KINGDOM HEARTS III - REVIEW [SPOILERS]
Kingdom Hearts 3 is a very special game to me in many different ways. I waited for this game to release for so long and the hype train behind this game was one of the best parts about waiting for this game to release. Its announcement back in 2013 was one of the biggest moments in my gaming life… Then we heard nothing until 2015 when we finally got a new look at this overdue game… Then we had to wait even longer for more information until we finally got that sweet release date of 2018… Then it got delayed a couple months into 2019. This game was a giant roller coaster and now that it is finally out there in the open, was it worth the wait?
Going into the game I had massive expectations but I also went into the game trying to not expect the “best” game ever made. The game starts up with a cutscene between Young Master Xehanort and Young Eraqus. This conversation was originally shown in the E3 2015 trailer and it was amazing to finally see the full conversation. The game then begins with the ending of Kingdom Hearts 0.2 (the KH3 prologue included with KH2.8). Unlike the previous games you don't have a “prologue” section, they just throw you straight into the first Disney world which is both welcome and at the same time takes away from the build up of the games story compared to other titles in the series. As much as I didn’t like the Roxas Prologue in KH2 it still added so much more to the story and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But this is where my biggest problem with the game lies… In the story.
The story in every Kingdom Hearts game has always been incredible but for KH3, it was not as grand as I was expecting it to be. Now I understand that creating a game like Kingdom Hearts 3 is very difficult, you have to wrap 10+ years of different storylines while also introducing new story elements into a 40+ hour RPG adventure. Different plot lines from the game were resolved by the time the game's credits rolled, however it is just the pacing of the story which really lets it down. Throughout the game you still travel to the Disney worlds as you do in any KH game, but this time there really doesn’t feel like there's a good enough reason to travel to these different worlds. Sora is on a journey to regain his strength and to learn the power of awakening so that he can save those who are lost.
But when you travel across the different worlds the story never really feels like it's moving along. You get interval cutscenes between the different worlds but it just wasn’t enough for me. 80% of the game's story happens only when you complete the final Disney world. Which is such a shame because we miss out on many different character interactions for example, Kairi and Riku have pretty much no interaction throughout the whole game and Kairi herself is hyped up the whole game to be able to wield and use a keyblade like everyone else but you never see her fight once in the game.
Fans were looking forward to seeing an interaction between Ventus and Roxas in KH3. This is because the characters both look exactly the same and it would have been amazing to see a reaction from both the characters about that. NOPE, they just look at eachother once and then the story moves on… Things like this make the story really annoying and makes me want more rather than resolving that itch I had before the game came out. It is not all bad however, there is definitely quite a lot of fan service in the game and cutscenes that are done well is exactly what I wanted more off.
The game has an overall solid conclusion as well, it finally ends the Xehanort saga with Sora finally beating him in a 1v1 setting. The ending does have a strange twist with Sora now dead? Or just lost. The ending gives us a look at all the characters interacting on Destiny Islands and also confirms the return of Naime. The game's epilogue is also incredible, giving us a good glimpse into the future of the series. The secret ending also makes you wonder where those crazy bastards are heading with this series next.
Now the gameplay of Kingdom Hearts 3 is my favourite in the whole series. Probably an unpopular opinion as many tend to love KH2 Final Mix much more for many legitimate reasons. But for me the gameplay feels so smooth in terms of movement and combat. It definitely isn’t perfect though, the Disney ride theme commands are very annoying after a while and really does slow the pacing of combat to a halt. I stopped using them halfway through my original playthrough as it just made things easy and like I said, it slows things right down.
Reaction commands as normal attacks however are really cool and allow you to string together some impressive combos. You also have the ability to switch out your keyblade on the fly now which can lead to many interesting combinations of attacks. The game doesn’t feel as floaty as previous osaka made KH games but its not quite as solid as KH2 feels which is one of the legitimate reasons people have on preferring the KH2 combat over 3.
Kingdom Hearts 3 is also one of the best looking games of this generation. The Disney worlds look so close to their source material it's almost no wonder that this game was in development for as long as it was. The characters models have also made the transition to next generation hardware almost perfectly! Some of the characters look strange in certain lighting (0.2 also had this problem) but for the most part I was really impressed with KH3’s visuals.
Overall Kingdom Hearts 3 is one of the best games in the series. But like most things the hype crashed when this game was released and was not as I was expecting. I had the same feeling with games such as Final Fantasy XV which also left me feeling a little empty on the inside once I had beat the game. In all fairness the game as a whole is great, it was just the story which let me down more than anything. Ah well, we only have 10 years to wait until Kingdom Hearts 4 releases.
9/10 - One of the best games of the generation, falls short in the story department but the rest of it is great.