Kingdom hearts has been an institution for almost two decades now. There have been dozens of titles and reissues over the years. Each entry and spin-off in the franchise brought its own flavor and was fun in its own way. But with the last numbered entry published at the end of 2005, the subject of Kingdom Hearts 3 has always been on the lips of fans. And now, after delays and development issues, Kingdom Hearts 3 is here. So can he even hope to live up to the hype surrounding him?
Kingdom Hearts 3 takes place just after the events of Dream fall distance. Having failed to prove yourself as a Keyblade master, you take on the role of Sora as you travel to try and grow stronger. Along the way, you’ll also try to bring old friends back into the fight against Xehanort and Organization XIII. In standard Kingdom Hearts fashion, you’ll explore a good handful of Disney worlds, such as tangled Kingdom of Corona and Hercules’ Olympus, to try and find the answers you are looking for. While you’re at it, you usually find yourself wrapped up in the current storyline and helping the local Disney heroes solve their problems.
“With the last numbered entry published at the end of 2005, the subject of Kingdom Hearts 3 has always been on the lips of fans. And now, after delays and development issues, Kingdom Hearts 3 is here. So can he even hope to live up to the hype surrounding him? “
The story follows the typical route of the front-loading Disney shenanigans at the start before really getting into the heavy storyline at the end of the game. Although your opponents show up as you explore the handful of Disney worlds that are presented to you. , they only have a huge impact on the story after all of the Disney worlds are finished. That’s not a bad way to go, as it gives casual fans the Disney action they’ve been promised, and the events at the end of the game are more than enough to keep devoted fans happy. Kingdom Hearts has a reputation for having convoluted storylines, but the developers should be commended for creating a narrative in Kingdom Hearts 3 this can easily be understood by newcomers, but also throws several bones for diehard fans to chew on. For those of you who have been waiting for this game all these years, the last five hours of the game are incredibly impactful and should give a lot of closure.
Kingdom Hearts has been confined to portable systems for the past decade or so, so we’ve never really seen the series move much in terms of graphics fidelity. And that’s what makes Kingdom Hearts 3 so impressive. The graphics and animations displayed here are beautiful. There’s a lot of attention to the smallest details of the characters, and it does a lot to bring worlds and characters to life in ways we’ve never seen before. There are even a few instances where worlds have their own unique rendering styles, from pastel and thick outlines to near-photorealism.
The worlds in this game are also very different from what we are used to. Whereas in previous titles, worlds would largely be made up of segmented pieces connected by loading screens., Kingdom Hearts 3 forgo that for much more open environments. From the start, the worlds are huge. Sprawling locations cover areas that take a considerable amount of time to navigate, and these worlds are hardly ever interrupted by loading or screen transitions. There are even a few worlds towards the end of the game that wouldn’t look out of place in an open-world sandbox title.
“Whereas in previous titles, worlds would largely be made up of segmented pieces connected by loading screens., Kingdom Hearts 3 forgo that for much more open environments. “
But even with increased reach, there is still a large amount of detail paid to each world. NPCs now litter the worlds and chat in the background. You can now have Donald, Goofy, and the Heroes of the World in your party chatting with each other from time to time. Your group members will be commenting on your surroundings, and there are even some environmental interactions to play with.
Kingdom Hearts 3 the music is also a remarkable achievement. You will be treated with new and old material everywhere you turn. Each world has its own unique themes, and Yoko Shimomura shows a great variety with the instrumentation and styles present here. Hearing old tunes and themes brought back using the soundscape of this title is amazing and should be a treat for older fans. The Skrillex and Hikaru Utada theme also fits perfectly into the electronic opener precedent that the series has set. In the end, the music of Kingdom Hearts is just as iconic as its characters, and it’s a big plus that it’s portrayed here in strong form.
But how is the gameplay of this title? Given the series’ recent obsession with gadgets in lieu of polished combat, there’s been a lot of talk about how this title would fare. Well the good news is that Kingdom Hearts 3 reminiscent of the style of console games of the past, with many twists and turns. Your strikes are meaty and you can seamlessly combine into powerful magical spells that explode with a great spectacle. You start the game with a fairly basic ability pool, but soon you will have access to combo modifiers and mobility options.
