Game Review: Third time proves not to be the charm for Kingdom Hearts III
By Chong Jinn Xiung March 18, 2019
- A great time sink if you are a huge Disney and Pixar fan
- Story and pacing issues hold game back from greatness
I PERSONALLY started my journey into Kingdom Hearts III (KH3) with some hesitation. Here was a game that I last left off when I had completed my university education. That was more than 13 years ago, an eternity in gaming years.
In that time I did not bother playing the subsequent non-numbered games, so naturally I was afraid that I would be lost in the complex story. Unfortunately, my fears came true as I booted up KH3 for this review.
Before I could even step into the main story campaign itself I had to dive into numerous YouTube videos and even the built-in story recap feature in KH3 to bring myself up to speed.
Quite frankly, I was perturbed by the fact that I hardly touched my controller within my first 20 minutes of play. There is just so much story to go through that there are times when it felt like I was watching a movie with no control of my character.
This is made worse by the fact that KH3 uses a very old school save system from games made in 2006, where you can’t just save anywhere but need to find specific save points to actually save your game or risk losing all your progress.
I then embarked on my journey down the rabbit hole that is KH3 to find that it does indeed deliver on the promise of greatly enhanced graphics. I can safely say that in the numerous worlds I visited, everything looked like a perfect representation of the Disney or Pixar stories that I had grown to love.
Certainly, it was a treat to run around and explore the new worlds of KH3 while revisiting some old ones. For the most part KH3 takes players on a journey to favourite Pixar locales like it was checking off an imaginary checkbox. There are worlds from Frozen, Big Hero 6, Monsters Inc. and Toy Story to name a few.
It is such a pity that it is a real slog to get through the game as objectives are sometimes unclear. While I am not demanding a big magic arrow to point me to the next objective, the lack of a modern save system makes it a chore to explore the lush open environments.
Speaking of exploring, much of my time in the game was spent wandering around and battling enemies. The variety of things to do in combat slowly open up as you progress but it sure feels repetitive in the early stages.
I can appreciate the visual spectacle of battles, after all, previous games were running on older hardware and could never achieve the special effects found on KH3. But the special attack animations, while flashy, are very repetitive and after a while I wanted to skip all of them.
I really wish I could say I loved KH3 but that would be a lie. The overly complicated storyline makes this a tough sell for anyone who is jumping right into the game.
I wouldn’t say that one cannot find enjoyment in it. The Disney worlds are cool to explore and it is a real treat if you loved the movies and properties that they hail from. But the convoluted story that ties it all together is sadly boring.
On the whole, KH3 is a nice romp in the park for any hardcore Disneyphile and fan of Square Enix’s brand of games but it may not be enjoyable if you are not a fan of either.
Personally for me, KH3 is a game stuck in time with its spunky characters who believe that the power of friendship can overcome any obstacle. If only life were that simple but this game clearly does not resonate for me today, as it did so long ago.