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.