Kingdom Hearts III Review


It’s time to look at a game that fans has kept fans waiting over 10 years. There have been a lot of spinoffs and such after KH2 which were all pretty solid but everyone was ready for 3. After all, this one was going to end the arc and wrap up the organization plot. It’s definitely a fantastic game and an excellent end to the trilogy.

Following the events of KH2 Sora and Riku took the mark of mastery exam so that they would be strong enough to stop the mastermind Xehanort now that he has returned from the grave. Unfortunately Sora failed and lost all of his powers. To reclaim them he must go to a bunch of Disney worlds and reaffirm his reason for fighting. Riku and King Mickey head to the world of shadows to save Aqua and to begin gathering the 7 Keyblade masters. Will that be enough to stop the newly resurrected Organization XIII?

As always the gameplay here is a blast. I always enjoy a good 3D action game and the combat is very well done here. There are a bunch of different mechanics to learn and utilize as well so you always feel like you have a lot of options. It’s all very fast paced and one big change is instead of forms like Master, Final, you have temporary super attacks or weapon changes. It’s effectively pretty similar although I liked the outfit changes that the forms had. The super moves range from things like boats to cars, tanks, etc. They’re all pretty handy although their damage output never seems to get any better so towards the end of the game I’d like to have turned them off as the would take up space in my combat zone. (I’m sure there’s a way to select a different super attack when you have more than one option but I was not able to find that out.

To make the worlds a little more special in this game, each of them have their own unique gameplay element. In Toy Story you can control a robot, in pirates a ship, etc. It’s pretty cool that they developed so many game modes for this title. It does help to make the whole experience feel even more polished. While playing through the game everything is really sharp. I don’t think you’ll have any gameplay complaints. It’s pretty much perfect and all that you could expect here.

Naturally the graphics are quite good as well. The opening is extremely sharp (Although 0.2’s intro is probably still the best animated one) and the graphics in game are also still very impressive. Square is always at the forefront when it comes to graphics and this game does not disappoint. It’s all very detailed and bright throughout. Then we’ve got the soundtrack which is also very solid. The new intro may not be quite as good as the older ones but it’s almost impossible to top those. We still get quite a few solid battle themes here and the final boss theme is pretty intense.

The story mode lasted a little over 20 hours, but typically is seems like it usually lasts around 30. III does feel shorter than the first two games and was one of our least played KH titles, but I have to factor in the fact that I was dashing through the game for the most part. I haven’t gone back and done all of the bonus content. Once you do that the game will definitely get very long. The Platinum trophy could take as long as 60-90 hours which is crazy. There’s no shortage of content here, that’s for sure. You’ll also want to make sure that you unlock the secret ending or at least watch it on Youtube since there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

While III is a near perfect game, it still does have some issues which keep it from beating KH 2. I’d also say that in terms of the plot it’s the third strongest behind Chain of Memories as well although as a complete package I would put it as the second best KH title. As I mentioned, the game does feel a bit short. This isn’t really a complaint because once a game is 20+ hours it is certainly long enough. I just feel that given how long this game took to come out it could have been longer. If anything it feels like they probably just had this game on hold for most of that time because development wise it doesn’t feel like it should have taken much longer than the usual 3 years for a new game. It took so long that I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the code got outdated for the older gen and they had to restart development at times.

The story also doesn’t always go in the direction I’d have wanted it to go. I think adding the dolls was maybe not a good move although this technically started a few games back. By creating a life like doll, a soul can go into it and the character is effectively reborn. As such, you’ll see a bunch of old characters in this game. For the villains it can feel a little redundant because we already dealt with these guys a while back. Do we really need to deal with all of them again? Even more than that though, the villains all seem way too strong. The heroes never seem to even stand a chance against them.

You know that things are getting dicey when one enemy is able to take out all 7 Keyblade masters. How can they beat 13 Organization members then? The power levels definitely seem more than a bit wonky here. Going back to the plot, I also thought Aqua’s plot was a little off. It seems to me like she could and should have left the dark realm a long time ago. There wasn’t much of a reason for her to stay and doing so almost backfired. Finally, I didn’t care for the ending. Granted, the after credits scene certainly saves it, but otherwise the normal ending will definitely be very unfulfilling when you see it. It makes the whole journey less satisfying because try as he might, one character couldn’t outrun his destiny which sort of proves the villains right from the start.

