• Emily

In Review: Kingdom Hearts Three

Kingdom Hearts is a very long franchise that has been going on for decades. All of the titles throughout this time have been PlayStation exclusives. As an Xbox owner I have never been able to play them, and honestly, I wasn’t sure it would ever be my thing. Kingdom Hearts Three was released on PlayStation and Xbox on the 25th of January. After a recommendation from a friend, I decided to pick it up. Bear in mind I have never touched a Kingdom game before, and I have no clue about it’s notoriously long and complicated story. The extent of my knowledge is that we get to fight alongside Disney characters, which is good enough for me. After a few hours of gameplay, I have positives about the game and also some negatives. Let’s jump into it.

Let’s start with the infamous story, I have watched one YouTube video that briefly explained the story and its safe to say it’s gone right over my head. I do know that we have to fight the heartless and we have a cool sword called the keyblade. I will preface this with the fact that I will only sit and watch a cutscene if I am fully invested in the story and even then, it’s probably getting skipped if it goes on too long. I bought a game, not a movie. After initially loading into the game I’m hit with a long cutscene, not just “kind of bearable” long, but so long that I’ve completely checked out and now I’m playing Mario Kart on my DS. I get that this game was meant for fans of the series and they are probably used to that by now, but by finally releasing your franchise on a completely new platform, you have to prepare for the fact that new players are going to pick it up. To me it feels like I’m being hit with a wall of information and names I don’t know, all at the one time. So, I’m outta there. My favourite story sections of the game are when i'm out helping characters from different movies, it doesn’t feel that connected to the overarching narrative so it allows me to actually grasp what’s going on.

The combat is spectacular though. It’s a massive parade of nonsense and I’m 100% here for it. During the smaller enemies that you have to fight throughout the game, I’m mostly mashing X and hoping for the best. This game makes you feel like you are completely dominating the battlefield even if you aren’t putting that much effort in. Pressing Y causes a special power or weapon to be used, it also allows you and your team-mates to get together and create massive amounts of damage in a special move. By hitting the right enemy at the right time you also turn into a ride from Disneyland which is the greatest combat visual in the game. In boss fights you actually have to pay attention and put some thought into your attacks and items that you use, this is refreshing because the game isn’t a button masher the whole way through. It’s a welcome change of pace. Overall, I think that the combat is one of the greatest features in the game and I only wish I didn’t have to skip seven cutscenes in a row to get to it.

The characters in Kingdom Hearts are so well done that it makes you feel like your watching a Disney movie. The casting team hired voice actors that are so close to being spot on it makes you more immersed in the gameplay. The characters are put into believable situations that make sense for their plot-line and character development; we get to see a different side to the characters that we love. You travel around with Donald Duck and Goofy, and I found myself laughing at everything they said. I got genuinely excited when I saw more and more of my favourite characters pop up in levels, that the game was impossible to turn off.

Exploration in KH is also really fun. With cool mechanics like wall running and airstepping, it makes running around the semi-open world really interesting. My only gripe with this is how fast we run. At the start I thought I was pressing a button to make Zora sprint, but no, that's just his natural speed. It does mean that you aren't stopping to smell the roses, so to speak. Even if he was slowed down a little bit, i would be happy with that. I want to explore the worlds of these popular Disney characters properly, not just zoom through them.

In conclusion, Kingdom Hearts Three is not perfect by any means, but it is good for a laugh and a trip down nostalgia lane. Bear in mind that if you aren’t completely invested in the story, be prepared to mash “skip scene”.

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