Taking a break from RDR2 on-line, I decided to go in a totally different direction and thus started KINGDOM HEARTS III. Anyone else here a fan of this series?
|Posted: 12 March 2019 at 7:58am | IP Logged | 11
It's been 14 years since the release of KINGDOM HEARTS II. Although there have been prequels and sequels released in the intervening time, many of those were on devices I didn't own or totally slipped under my radar at the time. As such, I've only played the two main games and, for the most part, thoroughly enjoyed them in a Manga crazy kinda way. I do have to note that I've never played a single minute of any iteration of FINAL FANTASY from which this series gets much of its inspiration.
Going back to this franchise after so long has been...interesting. On the positive side, it's like revisiting old friends. The characters themselves are warm and welcoming, the gameplay is much more fluid and responsive than previous iterations and the upgrade from PS2 (!) shows in the graphics, which are stunning. On the negative side, the series is a narrative mess. Names are confusing (not helped by many characters looking quite similar to one another), the larger objective is nonsensical, and none of it is helped by interminably long cutscenes. They attempt to update players via flashback throughout, but that only serves to confuse rather than help. Perhaps if I'd played every iteration of this series across multiple platforms I might better understand the story, but since I haven't it's just a jumble of names (and often alternate character names as many go by two depending on the their place in the story), endless encounters I have no connection to and technobabble about hearts, hearts and more hearts: the need for them or the lack of them.
All that said, I have to put aside the narrative in order to enjoy the game. That's easy enough to do as, like games past, you visit different "Disney/Pixar" worlds populated with favorite characters and smaller, more manageable goals within each world. It's fun to visit Toy Box, for instance, and play alongside characters from TOY STORY. Their design is impeccable and Sora, your main character, along with Goofy and Donald, your constant traveling companions, are visually adapted to fit into the Toy world. Certain upgrades to fights are also welcomed. If you hit a specific enemy, for instance, you are granted the power to take on one of the iconic rides from Disney theme parks for a time. Those are fun, exciting elements that make attaining that ability desirable as you don't know which ride will pop up next.
I'm still utterly confused by Gummi ship construction, but that's a "me thing" as it's been confusing to me from the outset. Gummi ships, for those unfamiliar, are the way to travel between worlds and you can update or create as many as you desire as long as you have the required elements for construction. That said, travel between worlds is the best it's ever been in this franchise. Although it took a bit to understand how to control the ship, the space between worlds is populated with battles, points to explore and construction material to gather for upgrades. It's a constantly evolving space that adds more things to do the further you progress in the story.
Finally, there are no shortage of things to do in KINGDOM HEARTS III. There are mini games to discover, treasures to hunt, Mickey symbols to uncover and interactions with NPC that send you on a mini hunt. All of this makes revisiting worlds a must as things are (mostly) put back together once conquered and you more than likely didn't discover everything on your first pass.
My final verdict is that KINGDOM HEARTS III is a mixed bag. While utterly confusing from the standpoint of story, its gameplay within the story saves it. While I don't think it would be entertaining (or welcoming!) to a player for whom this is their first experience with the franchise, it does reward even players like me whose familiarity only extends to the two major releases from 2002 and 2005.