That’s enough of that though. This is still the climax of the arc so we’ve got a bunch of hype moments throughout. If anything you’ll be blasting through the Disney worlds extra fast here because you just want to get to the plot stuff. Typically something plot related happens whenever you leave a world. Naturally the climax is pretty intense as it’s fight after fight. We finally get to see Roxas again which is one of the best scenes in the game. Dark Aqua was also cool and Riku gets his moments even if he does get wrecked quite a bit here. You’ll quickly see why the Heartless tornado is probably the strongest character in the franchise. You’ll be engaged from start to finish during this game. The Frozen section was also impressive as we got the full Let It Go song. I wasn’t expecting that.

Lets talk about some of the characters. Sora’s come a long way from the old days and is mostly past his shaken confidence. Still, he has lost most of his powers and has to train up once again. He does begin to lose his way towards the end of the game, but stays strong when it counts. I do think he was right to suggest trying to save Aqua sooner. Without him the others were definitely doomed. Goofy gets a lot of hype in this game as he’s constantly making the most sense. I think the writers were going for some irony here as Goofy appears to be the smartest of the heroes despite the character not usually having that rep. Then we have Donald who is a good ally as always. He gets slightly less to do but his flare spell near the end was definitely hype.

King Mickey is solid as usual but he has been heavily nerfed. Roxas is a scene stealer and whenever he shows up you can feel the hype. The guy can dual wield Keyblades so you know that he is serious. If anything it’s too bad that he couldn’t appear more, but I do like the possibilities of him being more of a main character in future games. Axel gets quite a bit of screen time here, but at the same time he doesn’t really do anything. He sort of gets hit by the hero curse where now that he is a hero it seems like he can’t really fight all that well. I think he should go back to using his twin discs instead of a Keyblade.

Kairi fans will probably be pretty disappointed with her role. She doesn’t do much of anything and is mainly just a liability. Meanwhile it is nice to see Aqua and the gang also showing up. Aqua definitely looks solid here and Terra has his key moment. Ventus doesn’t do quite as much but he’s always eager to help out, even if everyone tries to stop him. For the villains, most of them don’t get to do a whole lot. They basically just follow orders or pay the price. Two of them start talking about possibly betraying Xemnas, but they never get around to it. Ansem from game 1 doesn’t do much but he’s always a cool villain regardless. Just showing up is neat. Xemnas’ voice feels even deeper than usual and he always makes for an epic boss. Then we have Xehanort who may not be as cool as the first two Ansem versions but he makes for a good final boss as well. I do think there is some plot hax with Sora being able to take him on, but maybe Xehanort underestimated the kid’s potential.

Either way, with the organization gone now that means that new villains will be showing up. The game’s ending does give us a glimpse at who these guys will be. I think the heroes can probably school them if it’s a fair fight, but this is Kingdom Hearts so that is unlikely. There will probably be a bunch of mental battles as well as emotional ones. I also get the feeling that we won’t see the 7 Keyblade masters teaming up for quite a while. The villains will probably separate the team and without Sora they’ll all be lost. Sora, Roxas, and Aqua are probably the 3 strongest Keyblade masters at the moment so the rest could all be in danger.

Overall, Sora takes the line “My heart’s a battleground” to the next level. Things are constantly happening to him and his friends and their battles aren’t always limited to traditional planets. One of the big bosses is literally fought inside of a heart. It’s definitely refreshing to play a Kingdom Hearts game again and hopefully the wait for 4 isn’t nearly as long this time. I’m ready to continue the saga and hopefully this time we’ll get some actual Final Fantasy representation like Cloud or Lightning to show up and help out.

Overall 9/10

Big Hero 6 Battle in the Bay Review


It’s time to look at another side scroller in the form of Big Hero 6. Most movies may not get tie-in games anymore but Big Hero 6 dared to go against that trend. It’s a game that definitely plays it by the books and feels relatively low budget like what you would expect from the genre. It’s short and straightforward but it is also fun. I’ve always enjoyed these cash in games quite a bit. They may not be AAA titles like Mario Odyssey or Sonic 2006, but in their simplicity it brings you back to an older, more nostalgic era of gaming.

So the plot is that someone has stolen yet another one of Hiro’s inventions. I forgot which one but it’s now in the wrong hands so that makes the villain very dangerous. The team decides to locate the villain at all costs and quickly head over to take him down. The plot is pretty self explanatory as the heroes do exactly that. They find and defeat the villain rather easily and Baymax didn’t even have to do a whole lot this time as he still tries to be a pacifist. That being said, he is thrown into the conflict by the end.

