Kingdom ‘Heartless’

Latest addition to game series fails to deliver


Cambry King

Kingdom Hearts III was released twelve years after Kingdom Hearts II.

Kingdom Hearts II released back in 2006, while the last game in the series before this one (Dream Drop Distance) released back in 2012. However, after many years of being teased, Kingdom Hearts III is finally here and, at no surprise to me, is a mediocre shell of a game.

Kingdom Hearts III released on January 29, 2019 for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One and is currently for sale with a $60 price tag for the standard edition and $80 for the Deluxe Edition.

The first thing to greet players is one of the best renditions of “Dearly Beloved,” a staple in the series. Instead of being a solo piano piece, the song is transformed to a beautiful orchestral version. “Face my Fears,” the song that plays during the opening cinematic, is easily one of the best songs in the entire franchise. And the ending song, “Don’t Think Twice,” delivers a beautiful finale to the game.

And the ending song, “Don’t Think Twice,” delivers a beautiful finale to the game.

— Cambry King, 11

However, these initial impressions are sadly misleading. Kingdom Hearts III is met with multiple audio and musical problems, specifically in the Disney worlds. Many times there is no music in cut scenes. This, coupled with the often questionable voice acting and hit-and-miss writing, leaves players with an awkward experience.

Each Disney world has its own story, whether it’s a retelling of the movie the level is based on, or it’s a continuation from where the movie left off. Some levels play out very well, such as Mostropolis from “Monsters Inc.” and The Caribbean from “Pirates of the Caribbean.” The voice actors are either the same from the movies or extremely talented impersonators.

On the other hand, Kingdom of Corona from “Tangled” and Arendelle from “Frozen,” are among the worst worlds in the series. The sole reason was they were boring, specifically with Arendelle. Besides the whole section that Elsa just sings “Let it Go,” the scenery is just boring. It’s white snow everywhere, and that leaves everything looking samey. Many times the characters look very plastic and stilted. Admittedly, this has been a problem since the first game, but it’s more noticeable here with the higher resolution graphics.

The voice actors are either the same from the movies or extremely talented impersonators.

— Cambry King, 11

The gameplay itself is nothing to write home about. At the start of the game, players already have many abilities available to them, so it feels less significant whenever a new ability is acquired. While some of the new additions to the combat are welcome, others overstay their time. Most notably with the “attraction attacks.” With these, Sora and company summon an attack based on various rides from Disney parks. Although it sounds like fun, they appear way too often to feel any accomplishment, and most aren’t even worth the time it takes to execute them.

But the most disappointing thing I found in this game was the lack of characters from “Final Fantasy.” Besides some mention of them in dialogue, moogle shops and magic spells, no one from the series appears. While they weren’t essential characters by any means, they still were an integral part of the experience. The entire reason for this series to exist was to be a crossover with Disney. Without Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts is just a game that panders toward the Disney Company.

In the end, Kingdom Hearts III is not a bad game, just a disappointing one. I never expected this game to be revolutionary by any means, but I still wanted an enjoying experience that I could remember fondly. Instead I found myself with was an easily forgettable game with some infuriating parts. If Square Enix decided to release downloadable content for the game, I’ll give it a shot. But the game, as it is, is not worth the $60 price tag.