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Kingdom Hearts 3 Review: The perspective of a new player



No game released in 2019 has as much luggage as Kingdom Hearts III . It comes out 13 years after Kingdom Hearts II and during this extended sacking the series was quite busy. The following decade was full of spinoffs with bizarre names such as 358/2 Days, Birth By Sleep, and and 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue which further aggravated the ever-growing myth of the franchise. The series began as a relatively carefree mashup by Disney and Final Fantasy however, became more and more complicated over the years. The impenetrable nature of the conspiracy has become a perennial joke that even serial creator Tetsuya Nomura can not make things clear.

Where are new players? While Kingdom Hearts III is marked by an unfortunate story that makes the leap into the immeasurable, it's also one of the biggest games of the year, bringing two pop culture giants together into something weird and fascinating. For years, I'm on the outside, curious about the series, but unwilling to invest in all the extra material needed to understand what's going on. Over the years, I would wonder how Goofy and Cloud Strife could exist in the same universe. I wondered why Donald Duck was a magician, and asked about the zippered outfits Nomura had made for Mickey Mouse. With Kingdom Hearts III, I finally yielded to curiosity.

So, how do you play Kingdom Hearts III if you're brand new in the series? Get ready for a long, confusing ride.


  Kingdom Hearts 3

Image: Kingdom Hearts III

The game does not make it any easier. Things start with a bleached-white city by the sea, full of windmills and towers, before turning into a pair of prickly hair that played a kind of chess variation. (I assume that this is a very subtle metaphor for the battle between light and dark.) A voiceover asks, "Have you heard of the ancient Keyblade War?" Before everything goes into a melodramatic music video, in the dark cloudy vines people to appear in nothing. Sora, the eternally smart protagonist, falls into the darkness before he lands on a stained-glass window of his own figure. Then some mirrors ask him questions about his personality. The shifts are quick and shocking, and when that's all done, a title screen labeled "Kingdom Hearts II.9."

Appears for a few minutes and I was completely stunned. But after a few longer exhibition phases I could put together something that resembled an action. Although the finer details have escaped me (and, to be honest, they still do), I suspected the following: An evil organization called The Organization is gathering seven hearts for an apocalyptic scheme, and it's up to Sora and his allies Unfortunately, Sora has lost much of his power due to events in the previous games and he needs to get them back to save the day. But he does not know how to do that, and so, along with his faithful companions Donald and Goofy, he embarks on a fairly directionless adventure to get something called the "power of awakening." This is the high-level view as I understand it. I know because a magician told me.

For unclear reasons, this leads Sora and her crew to go into the world of Disney's Hercules (19459004), where they fight with the hero against Hades and the Heroes invading forces of the "Heartless", the main enemy in Kingdom Hearts . As puzzling as the cross-border conspiracy of Kingdom Hearts III may be, once you're in a Disney world, the smaller stories are generally easy to understand. And the game can be a lot of fun. Kingdom Hearts III is an action RPG with a focus on action. Fights are fast and exaggerated, and you can eliminate enemies with huge combos and full-screen magic attacks. It's not particularly challenging, but the battles are exciting, especially when it comes to the massive bosses who are like family-friendly versions of the violent giants of God of War .

In a sense, Kingdom Hearts III reminds me of the series [Assassin's[Creed] . Although they are very different in terms of themes and gameplay, they have a similar narrative structure. Both have an unnecessarily complicated myth that holds the world together, and you can only truly understand that if you pay close attention to it. Apart from that, the games are filled with interesting characters and worlds to explore. To enjoy one of the two games, you have to accept the idea that you will not understand everything.


  Kingdom Hearts III

Image: Kingdom Hearts III

Even after more than 30 hours, the game is the core, the overarching story of Kingdom Hearts III never made much sense to me. Listening to the exposure was a bit like reading one of those Twitter accounts that published context-free quotes from TV shows. This is especially true if you are confronted with the idea of ​​parallel worlds and digitally generated versions of characters and locations. Here are some notable head scratchers:

  • "A heart can live anywhere. Even in data. "
  • " In this world, toys have hearts, and these hearts come from a strong bond.
  • "The darkness of being alone is a force … even greater. "
  • " Even empty puppets can be given strong hearts. I have to think about it. "
  • " [His] The heart has left his body to travel through time. "

And that's just a very small selection. There's a moment in the Toy Story world in which a wicked villain explains his plan, and Woody screams, "Whatever you speak, I do not care!" And honestly, I could not. I agree more.

The cause of the overly complicated conspiracy, at least for a new player like me, is that it accommodates what's really Kingdom Hearts III . Each of the Disney theme worlds is wonderful. Some, such as Tangled get a little too close to the source material for my taste and followed the original movie Beat for Beat, but others allow you to explore new moments in familiar stories. I loved sliding down the slopes of Arendelle and walking over the rooftops of San Fransokyo. Watching Sora and his crew turn into strange, furry creatures found in Monstropolis was incredibly charming.

These worlds are not very big or open. Most of the time you follow a set path and through narrow corridors before you come to large fields where you fend off waves of enemies. It helps that the game looks beautiful; These are detailed, living replicas of familiar places. Even something like Pirates of the Caribbean that is not an animated movie seems incredibly faithful to the source material. (The incoherent lore of Pirates is also surprisingly well suited for Kingdom Hearts .)


  Kingdom Hearts 3

Image: Kingdom Hearts III

If You Are A Disney Fan, just walking around is a pleasure. It almost feels like you are special in your favorite movies, except that you eventually become a hero. It helps that each world, though supposedly having the same structure, feels different. You will work with various Disney heroes, and they all behave very differently. Rapunzel swings her hair through the mountains, beating enemies with her typical frying pan. You can fly around on Baymax and team up with Jack Sparrow for swordplay or sing along with Elsa. In each world, you unlock a new key blade – the main weapon of Sora – that opens up a range of new abilities and possible game styles. The fact that you unlock them on a regular basis means that you can keep your fighting spirit up to date.

The main problem is that you have to afford a lot to get that good stuff – and not just confuse monologues of rogues in leather coats. Kingdom Hearts III is absolutely filled with content, and most of them are not nearly as interesting as the Action RPG core. I appreciate the developers who try to make things varied and interesting, but I could do without the half-hearted attempts to turn the game into a cover shooter or a sea battle simulation. Some of these moments are fun – like the Mechfights from Toy Story – but most are not. The most frightening example of these underbidded modes is the toy spaceship that you fly from world to world. It is unbearably boring; The vastness of space in the game is big and empty, except for a few treasures and protracted battles, and navigating this game is lullaby. However, to gain each new world, you are forced to do so every time.

After playing through Kingdom Hearts III I'm still not sure if it's a good start for newcomers. It's going well, looks great and there are many great moments for Disney fans. But so much of it is hidden under long cut scenes that explain little and half-hearted game modes that add nothing to the experience. There are only so many of all, most of it is unnecessary, and the game makes little or no real concessions to new players. Still, I'm not entirely convinced that I would understand things better, even if I had actually played all the previous games. So much of Kingdom Hearts III & # 39; Dialogue is the kind of complicated nonsense I can barely pay attention to, so my homework did not help much.

Maybe this is the ideal way to play: you'll be confused, no matter what, so you might as well embrace it. Kingdom Hearts III is now on the Xbox One and PS4 .


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