“Given the show’s recent obsession with gimmicks instead of polished combat, there’s been a lot of talk about how this title would fare. Well, the good news is that Kingdom Hearts 3 reminiscent of the style of old console games, with a lot of twists and turns. “
Sora has access to the tools of almost every one of his past adventures in Kingdom Hearts 3. You will summon friends to help you like in the first two games. You will throw Shotlocks and transform weapons like in Birth by sleep. You go Flowmotion everywhere as in Dream fall distance. All of the older moves have been balanced for this title as well, so they don’t end up breaking the game, with Flowmotion in particular receiving a big overhaul.
There are also a lot of new toys to play here. Fun attacks will appear and allow you to roam Disney attractions to defeat your enemies. You also have the Great Magic, which are bloated versions of your base spells that prompt you whenever you combine enough with a certain magic spell. There are also tons of other mechanics to engage with, like culinary dishes that boost stats, fast steps, and flyable mechs in the game. Toy story world, so it’s safe to say that you won’t run out of variety in your game.
Gummi ships are also returning for this entry. You have to cross space with your ship to go from one world to another. However, instead of being locked to a set path, you now choose how you get to your destination. You have an open space to explore treasures and fight other ships. Once you enter the fight, you are taken to a separate screen where the gameplay plays out more like the older titles. Space is an interesting place, and there are enough hidden goodies and crafting materials strewn all over the place to make it feel like an adventure to go through.
“Sora has access to the tools of almost every one of his past adventures in Kingdom Hearts 3. You will summon friends to help you like in the first two games. You will throw Shotlocks and transform weapons like in Birth by sleep. You go Flowmotion everywhere as in Dream fall distance. “
The biggest addition that Kingdom Hearts 3 brings to the table is in exchange for Keyblade. With this, you can change your Keyblades seamlessly during combat and use all of their different attributes. Each Keyblade has its own stats and transform moves, and while some of them recycle moves from previous Keyblades, they all serve a unique function. This allows you a lot of creativity, allowing you to store transformations and cast more powerful magic with certain Keyblades. You also have access to an upgrade system, which keeps all of your Keyblades useful throughout your journey. Ultimately, Kingdom Hearts 3 does what seems impossible by keeping all the mechanics of previous titles, limiting them all to fit this game, then adding more. And despite what it may sound like, it ends up working incredibly well.
Even if, with all the positive things I have said, the game is not perfect. The characters and dialogue can get pretty stuffy at times, and in a game with so many cutscenes it can end up getting tedious. There is also a problem with storytelling in Disney worlds. Trying to push the plot of a movie alongside meaningful gameplay into the three or four hours you’ll spend in each world sometimes creates a schizophrenic rhythm. Some worlds end up carving out large parts of the story or failing to make seemingly critical characters irrelevant to the narrative. While most worlds handle separation quite well, there are a few notable examples where you would be completely lost without the film’s backstory.
The biggest problem in Kingdom Hearts 3 is the lack of challenge for much of the game. Fun attacks and team attacks appear far too often and usually end up dealing an absurd amount of damage at no cost to the player. That’s not to say that the game is a cinch, but you have so many safety nets that it can be quite difficult to die. While you can easily ignore these options, there’s no option to turn off things like entertainment attacks, and they’ll end up cluttering your screen with their prompts. It’s doubly a shame because the combat system here is so good, and there aren’t too many enemies that will really push you to learn the ins and outs of it. Hopefully, the more difficult critical mode will be patched into the game in the coming months.
“Kingdom Hearts 3 it looks like the end of an era. “
Kingdom Hearts 3 it looks like the end of an era. While this is the end of the Dark Seeker saga, it is also the end of the long wait for another console. Kingdom Hearts Title. After so many years, the third numbered entry of the Kingdom Hearts the franchise is there. So much time has passed and so many new characters have been introduced. And at the end of it all, we got some conclusions we had been waiting for and some more questions for the future of the franchise.
This game has been tested on PlayStation 4.
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