KINGDOM HEARTS III
By Michael "Magic Mike" Dumee on January 31, 2019
Finally; 5 years since the first announcement, the moment is a lot of us have been waiting for has arrived! What moment, I hear you ask? Well the moment that marks the return of one of the most beloved gaming franchises in the world! Scores and scores of players all over the world were so ready to play Kingdom Hearts III and I was definitely one of them!
Last Saturday I started my download immediately from the second the game was officially available! While waiting for my download to finish, my mind was positively buzzing. What great adventures would await me this time around? Which new Disney characters and worlds would be in it this time? And would I still be as hyped after playing the game? Well, ladies and gentlemen, it's time to find that out, right? Let me take you on this Fantasy ride into the magical realm of Kingdom Hearts III. Buckle up, here we go!
I think the developers know how much-loved the Kingdom Hearts series is by gamers from around the globe and how much these gamers, including yours truly, were looking forward to finally being able to play this game. But we will have to wait a bit longer to actually actively play, because the action starts eventually, but first we are treated to two songs and a cool-looking intro video, filled with both familiar and unfamiliar footage. And may I say that this is an awesome way to ease players into the game to come! At the very start of the intro movie, two Japanese youngsters are playing a game of chess, while discussing the well-known key blade war from the past. What follows is a huge trip down memory lane, filled with scenes of the previous two games. Yup, I got a warm fuzzy feeling inside!
After the introduction, it is finally time for us to take control of the main character, Sora, who just landed on the iconic floating stained-glass window. Time for some decision-making! The first choice you'll have to make is between wisdom and vitality; do you value wisdom above vitality, or is it the other way around? Or are you more comfortable with having a balanced amount of both? After making your decision, a couple of other questions will follow. After answering every question, it was eventually time to enter my first Disney world and start this adventure for real.
Now, I played the previous games from the Kingdom Hearts series when I was a younger Magic Mike and still owned a PlayStation 2 with, of course, the original Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2. A few short years later, we were able to enjoy these same adventures in remix style on PlayStation 3 and later on PlayStation 4. Sora failed to complete his Mark of Mystery, he almost fell under the control of Xenohart and, on top of it all, he lost his strength. So, that's where we are now. You will have to regain your lost strength and collect various items that are scattered across several different Disney worlds.
The entire game is literally a trip down memory lane, because you will see a lot of footage from the first two Kingdom Hearts games. This, incidentally, is totally fine by me because I absolutely love those games. Kingdom Hearts III looks a great deal better than its predecessors. A very noticeable difference has everything to do with the environment. I have looked in amazement at a beautiful clouded sky and water. My mouth literally fell open. The main characters Sora, Donald and Goofy also look sublime. I'm sorry to say I wasn't that that impressed by the looks of the several Disney characters throughout the entire game, although it is still a massive improvement since the PlayStation 2 graphic quality. But maybe that's just me. Plus, it's strange to see 2D characters (like Hercules) as 3D models for the first time. Please don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that the quality of the graphics are anything short of absolutely great. The game looks truly beautiful, so you don't have to worry about that.
I was also looking forward to see if the gameplay had improved in Kingdom Hearts III. The first two games were brilliant games to play, but the controls always felt a bit clumsy. This is where Kingdom Hearts III scores a lot of points. The hack and slash mechanics are smooth and together with the many movement and spell options you have at your disposal, it's almost impossible not to fight your way out of anything. Yes, you heard me say almost, because I don't want you to think Kingdom Hearts can't be really challenging from time to time.
Now, as you might suspect, Kingdom Hearts III will lead you to several well-known Disney world. First stop is at mount Olympus, which means our friend Hercules is just around the corner. Coincidentally, he also lost his strength once, so maybe he can help Sora with this problem. The fun doesn't stop there, though; after visiting Hercules, there will be even more delectable Disney-treats on the menu. Yes, boys and girls, get ready to visit multiple cool worlds. Speaking of cool; I think it's safe to assume that we were all very happy to hear that Frozen was one of those worlds a couple of months ago, right? I don't want to ruin the surprise for all of you who still have some worlds to visit, but let me tell you that you will most definitely not be disappointed by the choices the developers made, some of which weren't even announced yet.
The game is much, much bigger than the first two. The worlds you visit are bigger and you get a sort of open world feeling because you can decide which world you like to visit next. Just hop into our space ship and take off. Don't forget to keep an eye out for items to collect! The time one can spend having fun in a world is also extended in this game by a number of fun activities. One of the highlights for me was cooking with Remy from Ratatouille. Another fun thing about Kingdom Hearts III is the fact that you can play the game even if you didn't play the previous two. Now, being a true fan of the series, I especially took the time to replay the first two Kingdom Hearts games before Kingdom Hearts III was launched. It's not absolutely necessary, but it's fun and it helps to understand the story better and you get to witness some very excellent plot twists.
The wait for Kingdom Hearts III seemed to be never-ending but, no matter how long it seemd to last, it was so worth it. The game has become everything that I hoped for and even more. Normally, I have to play my games in the comfort of my very own man cave (which I don't mind at all, by the way), but for this game my wife asked me to install everything downstairs so we could enjoy this mash-up of Final Fantasy and Disney together. So, you see; Kingdom Hearts III even brings people closer together. I had tons of fun playing Kingdom Hearts III and I'm sure that if you're a fan of Final Fantasy, Disney or excellent 3D action adventure games in general, you're going to love every second of it too!
KINGDOM HEARTS III
January 25, 2019