Paige FTW: ‘Kingdom Hearts III’ Lives Up To The Hype

Coming some 13 years after its technical predecessor (and myriad spinoffs), Kingdom Hearts III was set up to fail. How could a game with so much hype, so much cumbersome story, so much unadulterated cheese succeed in today’s gaming environment?

Well, let me tell you: It succeeds.

I am not done with Kingdom Hearts III, but I have put 30 hours into it, and all 30 of those hours were full of joy. Even just walking around makes me happy. In terms of graphics and combat, the series has simply never been better.

While I won’t deny I miss Birth by Sleep’s particular innovations on combat, the zany, over-the-top things you can do in this game are enormously fun (ranging from summoning a tower that beams AOE magic across the field to slinging deadly twin yo-yos around). The original game seems almost archaic and clumsy in comparison. (Who knew we’d watch Sora become ridiculously godly in his powers by the end of the series?)

The story is, well, fine. We all like to make fun of how convoluted the series has gotten, but when you’re in it, every absurd new revelation seems perfectly reasonable. Of course Sora has like, four different people hidden inside of him (not a spoiler). Why wouldn’t he?

In terms of the Disney influence, Pixar definitely gives this title a boost. Kingdom Hearts III’s best worlds are undoubtedly its new Pixar additions (plus, they don’t rehash old story beats the way Tangled and Frozen do).

There are some notable omissions from this title: No Final Fantasy characters appear, and many other series stalwarts like the coliseum seem to have been abandoned.

Nevertheless, it’s hard to imagine how Kingdom Hearts III could fail to delight. Let your heart be your guiding key … and give the series another chance, even if you’ve fallen off the bandwagon 358/2 days ago.