Game Review - Kingdom Hearts III on Playstation 4

Written by Tentacle_giant on February 09, 2019 @ 11:19 pm

For days I have been deliberating on my feelings about Kingdom Hearts III. Days of wondering what is good, bad, missing?

As a long time Kingdom Hearts fan, like many of you, I have been waiting for a long time to see the end of the Xehanort saga and I have many emotions surrounding the overall experience. There is this overall feeling of disappointment that drowns my entire experience regarding the game.

Gameplay - 6

Kingdom Hearts had a slow and methodical combat system the rewarded timing and precision to your actions. Kingdom Hearts II had a diverse and wide range of skills to customize your combat experience to your liking or to fit your situation. Kingdom Hearts III has many abilities that give you more delicate and exciting ways to mash the X button to win. I felt there was no third dimension when it came to abilities since every ability was the best option. The lack of reaction commands that KHII had is also a slight disappointment that I would be fine with if they didn't replace it with many different dominant strategies. Triangle becomes the "Do a ton of damage for no reason" button that provides no diversity in which or when to press it. The pacing also is very strange. The worlds are very few, very long and in general very linear. There are exceptions to this (Toy Box and San fransokyo) but this game suffers in general with a slow and meandering pace until the final arc where things finally pick up. Other than my general complaints the gameplay out of context is fine and fun enough even though the game itself suffers from a low difficulty and a lack of critical mode.

Story - 6

I do not fall into the camp of people who find the story of these games beyond dumb and write them off but to say there is no problems would also be an understatement. The biggest problem the game suffers from is being narratively one sided. The Disney worlds just don't add anything to the plot outside of introducing villains to Sora and reintroducing them to us the players. Now the choice of villains for said worlds I personally find fantastic (Marluxia in the Kingdom of Corona and Vanitas in Monstropolis) The villains for these worlds offer a sort of poetic feeling as their own plot are thematically relevant to the compartmentalized Disney stories. Even with the excellent choice I can't shake the feeling of irrelevance these worlds hold to the overarching narrative. The positives the story holds in general is how they handle the ends to the individual organization members. When one is defeated they are given a moment of redemption that feels rewarding and heart felt and this sentiment stretches even to the main antagonist. I get a feeling that Sora genuinely forgives these people and is happy they are able to move on. Speaking of Sora this game also gives Him, Donald and Goofy some of the most charming character chemistry the series has ever had and that alone let's me enjoy them as characters.

Graphics & Visuals - 9

This field is where I think the game excels the most. The attention to detail that every place and character model has is stunning. As well as graphical cohesion within the individual worlds is wonderful. Like when the cast goes to The Caribbean you see the textures for the main trio holds a more realistic and washed out palette to match the art direction. I also appreciate the animations and how they also are very fluid, and in the case of Disney worlds, accurate. I think of Woody in Toy Box as the prime example. His cartoony and over the top run from the movies is retained here. Also a shout out to the frame rate being an, almost, consistent 60fps for the entire experience. Overall I say the visuals are the most stand out fantastic feature this game holds.

Sound - 7

The new music this game has is nothing short of brilliant. I still listen to the Scala ad Caelum theme every day. I like the general softer sound this soundtrack has and in comparison to the other KH games it holds up along with the best. The big problem though is that this game has a habit of re-using music verbatim from previous games. I think of the song "Lord of the Castle" as the example. It is used un-remixed from the 1.5HD collection and to me I feel that is a waste. Since KHIII has an overall softer tone to its music when an old song is just simply copy and pasted I get a sense of musical whiplash. I mean, they remix plenty of songs like "Unforgettable" so I don't see why they don't remix others. Other than my big complaints the soundtrack is really stellar.

Overall - 6

Kingdom Hearts III is a celebration and ending to this era of Kingdom Hearts games but I feel it has a hard time escaping the shadows of its predecessors. I referenced context earlier and that is where this game is shot in the foot. As an end to a plot I cannot remove it from the previous games where, in comparison, it falls short. The experience feels like a regression and most egregiously a disappointment. Now was this game a bad experience? No. I personally had a ton of fun especially in the final act where everything goes from mediocre to great. Especially the Final Boss which is a perfect end cap to the story.

Would I recommend this game? Yes/No

To those long time fans I say Yes but you know you've already played it. To newcomers? No. To you the story will be a nonsensical mess with mediocre and repetitive combat that has little room for character building and self expression. Basically like this game your enjoyment will also suffer from context.

Gameplay Rating: 6
Story Rating: 6
Graphics & Visuals Rating: 9
Sound Rating: 7
Overall Rating: 6

Comments


therewerebells
February 11, 2019 @ 2:43 am
great review! you encapsulated my feelings on the game pretty well, and i definitely have an overall sense of disappointment from the game. i really liked your distinction between the different parts of the game and the whiplash between the disney worlds (fun, light-hearted, and overall meaningless to the overarching story) and the ending of the game's story, which i agree was the best part of the story. i just feel as if there were any game for the series to not rely on series precedence, it would be this one, and yet... well, we got what we got. again, great review! thanks for the read :-)

Game Information

Alternative Titles
キングダム ハーツIII
Platform
Playstation 4
Developer(s)
Square Enix Business Division 3
Publisher(s)
Square Enix
Genre(s)
Action, RPG
NA Release Date
January 29, 2019
JP Release Date
January 25, 2019
EUR Release Date
January 29, 2019
AUS Release Date
January 29, 2019
ESRB Rating
E10+
PEGI Rating
12
CERO Rating
A
ACB Rating
PG
MVGL User Score
8.5
Composer
Yoko Shimomura, Takeharu Ishimoto, Tsuyoshi Sekito
Official Website
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