There are 4 playable characters who each have a distinctive fighting style. The main character can shoot out force fields which blow the enemies away. He is fun to play as and the levels go by quickly since he is so skilled. The next character is the Roller Blades character. Unfortunately they made her the worst character in combat as her attacks are the weakest. This is supposed to be balanced by the fact that she is the fastest fighter in the game but that doesn’t matter a whole lot since it’s not by a great deal and most areas force you to stop and fight the villains anyway. The third character is the power hitter of the group who wields a sword. He is easily the best character to play as since even the strongest enemies tend to lose in a single combo. Finally we have Fredzilla. He is in the middle of the gang. Not particularly strong but not downright weak either. His super jumps are fun since you just skip a lot of enemies that way.

Aside from their signature abilities the gameplay is that of a normal side scroller. You walk and jump through the level until you reach the end. There will be a few encounters with the enemy where you quickly dispatch them and keep it moving. Each level will only take a few minutes. There are 21 levels and the game lasted around 2 and a half hours. So I guess each level was around 6 minutes or so. It’s not quite Powerpuff Girls length but still a pretty short game overall. That being said, it’s certainly a lot more enjoyable due to both the level designs and the core gameplay. It’s more polished and the boss battles are all unique as opposed to simply punching them all into submission. Some of these bosses may even take multiple tries as you try to figure out how to hurt them. The game’s a little vague on that part but simply studying their movements and all should help you figure out the weaknesses.

As far as the graphics go, the game looks good. It’s still in the 3DS era so despite not being a big budget game it does hold up well. As long as a game looks clear and I get what’s going on, I typically give it a passing grade and this game earns that. The soundtrack is pretty uninspired though. No memorable tunes are to be found here. You’ll forget the ost the instant you put the game down although I can’t say I was expecting anything different to be honest.

There is some minimal replay value here. You can find the four Hero letters in each level to do something, I believe it may unlock artwork. You can also snag the 5 Health pieces in each level to level up your characters’ health bar. These things are fine but you’re unlikely to get them naturally unless you intentionally go for them and once you’ve beaten the game you don’t really have a need for the extra health if you really think about it. It’s still better than nothing of course but the overall message you should be getting from this is that the game is quite short. Aim to have fun while completing it but don’t expect the game to last.

One easy way to help the game a bit would have been to make the plot a bit better or the dialogue more passable. All of the characters just sound really annoying, Fred in particular. It’s hard to really feel like you should be rooting for these characters and instead you just want the level to start. The “cutscenes” are all very short so they don’t drag or anything though. They really just don’t add anything to the game and that’s always a little sad for the writers when you think about it. Letting Baymax be playable with some kind of unique gameplay like a flying level would have been nice as well. That’s effectively what Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer did for the DS a while back and it worked reasonably well.

Overall, Big Hero 6 is a fun game. You’ll enjoy each level and going for the collectibles along the way is a good tactic to make the game a more complete experience. The characters and story may be rather weak but the gameplay is the important part and it works well enough. It would be nice if the game was longer or had more modes to enjoy though. Regardless, this is basically the definition of a weekend rental although it’s unlikely to last you for the full weekend. It’ll at least buy you some time and you’ll have fun along the way. An easy fix would be to add a Multiplayer mode and then the game would certainly have a lot more replay value.

Overall 7/10

Big Hero 6 Review

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It’s been a while since I saw the film so it’s near to quickly relive the adventures over in manga format. The series was only 2 volumes so it makes for a quick read. It’s a fairly straight adaption of the film so it’s a good way of rewatching the film if you want to accomplish the task in about 30-40 minutes instead of the film’s run-time. Alternately, you could also do it for the action scenes since they’re a little better in the manga.

Hiro was having a good ole time showing off his science skills at a new school while his brother showed him around. He didn’t have many friends, but that never bothered Hiro. Unfortunately, everything changed when his brother was murdered and his invention was stolen by a mysterious villain. Hiro realized that the only thing he could do now was use his brother’s invention to beat the new villain black and blue. The problem is that the invention is a Marshmallow looking robot that has no real combat experience. Time to see if his big brain is just for show or not!

So, it’s partially a revenge story, but along the way Hiro realizes that he has to beat the villain by the book. His brother’s friends decide to help Hiro out and in exchange they receive power suits, which simulate powers. The friends can definitely hold Hiro back at times, but it’s always useful to have some backup for the big battles. One of the kids can roller skate, another one has a monster suit, etc. Some abilities are more useful than others of course, but Hiro can’t make everything appear to be super brilliant.

