When you first encounter Kingdom Hearts, you hear it from your brother’s friend. He tells you that a new Playstation 2 game will be out soon and it’s going to be a collaboration between Disney and Square Enix – two of your favorite production companies ever.
You feel sad because you know your parents never liked you playing video games so you know you’ll probably never get to play it. (HA! JOKE’S ON THEM BECAUSE NOW YOU’RE EARNING MONEY BY PLAYING VIDEO GAMES. LOL. ANYWAY.) But eventually, with some stroke of luck, you receive a PS2 somewhere down the line for Christmas and you finally get your hands on Kingdom Hearts, then Kingdom Hearts 2.
It’s been more than a decade and Kingdom Hearts is still here. KH3 has launched and you’ve already spent more than 20 hours on it and still can’t find the right words to describe how you feel. But you’ll try.
The Graphics Will Leave You Speechless
Everything about this game is snazzy. How the wind blows through Sora’s hair, how Donald Duck’s tail feathers move around, how Sora and the gang meld seamlessly into whatever world they find themselves in. It’s breathtaking.
Everything moves so smoothly and flows without any hitch. You’ll say goodbye to long-ass loading screens (because we all know you couldn’t afford buying original games LOL) and cutscenes turn into battles with just a flip of the camera angle.
However, this is something you’ve already come to expect from Square Enix AND Disney. It’s definitely no surprise but it’s a wonderful thing to have in Kingdom Hearts 3.
Gameplay Is Relatively The Same With More Bells & Whistles
By this time, you’ve experienced a handful of the other Kingdom Hearts games. Chain of Memories, Birth by Sleep, and Dream Drop Distance. You’ll know Sora’s moves and skills by heart. You’ll even have a loadout of Keyblades you want to equip and in this game – you get to equip 3! And switch between them right in the middle of battle, too!
You’ll get Keyblade Form Changes – each Keyblade you get changes shape and utility with some focusing on strength while others are more powerful in casting magic. You get Attraction Flows – special attacks you can trigger in battle that are inspired from Disneyland Park attractions.
Friend links and summons are limited but they’ve been revamped that you can actually control your summoned companions. Shot Lock also makes a comeback but more for mobility around the map than really dealing huge damage in battle.
Overall, the gameplay is still basic – still simple. But you’ve got a few more bells and whistles to make it more dynamic. But this can be a double-edged sword as you won’t be able to change the sequence of your special attacks and can only trigger them in a specific order. These can also make the battle more complicated so that you’ll eventually return to just thwacking Heartless & Nobodies with your good old Keyblade instead, HAHA!
You’ll Finally Enjoy Using Your Gummi Ship
Though an unpopular opinion on the internet today – you’ll finally find the Gummi Ship mini-game interesting. They’ve made the customization more understandable but you’ve yet to fully get your hands into it.
Travel between worlds is much more interesting as they’ve finally made it that you’re actually traveling through space! You can choose to avoid battles and interacting with the galaxy (taking photos of constellations, finding blueprints in asteroids, etc.) gives you an incentive to take your Gummi Ship out for a spin.
It helps a lot that you get Final Fantasy icons as some of your Gummi Ship blueprints!
Mini-Games Are LYF In Kingdom Hearts 3
Everything the light touches in Kingdom Hearts 3 will have some mini-game involved. You’ll drown yourself in mini-games that you can find in every world that you visit. From Verum Rex in Toy Box, the Tracer Flash course in San Fransokyo, and even the dancing game in Kingdom of Corona. Not to mention the Flantastic 7!
You’ll have to work hard in these mini-games to actually get the materials for the Ultima Weapon, which is something that comforts you because at least that part of KH hasn’t changed.
Things Are Easy – Too Easy That It Can Bore You
The main reason you’re still playing Kingdom Hearts 3 is because you’ve invested so much of your life into the series. KH3 isn’t difficult. You’ve chosen Standard Mode and have yet to die in your playthrough.
Bosses aren’t as challenging and all the bells and whistles (Attraction Flows, collaborative attacks, Keyblade transformations) make all the fights so easy – too easy that you’re still playing because you just want to finish it. And because you’ll want to see (and hear) more of KH3 Riku.
You’ll Totally Get Nomura-ed
There’s much to be said about the ending you’ll get in KH3. You’ll be left with a lot of whys and hows and what the fucks. Because you’d expect that it’s going to be the end. But c’mon, this is Squenix’s Nomura we’re talking about – the king of cryptic, open-ended endings that aren’t really endings.
In some sense, you already knew that KH3 wasn’t going to be the end – because Nomura himself said that every Kingdom Hearts game is still Sora’s story.
Kingdom Hearts 3 Is Pretty But It Lacks Depth & Substance
You’ll feel confused and left asking why Final Fantasy characters who were crucial to the story (Leon & Cloud, even Sephiroth) lack an appearance and aren’t even given a mention. Like, did they jump off of the edge of Radiant Garden and die or something?? Who knows!
You’ll also wonder about the distinct lack of worlds to adventure through. Other KH games have a minimum of 10-11 per game but in KH3 you only get 9 (and a half, not sure if Twilight Town and the others really count). Sure, you’ve got less loading time and seamless area transitions but each world’s map is still linear and not as vast as other games.
In the end, you’ll feel that Kingdom Hearts 3 is a gorgeous yet vapid game. Pretty on the eyes but doesn’t deliver the same kick and gut-wrenching punch as it used to, especially back when you first got heartbroken about Riku turning dark in KH1 or when you had to watch him close the door on you when he stayed in the Realm of Darkness.
This may as well be the last Kingdom Hearts game you play. And that leaves you a little sad, nostalgic, and heartbroken. You’ve grown up with Sora, Riku, and Kairi, but maybe it’s time to let them go (ha, see what was done there? LOL!). Who are we kidding, though? We’ll probably get the next one, HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.