Please note that this article will spoil the story of every Kingdom Hearts game. You have been warned.
After giving Kingdom Hearts 3 an 8.0 / 10 yesterday, part of me felt that the review was limited due to my inability to talk about spoilers… So I’ve decided it would be best to rant about some of my issues with Kingdom Hearts 3’s plot in this separate, and extremely spoilerific article.
So let’s start at the beginning, shall we? The entire premise of Kingdom Hearts 3’s story is split into two halves – The first half being the return and revival of various lost Keyblade welders, and the second being Sora’s acquisition of ‘the Power of Waking’, an ability he learned in Dream Drop Distance, but conveniently lost in the very same game due to Sora nearly being possessed by Xehanort – A plausible explanation, however I feel it would’ve been better to have Sora retain some of his abilities from Kingdom Hearts 2 and Dream Drop Distance at the least; not have him become a completely wiped slate. It retreads a lot of ground, but in its defense, it does teach Sora a lot of important life lessons that he does take to heart, and ends up developing him into a respectable character by the end of Kingdom Hearts 3.
The issue here is that everyone just seems to totally ignore Sora’s previous feats. Destroying over half of the Organisation, saving the worlds twice, and even becoming one of the seven Seekers of Light… Yet everyone treats him like he’s pre-Kingdom Hearts 2. It’s annoying as a fan of the franchise to see Sora get pushed down like this despite his feats, but lends into his development and growth. Not just this, but Roxas’ return is as haphazard and unplanned as could be – Vexen of prior Organisation affiliation is brought to their ranks once more in order to create vessels for Xehanort to fill, should the others prove insufficient or rebellious… Yet he just up and leaves, betraying the Organisation alongside Demyx with no consequence at all, out of an odd desire to atone for his mistakes and to resume his work under Ansem the Wise – He supplies Zexion (Now named Ienzo) with a replica vessel in order to deliver it to Sora, yet they aren’t shown delivering it or sending it to Sora’s location… Roxas just seems to appear out of thin air when fighting Siax, and offers no discussion between him and Ventus; a point that many fans would have loved to see.
Riku and Mickey’s hand in the story is also bizarrely minimal. Their first attempt to rescue Aqua, their whole goal during the first half of the game, ends in failure as Mikey’s Keyblade is damaged, and Riku’s is torn clean in half; their second attempt ends up with them both falling to Aqua and a swarm of Heartless, until Sora arrives via a portal on Destiny Islands opened by Eraqus’ Keyblade; a few minutes later and both would have met their untimely demise; all of this while Sora’s out there actively halting the Organisation’s plans, and protecting the ‘New Seven Princesses of Heart’.
On that note, the whole plotline of the ‘New Seven Princesses of Heart’ not only goes unresolved, but is totally uncompleted and inconsequential to the rest of the story as a whole; Elsa, Anna and Rapunzel are the only three Princesses we know of, not including Kairi; that’s four out of seven… So where are the others..? Not just this, but the Organisation’s meddling ultimately results in absolutely nothing. Nothing of what they do in these worlds has any impact on the larger plot overall, despite seeming that it may go somewhere. Similarly, a lot of plotlines are supposedly brought up just for the express reason to be explained in Union X. Plots such as Demyx, Larxene, Luxord and Marluxia’s ‘Keyblade Legacy’ being awakened by Xemnas, the ‘girl’ that Ansem, Ansem the Wise, Siax and Axel all refer to, the reappearance of the Foretellers in the Epilogue, and Scala Ad Caelum being built on the ruins of Daybreak Town – All of these plotlines appear and disappear within a flash, supposedly to just be explained in a future spinoff title or in the mobile game. It infuriates me as Kingdom Hearts 3 should have finished the majority of these plots inside it’s gameplay and runtime, but failed to do so.
Another larger issue with Kingdom Hearts 3’s narrative is the lack of communication between characters, especially with the last portion of the game where everyone is reunited – Terra, Aqua and Ven largely have conversations between them, same with Xion, Roxas and Axel; no heartwarming conversation between Terra and Riku – Nothing between Ventus and Roxas, and nothing between Xion and Kairi, let alone any of the other cast – These trios are largely contained just to themselves, and it’s a shame as these characters live on the bonds between them, yet fail to even acknowledge each other. It’s a missed opportunity, for sure.
Finally, the ending of Kingdom Hearts 3 is something that has nearly entirely divided fans – Revealing that Xehanort just wanted to use Kingdom Hearts to push the big red ‘NUKE’ button on the whole universe just so he could rule it to avoid the imbalances of light and darkness seemed rushed, and haphazard as a motive, and his death, whilst somber, leads into the most confusing part of the game – The reveal that Xigbar / Braig is the legendary Foreteller Luxu, and that the Foretellers have all been revived, excluding Ava. All six of these members, including the Master of Masters appears on Eraqus’ chess board, indicating a follow-up saga of Sora VS the Foretellers – This, however, is concluded with an odd twist – After Kairi was struck down by Master Xehanort and killed, Sora immediately teleported himself using the Power of Waking to follow Kairi’s lost heart – a feat that even the Young Master Xehanort admitted would be suicide – yet Sora just up and leaves, without any resistance or recourse from his friends – The ending cutscene shows Kairi on Destiny Islands, alongside a large cast of characters that had been saved across the series, sitting with Sora as they hold hands – A single tear rolls down her cheek as Sora fades from existence, either indicating that this is a vision of both of them, or that this is Kairi’s heart playing us for fools – Sora is then shown to have teleported to Shibuya, as is Riku, as they look around frantically watched by the Master of Masters, and, to everyone’s surprise, Yozora – The protagonist of Verum Rex; Square’s ‘fake’ game that was shown off at the start of Toy Box.
…Yeah I’m just as lost as you.
So there we have it – The future of Kingdom Hearts has Sora and Kairi die at the end of Kingdom Hearts 3, as Xigbar revives the lost Foretellers and turns them to darkness, with Sora presumably inside of the incarnation of Shibuya seen in The World Ends With You, and Riku in Verum Rex.
God knows where Nomura will go from here.