Fred’s the one with the monster suit and he’s always joking around. Turns out that the guy is rich, which is certainly useful and he’s the comedy of the series. None of his jokes are remotely funny, but he’s a good character and you need someone to mess with the team dynamic at times. GoGo is the roller skates girl and probably the only member who’s always ready for a fight. She does a good job of fighting back against the mysterious villain, but there’s only so much you can do with hockey pucks and roller skates.

Honey Lemon’s the most bland character of the bunch and as a result, she doesn’t really get any powers. She had something to do with bubbles or lights I believe, but her ability was not impressive. Wasabi easily had the best powers even if he didn’t use them to their fullest extent. He had Ice blades, which could really deal some massive damage if they could ever hit. Don’t underestimate good tech, but the problem is that the villain had the best tech.

The villain went by the name of Yokai although I never remember anyone actually calling him that. Using the nanobots at his disposal, he can essentially do just about anything. They can lift, move things, transport him around at high speeds, etc. He essentially had the upper hand against the heroes a lot of the time and whenever the heroes would come close to defeating him, they’d stop Hiro and remind him that they’re supposed to be heroes and must play by the books. Yokai gets a sob story as you might have expected. It’s a touching story I suppose, but it doesn’t really excuse the fact that he went about obtaining his goal in a very iffy way. Let’s face it, Hiro and Tadashi (Hiro’s brother) would have been glad to have helped him.

Sadly, the after credits scene of the film isn’t in the manga version, but that’s okay. It’s harder to do a twist ending in a manga although it would certainly have been awesome if it was included. The ending is rather complete and the mission of saving Tadashi can be considered as enough of a cliff hanger. I think another 2-4 volumes would have helped the series pacing wise though. It would have given the team more time to train, fight other villains to gain experience, and then they could have tackled the final boss. As it stands, the manga moves at a very high speed and that’s a good thing, but it also means that the adventure is over that much sooner. There’s not a whole lot of time to get to know the characters.

For example, Hiro’s a main character, but there’s not a lot of time to get to know him. He comes across as a little generic, which could have been eliminated had the series been longer. Still, he’s a good hero and someone that you can root for. I’m not a fan of Baymax though. I don’t find him charismatic or likable and I was just never able to get into the character. I would have preferred the comic design or a more aggressive personality. His A.I. is just a little too limited and the personality doesn’t match the character design. He can fight a little, but typically only as a last resort and by then the odds are stacked against him. He puts the heroes in a tough spot a few times.

The art’s a little cluttered during the fight scenes, but pretty good otherwise. In a sense, it has that “adaption” feel to it so you can tell that it’s not an original story. Most manga series have that effect like Kingdom Hearts or the Pokemon movie adventures. It’s probably intentional or perhaps the artists are trying really hard to emulate the movie’s style, which is how that happens. Either way, the art is fairly good and I was glad that the manga tried to stretch out the fights as much as possible. More action is always a good way to pad the volumes.

Overall, Big Hero 6 is a fun manga. It’s not very deep so don’t expect much more from it than a quick action adventure, but that’s all it needs. You know what you’re getting into from the get go and there’s not a whole lot that you can do in 2 short volumes. There are no really bad characters and no really big negatives. It’s a lack of positives versus having negatives that limits it from a higher score, but a solid seven is the end goal that should always be desired as a minimum. Getting lower than a 7 is what’s a cause for worry. This score is certainly a lot higher than my next few manga reviews so…prepare yourself!

Overall 7/10

Big Hero 6 Review

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Disney is back with another Marvel film! The Big Hero 6 cast is pretty obscure compared to most other teams, but that’s okay since it means that the film can have a little fun with this adaption right? The fact that it’s animated and in theaters was pretty cool. It may not be quite as comic book aimed as it would have otherwise been, but since the odds of the team getting a film at all are slim, we’re more than content to have this version. It’s a fun film to check out and while it’s not quite the next Frozen, you’ll be glad that you saw it.

The plot involves an unmotivated genius named Hiro. He had fun engaging in bot fights for a while. Things changed when his brother was destroyed in a large explosion. Hiro inherited a bot named Baymax from him and then he finds out that someone has stolen Hiro’s old nanobot invention. He likely wouldn’t care about this too much, but the person who stole them was responsible for the brother’s death. Hiro isn’t going to stand for this and he decides to take this guy out…permanently. Together with some friends, the heroes set off for their ultimate battle!

