In short, Kingdom Hearts 3 acts as a fitting send-off to Square Enix's hugely heralded saga. All the while, issuing an epic conclusion. One both satisfying and seeping at the seams with soulfulness.
In truth, many of my most cherished childhood years revolved around the magical allure of Kingdom Hearts. Of course, much of that boiled down to the original game's strict synthesis with Disney. In what was an inspired collaboration that would bring about a colorful cast of adored characters. While using Square Enix's tried and tested, storytelling-style. But also, by bringing a wide array of RPG systems into the fold.
As a youngster, I had an incredible time with the first two entries. So, the idea of rounding off the trilogy with a final flourish hugely appealed to me. All these years on, having seen the third act through to completion, I would like to share my impressions on the concluding chapter.
Kingdom Hearts 3 is the twelfth entry in the franchise, which seeks to bring the "Dark Seeker Saga" story to a close. The central plot, which began with the original game as far back as 2002, follows on from the events of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.
Placing Protagonist Sora, once again at the beating heart of the story, our hero joins the likes of King Mickey, Goofy, Donald Duck, and Riku in their bid to prevent a second Keyblade War.
While searching for the seven guardians of light and attempting to thwart the evil plans of arch-nemesis, Xehanort, Sora, and co, will come across all manner of characters and creations, Those of which mimic the properties of Pixarintellectual and Disney.
Acting as the backbone of Kingdom Hearts 3 is the plot. The driving force at the epicenter of everything. As you might imagine, wrapping up all episodes of an epic three-part saga into one comprehensible bundle is a hard task to fulfill. But for the most part, Square Enix succeeds in tying up loose ends. All while providing a series of poignant moments between its all-star cast, some dynamic battle sequences, and a wholesome host of enchanting environments.
Now granted, you may see some of the twists and turns coming a mile away. That said, the bulk of the story is delivered well, with only the best of intentions.
It is what you might call, a fitting, yet faithful send-off.
Next up, we address gameplay. Now, Kingdom Hearts is often known for its action-RPG elements, and hack n slash-based battles. Down the years, we have seen countless variations on that theme. But truthfully, almost all those internal systems derive, in some form or other, from Square Enix's world-famous Final Fantasy series.
The combat system, then, is an extension of that. Only, fine-tuned using the pre-existing formula as a basis. The result is a real-time action combat system that feels slick, responsive, and every bit as satisfying as previous entries in the saga.
Sora's Key Blades are once again the star attraction. Testing out these transforming move-sets is so much fun. And while some are duplicates, like the dual-pistol variable, for instance, overall, there is a massive amount of variety.
Things like Toy Story's Keyblade Hammer help widen the blast radius. While the Tangled Keyblade allows for multiple versions of Sora to attack from one or more sides simultaneously. Great for when you are locked down in a tight spot.
With a new set of summon-types at your fingertips, a whole series of elemental attacks to try out. And a slew of finisher abilities to employ, the offensive options are seemingly limitless. With that in mind, it would have been nice to make more use of defense-minded strategies, on occasion.
The reason being some fights can leave you feeling a little overpowered. What with a such a vast arsenal. But also, the many ways to outmaneuver each opponent. Perhaps I am picky in that regard.
So, what about the soundtrack. Well, as you might expect with a Square Enix IP, music plays a pivotal part of the core experience. After all, down the years, Nobuo Uematsu has wowed players with his stirring symphonies, and emotionally driven melodies.
Those of which possess the unique power to move us on an emotional wavelength.
On that note, music has always been integral to the Kingdom Hearts series. And the final entry is no different. Whether that source of sensory stimulation comes from the game's triumphant theme song, or the power ballads and emotionally charged melodies running parallel to the story, each tune hits you right in the feels—every time, without fail.
Especially true, as it is the closing chapter in the trilogy. After all, the stakes could not be higher.
We have spoken of the game in glittering terms so far. So, is it worth picking up for a second or even third playthrough? Overall, when you add up its constituent parts, composed of eight diverse locales, a long list of loot and collectibles to chase down. Not to mention a sea of significant side quests to enjoy, I would say there is more than enough to warrant a return. At least a second bite at the cherry, anyway.
At its core, Kingdom Hearts 3 ends the series on a high note. Thus capping-off the story-arcs of its central cast in a timely and respectful way. In every sense, Kingdom Hearts 3 acts as a satisfying conclusion to the closing chapter of an epic saga.
Take a bow, Square Enix. Inspired execution. Great Job.