Kingdom Hearts III – Xbox One Review
Kingdom Hearts 3 is here, how does it fare?
I`ll admit, I was pleasantly shocked when it was revealed back at E3 last year that Kingdom Hearts 3 was going to be getting an Xbox One release. The Kingdom Hearts franchise, that historically has been a Playstation exclusive, was coming to Xbox. After being shown the initial trailer that launched back in June it was a game that I immediately was following and keeping up to tabs with. Having played a few of the last Kingdom Hearts games on Playstation, to see it also release on Xbox and be announced as an Xbox One X title, I had already made my mind up what platform I was going to be playing on. Kingdom Hearts 3 launched last week, but how does the third one fare? Well, if you`ve played any of the Kingdom Hearts games before, you`re going to love it. If you`re a Disney fan, you`re going to love it. If you love the Pixar animated movies, then again, you`re going to love it. It`s a very lovable game.
Kingdom Hearts 3 is developed and published by Square Enix and is the twelfth instalment of the Kingdom Hearts franchise. Releasing on PS4 and for the first time, Xbox One, it follows the story of protagonist Sora, as he teams up with friends Goofy, Donald Duck, King Mickey (Mouse) and Riku, as they search for the seven guardians of light, and seek to stop Xenahort, the antagonist for the game, who wishes to go to war. Throughout the Kingdoms, Sora and his friends will go to many different worlds that are based on different Disney and Pixar titles, completing each to progress defeating Xenahort.
If you`ve never played a Kingdom Hearts title, then don’t fret because very early on through the humongous amount of cutscenes that you`ll come across throughout Kingdom Hearts, you`ll get to grips with the story and where Sora and his friends are at. I think the last title had something like 16 hours-worth of cutscenes throughout the game, and at several points throughout KH3, you`re going to feel like you`re watching an animated movie. The cutscenes are what make part of the KH franchise, and be prepared to watch a lot of them, but they are interesting and tell the story. I talk about this early on because it`s one of the first things you`ll notice through playing.
As mentioned earlier on, Sora will need to go to different worlds, all of which are based around different Disney and Pixar characters. Characters from films and franchises such as Hercules, Toy Story, Tangled, Frozen, Big Hero and Pirates of the Caribbean are all going to be crossed (There are a few more too) and fighting alongside Donald and Goofy and several other characters you`ll come across throughout the world, Sora must defeat enemies in different shapes and form of the Heartless, and each world will have an individual story attached to it. Progressing through the world and the story will earn Sora a Key Blade, which is the weapon that Sora uses to defeat enemies. The more Worlds completed, the more Key Blades that Sora will have at his disposal. The combat system throughout KH3 feels good, and some enemies will offer you a challenge. Some of them I found myself having to attempt more than once, as I was struggling, but you`ll come across some enemies that will be easy, and some of them that will take a few attempts to progress through. One of the new features for Kingdom Hearts 3 is that after ranking up a “boost bar” so to speak, Sora has the ability to activate a range of different power-ups, either as solo attacks or as group attacks, but some of the power-ups Sora can activate are the use of Rides, which have been inspired from Disneyland Theme Park attractions. These Rides, such as a Pirate Ship, can be used to defeat enemies, which I thought was incredibly cool.
As you progress through the game, you`ll rank up Sora and his friends’ abilities so that weapons and damage become more powerful. Collecting objects and items will be key throughout KH3, as you`ll be able to make up recipes for health and synthesize and create items. Exploration is going to be key, and although it is not essential, there are several things to discover around, and for those who are achievement hunters, then you`re going to want to explore around anyway.
The thing with any animated title, is because it`s animated, you can make it look stunning, and throughout Kingdom Hearts 3, it looks incredible. The use of HDR throughout the worlds is amazing and some of the environments look stunning, and whilst watching the cutscenes, I forgot at times that I was playing a game and not watching a film. It also plays well and fluidly, and mixed with the two combined, the enhancements on the X make it a stunning title to play.
If you`re someone that worries about controls and learning controls for games, then you`re not going to have much worry about Kingdom Hearts, because it fares quite a basic control configuration. You’re A button is going to be used a lot of the time to strike aswell as your left stick and Y button, but they are the three main controls you`re going to use throughout. It goes into several tutorial page as you progress throughout the game, especially when you come to new areas that`ll require you to learn a new skill, so even should you get stuck, there are regular tutorials that`ll come into play throughout. But the more you play through the game the more you`ll pick up the easy control configuration that Kingdom Hearts 3 offers.
For fans of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, then I don’t need to be clear when they`ve picked this up already no doubt. If you`re a fan of Disney or Pixar films, then you`re going to want to pick this up. The amount of references throughout are endless, and the different worlds you come across and see in their glory is stunning. Is it aimed at Kids? Yes. Is it aimed at Teenagers? Yes. Is it aimed at Adults? Yes. Anyone could pick up a controller and play through this and enjoy it. Square Enix have done a fantastic job with Kingdom Hearts 3, and I`m really looking forward to seeing where they go next with it. Having also released on Xbox, I would love to see them port over some of the older Kingdom Hearts titles to Xbox, although I`m not sure how much hope I`d be holding out to that.
Kingdom Hearts 3 is a fantastic title that is a great addition to the Kingdom Hearts franchise and is truly a game for everyone.