Developer: Square Enix | Publisher: Square Enix
Release: January 29th 2019 (PS4)
Initial Review: January 29th, 2019
Kingdom Hearts 3 is an action Hack-n-Slash, real time role-playing game similar to the Final Fantasy series developed by Square Enix. It's the successor of Kingdom Hearts 2, which was first published on PS2 in 2005.
The gameplay is very similar to the previous titles of Kingdom Hearts or Final Fantasy. Not open world, where you only have outside world borders. The maps are built basically with corridors and rooms, also at the outside. The gameplay is very linear. As soon as the player enters one of many worlds in the story, the story gameplay has to be followed fighting, movement and cutscenes in between.
The progression system is xp and level up based. With level ups, the player gets access to new / better abilities which can be chosen in the character menu limited to a certain amount of ability points that can be spent as total. The ability points are not spent when picking an ability but rather all ability points fill up a maximum marker. Is an ability removed, the marker goes down by the amount that ability cost and another ability can be chosen.
There are various Disney and Final Fantasy themed worlds that will be visited during the game progession. To get to the worlds, the player will use the Gummiship. It's like a space ship that the player uses to travel to other worlds (This kind of transportation is only necessery when freshly visiting a world. An already visited world can be revisited by a fast travel option in the save menu).
Travelling with the Gummiship is like traveling through space. There is a target marker, so the player knows, where the new world / target is. While flying there can be enemy encounters. Those fights are played like 2D Space Shooter, where various space ships have to be shot and their attacks evaded. The space ship is rewarded by xp that lead to level ups after encounters.
Apart from the main story, the player can spend time looking Lucky Emblems - finding and photographing a Mickey Mouse head symbol. There is a limited amount hidden in every world. Collecting a certain amount will lead to getting rewards. There are also Side Missions and Racing Mini Games.
The story is heavily weighted on what happened in the previous Kingdom Hearts titles. The main protagonist is Sora, who is joined by Donald and Goofy, his loyal companions. He's not really himself these days and Yen Sid orders him to find his strenght again. How? By following his heart and explore the world. During his travels, he meets old friends like Hercules at Olympus, Hayner, Pence and Olette at Twilight Town and new friends like Rapunzel at Kingdom of Corona. Soon, Sora is determined to get back Roxas (one of the main characters of the series). Roxas' heart is trapped inside Sora and to be able to get him back, Sora has to find a body to place the heart in.
Graphics and Sound
The graphics are like in previous titles in a colourful, cartoon / manga style. Depending on if it's a Final Fantasy or Disney character/environment. The worlds are aligned to the style that is expected from a Disney / Final Fantasy setting.
The soundtrack by Yoko Shimomura fits perfectly to the gameplay and cutscene settings.
Kingdom Hearts 3 is a solid RPG. The hack-n-slash gameplay is very enjoyable and I really liked taking some time off from the story by just wander and explore the world, finding collectibles and treasure chests. For me, the story is a bit complex, since I didn't follow or remember what happened in the titles before. Unfortunately, the time gap 14 years since Kingdom Hearts 2 was released is a bit too big. Nevertheless the story is gripping and diving into the various worlds with their typical graphic styles is very refreshing.
The only bit that, to me, was annoying that there is no seperate sound setting for sound / music volume. There is only the setting for Master Volume which means, you can't get a break from the background music.
All in all a great successor! Would buy again!