Disappointing, but fun. That is the BEST way I can describe my experience through Kingdom Hearts III. With Square-Enix faking 13 years to release this long awaited game, most would assume Kingdom Hearts III was the best version it could be. Instead we got a game that was a bit off it’s mark.
The best part of Kingdom Hearts III was by far the combat. It’s flashy, fast paced, and a beauty to watch. It’s all about hitting enemies enough to reach a point where you can transform your keyblade into something more powerful, cast a magical spell, a combo attack with Donald, Goofy, and whoever else is in your party, or even summoning several different Disney world rides which are all unique. Quite fun seeing your favorite characters from toy story team up with Sora, ride the rocket Buzz almost got killed with to beat up some heartless. But even the great combat couldn’t save the poorly constructed and yet still confusing story.
I expected each new Disney world to have meaning in the story and, unfortunately, that was far from the case. Each world instead felt like a tedious hurdle that was in the way of the poorly executed ending. Sora’s goal is to regain his power back that he lost (Again) and even as I progressed to the end I’m not quite sure when he actually restored his powers. I still don’t quite understand organization XIII’s motif. They only popped up once or twice in each Disney world only to tell us some confusing clue, disappear, and refused to fight Sora until the end of the main campaign. The final battles were such a confusing mess and in my opinion, poorly executed. The first battles with Organization XIII were so intense and fun in Kingdom Hearts II. Unfortunately I never felt that intensity with them or any of the bosses in Kingdom Hearts III. I STILL don’t know why square felt the best way to conclude the Kingdom Hearts main story line was to save all the big battles until the end. Everything felt so rushed and by the time the credits started to roll I had NO clue as to what happened. Disappointed is an understatement.
Another big issue for me was the lack of Disney big bad boss battles. The first two installments were full of fighting the infamous villains of each movie. Fighting Ooogie boogie from Nightmare Before Christmas and Scar from The Lion King were some of my favorite fights in the series. In the past installments the end of each world concluded with battling the Villian of the associated world all powered up with the power of the heartless. They were not only fun but had a great nostalgia feel to it as your fighting enemies from your favorite Disney movies. In Kingdom Hearts III there were only a couple of Disney big bads you fight. That being Hades and the Titans from Hercules and Davey Jones from The Pirates series. Rumour is Disney had more say in this installment which could of emphasized some concepts but I was really looking forward to fighting evil emperor Zurg in the world of Toy Story.
Lastly, the lack of Final Fantasy was quite a let down. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that some of my favorite final fantasy characters fit in the worlds of Disney and Kingdom Hearts. Their side stories were fun and fighting Sephiroth was something I was looking forward too. To completely get rid of all those characters comes off as lazy writing in my opinion.
Kingdom Hearts III was a game I was excited about. But 13 years and getting rid of ideas that made the first two so great really ruined my experience. I had more fun trophy collecting then worrying about how the story ended. It’s still a game that should be played by fans of the series, but also those fans should note that it’s an experience not on par with the first two in the trilogy.
~ El Sanchino