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Video Game Review: "Kingdom Hearts III"

Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

"Kingdom Hearts III": PlayStation 4 Cover

"Kingdom Hearts III": PlayStation 4 Cover

Quick Info

  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Released: January 29th, 2019
  • Availability: On PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

What Is Kingdom Hearts III?

Kingdom Hearts III is the third mainline entry in the Kingdom Hearts series. It is a continuation of Sora’s adventures with Donald and Goofy. Sora has to gather the Seven Guardians of Light to battle the 13 Darknesses and defeat Master Xehanort.

The Graphics Are Incredible!

This game has been a long time coming—I’ve been waiting for it since 2005. There have been a lot of sequel and prequel games that came after Kingdom Hearts II but at long last, it’s finally here.

And boy was it worth the wait. I was blown away by how great the graphics look. It’s a huge upgrade compared to both Kingdom Hearts I and Kingdom Hearts II. The Unreal Engine 4 looks amazing, and this franchise has never looked better visually. All the art styles from the different Disney worlds work well, and I liked the level design for each place I went to in the story. Combat animations are fluid, and character design looks really nice as well.

Sora using new Keyblade transformations.

Sora using new Keyblade transformations.

The Story Is Just as Ridiculous as Always

The story is just as insane and crazy as it has always been, but the plot became even more complicated due to the time travel shenanigans in Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance.

There’s a lot going on in the plot and wrapping up plot points from 12 different games is a lot to do, but Kingdom Hearts III does a good job of tying up a lot of plot details. That being said, the game ended with the possibility of another entry. This might disappoint some fans, but it’s very interesting because the series is taking some exciting and unexpected turns.

The Gameplay Is a Blast!

The gameplay is a ton of fun. It’s very varied and diverse. The creative ways you can use your magic and your Keyblade make the combat fun and exciting. You can use any strategy you want to defeat Heartless, whether you like to use magic or stick to melee attacks with the Keyblade. If you like the attraction ride special attack moves, go ahead and spam them.

The Voice Acting Is (Mostly) Good

The voice acting is pretty good, for the most part. The Disney voice actors are hit or miss, while the main actors that reprise their roles from the movies are fantastic.

  • Haley Joel Osment did a fantastic job as Sora. It did take him some time to get back into sounding like Sora, but in the end, I really enjoyed his performance.
  • David Gallagher also did Riku/Riku Replica justice. His character has developed a lot over the years, and he did a great job portraying that.
  • Bill Farmer made a fantastic Goofy; he brought this character to life in an endearing way.
  • Tony Anselmo took on the task of Donald Duck. His voice is a little hard to understand, but we have subtitles to help us out.
  • Alyson Stoner took over the role of Kairi after Hayden Panettiere. There are mixed reviews, but most people seem to prefer Alyson over Hayden.
Disney's Rapunzel fighting Heartless in a team attack with Sora, Donald, and Goofy.

Disney's Rapunzel fighting Heartless in a team attack with Sora, Donald, and Goofy.

The Music Is Amazing!

Yoko Shimomura’s music is amazing. It’s just wonderful that she has been composing for so long. It’s a very heartwarming thing for me as a long-time Kingdom Hearts fan.

There are just so many songs that I love. There are many songs from the series that make me happy. Every track is either from the previous game or completely new.

It's Not That Difficult

Because the combat system has a variety of choices when it comes to how you fight, this game has become extremely easy. I played on the Standard difficulty and rarely died except during some early and late boss battles. Other than that, I basically breezed through this game.

Another thing that made the game even easier is that the A.I. also improved a lot. Donald actually healed me, it’s a well-known joke that in the Kingdom Hearts games that Donald is terrible at healing. But he actually healed me a few times in a clutch, so at least they fixed that problem.

For Kingdom Hearts fans that like a little bit of a challenge, this game will be a disappointment. I went into various worlds under-leveled and easily leveled up to the recommended range by just fighting everything. And since I rarely died, it was incredibly easy to do. In previous games, you were punished for going into a world under the recommended level.

The game is easier for me because I’ve played many of the previous titles. It’s fun but can feel extremely easy.

If you want a challenge, you can play the game on Critical Mode.

There Isn’t Much Incentive to Revisit Worlds

In this game, there isn’t much incentive to revisit worlds after you go through the main story, other than minigames or unlocking the secret ending by taking pictures of Lucky Emblems that unlock the Secret Ending. While it’s fun to explore while you’re there the first time, there isn’t much incentive to go back.

The minigames are a lot of fun so there’s always that reason unless you’re a trophy hunter and want to Platinum the game.

The Story Can Be Confusing If You're New

Kingdom Hearts' main plot can be very confusing at times. You should have played through the other games in the Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far release so you can be caught up story-wise. While there is an archive on the Kingdom Hearts III disc in the menu to help newcomers get caught up, playing the games is the best way to experience the entire story.

The Ending Could Disappoint Some Fans

I wasn’t disappointed by the ending, but I know that some fans will be, and not just because we’ve been waiting for a third title since 2005.

I won’t spoil it for you, but the ending of the game is bittersweet. They do wrap up a lot of storylines from other games, but they can’t make everyone happy. I really enjoyed this game, but it can be polarizing if you’re expecting the best game in the Kingdom Hearts series.

There Are Some Bugs

I have experienced a weird bug where Sora’s animation gets stuck in small spaces. I have heard other gamers say that their audio did not work sometimes during their game.

I have also noticed that the audio can stutter if a lot of things are happening on-screen. The bugs are few, but noticeable. If these bugs bother you, you might want to wait for a patch.

Sora taking a selfie.

Sora taking a selfie.

Quick Summary

What WorksWhat Doesn't Work

Emgaomg story

No incentive to revisit words unless you like the minigames

Fun, fluid gameplay with variety

Some stuttering if there's too much action on scren

Good English Dub

Not a lot of replay value unless you want trophies

Amazing soundtrack

Fun minigames

My Grade: A

While my opinion of the game can’t be the same as other critics, I loved Kingdom Hearts III. It’s not perfect but it’s was a blast to play. There were many heartwarming moments and plenty of fanservice.

It Was Worth the Wait for Me

The game is a graphical marvel—immensely improved gameplay and a ton of fun that brought me hours and hours of entertainment. It was everything I wanted Kingdom Hearts III to be, and while not everyone is going to have the same gaming experience I did, for me, it was worth the $60.00.

That being said, I won't overhype this game to be the best game I would ever play. But it brought me a lot of joy and excitement, and as a Kingdom Hearts fan, that’s all I could ever ask for.

You don’t have to pay full price for this game, but it is worth it if you have played the other games. You can try to go in blind, but you might be confused by the main plot that’s taken place over 11 games. Also, if you're only here for the Disney worlds, you'll still enjoy the game as-is.

The Kingdom Hearts III: Re: Mind DLC will be available for PlayStation 4 on January 25, 2020, and February 25, 2020. The cost of the DLC is $29.99, and the DLC that includes concert footage is $39.99.

My Rating

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