E3 2018: Kingdom Hearts 3 is absolutely fantastic and worth the wait

Note** Trust me, I wish I could honestly upload a video of me playing Kingdom Hearts 3 rather than writing about it because it’s just that amazing but since the rest of my team were off doing their own thing it was a must for me that I play the game!

The E3 demo of Kingdom Hearts 3 had two playable stages, a boss fight against a Titan on Olympus and a section of the Toy Story World. Seeing as the playtime was only 30 minutes it was important I got as much out of my time as possible so I jumped straight into the boss battle first since it was pretty straight forward and then figured I would do as much as I could in Toy Story since it included a bunch of cutscenes.

I have to start off by saying just how amazing this game looks, Square Enix switching over to the Unreal Engine 4 rather than it’s own Luminous Engine (used in Final Fantasy XV) is a perfect fit for the game. At the start of the boss battle, Sora has to run up a mountain to reach the Titan while having to dodge boulders, after reaching the top you need to take down the massive Titan by attacking his feet until he staggers allowing you to climb up to his head where he can be damaged.

The battle system hasn’t changed much combining that of Dream Drop Distance and Birth By Sleep. This is important to long time fans of the series because while the series has evolved quite a bit, it still retains so much of it’s originality from the first Kingdom Hearts. Sure the menu can be a pain to cycle through in the middle of a battle but that’s also the challenge of being able to get the right item or ability when you get the chance. Every time the game adds a new element to that system it never feels overbearing but a welcome addition you get used to over time.

As you continue attacking the Titan, you unlock new techniques and abilities for Sora similar to the Dimension Link from Birth by Sleep. The first ability I unlocked was Sora’s second form which lets him activate various techniques like Sonic Rave (similar to his Limit Form from Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix). That wasn’t all I was able to do either as soon afterwards, I was able to summon my first Magic Kingdom Ride, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. After jumping into a train Sora is able to fire cannons at his opponent which was pretty fun and enjoyable as you ride the rails in the sky for a few moments.

The Titan took me a little over 10 minutes to complete, having to get used to the controls which took me just a minute or two to re-familiarize myself since it’s been about 9 months since I last played a Kingdom Hearts game (KH 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue) and so I had some time to jump straight into Toy Story.

With around 15 minutes left before my session was up, I decided to skip all the cutscenes for this playthrough since that alone was somewhere around 10 minutes total. You find yourself in Andy’s room with Woody, Buzz Lightyear and various other toys from the movie as your goal is to head to the toy store.

Jumping out of Andy’s window will place you near the roof of the house as you make your way to the yard, a few heartless spawn and you can either face them or just simply jump down to the yard I decided to take down a few enemies first. On the yard, I could really experiment with Sora’s new abilities including the drill weapon, summoning Ariel into battle and even summoning a pirate ride that rocks back and forth on enemies.

I’m fine with Ariel being relegated as a summon, I was never a fan of the Atlantica levels in either Kingdom Hearts or Kingdom Hearts II. Her ability let’s Sora splash around in the stage and damage enemies for a limited time. As for the Pirate Ship, it simply rocks back and forth damaging enemies caught behind or in front of it, ideal for strong enemies.

With my time coming to and end, I found myself inside the Toy Factory with Sora quickly jumping into a toy mech. Entering first person mode, you are able to punch your opponent or use the mounted weapon to attack them from a distance. Defeating an enemy will at times leave the mech without a pilot and if you take enough damage, Sora will jump out of the mech before it blows up meaning you can jump straight into the next one. After fighting a few of these enemy mechs my time came to and end….

As of now, the demo did a great job of once again making me more excited to play the next installment of Kingdom Hearts. It’s crazy when you realize that it has already been 16 years since the first game released back in 2002 and while we did get Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue last year, the last true new Kingdom Hearts game we got was Dream Drop Distance which was released in 2012.

Now to wait until San Diego Comic-Con to get a chance to play more of the demo as we wait for more details on the game leading up to its release on January 29, 2019.