Review: ‘Kingdom Hearts 3’

A childhood love of many returns with new installment

After waiting for approximately 13 years, the long-awaited “Kingdom Hearts 3” video game was released Jan. 29, 2019.

There was a lot of frustration and excitement throughout the last month of waiting for the game to be released. This is mainly due to the fact that 30 copies of the “Kingdom Hearts 3” game were stolen and leaked online a month and half before it was released.

The copies that were stolen were sold on Facebook Marketplace for $100 per game. Tetsuya Nomura, director of the Kingdom Hearts series, issued a note apologizing and explaining what they are doing to provide damage control to the situation. As a diehard Kingdom Hearts fan, the gameplay being leaked did not phase me — all it simply took was avoiding YouTube for most of the month of January.

One of my fondest childhood memories is of being captivated by the first Kingdom Hearts video game that my best friend introduced to me. After the 13-year wait for the third installment in the series, the memories of the first game paled in comparison to the colorful, in-depth Disney themed worlds to explore.

The Disney/Pixar worlds included in the game are “Hercules,” “Toy Story,” “Tangled,” “Monsters Inc.,” “Frozen,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Big Hero 6.” The gameplay of the long-awaited video game made from developers Square Enix made me feel like a child again, as I became instantly captivated by the gameplay even if the overall story does not think outside of the toy box.

The only themed worlds that have been in previous installments of the series are “Hercules” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” so it was nice to be able to have the chance to explore and interact with different Disney characters. I will admit that exploring the worlds of “Tangled” and “Frozen” did feel a bit mundane at times because there was not much to explore. On the other hand, the “Pirates of the Caribbean” world was massive. To some extent the world felt like a miniature “Assassin’s Creed” game because you get to explore the high seas, partake in ship battles and search for treasure. 

The second main highlight is that each of the themed Keyblades you receive have unique transformations that aid in combat — and they are a blast to test out. My favorite Keyblade to utilize in combat was definitely the one you receive after clearing the “Monsters Inc.” world. Its unique transformations were monster themed and, in my opinion, seemed to do the most damage.

The third and final highlight is that “Kingdom Hearts 3” avoids the mistake that “Kingdom Hearts 2” made of long and slow prologue. The thing about the prologue is that it sets up the character known as Roxas, whom admittedly has a pretty sad storyline within the series.

The downside is that the prologue consists of him and his friends doing mundane things, such as doing odd jobs to earn money to go to the beach during summer vacation.

Immediately, you can tell that there is something not quite right about Roxas’ character. That is because Roxas is technically not supposed to be alive, which is what led to frustration from fans of the game. The prologue essentially takes three hours to muddle your way through just to end up finding out that Roxas is actually not the main character of that game, has an incredibly sad storyline and you basically wasted your time.

Overall, I highly recommend playing through “Kingdom Hearts 3.” It is one that will definitely tug out your heartstrings if you are heavily invested in the series. Its long endgame is satisfying, but free from surprises.

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