‘Kingdom Hearts III’ video game review
By Lauren Kelly, Graphics Manager
Fans of the Kingdom Hearts series had a lot of expectations for Kingdom Hearts III leading up to its January 2019 release. Kingdom Hearts II came out in 2005, and the first trailer for the third major instalment was shown at E3 in 2013. Fans have been waiting 14 years to see the story continued in a major console release, although they have been fed a slow trickle of handheld games and HD rereleases.
Luckily for fans, this new game delivers. The game looks gorgeous. The graphics are of course a massive improvement from the PS2-exclusive KH1 and KH2, but the visuals hold up on their own as well. The Disney worlds Sora, Goofy, and Donald visit are vibrant and fun, with the time spent in worlds like Toy Story, Pirates of the Caribbean, Frozen, and Big Hero 6 being immensely enjoyable. Particularly notable is the Pirates world where you can sail in your own pirate ship, fight other ships, and hunt for treasure à la Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. The Frozen world is impressive as well, with the scene of the movie’s huge hit song “Let It Go” fully recreated in-game.
The combat is over-the-top and fun but sometimes a bit too simple. It is spiced up with frequent group attacks and upgraded weapon segments that are all very flashy but can break up the flow of battles. A lot of these special moves cutely reference Disneyland rides, which is fun for the player but a little nonsensical in-universe. The Keyblades you get after beating different worlds have unique move sets and abilities, letting you personalize your fighting style.
A sad exclusion from this latest game is the presence of characters from the Final Fantasy universe. In KH1 Sora interacted with many characters from the franchise, and the game truly felt like a mix of Disney and Square Enix properties. However, this instalment is nearly devoid of familiar faces from Final Fantasy, save Moogle shopkeepers; instead KH3 derives any Final Fantasy feeling from the original Kingdom Hearts characters’ styles.
The few small issues take little away from how vast and enjoyable this game is. With tons of worlds to visit, plenty of post-game content, many collectables, and a whole lot of Star Fox-esque flying, you won’t be putting this down for a long time. I would recommend this to any Kingdom Hearts or Disney fan, but anyone could enjoy it. Just make sure to do some research first so you know what’s happening in those weird cutscenes between all the fun gameplay. The Kingdom Hearts story is famously hard to follow, so I would recommend watching some plot synopses before booting it up even if you have played all the games. KH3 creators have also just announced that free and paid DLC will be on its way, so fans awaiting more content should be very satisfied.