Kingdom Hearts 3 Review: Same Disney Charm, Same Convoluted Story.
- December 21, 2021
- Posted by: zhugeliang
- Category: Uncategorized
Unless you count the moogle shopkeeper and a few flashback sequences, there are no Final Fantasy characters in the game at all. The game selection has also grown steadily, with a healthy mix of new favorites (Breath of the Wild, Mario + Rabbids), Wii U ports (Bayonetta 2, Hyrule Warriors) and last-gen remasters (Dark Souls, Tales of Vesperia). But "wrapping up" is definitely the name of the game here. Docking and undocking the console really is as effortless as Nintendo advertised. What I love: At the risk of being wowed by the same thing two years in a row, I’m still delighted by the Switch’s core concept.
Marshall Honorof, Editor. Unambitious gameplay Story feels convoluted rather than deep Final Fantasy is almost entirely absent. The gameplay, themes and narrative all cover well-worn territory, going for (admittedly impressive) breadth instead of depth. Likewise, longtime composer Yoko Shimomura’s music is up to her usual series standards, incorporating themes and motifs from the films to create catchy original compositions. (To nitpick just a little, though, Elsa belting out the entirety of "Let It Go" in the Frozen level feels just a little too self-indulgent, even by Kingdom Hearts standards.) And while I almost can’t believe that 30-year-old Haley Joel Osment is still game to play a teenager, he infuses Sora with familiar warmth and optimism.
And while I have some issues with Nintendo Switch Online, the service’s growing NES library and ultra-addictive Tetris 99 have more than made the cheap $20 entry fee worth it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was wrong with the process until I wound up in Port Royal for the Pirates of the Caribbean level. If you played the first Kingdom Hearts as a 13-year-old, you’re now 30. But if you’ve stuck with the series this long, you may as well see how it ends. The Switch is also missing a huge opportunity to sell a plethora of NES, SNES and N64 games, opting instead for paltry, confusing monthly selections.
And if you haven’t, you may want to take Elsa’s advice and simply "let it go." Nintendo previously explained that the company doesn’t allow cloud saves for games like Splatoon 2 because they’re competitive. From God of War to The Legend of Zelda, it seems like every major series has reinvented itself in order to stay relevant to gamers’ changing tastes. Switch owner since: June 2017. Switch owner since: March 2017. Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Seinfeld, or Star Trek: Voyager, Kingdom Hearts’ best days were behind it, but it managed to end on a moderately high note, rather than dragging things out well past the point of interest. (I’m looking at you, How I Met Your Mother.) The first Kingdom Hearts game came out in 2002.
Kingdom Hearts III is a perfectly acceptable action/RPG, and it provides a reasonable sense of closure for the diehards who have followed the series this long. The worlds are a joy to behold, though, even if exploration and platforming can get pretty obtuse. (Two traditions that KHIII proudly embraces are the profoundly unhelpful camera, and Donald Duck never, ever slinging a healing spell when you need one.) The frozen mountains of Arendelle contrast beautifully with the verdant forests of Corona, while Port Royal — well, we’ll get to Port Royal. Netflix and Amazon Video are nowhere to be found, to say nothing of other common streaming apps.
That may be damning the system with faint praise, but 17 years later, it’s still enjoyable to leap into the air, juggle two or three Heartless with well-timed Keyblade strikes, air-dash to the other side of the battlefield, and finish them off with a Final Fantasy magic spell. Why can’t I send messages or game invites to friends? And why can’t I just start a party chat from the system itself instead of using Nintendo’s clunky mobile app?
The system’s slow trickle of entertainment apps has been frustrating, too. Tom’s Guide Verdict. Kingdom Hearts III is a perfectly acceptable action/RPG, but the game’s structure and story could have used a bigger refresh.
