Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: January 29th 2019
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One
Kingdom Hearts 2 was released on December 2005 for the Playstation 2. Other games of the franchise were released after, but only in 2019 did the “third” installment become reality. With a complex campaign to complete, setting an end for the “Xehanort Saga” that we’ve been playing since the beginning, the million pound question remains: is Kingdom Hearts 3 worth all the expectation?
Picking up after the events of Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, returning protagonist Sora, has recently lost his powers and needs to recover them. Alongside this, he sets off to find the remaining Guardians of Light to help our heroes defeat Xehanort and the villains of Organization XIII. With his companions, Donald and Goofy, you’ll travel to many different worlds, all the while recovering your strength and dealing with the Organization’s nefarious plans.
The combat is very similar to Kingdom Hearts 2, but with a few extra tidbits taken from the other entries in the series. It has elements of an RPG with a leveling system, a sizeable amount of weapons, and unique abilities. However, it’s not turn-based, instead leaving space for plenty of real-time action fights, similar to a hack n’ slash. You can use brute strength to deal with your problems, and can rely on magic. The Keyblades – the iconic weapons of the franchise – are back and better than ever. As shown in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, these weapons can transform themselves, and now, you have full access to this transformation ability. Each weapon has a transformation, and some actually have two. They’re really enjoyable to use, plus they can really turn the odds in your favor. Some special moves are attractions based on Disney parks of all places, which are destructive. So destructive, in fact, I only used them in emergencies, because they do make the game too easy. Still, it’s an option to deal with your opponents quickly. Combining special moves with your allies for devastating damage is also extremely cool. Not to mention that every magic attack is an spectacle in itself thanks to its fantastic graphics.
One of the best parts of the game. Not only they improved a lot on how you can go about the map – with wall runs, pin point to specific locations and other nifty features – but the amount of Disney Worlds on offer are incredible. Hercules, Toy Story, Big Hero 6, Frozen, Monsters Inc. and many more are available for you to explore, each of which contain their own sub-plots and everything. Some worlds have the same story as the movies that they adapted, but others actually continue the story you’ve already seen, which is just magical.
A lot of people consider this game’s story to be difficult to follow, and I agree to some extent. The core plot itself isn’t really confusing, but it’s complex and scattered around so many games, that it can be hard to keep up. If you haven’t played the others, you will get lost with what’s going on, that is a certainty, and I don’t mean just Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 2. There is no such thing as a spin-off in this franchise. Every single title is relevant to the plot, even if it contributes just a little. So it’s important to be aware of past events in order to understand what’s going on.
The idea that this franchise even exists in the first place in funny on itself. Disney and Final Fantasy crossover? Sure, why not. And, funny thing is, it works. Really well. This concept gave us an amazing franchise and beautiful games. But this time around, it doesn’t really feel like a crossover. There are no Final Fantasy characters on this game. Unless you count for Moogles, who are shopkeepers pretty much. This game is too much Disney and too little Square Enix, unfortunately. Doesn’t affect the game itself, it’s still pretty good, but it’s an odd choice, especially to the fans of the franchise.
Another thing that also confuses me about this game is what their target audience is. You’d assume is children, because Disney, but it’s not that simple. The story is a bit too much for children, considering all the information and complexity it has, but at the same time, it can be childish. Also, the gameplay can be very challenging. The higher difficulties can be extremely crazy. This is an amazing game for those who like challenging experiences. Critical Mode is difficult on itself, and if you still found it easy, turn on the “Zero EXP” ability right at the beginning and try to beat the game without leveling up. Honestly, it feels like it wants to please everyone. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if the story was a bit more mature. Not saying it should be an adult game, I don’t Mickey to start cursing nor anything of the sort, but Sora acts like a child most of the time and he’s a teenager. In fact, he’s a few years away from being a young adult. Take Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep for example, who was far more mature plot-wise.
Using the things that worked on the other games of the franchise, Kingdom Hearts 3 turned into an extremely awesome game, with the best gameplay in the franchise, a good ending for the current saga, and it already shows us what to expect when the next saga begins. The story is beautiful and touching, but personally, it needs to grow up a bit from its childish roots, especially since Sora isn’t a child anymore. Regardless, for those who like action mixed with RPG, and some good nostalgia from Disney, this is a perfect choice.