kingdom Hearts III strongly melds the two general genres. The following segments of the fight utilize the same previously discussed elements, such as the numerous cannons and pseudo-Strike Raid. That is, until Data Xehanort’s Desperation Move happens, undeniably the most challenging of all data fights. Waves upon waves of Data Xehanort clones appear alongside various familiar cannons and a few attacks from the main man himself. Further, the lattermost attacks, comprising neat-looking form-changes of a whip and chakrams, have a notable strike inducing the temporary maximum health loss effect seen during the Data Xion battle.

Personally, I found these series of maneuvers more challenging to contend with than even Yozora’s DM because there’s never any break amidst these constant barrages. Unless you’re using a Link to cheese through it, you have to legitimately learn this DM due to the permanent health loss effect being a worrying factor to consider. It’s quite fun to learn, though. Once the DM concludes, the second primary phase initiates, using those same Keyblade transformations from before during the first phase’s combos. It’s a stressful but cathartic bout that feels fitting as the final data fight.

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Regarding battle quotes, Data Xehanort utilizes Christopher Lloyd since the voice actor in the base game, Rutger Hauer, passed away before Re Mind was recorded. While Leonard Nimoy will always be my favorite voice for the character, Christopher Lloyd did an incredible job. His lines have an admirable degree of enthusiasm for someone his age.

For the data fight specifically, his opening quote is, “Destiny is never left to chance,” a line he said in Dream Drop Distance’s closing hours when conversing with Riku and Mickey. It’s also used in conjunction with Birth by Sleep. The intentions of this quote are apparent. Still, it’s emblematic of Xehanort’s character, too, as the supposed destinies he engraved upon his victims were due to his own determined designs, not mere happenstance.

His most significant line, heard when defeated, is, “This is not…what was written…” Those not privy to the lore may not understand the implications of this quote, but it’s almost certainly referencing the Book of Prophecies, the vital tome in the Chi entries. Even in Dark Road, Xehanort is never seen with the Book, so it’s still a mystery why he says this. Perhaps he had contact with it during a meeting with the Master of Masters we have yet to see?

Lastly, the track for this encounter, “Forze dell’Oscurita,” is a terrific meld of previous battle themes, most notably “Darkness of the Unknown” and the song from the No Heart optional battle in Birth by Sleep Final Mix. Unfortunately, I find this track often overlooked, which is a shame since it’s instilled with a dominant terror characteristic of Xehanort.

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Data Xehanort is one of my favorite fights in Re Mind as not only is it deservingly challenging, but the coalescence of the stellar track arrangement and Scala ad Caelum imagery embedded within several attacks, like the cannons, helps provide further connective tissue between the Keyblade and Xehanort’s background.

And with that, we have reached the end of this series. It feels pretty surreal, to be honest. I launched the first article of these analyses in October 2021, so it’s been a bit over a year. Before 2023 started, I wanted to complete these pieces so I could start the new year with a fresh slate of sorts. Next up, I intend on discussing the Zodiac Aqua, Lingering Will, and Yozora fights in similar avenues as these articles, but aside from those, I’m not really sure what else to do yet.

Regardless, I had a lot of fun writing these data pieces, and I’m looking forward to writing more celebratory articles about Kingdom Hearts in the near future.

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Check out our review of Kingdom Hearts Dark Road.

I beat every Kingdom Hearts III Limit Cut Data Fight and Yozora on Critical Mode via the Nintendo Switch Cloud port.

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.