First Impressions: Kingdom Hearts 3 – Gameplay

Square-Enix is known for taking their sweet time to deliver a proper sequel to their most popular IPs, but with Kingdom Hearts, they may actually have overdone it. The Second entry in the saga was released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2. Fans of the saga had to endure a full generation of consoles with side stories in other platforms and remakes of the first two games for the PS3. Now in 2019 we finally have the third chapter of one the most outstanding crossovers ever done in the history of gaming. The game was finally released in January 25th, and we are about to offer some insight on how the game feels and play for you.

Kingdom Hearts 3 - 2019

First Impressions

Let’s set the tone of our appreciation in the table first: Kingdom Hearts 3 is a role-playing game, at least that’s how it’s marketed and how the items system seems to work. The game, however, feels closer to a 3D platform melee-style action game. Sora, Goofy, and Donald have to fight, frequently, with hordes and hordes of enemies. The fighting system is not based on turns, it plays very much like a Zelda game, with the action taking place in real time and giving you a chance to measure your opponent accurately. You have to do it quickly though. They hit back, either in number or in strength. Every element of the past games is back, enhanced with the beauty of 4K graphics and new Disney worlds to visit such as the Toy Story world or the Land of Hercules.

A Feeling of Familiarity

The special attacks and designs are also back this time around, flashier than usual. Sora and his companions make use of these attacks to clear out large numbers of enemies at once. This time around they still get the job done, and they are themed in accordance with the world you are visiting, the same way it happens with your looks. Even when you are in the most neutral spaces of the game, you get to see attacks based on famous Disney World attractions such as a spinning teacup attack or a swinging boat attack. Other special moves are obtained or displayed when you hit enemies with a hovering green target sign on top of them. It’s fun to unlock these special attacks, mainly because a lot of them seem way out of there or are just hilarious to watch such as javelin Goofy or the “bringing in” from Wreck-It Ralph.

Returning Elements

Other returning elements are the ability to switch between keyblades during battles with quick taps of the gamepad. All keyblades have different skills and can level up to unlock more moves. Each killed enemy is points of experience so make sure to leave no one standing! Each hit plays a role in the overall performance of the team. When it comes to keeping track of your performance, that’s where it gets a bit tricky. There are a lot of systems to follow of in Kingdom Hearts 3. While it’s fun to run around and hit on massive hordes of enemies with your basic attacks, you still need to pay attention to the bottom left menu on the screen to check your stats, the stats of your partners, as well as the distribution of the experience, points to upgrade the team evenly.

Keeping Track of our Performance

As we said, it’s important to pay attention to the stats menu in Kingdom Hearts 3 since it’s always on. You can move around and explore each subsection of it using the control pad to access your unique abilities and the spells you collect such as it’s done in the Final Fantasy games. Don’t get too caught though, you can spend a lot of time tinkering with the menus, especially if you collect a lot of items. You can access everything you need at hand with the shortcuts available in the left bumper, that way you can avoid distractions or losing track of your strategy in crucial moments such as a boss fight. Overall Kingdom Hearts 3 looks worth the wait. It’s hard to make a call on the story since we are still going over it, but if you wish to embrace an old friend with a new face, Kingdom Hearts 3 is right up your alley!