It’s been a long wait, but it’s finally here. Yes, that’s right, “Kingdom Hearts 3” has been released! Even so, there are so many questions to be answered.
For example, was the game worth the long wait? Does it look and play well? Does the story really end on a Whimper? Well, fear not! Because all will be answered and more in my review!
To start off let’s take moment to reflect on the fact it’s been 13 years since the last “Kingdom Hearts” game…Since then we’ve been tied over with remasters.
However, this time its the real deal, and KH III is a game I’ve been personally looking forward to because even at 30 I’m a sucker for Disney Films.
You see, I like the complicated story and all the nonsense around this series because it all comes down to this, it’s incredibly fun to play and there’s nothing else really like it.
I mean, “Kingdom Hearts” lets you go places where no other game can’t whether it’s with Mike and Sully from “Monsters Inc” or Anna and Elsa from Frozen.
Because in “Kingdom Hearts” you can go to those places and wow, what a pleasure this game is to play! However, there are a few niggles on the way which might even divide fans or put off newcomers.
Now let me be clear in saying this, because the main question people will ask is “do I need to play the other games to understand what’s going on?” The answer here is yes, (they’re still worth playing too).
However, without context Kingdom Hearts 3’s plot is like Shakespeare on acid, there are several characters and a lot of talk about hearts and it can get a bit confusing for the uninitiated.
Even so, KHIII does do its best to recap on many of the events from past games but you’ll still be wondering who is this Organisation 13 after a few hours and how there’s 3 vessels within Sora.
However, do you need to play them to have fun? Well, I say No, because if you enjoy Disney to any extent then there’s something on offer for you in this game.
So it doesn’t matter if you are young or old, because KHIII makes good use of the Disney/Pixar license. As a matter of fact, when it comes to movie licensed games they have a rep for being bloody awful…
Yet somehow Square Enix have crammed several Disney worlds into this game and done them all justice. As it’s nothing short of a spectacular feat to do what they have achieved here.
As a matter of fact, Square Enix even changed the graphics engine during development to Unreal Engine 4 and well, it must have paid off because the game looks great! But at the same time, it might have hampered the game from having more content.
Still though, the graphics in “Kingdom Hearts 3” are just, well, phenomenal (Unreal Engine 4 really shines here). Furthermore, all your favorite Disney characters are recreated with pinpoint position, to the point where you feel like you are playing a Pixar movie.
For example, the Toy Story world just looks as it should. So would you put it side by side with the movie, then it would be hard to tell the difference.
That’s just the half of it though, because it gets even better with “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Why? Because it shows off cutting edge detail on the likes of Davey Jones and Jack Sparrow, and it’s absolutely Jaw dropping.
There’re also more enemies on-screen and some of the abilities just look amazing! I would also like to point out that KH III is full of vibrant colors which look great on a high-end TV.
So much so that each world is a delight to explore complete with their own traits that make them unique to one and another, “Pirates of the Caribbean” sports a vast open world which you can sail around in, while Monsters Inc got a huge factory for you to explore.
In terms of performance, “Kingdom Hearts 3” performed okay on PlayStation Pro but there were some noticeable frame drops from time to time especially during the Gummi ship segments and when the action gets hectic. Even so, it wasn’t bad enough to hinder my enjoyment.
It’s also worth mentioning that there is an option to unlock the framerate or lock it at 30. However, the latter seems to hamper the game more.
So, what about the audio front then? Well, sound and voice acting delivers as always, by now many people are aware that the original games boasted an incredible musical score from classical to the wonderfully talented Hikaru Utada and this continues one again.
Utada’s song “Don’t think Twice” is wonderfully catchy and the classical score stands out too, Dearly Beloved plays at the menu screen which is a wonderful rendition of the popular piano piece.
Once again, the variety of voice talent on offer here is always at a high standard. Now, unfortunately, Tom Hanks and Tim Allen must have been busy during recording but their stand-ins do a fair job, especially since it’s Jim Hanks who does Woody’s voice!
It’s the same case for Captain Jack Sparrow who in “Kingdom Hearts 2” was ropey at best. However, this time it’s pretty much spot on.
Because there is a huge variety of talented actors who leant their voices to “Kingdom Hearts 3” such as long-time veteran Hayley Joel Osment (“I see dead people”), Indina Menzel, T.J Miller, James Woods, and even the majority of the cast for “Big Hero 6” reprise their roles.
Every line is delivered brilliantly, and oh! The games are worth replaying just to enjoy it all over again!
Now of course sound and graphics are great, but how does it play? Well, again it’s another winning formula, because Kingdom Hearts 3’s combat is outstanding.
And why is that? Because each keyblade comes with its own theme and ability, after you rack up a combo you can unleash its power with unique combos and a finisher.
Furthermore, you can also summon allies like Simba, Ariel or Stich to assist you. Furthermore, you can trigger attractions where magical rides appear so you can attack enemies in style.
Other than that, there is a variety of magic that can be unleashed, there are joint abilities with other heroes you can unleash. I know, it may sound like a whole lot. but it works, and gosh! It’s an incredible sight to behold.
It’s not all fighting though, because there’s a huge variety of mini-games that you can take part in as well. For example, you can cook with the little Rat from “Ratatouille”, and there’s a match-5 game to be found in the 100-acre wood.
