I began my journey into the behemoth that is Kingdom Hearts 3 last night.
Only three hours in, I’ve barely made a dent in Sora and co.’s adventure. But I’ve got some thoughts. Overall, I’m loving it thus far. It’s entirely Kingdom Hearts… just 13 years later. It’s the game I played as a young teenager, but with newer, fancier graphics. That’s not entirely a bad thing, but a few things do stick out from my few hours with the game so far.
1. Why are there so many zips?
Everyone’s outfit is filled with zips. Sora’s got a zip. Riku’s got a zip. Goofy’s got a zip. Donald’s got shitloads of zips: two on his jacket, and two on his hat (!). Who has zips on their hats? As Rich pointedly reminded me, however, this is something Square Enix likes to do: put zips, straps and poppers all over everyone’s get-up. Just look at the Final Fantasy XV boys.
2. My god, that font looks a little too much like Comic Sans.
If there’s one thing in this life that makes me curl up and die inside a little, it’s the font Comic Sans MS.
It was brilliant when you were 10 and you were designing menus for a family tea party, but once you’re over the age of 12 there’s no excuse for that kind of behaviour. I know Kingdom Hearts 3’s subtitle font isn’t Comic Sans, but it looks enough like it that it still sends a chill down my spine.
3. I don’t need to see a title screen seventy five times.
When I started up Kingdom Hearts 3, I sat through a video made up of cutscenes from previous games as the introductory credits rolled. After that, a “Kingdom Hearts 3” logo splashed up, reminding me of what I was playing.
Shortly after that, another introduction video played, followed by a “Kingdom Hearts 3” logo. I think before I’d even been allowed as to so much as touch my controller, I’d seen that title screen three separate times. I can only assume Square Enix couldn’t decide which intro to go with, so just shoved them all in there.
And when I assumed the intro was well and truly behind me, just after finishing the first world, there it was again: a Kingdom Hearts 3 title screen. I get it. We’ve been waiting a long time for this. But I know what game I’m playing.
4. What the hell is Kingdom Hearts 2.9?
Somewhere inbetween all those Kingdom Hearts 3 title screens, one popped up saying “Kingdom Hearts 2.9”. What the ever-loving fuck? Was that a joke? I’m really not so sure.
5. Sora’s a bit annoying, really.
I’ll always have a soft spot for Sora. Kingdom Hearts was one of my favourite games, and playing it at the age of 13 it may well be one of the first games I completed by myself without having to shout in my older brother to kill some of the bosses for me. But good god, he’s an annoying kid, isn’t he? He seems even more annoying this time around, because he seems absolutely oblivious to everything going on around him, like he’s off his tits on some kind of special mushroom. Maybe he is.
6. Some serious deja vu
Obviously it’s on purpose, but the opening scenes of the game are basically taken straight out of Kingdom Hearts 1. And I’m sure other games have used the same thing, too. It’s what I now call the iconic Kingdom Hearts scene: you know the one; where Sora’s stood in a stained glass room, right from the beginning of the first game. And it’s followed up by fighting a giant shadow heartless, just like the first game. I’m pretty sure I’ve killed that dude more than any other video game boss in the history of time.
Sure, it’s iconic. And sure, it probably makes hardcore fans feel a little tingly inside, playing that scene again in glorious high definition. But to me it just feels like Square said “this scene was really cool back in 2001. Let’s do it again BUT WITH NICER GRAPHICS!”. In fact that’s exactly what they said. I suppose it’s not a bad thing.
7. Disney villains are brilliant
So far, the main villain I’ve encountered is Hades, from Hercules. Pete and Maleficent have shown their faces too, albeit briefly. Hercules is (don’t shoot me) one Disney film I’ve never properly watched (I own it now – I’ll rectify it, I promise), but I can still appreciate just how fantastic a character Hades is. Slick, evil and witty – just like a good villain should be. The Kingdom Hearts 3 version of him feels completely authentic, and I can’t wait to encounter more Disney evil-doers on my adventures.
8. God, this looks fantastic
I knew I’d be impressed with the graphics after playing the prelude that was included in Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD. It truly is a stunner, playing it on an Xbox One X. Those colours! Those locations! Those cutscenes! The detail in everything is ridiculous. Outfits have discernible texture! I can tell at a glance that Riku’s gloves are made from nylon and leather (probably). It’s marvellous. It’s not realistic-looking – but it’s a world filled with Disney characters, of course it wasn’t going to be. Instead, it has a hyper-realistic quality. Colours pop off the screen, and whichever way you look, it’s entirely delightful.
9. What the hell is happening?
I’ve played Kingdom Hearts 1 a couple of times, and I played 2 a very long time ago. Aside from Dream Drop Distance, which was included in the 2.8 collection, though, I’ve not played any of the other numerous spin-off games. Add to that the fact my memory for things I’ve seen or played isn’t entirely great, and I can’t remember a single thing about Kingdom Hearts’ plot. I’m embracing that, though. It’s complicated even for the most devout fan. I’ll gladly glide on through only knowing little bits and pieces.
“Roxas? That’s an anagram of Sora, with an X!” “Oh my god, Xenmas is Ansem with an X! I’ve cracked it!” Nope. Not even close.
10. I think I’m going to like this
Silly complaints about zips and fonts aside, I’m very impressed with my first few hours in Kingdom Hearts 3. I’ve been in a bit of a rut with games lately; it’s been a long while since I’ve been able to get absorbed in a big ol’ adventure, preferring short games and arcade-style titles. But I think Kingdom Hearts is going to bring me out of that rut. Now if only I didn’t have work to stop me playing it for a solid 12 hours…