That’s why it’s strange that Kingdom Hearts III decidedly — almost defiantly — hasn’t. You can customize your equipment and roster of magic spells, but once you set up the skills you like, you can button-mash your way to victory for everything but the boss fights. The levels themselves are huge and sprawling, but it’s disappointing to end the major arc of the series without revisiting mainstays like Aladdin, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Tron. (And that really, really good Fantasia level from Dream Drop Distance.) My hat’s off to Square Enix, however, for a very welcome cameo from Ratatouille, perhaps Pixar’s most underrated film. It’s a lot of stuff with comparatively little strategic value. And while this is a personal preference, Nintendo’s lack of focus on achievements/trophies makes it easier to just play games on their own terms, without feeling pressured to strive for arbitrary goals.
Nintendo also launched its $20-per-year Switch Online service last fall, putting its online titles behind a paywall for the first time while also offering such perks as cloud saves and a growing library of classic NES games. You’ll still travel to a new Disney world, get acquainted with its characters, experience a heavily truncated version of the movie’s main story and learn about a tangential connection to the game’s narrative. (Spoiler: It’s usually something about friendship, or love, or hearts.) Then you’ll leave, go into a brief space-shooter section en route to the next world, and repeat the whole process again. And on top of that, the cloud-save feature doesn’t work universally across all games. It’s been two years since the Nintendo Switch first launched, and what a two years it’s been.
Favorite Games: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Super Smash Bros. The House of Mouse. There’s too much stuff going on in combat to ever get bored, but it’s also hard to feel like you’re in total control of it. There’s a reasonable variety of enemies to dispatch, but few of them require much strategy other than the occasional "attack from behind/above rather than head-on." – Unambitious gameplay – Story feels convoluted rather than deep – Final Fantasy is almost entirely absent. By Marshall Honorof 29 January 2019.
Provides a good sense of closure Gorgeous visuals and music Pirates of the Caribbean level is a cut above the rest. Smash is just one of many examples of how excellent and robust the Switch library has grown. Our Verdict.
And then, I was off to San Fransokyo, for yet another "follow the movie heroes, learn something about friendship" episode. What I love: My obsession with the Switch can be summed up in four words: Super Smash Bros. First: The combat is fun.
However, there’s a healthy crop of brand-new Disney worlds this time around, including Toy Story; Monsters, Inc.; Tangled; Frozen; and Big Hero 6. Then again, Kingdom Hearts isn’t really about its combat system; it’s about getting to explore your favorite Disney worlds and seeing their unexpected interactions with Final Fantasy characters. Most Anticipated Game: Super Mario Maker 2. Nintendo’s joyous, content-packed all-star brawler has captivated me like no other Switch title before it, and I haven’t stopped mashing away with friends online (and in the office) since it launched last December. And, as a result, it’s not always the most coherent game. It’s enough to say that if you’ve followed the series this long, you’ll be able to follow most of what’s going on, and if you haven’t, then the narrative is mostly just going to be an excuse to see your favorite Disney characters.
Nintendo Switch Two Years Later: What We Love and Hate. I’m not even sure you could say that Kingdom Hearts III has its own story; it’s almost entirely just following every outstanding plot knot to its logical conclusion. But aside from its technical enhancements, this is a game that would have been right at home in the late PS2 era, alongside its two direct predecessors.
The Disney worlds are a joy to behold, even if exploration and platforming can get pretty obtuse. What was once a promising but bare-bones Zelda machine has evolved into Nintendo’s biggest success in years, selling more than 32 million units worldwide. Favorite games: Gris, Celeste, Ape Out, Super Smash Bros. Ultimately, Kingdom Hearts III was satisfying in the same way that a decent TV series finale is satisfying. Most anticipated game: Super Mario Maker 2. Casey, Senior Writer.
It’s like a kid-friendly Assassin’s Creed IV, and I gladly spent a few extra hours hunting down doodads and fighting massive enemy fleets. I’m also becoming more and more enamored of the Pro Controller, as I continue to use the Switch primarily in docked mode. Since its launch, the system has racked up a massive library of hot exclusives like Super Smash Bros. Favorite games: Super Smash Bros.
Sure, I love to Smash my colleagues when we can all find the time, but gaming for me is more of a single-player experience, which titles such as Celeste, Gris and Ape Out all offer in spades. I’ve barely even touched upon Kingdom Hearts III’s story, but it’s hard to even set up unless you know 17 years’ worth of complicated backstory (and are willing to sit through a decent amount of 20-minute cutscenes). The system’s lack of streaming apps is also baffling.