There is also a variety of secret challenges to be had, and there’s even a special phone where you can take pictures and play classic OG mini-games based on OG Mickey Mouse.
However, with the new additions to combat the game does feel easier to play, compared to the previous installment even the toughest bosses can be beaten with ease.
Now as much as I absolutely adore “Kingdom Hearst 3”, there are some niggling issues that became apparent. For example, every “Final Fantasy” character has been omitted with the exception of Moogles, there’s no Cloud, Squall, Cid, Noctis or any of the other major players…
Hell, there’s no dedicated “Final Fantasy” world either, and that feels like a missed opportunity. The coliseum is missing this time around which was a great place to test your might against various enemies and bosses.
There’re some lacklustre moments, sure, but the 100-acre Wood was incredibly short…Before you needed to collect “Torn Pages” that unveiled a new chapter, this time it’s just three mini-games and that’s it…
So it felt like an afterthought. The end game content is also poor, as there are no New-game plus, or hidden bosses.
There’re special battles to be found in KH III, and they come in the form of Battlegates to complete and for the most part, they are very easy. Much of the game’s difficulty comes from its mini-games for 100% completion that of which I did in an evening.
However, some of the cooking mini-games are infuriating; in fact, the toughest boss is one you fight in a Gummi ship which seems a bit backwards to me.
The problem with “Kingdom Hearts” is that it’s one of those games that could never meet expectations, 13 years is a long time and unfortunately during the build-up for this game they had shown all their aces I the many trailers and kept nothing back as a surprise.
As compared to the previous games, in KH III there are fewer worlds and no extra chapters to return to, so that leaves you with the feeling that things could be better and that’s the case for any game…
But without trying to sound too entitled. I think we all expected a little bit more than what we were given if I was just to compare it to the original games that got released on the PS2.
I mean, It’s hard because with the +40 odd hours that I have played KH III, I really enjoyed it. I even woke up at 5am and skipped Monday Night Raw to play this game.
Actually, I was enjoying KH III so much that I had to ask myself what do I take away from this? Because on one hand I fully enjoyed this game start to finish, on the other hand, it would have been nice to have the other things…
And while on the subject of downsides, you might have seen a fair amount of KH III reviews declaring that the game’s ending was “poor”? Well, it’s complete nonsense, because the ending hadn’t been released yet to avoid spoilers.
Sure, that might be a controversial decision to some because you need the internet to actually get the full story. Nevertheless, it shows how passionate the developers were about the game’s story trying to keep things exciting for fans, at least that’s what I’ve told myself.
However, I can report saying that the ending was great! Furthermore, the final battle is insane which included an absolutely phenomenal moment that left my jaw dropped while playing.
There’s also an extra “secret” ending that unlocks once you do all the extra content, taking pictures of 80+ hidden Mickey emblems taking the most time.
So, no, this game doesn’t end on some “whimper” it ends triumphant and no doubt many players will just restart the game to experience it all over again because my gosh some of the worlds and interactions with the other Disney characters is just splendid.
Yes, KH III is all so very wonderful, even my 1-year old daughter watched me play it a lot. However, I have to wonder if a child would understand the story or whether they’d care at all? Either way, it’s one of the few games around that let you play in the world of Disney Princesses.
So, as of now, for me personally “Kingdom Hearts 3” is one of my favorite games of this generation.
Because there’s nothing else quite like it, it made my jaw drop with some incredible visuals and made me want to re-watch some of the Disney films featured.
You know, when we look at the vast array of great games, most of them tend to be dark, edgy, and gritty. So most of them are nowhere close as colorful or as wholesome as Kingdom Hearts.
Simply put, KH III is unique in what it is. Yes, the story is crazy but honestly, it doesn’t take long to understand what’s going on, just watch a re-cap video if you don’t have time to play the other games.
Because KH III truly is a great game to pick up. So if you’re new to Kingdom Hearts, then the story might be a lot to take in, but at the same time you get experience several Disney worlds wonderfully crafted that will stick with you forever (or perhaps you’ll hate see it as an over complicated convoluted mess?).
It’s a hard call but for me, I’m already gearing up for a second playthrough. The most important thing is that we see this game supported with new content, it’s been such a long wait and no doubt fans will want more, even things that were omitted from the full game.
So whether it’s new chapters or new worlds, I just hope that KH III gets the support which it deserves!
And with that said, thank You Tetsuya Nomora and the Kingdom Hearts team for this gem, just don’t make us wait another 13 years for another game yeah?
+ Stunning visuals
+ Great Variety
+ Feels like it has been made with love
+ Brilliant Soundtrack
+ You will want to play it all over again
– Cracking an Egg shouldn’t make you re-evaluate your life
– 100 Acre Wood too short
– Lack of Post-game content
– Once you complete it you might suffer from Post Game depression.
– Too easy?
Replay value: 3/5
Even with its downfalls “Kingdom Hearts 3” still stands tall because there’s really nothing else like it. I just hope it’s supported with a few expansions to keep die hard fans happy.
Title: Kingdom Hearts 3
Developer: Square Enix
Format: PS4, Xbox One (played format, PS4)
Resolution: 1080p with a 4K upsacle
Release date: 2019-01-28
Difficulty: Easy to medium
Spent time: +40 hours
Average grade internationally: 85.56% Gamerankings.com
PEGI age rating: +12
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
More by Sharn Daniels:
Save 3$ with our Play-Asia coupon code "thegg"