REVIEW – Yes. It’s here. After about 13 years of waiting, Square-Enix finally released the third episode of Kingdom Hearts. And this is where the problems start. Make yourself comfortable for the ride.
First of all, this is not the third part of the series. This is like episode ten + if the saga. I can’t even count them anymore. I bet you’re like “what do you mean, it’s right there on the box, 3”. Well, you see, after they’ve released the first game, they thought it would be a good idea to release an episode to every single console possible. Ok, I’m exaggerating, but the game was on PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Nintendo GameBoy, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, PSP and even on Mobile for heaven’s sake. And you know what’s the worst? All is canon! Yes! If you miss one of these, there’s a big change you will look at the story with a confused mind. To be honest, even if, the story is so complicated, I could not explain it myself, who I’ve played them all over the years.
So I would like to warn you: if you’re playing this for the story, I strongly advise you to go and grab the remakes they’ve made on PS4 and play all of them. They’re good.
So what happened so far? Yeah. Not going to happen. There’s no chance I can summarise this saga. There’s a menu which shows you the story so far, but given that I know the story so far, this “refresher” does not do good! It focuses on events that are not there to explain the confusing parts at all! After you finish the game, you will say “I get it why they choose to show those clips” but until then you’re not going to benefit from this reminder. Especially if this is your first game in the series, or you’ve missed multiple previous games.
All that you’ve to know is that there’s a huge war brewing for the Light and there’s a lot of things happening. And these things include Disney worlds and characters. Though it sounds weird, I must admit, they really fit into all of this. It helps a lot if you’ve actually seen those Disney movies, as most of them are based on the actual storyline of each. Which is both welcoming and engaging. Welcoming, because you can meet your favourite Disney characters and you can talk and interact with them, and engaging because you kind of become a part of their stories.
The overall story of Kingdom Hearts III has absolutely nothing new to add to the formula, apart from the expected twists and turns all around the place. They do “close” down many storylines (from the meta), but there’s still place for more, so I would not call it the last in the series. I mean they’ve managed to drag this to +10 episodes and to be honest, once you manage to understand some things, the story and event actually start to make sense.
The Disney part of Kingdom Hearts III is weirdly focused on most of the Pixar movies and some, that we saw before in the previous games. I found that each world had its uniqueness and served the overall formula as it should be. It’s for a “newer” generation, and it’s understandable.
Ohh boy. There’s a lot of them. I can’t go on about this without spoiling the story so I will keep to the basics. You got Sora, Donald and Goofy. You’re controlling Sora, who for didn’t really get any character building (beginning of the game), because he and his companions feel the same.
Don’t mean it stays like this.
It’s mostly the same. You run around and kill everything that moves and it’s not your friend. Now, what changed the most if the freedom of movement you have, as you can now run up walls and run on the side of the wall, and you can interact with the environment in new ways. This gives you a lot of freedom to manoeuvre, making combat more fun and engaging.
Now previous titles usually had smaller, condensed areas for the players to explore. Kingdom Hearts III takes it to a new level where you now have huge areas to run through. This might appeal to people who like more movement, but less appealing to people who liked to explore all the corners of an area… it’s more difficult now to look under every rock.
You also can control huge “robots” and other things I don’t want to spoil. Controlling these will bring a lot of fun and contextual meaning to the world’s you’re going to visit.
The Gummi Ship
Ohh man… that damned Gummi Ship. I don’t know anyone who actually enjoyed that part of the game, especially for the earlier games. Remember when you were spending minutes to reach a hidden chest and all you got was another red cube for your gummi ship?
Well I got some good news. the Gummi Ship is back but not it’s actually fun! Really! You can now move in space freely and you can choose where you want to go and who do you want to attack.
Ohh the combat. The heart of this game. Yes, combat is back and believe it or not, they’ve managed to make it even more fun. Why? Well, let’s see. First of all, you start with a ton of abilities, and while this might be annoying for newcomers (lol, what are you even doing here, go play KH1), veterans of the series will appreciate this. It’s not like you have to start from zero each time, right?
So you have your usual combos, land and air, which can be improved by levelling up and so. Nothing new here. But wait! What is this? You can now trigger amazing little abilities! The more you fight, the more things are going to become triggerable, and at one point you will ask yourself, “what the hell is going on on my screen”? Like literally, one moment you’re in the middle of a combo, and then you press Triangle to trigger a special power and then suddenly you find yourself inside a flying train that does a lot of damage. And there’s more of that.
Depending on which Keyblade you got, Sora can trigger special status effects or attacks.
It really feels like combat is chaotic, but once you understand what’s happening and you learn to control it, you will see how elegant and fun it is. Doesn’t take a lot to learn it.
Also, there’s a lot more to combat, but again, in order to avoid spoilers, I won’t reveal other elements of this.
As expected, the visuals are breathtaking. The amount of detail it went into creating these worlds is amazing! Not only they kept extremely close to the original settings for the Disney worlds, but they also improved the other worlds we have seen in the previous games. You will go “wow”.
When it comes to performance, if you can, please play the game on PlayStation 4 Pro. You can adjust some settings that impact performance. I would not recommend going to the “stable” experience. Leave it as is! Else you will never get close to 60 FPS.
Music and sound
If there was anything about these series that was perfect, it was the music and sounds. Iconic songs, such as Passion, Hand in Hand and so on are unforgettable. Many of the songs are present, and most of them were even remastered, to offer a familiar, yet new experience.
To be honest, I myself don’t consider this the best KH game out there. I think I had more intense and consistent experiences with some of the previous titles. This one just tried too hard to be “trendy” and it constantly feels like a commercial for the current Disney cinematic universe. While the game will go deeper the more you advance, it’s nothing revolutionary.
If you are a Kingdom Hearts fan, you will love this game, if not, you will be confused most of the times, but you will also have a good time.
+ A Disney and JRPG fan’s dream mashup
+ Many Disney/Pixar cast members reprise roles
+ Excellent and gorgeous combat
– Hearts, hearts, darkness, darkness
– Text doesn’t scale well on 4K resolutions
– Travel is just boring
Publisher: Square Enix, Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Square Enix
Genre: Action, Role-Playing
Release date: January 29, 2019