Favorite Games: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Bayonetta 2, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition. For those of you who are just joining us: Kingdom Hearts III is the ninth game (yes, really) in the Kingdom Hearts series. Kingdom Hearts III is a perfectly acceptable action/RPG, but the game’s structure and story could have used a bigger refresh. I doubt I will ever get tired of playing a game on my couch, picking https://jiji.co.rw/51-home-theater-systems up the system to take with me on the subway, then picking up right where I left off when I get back home. Kingdom Hearts III is a perfectly acceptable action/RPG, but the game’s structure and story could have used a bigger refresh.
It’s not very deep or demanding (at least on Standard difficulty), but it will definitely keep you engaged for the 30-plus hours the game requires to complete. Against. That feature alone is alluring, but what really makes it take hold is that it’s home to so many great exclusives, like Breath of the Wild, which has the absolute best open-world design featured in a game. What I hate: Now that the Switch’s online service is mostly up and running, I can say definitively that I hate it.
Switch owner since: April 2017. Lights and sounds. The Pirates level is not just content to let you relive a few movie moments and call it a day. And even beyond that, the Switch has created a whole new dynamic setting for playing indie games. Had Square Enix done something similar for every level, Kingdom Hearts could have been one of the most ambitious games of its generation.
Where you’d typically be confined to your PC, the Switch lets you take your favorite indie games like Hollow Knight on the go. These programs come standard in every other modern gaming system and mobile device, so their absence is conspicuous. While I’m happy to have Hulu and YouTube, the addition of Twitch and Netflix apps could turn the Switch from my favorite console into the only entertainment machine I need in my living room. Kingdom Hearts 3 Review: Same Disney Charm, Same Convoluted Story.
If you want to see how things wrap up after all this time, Kingdom Hearts III will provide the closure you’re looking for, and that’s about the biggest reason to recommend it. The Caribbean level demonstrated everything that Kingdom Hearts should be, capturing a movie’s unique look and feel through gameplay rather than just narrative. And yet, once the level got going, I was legitimately bowled over. I’m still not clear on why this is the case, since historically, they’ve been half the game’s appeal. The level ends with an action-packed confrontation with a major villain, in which you get to make use of both your ship- and ground-combat abilities.
You command your own ship, the Leviathan, which you can sail around an open-world Caribbean, fighting off enemy ships, hunting for treasure, and improving the hull and cannons. However, more casual games like Pokémon Let’s Go also don’t have cloud saving enabled. What I love: As someone who’s constantly sharing a cramped space with another person, I appreciate that I never have to fight for the TV because of the Switch’s versatile capabilities.
Adding Hulu was a good start, but that was almost a year ago. Seventeen years later, it’s still enjoyable to leap into the air, juggle two or three Heartless with well-timed Keyblade strikes, air-dash to the other side of the battlefield, and finish them off with a Final Fantasy magic spell. Ultimate, Celeste, Bayonetta 2, Splatoon 2. Instead, it built a whole naval combat mechanic from scratch. The story here is based on the third film, At World’s End, which was not a very good movie by any stretch.
Ultimate. Had Square Enix made every level as memorable as The Caribbean, Kingdom Hearts could have been one of the most ambitious games of its generation. Switch owner since: Christmas 2017. Ultimate.
Returning worlds include Hercules, Pirates of the Caribbean and Winnie the Pooh — and that’s about it. Most anticipated game: Pokémon Sword and Shield. Every battle turns into a drawn-out maelstrom of particle-effects-driven skills, to the point where it’s often faster and easier to simply rely on standard attacks. So basically, if my Switch breaks, I have to condemn myself to countless hours just to get my progress back in one of the restricted games — epic.
But at the same time, that’s all it does. But there’s more! You can team up with party members for special attacks, use the environment for contextual skills, summon Disney characters who didn’t quite merit their own world (like Wreck-It Ralph and Stitch) and even climb aboard a bunch of Disneyland rides to batter your enemies into submission.
