Kingdom Hearts 3 Review #2 – Worth the Wait

  No introduction is needed for this game. Let’s face it: Kingdom Hearts 3 has been talked about for a long, long time. If you have heard about the game, you know how long we had to wait to see the third major entry in the series after seeing 2 major Kingdom Hearts titles and…




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8 minutes


No introduction is needed for this game. Let’s face it: Kingdom Hearts 3 has been talked about for a long, long time. If you have heard about the game, you know how long we had to wait to see the third major entry in the series after seeing 2 major Kingdom Hearts titles and 7 minor games.

Let me say off the bat that Kingdom Hearts 3 is certainly not for everyone. If this is your first foray into Kingdom Hearts, then you may not enjoy this game. If you have been a fan for Kingdom Hearts for years and have played all of the games and managed to follow their convoluted saga, then you will have an experience that will be worth talking about for years to come. This game takes everything from the previous games and ties it up in a nice-looking bow, albeit slightly messy.

Square Enix had to ditch their usual Kingdom Hearts game engine in favor of Unreal Engine. With Unreal Engine, they were able to create visuals that cannot be matched by the previous games, making Kingdom Hearts 3 the best-looking game out of the entire series. Every Disney world they rendered is not only recreated faithfully, but they look as lively as they could possibly be. The worlds based off Toy Story and Monsters Inc. looked just as amazing as they ever looked in the movies. When it came to a world based on a live action movie like Pirates of the Caribbean, not only did they do a great job making it look similar to the movie; they made the aesthetics as lively as they could be.

The movie worlds, whether from an animated or live-action film, look fantastic throughout.

The main Kingdom Hearts games have always excelled when it came to combat mechanics, and Kingdom Hearts 3 is no exception. This game goes above and beyond any of the previous games, featuring a cultivation of all of the battle mechanics of the previous Kingdom Hearts games. Flowmotion combat from Dream Drop Distance? Check. Shocklock commands from Birth By Sleep? Yup! Situation commands and Forms from Kingdom Hearts 2? They are there for sure! Links to other characters in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 2? It’s all there!

The best combat mechanics from those games made their way to this one. While they could have done fine with all of previously stated battle mechanics, they decided to experiment with some of the mechanics to create something new and exciting for all fans alike. Each Keyblade you equip (you get to equip 3 at a time in this game) has their forms that you can trigger in combat, which change your attacks and your appearance (like Drive Forms in Kingdom Hearts 2). While having their form attacks enabled, you are able to maintain the combat momentum that you have established prior to triggering these forms.

Keyblade forms aren’t the only situation commands you get access to. You will also be able to trigger a new form of attacks called Attraction Attacks, where you summon a Disneyland attraction ride and deal some damage to the enemies around you. That’s right, you can put the pain on the Heartless while riding on the Tea Cups. Or perhaps you can splash the Heartless with the Pirate Ship or Water Rapids kind of ride. Or you could ride the Carousel and take out those Nobodies.

Last but not least, you are also able to cast the next level spell of what you have equipped via situation command. For example, Firaza if available as a situation command if you use Firaga enough. All of these situation commands pop up frequently to the point where you could fire them off one at a time without ever having to worry about the combat flow for the majority of the game.

The Attraction Rides are fun, but dilute the challenge too much.

Having all of these situation attacks available often provides one of the most glaring shortcomings of Kingdom Hearts 3. All of these situation commands plus combat mechanics make the the combat far less challenging than the previous installments. When you use these commands again and again, it becomes more mundane and the fights usually end shortly after they begin. And some of the attraction commands give you invulnerability, making your fights even easier. After playing through all of the Kingdom Hearts games in Proud mode before Kingdom Hearts 3, I can confidently say that, even though it’s hard in some parts, this is far easier to play than the rest of the games that came before it.

Of course, what could Kingdom Hearts 3 be without its own share of new worlds? While the worlds added weren’t as plentiful as they were in the previous entries, they all have something to show. Some that are worth remembering for years to come, with others falling short, but still memorable in their own ways. The Caribbean stands out as one of the best worlds ever offered due its massive scale, ship-based navigation and combat, and the swim mechanics which came out to be not so frustrating. Arendelle, on the other hand, despite its charm from the original Frozen cast reprising their roles, turns out to be one of the worst worlds in the game, with traversing the mountain multiple times ruining its charm.

The Kingdom Hearts experience would be complete withoutt the music. Yoko Shimomura does about as an amazing job composing the music for this game as she always does for the previous games. While there will be some tunes more familiar to Kingdom Hearts fans that will make their way back to this game, they have been retouched, giving these familiar tracks a much fresher take than their original versions. There were also a lot of new tracks in the game that are worth listening to for years to come. The boss theme that plays when you fight the boss of The Caribbean is certainly one of the more memorable new tracks introduced in this game. With the musical talents from Shimomura and other composers, Kingdom Hearts 3 remains one of the best original soundtracks to be made in this decade, and one that will certainly stand the test of time.

The story behind the Dark Seeker saga was…without a doubt the most convoluted story ever told. And yet this was the most endearing thing about Kingdom Hearts. Trying to wrap up this saga is no easy feat when you have to wrap up nine games worth of story. I understand they need to fill in all of the blanks that were left behind by the previous games, but the story pacing wasn’t exactly the most consistent in Kingdom Hearts 3.

In the beginning of the story the pacing was reasonable enough for the players to digest after completing each world. After the second-to-last Disney world, however, the game decided to exponentially increase the pace, leaving even the more dedicated fans with headaches at times. I understand that Kingdom Hearts 3 tries to leave things open for the sequel, but the things that they choose to leave a mystery that leaves fans scratching their heads, feeling just as confused as they were before. At least it does leave some desire for the upcoming sequels.

Sometimes the convoluted story can be forgotten with all sorts of minor additions to this game that help make it a more memorable experience for all fans. The photography mechanic doesn’t seem like would belong in a game like Kingdom Hearts at first. However, you will find yourself taking selfies in interesting situations in no time, as it ends up becoming fun to use. The developers added cooking meals, which can boost your stats temporarily and help when you are about to get in a difficult fight. Wall running certain walls…well you couldn’t finish the game without it. Even though Battlegates don’t come until the end, they become the most welcome addition for players who are hankering for more of a challenge. All of these minor additions, along with Keyblade forms and having 3 keyblades, make Kingdom Hearts 3 a more fun experience that can hardly be matched by other Kingdom Hearts games.

The Gummi ship aspect of the game has been changed drastically to a more welcoming format. There are no longer Gummi ship levels, but now the Gummi ship is changed to a more open world format where you can go wherever you want from whatever checkpoint you desire. Do you want to go around looking around for some treasure spheres for some goodies? You are welcome to do that. Do you not care about the Gummi ship segments and just want to head straight from world to world? You can most certainly do that without having to fight heartless ships. Whatever it is you decide to do in the Gummi ship segments, you surely won’t be disappointed when you are able to fly it.

Is Kingdom Hearts 3 considered Hall of Fame material for this website? Not really. But it doesn’t mean it falls short on all expectations. After waiting over 13 years for this game to come out, I feel it manages to deliver an experience that was worth waiting for, despite its story and not-as-difficult battle gameplay. Kingdom Hearts 3 leaves a lot of good offerings on the table, giving dedicated fans one of the most memorable experiences that they’ll remember for years to come. If you are curious about the series, I would highly recommend getting familiar with the Kingdom Hearts story before jumping into this game to minimize pain and confusion. May your heart be the guiding key when debating on picking this game up.