Hero 6’s animation is pretty solid. The film really goes all out when you see the city for the first time. I don’t think it does quite as good a job on the character models, which look a little stiff, but it’s also just that I don’t quite care for the style all that much. The action scenes are definitely fun to watch and having nanomites as a weapon can really work well. It’s like using sand or another similar element so you can do just about anything with it. You are only limited by your imagination after all. I can’t say that there’s much of a soundtrack to be found though, but typically a film can only have one or the other anyway so it’s not a huge loss.

Hiro is a decent main character although I wouldn’t call him great by any means. He can be a little bland, but it’s nice to have a genius lead the charge so that’s a good thing. He tries to cross the line towards the beginning, but he is shown the error of his ways and things are looking up for him now. With Baymax at his side, he doesn’t need to fear anything. His other allies weren’t quite as impressive.

Before I get into them, let’s talk about Baymax. He’s the big mascot of the film and the guy that you are supposed to find really likable. I’m afraid that it didn’t work this time and it’s because Baymax just isn’t that smart. He can’t really take a hint and when it’s time for a fight, he looked terrible the first time. Even without combat knowledge downloaded, you’d think that he would do better. He almost caused Hiro to die in round 1 because he could barely even move. He does better in future rounds, but he’s just not my kind of character. Being naive is one thing, but lacking common sense is another. I really wish his design had been a little more similar to the comics, now that was an epic design! The Marshmallow look could grow on me someday though…maybe.

My least favorite member is Wasabi. He’s really used for all of the classic (overused) jokes and they get old very quickly. He screams in a really high pitched manner and he’s constantly reminding everyone why their current situation is scary. It’s sad since he has energy blades and he should use them properly. Next up, I didn’t care for Honey Lemon. Her “powers” are pretty terrible here as she is basically given gum to make the enemy get stuck. I’m guessing that Hiro was rushing a bit there. She didn’t add anything to the story and you could easily forget that she was even around as the climax approached.

Not all of the members were bad though. I liked Fred as he took this a little more seriously than the others as he tried to figure out who the culprit was. His Godzilla suit was also pretty epic and he put up a better fight than most of the other members. GoGo also did a good job here as she speedblitzed the villain at one point and really did most of the work in the first battle. Her high speed rollerskates make her a formidable threat and it’s something that can actually be taken seriously in a fight. Together, all of these members make up the Big Hero 6 so villains better beware. I like to think that the team will get more likable in future films, but the odds of this one getting a sequel isn’t terribly high.

The main villain is pretty intense. Once they say who he really is…he’s not quite as hardcore. Still, this villain is a threat when it comes down to a fight and he certainly holds nothing back. Whether his opponent is a kid or an adult, he plays for keeps. It’s all because of the nanites of course, but every villain needs a gimmick. I also liked the costume that he used since it evoked a sense of fear.

At most, I would just say that the beginning of the film is a little slow. Things don’t really start top pick up until the heroes meet the villain for the first time. Of course, that’s coming from me as an action fan. If I didn’t know that fight scenes were going to show up later, this may have been something that I would have not even noticed. The writing is solid here and that’s part of what makes the film fun. This kind of film really depends on how good the writing is since it could be a little tricky otherwise.

Also, is it just me or would anyone else have liked to have seen more of the Botfighting aspect of the film? That had a lot of potential and it would have been like watching Mega Man or LBX. I really hope that returns in a possible sequel, but with the fights being a little more equal and high tier. It’s no fair if Hiro’s genius just lets him win every time you know? As I mentioned, this one loses to Frozen, but beyond that, it could very well be the best Disney animated film. I can’t think of any that beat this one at the moment, which is actually pretty incredible. Good for Hero 6!

Overall, Big Hero 6 was a fun film to watch and I would totally be open to a sequel. The characters need a little more development, but that’s what sequels are for right? The action scenes were exciting and the animation certainly showed a lot of promise. I’m not sure where they’ll go from here as the world is fairly realistic so far, but I’m sure that they can think of something. I definitely recommend this for any film watcher who wants to watch something quick and fun. The film will be done before you know it and it won’t have dragged on at all. There aren’t many concrete negatives to worry about either so you can just watch the title without a worry. It certainly lived up to my expectations and beat most of the other modern animation films. On a side note, this film reminded me why owning a cafe would be pretty epic. I would definitely be snacking on the leftovers each night since there would be so many to choose from. Man, that would be the life….

Overall 7/10

Baymax

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The series is pretty early on so far, but it seems like it’ll be a fun read. The art is decent, but I don’t care for the main character of the film though. His bro is pretty good, but since he’s not in the film…this may not end well for him! I’ll be sure to have a review for it when I finish the series!

Overall 6/10