Kingdom Hearts 3. That one game that so many of us have been waiting such a long time for, the game that ends a generation, and in a way is a completion of our childhood. Does it live up to this massive hype that’s been built for it? Or at least do I think it has?
There are slight spoilers ahead, and this a warning that this is just a Kingdom Hearts fan’s essay of pure opinion – Not a review! Read at your own peril!
I’ve read in a few places that this game is unreviewable, and in a word I believe this statement to be true. My original opening sentence after 5 hours in was
‘To be honest it was never going to live up to the hype was it? But so far it’s not even living up to any hype’
…And now after tripling that time, this statement is completely incorrect. I think at least until you’ve finished the whole story you could not score this game, and even then this score would only be completely personal. You may argue that all review scores are, but it’s just too true for this game. Your personal opinion of it is yours alone, and there are so many different levels of fan for this game that you’ll never be able to understand 10% of that. I would say I sit just below the top level of hardcore fan – If it’s possible, I’d say I’m a casual fan of Kingdom Hearts, so my expectations weren’t as high as a lot of people. I played both of the main games (And loved them) as a kid, and then replayed all of the 1.5 / 2.5 Remixes last year. Regardless, I had definitely built up a lot of hype for it; this, therefore, impacted on my immediate enjoyment of the game… And because of this I will not review it at this current moment in time.
Additionally to the hype I’d built up, the Toy Story world which I had been anticipating the most (Touched on here) was the first world I visited in my fanboy hype, and was utterly disappointed with. The world felt empty, it was limited to 2 areas; Andy’s room (And street), and Galaxy Toys, and until the final third of the Toy Story story (Heh…) I didn’t really buy into it, especially as they had made Woody and Buzz a bit more lame… It also didn’t help that there are SO MANY cutscenes at the beginning of the game, for the first 5 hours it feels that it was 70% cutscenes. The voice acting is at times a bit wooden, the childishness is incredibly noticeable and I found some of the writing completely lame… But it had some great moments and a really fun final boss. Following on from this I went to the Kingdom of Corona – World of Tangled – which was a charming change of pace and absolutely charming, and where the game changed from disappointment to fun. It again became the charming, enjoyable game that’s purely about enjoyment.
The enjoyment factor is clear in the combat as it seems some of the technical traits of the older games have been changed, but not removed. Although it can feel a little bloated, they’ve added a lot of ideas from the other games in the series into the combat system, such as the weird Dream Eater animals from Dream Drop Distance appearing in a Link, and the stacking of commands from Birth By Sleep, and there’s the additions of the Attraction Flow moves and the super special Keyblade moves. The Keyblade super moves have replaced the Drive Forms, so it’s bittersweet, but they are awesome and fun to use, and all very different. You can also equip 3 Keyblades which you can switch between with 1 button, meaning you have a constant ability to change how you attack (Shield, Hammer, Guns, Staff, etc) – Also, the Attraction Flow moves are fun to use, but I’m still unsure if I’m OK with them. They’re all a little different and cause massive damage – Thing is you don’t need to do any of this, you can choose to ignore the stacked moves, or just the Attraction Flow moves, so if it pleases you then you can just use the Keyblade and it’s specials, although this doesn’t seem to be the way to play. My point here is that all of it is really fun, if unbalanced at times. The combat is fluent and easy, you can build up supers constantly and it’s actually just fun to watch, let alone play.
Overall the look and feel of the game has vastly improved, unsurprisingly. The levels are open and lush, and great to explore; you’re encouraged to visit every area and a new exploration tool has been introduced with wall running, mostly running up. expanding on Dream Drop Distance’s Flowmotion – This means the levels are taller and more intricate; there are no longer boxed restrictions of levels, but instead massive open flowing levels, with no loading times once you’ve landed in with the exception of entering another huge area. You can run from end to end to enjoy your journey and mess around to find secrets. Very often you’ll be given hints by Donald or Goofy if there’s a secret, as you’re encouraged to take photos of Lucky Emblems (Mickey’s logo) which I’ve heard leads to a secret ending – There are also ingredients to collect which are used to cook in Remi’s restaurant over in Twilight Town; a series of fun mini games which create recipes that act as buffers.
In terms of story it’s been simplified in such a way that Sora and co are out looking for Roxas, Mickey and Riku are looking for Aqua, and everyone’s to keep an eye out for Terra, creating an easy tie between the different characters and games – The Organisation butt in and let it be known that they want a balance between light and dark, so just want to keep Sora busy, but Sora doesn’t remember most of them due to losing his memories in Chain of Memories – That, and Xehanort is trying to unite his empty vessel bodies, kind of like Voldemort’s Horcruxes… I certainly hope by the end of it I understand it a bit more. If i’m completely honest I’ve lost a lot of interest in the story, and it isn’t my main reason for playing. I just hope it’s tied up well at the end.
So is it good? Yes, it’s an incredibly fun game that I can easily play for 3 or 5 hours at a time and enjoy it thoroughly. It’s not the tightest game and it isn’t that challenging, and it also can have sub-par cutscenes, leading to the game losing the player slightly… However I’m really enjoying it thus far, and hope to give a better opinion upon completion. If you want to see my live enjoyment check out some of my streaming here & here.