- System: Xbox One, PS4
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Developer: Square Enix
- Release Date: January 29, 2019
- Rating: E10+ for Everyone 10+
- Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG
- Players: 1
- Official Website: https://kingdomhearts.com/3/us/home/
Who it Caters to
What to Expect
In case you’re completely new to Kingdom Hearts, we will sum up the base story and setting. Players assume the role of a young teen named Sora as he becomes a Keyblade holder and must use his powers of light to destroy the evil that is darkness. Sora has faced numerous enemies along the way growing as both a human and a warrior at the same time, but after the events of Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, Sora has lost nearly all of his powers. Kingdom Hearts III focuses on Sora and his allies going on a grand journey to regain Sora’s powers before the epic battle with darkness resumes once more. There’s a lot more to Kingdom Hearts’ story—such as Organization XIII and various other baddies—but if you’re new to the series, there is a semi-informative recap within Kingdom Hearts III. You won’t understand what Ansem the Wise and Ansem have in common—trust us, we barely do—but you’ll at least understand the plight going through most of the past Kingdom Hearts titles.
Kingdom Hearts III begins players with a down powered Sora who must rekindle his past memories and powers to hope to stop the various foes before him. That means you can expect Sora not being the super strong Keyblade warrior he was in Kingdom Hearts II or even Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance. Luckily though, Sora won’t be a weakling for long as Kingdom Hearts III constantly gives you new powers and skills that make Sora pretty tough rather quickly. Added to this is the fact that Kingdom Hearts III has learned a lot from its past titles and has implemented a lot of elements into Sora’s latest adventure.
In Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance—the partial sequel to Kingdom Hearts II—Sora gained various abilities that allowed him to interact with the environment around him to unleash new powers upon heartless and nobodies. Kingdom Hearts III uses a very similar flow system but enhances it with new skills that allow Sora to call upon more co-op-based attacks from his allies and unleash powerful Disney-inspired rides on his enemies. Case in point Sora can summon a giant ship that teeters back and forth hitting enemies constantly or even utilize teacups that allow him to shoot bullets at enemies. Add this to a smorgasbord of special attacks that correlate to the world Sora’s currently in and you’ll smile as you see dozens of powers Sora has gained in his latest outing.
The new weapon system is also something we must mention. Sora can now equip three Keyblades at one time and seamlessly switch between them during combat. You’ll need to use various Keyblades this time around as each allows Sora to enter a “form” that gives off different moves and skill sets. The earlier Keyblade you get from Hercules allows Sora to change his Keyblade into a defensive shield that can be thrown and shoot lighting-based attacks. When in max form—which is obtained by doing damage to enemies—Sora summons a chariot that he rides blasting enemies with constant lightning spells. This new Keyblade system is vastly superior to Kingdom Hearts original and II as it makes new Keyblades not just replace the one you have as you progress.
Speaking of the new worlds, Kingdom Hearts III has quite a bit of new—and old—ones to explore. You’ll be revisiting places from past titles but also be seeing some new ones like the world of Frozen, Pirates of the Caribbean and Toy Story to name a few. Each new world offers a plethora of exciting locals to see from their respective movies and you’ll also meet the various characters from them as well. Some worlds fair a bit better than others—we loved Pirates of the Caribbean and Toy Story—while others just miss the mark slightly. Don’t get us wrong, these worlds are still fun to fight in and explore till you find every hidden item and spot to see but compared to past worlds like Tron and The Nightmare Before Christmas, these worlds feel a bit too fantasy based.
Outside of fighting heartless and other enemies, you’ll find yourself once more traveling the various worlds via the gummi ship which has gotten quite a big improvement. Players can now freely explore space with markers leading the way to gummi ship battles and new worlds to enter which is both fun and liberating in comparison to the linear gummi ship of the past two main games. Though, we still feel that the gummi ship exploration moments aren’t as exciting as getting on a planet and knocking some heads with Sora’s Keyblade. It’s not a major issue and as we said, the gummi ship exploration is leaps and bounds better than Kingdom Hearts or Kingdom Hearts II, but we just feel it doesn’t do much to really ever feel exciting.
Graphically—and sound wise—Kingdom Hearts III is easily the best of the series and one of the best looking Square Enix titles to date. Cutscenes are truly beautiful and even in game moments look top notch. The music and voice acting also does an incredible job of making every moment in Kingdom Hearts III—sad or happy—feel impactful and noteworthy. There were a few sad moments when characters from various Disney films didn’t have a single line of vocal dialogue—Phil from Hercules, for example—but we assume their voice actors were too busy and couldn’t help in time.
Lastly, let us wrap up our review to talk about the differences in Xbox One and PS4 versions of Kingdom Hearts III. As mentioned above, we nabbed both versions and we put some time into both of them to scour for differences. Gameplay wise, both versions are identical with no issues for either system. Visually though, we give PS4 a bit—keyword bit—of an edge. We noticed a sharper and brighter color palette with the PS4 version of Kingdom Hearts III regardless of the TV or monitor we used. Thankfully though, it’s clear that both versions are almost identical and that means owners of either system can enjoy Kingdom Hearts III to its fullest.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
- Sora’s story goes through with some truly emotional moments
- Great combat and gameplay that feels like Square Enix has learned from each entry prior
- Graphically one of the best Kingdom Hearts games ever seen with some truly awesome cutscenes and set pieces
- Wonderful soundtrack that could be listened to separately from the game
- Leaves room for a possible Kingdom Heart IV
- Gummi ship segments still feel a bit unnecessary even if they have been enhanced
- Expect the Kingdom Hearts story to still be all over the place