‘Kingdom Hearts III’ lives up to the hype

A Review


Alex Jowanovitz

ONE LAST JOURNEY. Sora, Donald, and Goofy get ready to head out on their most recent, and potentially last, mission together. “Kingdom Hearts III,” despite the somewhat mixed consumer reception, certainly was a hit with critics. “‘Kingdom Hearts III’ is a fulfilling evolution and resolution of the franchise that shows it’s still full of heart,” said IGN writer Jonathon Dornbush.

   There was a point in time where the vast majority of gamers thought that Square Enix’s “Kingdom Hearts III” would never come out.

   Although formally announced to be in development in 2013, rumors of a third mainline entry in the “Final Fantasy”/Disney crossover video game series started to circulate in 2006, after the release of “Kingdom Hearts II.”

   Since then, fans have had to put up with spin off game after spin off game, with each entry seeming to appear on a different video game, handheld or console, then the last.

   Finally, after thirteen years of waiting, the gaming community finally has their hands on one of the most hotly anticipated games of this decade. And the overall response has been, needless to say, interesting.

  For every two or three comments I see about how “Kingdom Hearts III” is everything fans could have wanted and was definitely worth the wait, I seem to find ones that claims the game is utter garbage and a complete disappointment.

  “I have heard so many mixed messages about this game that I’m not sure what to think,” said senior Cameron Wallace.

  I have never seen a fanbase become so divided since the release of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” a few years ago. And personally, I really do not see why.

  I have been a “Kingdom Hearts” (“KH”) fan for pretty much as long as “KHIII” has been announced. The concept of beloved Disney characters and worlds combined with the combat and storytelling of Japanese RPGs (role playing games) is so crazy that it just works.

 Having completed pretty much every “KH” game up until this point, I, like several others, was extremely looking forward to the next installment. Like I alluded to before, I am definitely in the camp that thinks the game was so worth the wait.

  Is the story still confusing and kind o f dumb? Yes. Is the gamer easier and shorter compared to the other games? I can see that. Is it fun? Absolutely.

  First of all, the game looks gorgeous. From the shot-by-shot recreation of “Frozen”’s “Let it Go” to the realistic-looking “Pirates of the Caribbean” world, “KHIII” is the closest the series has ever been to an interactive Disney film.

  Disney worlds have received a massive update, with the levels being more open and immersive than ever before. The utilization of newer Disney properties, such as “Toy Story” and “Tangled,” is also a welcome edition.

  The combat also has been tweaked to combine the best gameplay styles from every other “KH” game, with some new additions to boot.

  While overall movement is a bit more floaty, it never gets old trying to string combos together, thanks to the variety of abilities, weapon transformations, team-up attacks, and Disney attractions (yes, Disney attractions) that you can summon during battle.

  Thanks to the more open environments, there is a lot of room for exploration, with treasure chests and hidden Mickey’s strewn about to collect for prizes.

  Now this would normally be the part where I would discuss the plot. There is just one glaring issue: it is close to impossible to fully explain.

  “KHIII”’s plot deals with tying up all the loose ends from the previous games, with plot points that include, but are not limited to, time travel, multiple versions of the same character, alternate timelines, and characters coming back from the dead inexplicably.

  The short version is that the player character Sora, along with Donald Duck and Goofy of Disney fame, must journey across various Disney worlds to seek out the rest of the Seven Guardians of Light.

  These seven hearts of light are destined to battle the evil Master Xehanort’s thirteen hearts of darkness, resulting in the creation of a weapon that could unlock the titular Kingdom Hearts, where all hearts are stored.

  While the setup does seem simple enough, you still need to have knowledge of all the other games in order to fully appreciate the story. Because of this, it is hard to recommend this to people who have never played a “KH” game before.

  There has been some debate as to weather or not the ending of the game is truly justified or satisfying. Personally, I thought that the ending, while a bit rushed in parts, had some nice closure to it, while still opening possibilities for future installments.

  One’s enjoyment of “KHIII” will probably be determined solely based on the story, but I think that the game play and different mechanics to play with should also be worth mentioning.

  I am not as invested in the story as some other “KH” fans, but most of my enjoyment stemmed from how much fun I had just playing the game. As I said, it is like a Disney movie come to life, and how can I resist that?

  While “Kingdom Hearts III” may not be for everyone, I still recommend it for anyone interested. Despite a convoluted plot line, I honestly cannot see why some people are so disappointed with the games release.

   If you like Disney, action, and video games, this might be one to add to your list.