Kingdom Hearts 3 Impressions
The Kingdom Hearts saga is a long-running franchise that has acquired many fans and financial success over its 16-year span with its Final Fantasy crossover with Disney properties and fun gameplay. The third installment in the series and the conclusion to the Dark Seeker Saga has been long in gestation and has been highly anticipated with fans practically chomping at the bit to explore more worlds with Sora and crew in tow. I got to sit down with the long-awaited third installment and fans should know that it has been well worth the wait!
The time I spent with Kingdom Hearts 3 showcased a boss battle and a brand new world to explore, giving me a feel for the epic scale of boss fights as well as the depth of the worlds we’re meant to explore. The boss fight is from the world of ‘Hercules’ as Sora, Donald, and Goofy, do battle against a Titan. With its mountain setting and animation style reflective of the world, the Titan battle delved into everything that makes KH great. The fun gameplay, the mashup of worlds, the Final Fantasy style fights, the Disney World special moves, it all comes together for an epic fight as you climb Olympus to defeat the Titan. There are various stages of the mountain you have to get through, smashing evil minions and building your combos to explode more powerful attacks on your unsuspecting foes. The boss fight itself is reflective of ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ as the much more limber Sora climbs the massive Titan, slashing and attacking until you can perform a powerful move to finish the boss off.
The follow-up world that the Heartless invade is one of my favourite Disney properties, Toy Story. Sora, Donald, and Goofy team up with Buzz, Woody, Rex, Ham, and the Army men who have lost Andy and the rest of the toys who have been replaced by the Heartless. Our heroes arrive in Toy Story world to help the toys discover what became of their beloved Andy and all of their friends. The world is an excellent replica of the movie series that we all love with Andy’s room being a perfect replica and even the house and yard looking just like I remembered. Once you convince the toys to leave Andy’s room, you go downtown to the toy store to investigate where Xehanort has been spotted. As you explore the expansive toy store, you have various encounters with possessed toys, you must solve puzzles, and battle the Heartless at every turn. The toy store offers up some new ways to fight enemies while still embracing that Final Fantasy style combat system. Being toys in a toy store was not only reminiscent of the Toy Story films themes, but it also added a dramatic arc for some of the characters. As you unravel more of the mystery, the expansive nature of what has transpired means Sora’s journey is far from over, even after a lengthy stay in Toy Story world.
Crafting a Masterpiece
I’d be lying if said that Kingdom Hearts 3 was in the works for far too long. Square Enix had their hands full, Disney was busy becoming the largest media company in the world, and KH3 fell by the wayside. However, now seemed the perfect time to conclude the saga, though by all indicators, Kingdom Hearts is far from over as a franchise. The game itself looks stunning, the graphics keeping pace with anything else coming from Square Enix. The worlds and characters are beautifully rendered, letting you fully immerse yourself into the lands you’re playing through. The action and fast pace of the previous entries is also there as your squad hits with magic, weapons, and ever-changing special attacks that are pertinent to the world you’re in. With all of the action and style also comes the goofy fun (see what I did there) that you would also expect from Kingdom Hearts. Its light-hearted tone allows you to delve into your favourite worlds and crossover with your favourite characters to achieve the ultimate goal of defeating the darkness without diving down a dark path itself.
I got a little over an hour with this game and I have to say that I loved it. Having not picked up a KH game in a couple of years, I was pulled right back into the series without missing a beat. From the fast-paced action to the rarely seen lighter tone, to the beloved crossovers, this iteration captures it all. While this third entry was long awaited, I’m seriously considering going back and playing through the other games before the conclusion to the saga drops early next year. Fans, you will not be disappointed!