Having to use your phone for voice chat amounts to "solving" a problem by introducing an even bigger problem. The system’s lack of streaming apps is baffling. Adding friends is still an arduous process, and inviting them to play games is not much easier. Or, at least, that was the original pitch. Loosely speaking, the titles follow the adventures of Sora and Riku: two teenagers who traverse familiar Disney worlds by wielding legendary weapons called "Keyblades" against enemies known as the "Heartless." In this game, Sora once again teams up with frequent teammates Donald and Goofy in order to wrap up a whole lot of anime-inspired plot contortions across eight Disney worlds.
But Smash is just one of many examples of how excellent and robust the Switch library has grown — with superb indies like Celeste, excellent multiplayer games like Super Mario Party and constantly evolving online games like Splatoon 2, I’m always overwhelmed with choice. What I hate: I’ll echo everything Mike A said about Switch Online’s failings, but add that I need a WWE Network app for the console (but, please, no WWE 2K games). Despite the high production values, though, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the formula hadn’t changed all that much.
But a lot of time has passed since then. On top of that, I’m growing less and less enamored of the joysticks in the Joy-Cons, and hope they get closer to the Pro Controller sticks in the next edition. You collect various Keyblades as the game progresses, and you can upgrade them with rare materials over time. Instead, the game relies on special abilities — lots of them — to keep fights feeling fresh.
Light and darkness. So that’s Kingdom Hearts III: it’s charming, it’s frustrating, it’s accessible, it’s convoluted, it’s ambitious and it’s safe. It’s still a straightforward action/RPG; it’s still about a cast of affable characters in a story that’s too convoluted for its own good; and it’s still surprising just how much the series has pushed its Disney/Final Fantasy aspects to the wayside in favor of its own labyrinthine mythos. The amount of Final Fantasy characters has dried up within the past few years, dwindling from about dozen in Kingdom Hearts II down to just one in Birth by Sleep. Ultimate and Pokémon Let’s Go, as well as tons of indie games and notable AAA titles.
In my head, that was about 10 years ago, but in actuality, 17 years have passed since Sora, Donald and Goofy’s first adventure. What I hate: Nintendo Switch Online, but more specifically, the fact that cloud saving is trapped behind a nonsensical pay wall. Hearing that Squaresoft (not yet Square Enix) had announced an action/RPG combining Disney worlds with Final Fantasy characters was bizarre — but not nearly as bizarre as playing the game and discovering that the formula actually worked.
Mike Andronico, Managing Editor. Now that the Nintendo Switch is 2 years old, here’s what we love (and don’t love) about Nintendo’s latest console. What I hate: Although Switch Online offers a decent amount of features for the price, it doesn’t fix the issues I have with the console’s basic infrastructure. + Provides a good sense of closure + Gorgeous visuals and music + Pirates of the Caribbean level is a cut above the rest.
This kitchen-sink approach takes the Links from Dream Drop Distance and the equippable Abilities from Birth by Sleep, then drops them into the mix — except those skills were largely to make up for the lack of party members, which you have in KHIII. What I love: As our Lab Tester Jorge Jimenez says, I’m "indie trash scum," and that makes the Switch the perfect console for me. Ultimate. Those three indie games I rattled off may not be CGI wonders like God of War, but, wow, they look gorgeous on a 55-inch, 4K display, especially with Gris’ hand-drawn aesthetics. Each one features a different alternate form, as well as a finishing move.
Kingdom Hearts III is a gorgeous game with fluid combat that would have been impossible in 2002. I can say, at least, that the game wraps up most of the franchise’s lingering story threads pretty nicely, and there’s some heartfelt character interaction, especially toward the end. That is, however, pretty much all there is to it. Most Anticipated Game: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3. Lastly, I’m just upset that the wonderful Persona 4G and Persona 5 games aren’t being re-released on the Switch (at least not yet), especially as the Vita gets end-of-life’d. Rami Tabari, Staff Writer.
To celebrate the Switch’s second birthday, the Tom’s Guide gaming team has gotten together to look back at what we love and hate about our two years with Nintendo’s new console, and what we’re looking forward to seeing next. Henry T. How much you’ll enjoy that depends on how much you’re invested in the series.