We step back into the long-awaited saga of Sora and classic Disney characters in 2019. I’d been waiting so very long to do a Kingdom Hearts 3 review, I doubted the day would ever come.
But the next full Kingdom Hearts game has arrived and I leave the experience a very happy gamer. After such a long time in development, you do wonder how things are going to work out given the speed games are moving forward now.
Thankfully Kingdom Hearts 3 on PS4 and Xbox One is likely to be considered in the best RPGs of 2019 even at this early stage. The overuse of Disney worlds over Final Fantasy ones and some story elements do leave you hanging somewhat.
Still, I had a blast with the game but there are some conditions to consider before you dive in.
How Does Kingdom Hearts 3 Play
As is traditional in Kingdom Hearts games you are going to be watching before you are playing. And with this comes one of the best story recaps I can remember watching in a game.
But therein lies the big catch with Kingdom Hearts 3, with a big emphasis on the three.
This is not a game you can go into and get everything you want from without experiencing the others in the series.
I don’t just mean one and two either, you pretty much need to know everything including the other Kingdom Hearts prequels and decimal titles. And if you don’t, pick up the others and play them (the best choice since they are amazing) or watch some catch-ups on YouTube, the longer the better.
It’s very important to know who’s who in all this complex mix of characters. Some are themselves, some are not and some are more than one person at once from different times.
That said, once you know what you need to getting into the game is incredible.
Sparkling light, Sparkling light everywhere
After the watching and seeing a very intriguing and well-crafted chess match between light and dark, you take part in Sora’s light versus dark battle once more.
Once into the gameplay, it involves navigating small sandboxes as you visit different worlds around the universe in order to find your strength and unlock the “power of waking”. These are all Disney worlds this time around and you start out in Olympus but soon adventure to more worlds as you complete each one.
Your Keyblade is your weapon of choice here and you wield it alongside magic you can cast and items to use in classic Square Enix RPG menu style.
But unlike traditional ATB or turn based systems it’s effectively an action game with a menu.
Getting combos to unleash special abilities with your K
I honestly love the team attacks, everything just jumps of the screen with sparkling lights everywhere. It’s almost abusing your eyes at times there’s just so much to take in.
A Whole New World
As mentioned your visiting Disney worlds in the game with Frozen, Tangled and Pirates of the Caribbean all featuring in a more modern Disney style.
More on these specifically later, but they are core to the gameplay in that you must complete them to progress the story. Additionally, they
Some are more magic focused, others more on strength and then a few more balanced which I tended to prefer personally. Although certain enemies weaknesses lend to different Keyblades, thankfully you can equip 3 and flick between them on the fly in battle.
Equipment, armour and items in traditional RPG style are here too for Sora, Donald and Goofy. Plus any guests you get in your party in different worlds.
There’s mini games and plenty of exploring to do as well in Kingdom Hearts 3. And all of the gameplay really does hit the mark, it’s so much fun to play throughout I’d love to see more arrive in the form of DLC.
Presentation And Graphics
From the moment the game begins you know this is going to be graphically very impressive. Character models and worlds are exceptionally detailed and really well captured.
Worlds like the Monsters Inc or Pirates that see not only the animation style of the characters there change, but the appearance of Sora, Donald and Goofy too all really add to the charm of this title.
Monster versions of the protagonists always brought a smile to my face, as did being transformed into a toy or being more human as a pirate.
The worlds and NPC characters are all so well done too. Everything visual, along with those amazing effects on the combat sequences are stunning.
But then there is the voice acting….
Who I really am?
While I was under no expectations to get the full cast of every Disney actor in all of the worlds, the voice acting is a mixed bag in Kingdom Hearts 3.
Thankfully much of it is experiencenced early with things more smooth the further you go into the tale. Perhaps as a result of the development time on the game.
Characters range from some excellent performances to a few “phoned in” feeling ones. Then those that are in the middle, particularly sound-alikes. Some really good, for example, Tim Hanks (Tom’s brother) doing a decent job of Woody in Toy Story. The Frozen cast are great as are most of the Tangled performaces.
Then some do a decent job but don’t really sell the role quite as well as others like most of the Olympus experience and a so-so Captain Jack Sparrow impression.
When you mix that with the real deal like the entire cast in some cases, and others just sound-a-likes. You have to accept a somewhat hit and miss level of real Disney sounding characters.
Saying that though, the majority of performances of the main cast such as Sora and Co. are well done, along with some very good writing. With your big actors and a few top-level voice acting talent used towards the end of the game, make up for the odd mixture in performance level.
Your hitting right into the end of Sora’s Kingdom Hearts story, one that as mentioned you NEED to know to play this game and get anything from the narrative.
You are chasing down Xehanort and his Organisation XIII who are on the side of the Darkness conquering the light. Sora must awaken his team to represent the light and stage the final battle of light and dark.
To do so, Sora must regain his strength and learn how to wake the hearts of those lost in the events prior.
Doing this involves visiting the Disney worlds of Hercules, Tangled, Monsters Inc, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Pirates of the Caribbean and Toy Story. Not to mention a few worlds specifically designed for the story as seen in previous Kingdom Hearts games.
Each one is so enjoyable to visit, with some playing out an alternate version of the movie tale. Others picking up more in a unique setting with the Heartless or Nobodies, your main enemies, attacking the place.
I loved visiting all of them with some real care and attention clearly going into each one. Naturally, one of the reasons the game has taken so long.
The story moves forward and your RPG focus on leveling up your team plays its part. For the most, the game isn’t overly challenging however and even a few levels lower than reccomended, you won’t struggle on standard difficulty.
Tying it all together is the incredible gameplay though and it’s really hard to put down even after the 30 hours you’ll roughly put in to finish the story.
An ending but not the end?
One point that I should mention is the story of Sora coming to an end. And of course there are no spoilers here at all.
As someone who came into this series a long time ago, I know the kind of twists and turns these games have. Plus Square Enix RPGs rarely operate in a clear way.
While I really enjoyed the story playing out, I will say there may be an end to the game but players expecting everything wrapped up in a bow and concluded fully won’t get that.
It’s my main criticism of the game, to be honest, everything else works nicely and personally I was happy to have some things left to interpretation or, better yet, more games. Kingdom Hearts 3.14 on its way guys, I can feel it: Kingdom Hearts Pi!
I do know other players less than happy the way things are left, so this will vary from player to player as to what you expect in the conclusion.
Should You Play Kingdom Hearts 3?
I picked up Sora’s story in 2002 and loved the game. It borrowed a number of Final Fantasy X traits and sounds still in the game today that pricks my gaming nostalgia gland.
The gameplay is great, the worlds you visit are amazing too plus the way it all ties together, in the end, is great. You’ll even have some fun with some fun in the Gummi Ship along the way.
It also had one of those stand out moments in battle towards the end with a tornado like swarm of Heartless that was so epic, it’s one of my favourite moments in a game, ever.
Story wise you do need to have the catchup if you have missed ANY of the previous games released. But once you do you’ll really get sucked in by the fantastic gameplay and epic conclusion.
Gamers how would suit this game
A Kingdom Hearts game for it’s fans, and if you like an action RPG mixed with a bit of Disney. This is a unique series, not one to just walk into right at the end, but a great game nonetheless.
|The Good||The Bad||The Bugs|
|Amazing combat||Lack of full conclusion to the story||None experienced|
|Beautiful characters and worlds|
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