May your heart be your guiding key.

Title: Kingdom Hearts 3
Platform: Xbox One and PS4 (Reviewed)
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Price: £55/$60 (across all platforms)
Release date: Out Now.
TL;DR: Papa Nomura delivers a satisfying end for the Dark Seeker saga, with flashy combat and a good spot to find some ingredients.
Family Focus? Click here for more information.

It’s been a long time since Kingdom Hearts 2. Like, 13 years long… Whilst we’ve had various different titles in between that are all relevant to the final conclusion, the question that remains for most people is, “Was it worth the wait?” Well, that question has probably already been answered for a vast majority of people but, I’ve struggled to form my opinion on this one. Tim Rogers from Kotaku said it best “Is Kingdom Hearts 3 unreviewable?” I began to think that but I’ve finally decided what needs to be said.

Kingdom Hearts 3 released on Xbox One as well, which if they don’t own a PS4 is a little bit unfair, as they never got the 1.5, 2.5, and 2.8 HD collections to help them catch up with story, as the in-game catch up isn’t detailed enough to help the player understand everything. So Xbox players, you need to grab yourself a PS4 and play these games beforehand, or watch a plot synopsis on YouTube (preferably here) because they’re damn good games, and you should definitely play them if you can.

Let’s just start by talking about the story. The story for Kingdom Hearts 3 can be a little lackluster in the beginning, as Square seems to focus more on the abridged or brand new plots for the Disney Worlds. The actual plot for Kingdom Hearts 3 seems to pop for short segments in Disney Worlds and then you get like an hour long cutscene between the worlds, which for some people is a little off putting.

Kingdom Hearts 3’s plot only really kicks in after the final Disney World is cleared. Unfortunately, this makes it feel a tad rushed, as everything seems to happen all at once instead of being spaced out. I like the way Kingdom Hearts 2 told it’s story, with the Disney Worlds plot happening on your first visit to the worlds with the lingering threat of the Organization, then the mid-section that kicks everything off between our protagonists and antagonists. After that, you then had a revisit of those Disney worlds with the Organization messing everything up.

This helped balance the story between Disney and Kingdom Hearts plot, and made it to this day my favourite game of all time. Now, I like the story for Kingdom Hearts 3, I do, but it does feel like it lacks a balance. The final five hours are definitely the best parts of Kingdom Hearts 3, which I won’t go into for spoiler reasons, but maybe we might release a video on this.

Now, gameplay for Kingdom Hearts 3 is hella fun! The combat is stylish with the Keyblade transformations and being able to switch between three Keyblades at a time on the fly gave it a pseudo-Devil May Cry feel. The attraction flows, however, weren’t my cup of tea. Sure, they were flashy and were fun the first couple of times, but they broke up the combat too much and made the game far too easy. I allowed played on standard difficulty but I found Proud wasn’t much harder when I gave it a go later on.

The one thing that was vastly improved in this installment was the gummi ship. No longer did we just float down a predetermined route – it was a massive open space with treasures and missions scattered around with a couple hardcore boss fights that challenged you on your gummi ship skills. I had so much fun with this; I spent a good fifteen hours leveling up my ship, fighting bosses, mowing down heartless crafts and scouring the galaxy for treasure.

Postgame content wasn’t that extravagant either, with only one secret boss and a handful of horde battles; it felt a little lackluster something I hope gets fixed with the upcoming DLC, Nomura mentioned in previous interviews. I hope the DLC is just simply called Final Mix; give us a colosseum in Olympus and a bunch of hardcore secret bosses, potentially one hinting towards the sequel which isn’t spoilers because we’ve known for a long time that this the end of Xehanort’s saga, not Sora’s.

As usual though with Kingdom Hearts, the music from Yoko Shimomura-san is beautiful, serene, and intense during those hardcore fights against the evil threats from the Heartless, Nobodies, or Unversed. Kingdom Hearts 3 brings back some classic tracks with some being slightly remixed whilst remaining noticeable. However, Donald informs you way too much about ingredients… Nothing to do with music, but it had to be said.

Guys. The graphics in Kingdom Hearts 3. Holy shit were they good! I don’t usually talk too much about graphics, but oh boy! That Kingdom Shader that Square is using is just beautiful! It makes everything look like a 3D Disney movie; Toy Story looks better than it’s movie counterpart. Don’t get me started on how good Pirates of the Caribbean looked!

Overall, Kingdom Hearts 3 is a good game but the incredibly easy difficulty made it a cakewalk, and the plot focused too heavily on Disney to begin with, something I imagine Disney demanded during the development. If you’re a massive Kingdom Hearts fan, you’ve probably beaten the game already and got all the trophies/achievements like me, but I needed to get my opinion out there!

The Good:

  • A great conclusion to the Dark Seeker Saga.
  • Keyblade transformations and change Keyblades during combat gives you more stylish ways to play.
  • My god the graphics are so goddamn beautiful.

The Bad:

  • Too easy.
  • Disney stories outweigh the Kingdom Hearts plot.
  • This might be a good spot to find some ingredients.

Family Focus

Kingdom Hearts 3 is rated E10 for Everyone 10+ by the ESRB and PEGI 12. The game contains fantasy violence like people being hit with oversized keys.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a copy of the game purchased for the purpose of this review.