Kingdom Hearts III

After over a decade of waiting, it’s finally here!

The “Kingdom Hearts” series, directed by Tetsuya Nomura, is a hack-and-slash RPG developed by Square Enix and Disney featuring a mash-up of both companies’ specific aesthetics. On paper, a “Final Fantasy” and Mickey Mouse crossover sounds atrocious, but the series quickly gained a cult following since the first game came out in 2002. 

“Kingdom Hearts III” is the eighth entry in the “Kingdom Hearts” franchise – aside from remakes, IOS/Android games, and HD rereleases. As a dedicated fan of the franchise, I obviously had to check it out. 

But was it worth the wait? 

“Kingdom Hearts III” is a thoroughly entertaining ride for veterans and newcomers alike. However, the level of enjoyment between fan and beginners is a fine line, as it clearly favors the fans. 

For those looking to get into the franchise, or for those who’ve only played the first two games, you likely won’t understand what’s happening. This is due to “Kingdom Hearts III” relying on the story of every game that came before it. There’s very little explanation in-game for those who haven’t kept up with all the other games.

It can be quite jarring for people who haven’t played all of the games prior. However, for dedicated fans who’ve pushed through each game, this lengthy experience will deliver in almost every way, featuring both heartwarming and heartbreaking conclusions to all your favorite characters. 

This entry clearly recognizes how absurd its own explanations are, and it adds its own level of appeal to the game’s presentation.

Speaking of presentation, this game is pure eye candy. Players will get to visit the worlds of their favorite Disney characters, each world its own visual flair. You can visit the mall with Buzz and Woody from “Toy Story,” cook with Remy from “Ratatouille,” and so much more. The worlds are bigger than ever, and fleshed out with content. 

The combat is satisfyingly over the top. For example, you can summon actual theme park rides to take down your opponents. Even when your attacks do little-to-no damage, you can’t help but activate them any chance you get, because it just looks amazing.

Unfortunately, while entertaining, it’s also exhaustingly easy. Even on the hardest difficulty, I died less than 10 times. There’s never really any challenge – even the final boss feels almost effortless. 

There’s little end-game content to challenge yourself with once you’ve beaten the story – only a small handful of tasks that also aren’t very hard. 

The music, like most Square Enix games, is top notch. 

Fans of the franchise, Disney fans, or people just looking for a fun, visually pleasing game, will surely be satisfied in what “Kingdom Hearts III” has to offer. However, a lack of content and difficulty, and such a huge focus on story over combat, is what makes this a “satisfying entry” rather than a “great game.”

Grade: B-

“‘Kingdom Hearts III’ is ‘Simple and Clean,’ but not for everyone.”

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