The Battle of Keys is Upon Us.
My personal history with the Kingdom Hearts series began back in 2004 with Chain of Memories on the Gameboy Advance. With me never having owned a PlayStation 2, I never continued with the series until recently. In anticipation for the release of Kingdom Hearts 3, I booted up an emulator with KH2, played, and loved every moment of it. The gameplay, and especially the characters, gave me a ton of hype for the third game. I even binge watched a couple of Disney movies leading up to the release. After getting home at around eleven in the evening, I booted up my Xbox, loaded the game, and sat down to get back into the franchise. Let’s just say my various wiki readings didn’t prepare me for the wild ride I experienced with Square Enix’s newest title.
A Galore of Gameplay
The same basic formula for the gameplay remains at the base of Kingdom Hearts 3. With a few alterations here and there, and when I say few, I mean a plethora. Everything from the combat to the movement of the game feels faster than previous titles, with the option of traversing the large-scale worlds in multiple ways. Players can lock-on to certain objects and dash across the air at a fast pace, or wall run and shield slide; they can move any way they choose.
Combat, meanwhile, has remained similar to its predecessors, but with the addition of attraction summons that allow players to bring certain Disney rides into battle. Each Keyblade also gets its own unique ability and combo. Combat has definitely become more versatile and unique. Speaking of Keyblades, each one has different attributes that focus on either strength or magic. New spells have also been added when chained with different combos, allowing for the performance of an even greater variant of that spell. If you care for my advice, I would stick to lightning on groups of enemies with ice and fire being saved for boss battles.
The Gummi ship from past titles has also made a big return. No longer is it just an on-rail shooting gallery. It now allows for the exploration of three massive galactic maps that house treasures that can boost its performance or give it a new cosmetic option. On-rail battles consist of searching for enemies in the map and give massive experience upon completion, with bosses being either optional or acting as guards to a new world.
A Bunch of Whole New Worlds
Speaking of worlds, let’s talk about those for a moment. Like previous titles, each world represents a different Disney franchise, like Arendelle from Frozen or the world of Toy Story. Both of these were a joy to play through as I hold both films close to my heart. Other worlds, such as the Caribbean, have you piloting your own pirate ship similar to Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. Olympus has you wall running while fighting Titans on a massive scale. If you’re hoping to hear a certain song when you get to Arendelle, then you won’t be disappointed. However, there are fewer worlds to explore then Kingdom Hearts 2, with the classic Disney movies not getting much attention. Each new one is brought in on a massive scale and is a joy to explore.
Aside from the main story, which I will not be spoiling in any way, there are a plethora of other things to do. The game boasts several collectibles that the player will need to track with his new “gummiphone”. This includes collecting ingredients to turn into stat boosting dishes. This also includes photographing lucky emblems hidden throughout the world that can yield powerful rewards. Trust me, you’re going to want to collect them if you want the best Keyblade around. Each world also has several minigames that you can partake in. While most are more for fun, some reward items that the player can use to create new gear in the returning synthesis system. Other side-quests include combat exercises and optional hidden bosses waiting for a good smashing.
No Game is Perfect
While the game has a wonderful story and gameplay that amounts to a smashing good time, there are a few minor faults. A few of the worlds are bigger than they need to be while also, at times, feeling barren and scarce. A good example of this is San Fransokyo. It is a large city that consists of long streets and tall buildings that makes it a bit of a chore to get around. The same can be said for a few other select worlds.
However, the returning world of Twilight Town is the complete opposite. With the added NPCs peppered throughout, and a few new areas to take a look at, the town feels more alive than its KH2 predecessor. Another disappointment is the lack of content. Granted there is a plethora of it to go around, but considering how long this game was in development, it seems that just a bit was rushed out the door or forgotten altogether. The transition of a game engine can lead to a big delay. However, it was so much that you can’t help but wonder if they could have done more.
A Near-Perfect Masterpiece
In short, Kingdom Hearts 3 is a memorable story driven masterpiece that, despite its flaws, delivers a fun story-driven action RPG into one neat little package. If you’ve never had a chance to get into the series, it’s a good time to start right now. Just be prepared to read a wiki or twenty in order to catch up on the story. It is unknown where the series will go after this game. The franchise director Tetsuya Nomura has stated that this game is the ending of just one arc of the story. So, who knows what will come? It is safe to expect more Kingdom Hearts games in the future, especially with the ending left open to numerous possibilities.
What was your favorite moment throughout the game? Which character was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.