If you think that Kingdom Hearts III is finally going to put some order into this crazy universe, you’re mistaken. It’s a game that sets up new paths and lore, leaving players wanting something more, as it usually happens.

I wish that somewhere in the world, someone is working on an exhaustive explanation, accompanied by diagrams, links, and clear directions. I would love to explore this storyline from a perspective that makes sense, but it’s almost impossible.

I say that it’s almost impossible only because I know there are some people out there that know everything about the Kingdom Hearts universe and its characters. But we must keep in mind that the original game was released back in 2002, for PlayStation 2.

Since then, games in this series were made available on all kinds of platforms, including Nintendo DS, PSP, and even web browsers. Only the most dedicated players managed to keep up to date with the releases, and I have to believe that there aren’t too many.

Kingdom Hearts III

Although to be fair, I’m sure that lots of people have encyclopedic knowledge in some domain that would otherwise feel useless. For example, where am I going to use all that Dune information and trivia that I gathered, including from all the books that weren’t written by Frank Herbert? The same can be said about Kingdom Hearts.

Story

Just because some players know exactly what’s going on and can answer all questions that could arise, it doesn’t mean that the storyline is not a mess. By all standards, the story in Kingdom Hearts III and the previous titles is a convoluted blob that works, most of the time.

If we were to apply the same rigorous standards we use for other games, we would toss the story in Kingdom Hearts III out. But the community is happy with the outcome, and I have to say that it has some charm.

Wondering at any given point what the heck is going on is fun. And trust me when I say those are not seldom moments. At any time during gameplay, you have the chance to encounter something that will have you scratch your head, trying to figure where to do with that information.

Recounting everything that happened in the previous games to help people understand what’s the deal with Kingdom Hearts III is simply impossible, not to mention the fact that I lack some of that knowledge.

Kingdom Hearts III


What I can tell you is that players are once more taking on the role of Sora, after the original Xehanort storyline has been concluded. Now, Master Xehanort is back, and he’s still trying to forge the χ-blade.

It’s revealed that Sora lost much of his power, which serves as a great platform for the new game. Sora sets off with Donald Duck and Goofy across various worlds, trying to get his power back and to counter Xehanort’s plan.

The new adventures of Sora are taking him through lots of new worlds, like Kingdom of Corona or Arendelle, both based on Disney properties, but Pixar’s Monsters, Inc and Toy Story are also present.

Gameplay and graphics

Thankfully, Kingdom Hearts III is a hack and slash game, and that much is clear. Unlike the story, the gameplay is straightforward, and everyone should be able to figure out, quickly, what they have to do.

The game brings magic into the mix, and I have to say that it’s more than useful, especially against flying or fast-moving enemies. It’s the kind of mechanic that leaves a lot of room of the cutscenes, but it’s entertaining and challenging enough to stand on its own.

While it’s nice to see how a game with such as Kingdom Hearts III fairs with modern hardware and the Unreal engine, we have to give props to the map design. The only way I can describe is deceptively simple, meaning that it might seem easy to navigate, but it has a hidden depth that’s not visible from the start.

The maps are filled with secret areas and resources that wait for you to find them. If you wonder around enough, you’ll also discover the plan for the current world, which helps immensely, but I have to point out that you can easily navigate without a map.

Kingdom Hearts III

The gameplay is set up in such a way that everything comes down to boss fights, one more impressive than the other. For example, in the tutorial section, which goes for quite a while, you’ll fight a titan, and the way to beat it is to summon a rollercoaster that fires energy weapons. It’s bonkers, to say the least.

As for the visual part, there are times when Kingdom Hearts III look really good, although the Unreal Engine feels underused. We’re given glimpses of working physics, only to return to the simple gameplay. It’s a weird combination, but it works.


The Good

  • Compelling gameplay
  • New worlds to explore
  • Insane concepts and ideas

The Bad

Conclusion

Resuming Kingdom Hearts III for someone else feels wrong. There is nothing I can say to someone that hasn’t experienced the world of Kingdom Hearts that would guide him try it for themselves. I can only promise you that it’s going to be worth it.

Kingdom Hearts III may be a hack and slash, with a few RPG elements sprinkled in, but at its heart, it’s a weird adventure like nothing that you’ve ever played. It makes no sense, but once you’re in the groove things start to get into focus.

When the game is over, you’re left with a strange feeling of completions and melancholy, and that should be proof enough that you’ve experienced something worthwhile.



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