‘Kingdom Hearts’ returns

14 Year Wait? Worth it.



Sora stands in the realm of endless sky and sea.

Marc Lopez, @KaptainMarc

After a 14 year wait, “Kingdom Hearts 3”, the newest installment to the Kingdom Hearts franchise, has finally been released. Kingdom Hearts 3 continues the story of Sora, Donald, and Goofy as they travel across many worlds featuring famous Disney characters, fighting against the darkness. After years of waiting, were these friends ready to step into a new world of video game development and stay relevant? The answer is yes.

KH3 plays like its predecessors but with a fresh new look. Hack and slash your way through enemies known as the “Heartless” and make new friends along the way. KH3 added mechanics to its combat system such as summoning Disney attractions and characters to aide you in your battles to defeat your enemies and join your quest.

It’s truly a sight to see when you summon Disney themed objects that are similar to the rides in Anaheim, California, such the Pirate Ship and the Mad Tea Cups. The attractions are just one of the countless other gorgeous moments of KH3. Gameplay is extremely satisfying and smooth as the game moves from cutscenes in a matter of seconds.

All the worlds are vastly and creatively designed and do not feel like empty, barren play structures. You truly appreciate the design and time you had to wait for this game when you look at the worlds.

The attention to detail on all characters is jaw dropping. All characters are beautifully animated and even characters from animated worlds look as if they were ripped from their respected movies. Seeing how realistic Sora, Donald and Goofy look, it’s like they are part of the Pirates of the Caribbean story itself. It’s amazing and just one example of the game’s great animation.

Sora, Donald Duck, and Goofy in the world of Pirates of the Caribbean.

However, with great detail comes greater room for error. KH3 does suffer from a couple of frame rate issues and textures not loading in. I noticed this early in the game and during some fights where lots of “Heartless” came into play. For the textures, they were not game-breaking but subtle enough to where you might say to yourself, “This looks weird.”

If you are extremely nitpicking on frame rate, KH3 does allow you to tinker with a few settings to help the game’s performance. However, even then you should expect a few hitches.

KH3 also faces an issue with its voice actors. Certain Disney characters featured are not voiced by their original voice actors. Woody, Buzz, Rapunzel, Sully, Mike and nearly the entire cast of Pirates of the Caribbean are not voiced by the actors from the games movie counterparts.  

The biggest hurdle KH3 had to face leading to launch was “what is the story of Kingdom Hearts even about?” Between KH2 and KH3, a total of 7 non-main title games were released during the 14 years of wait. The story got extremely convoluted and confusing as time went on.

Tetsuya Nomura, KH3 director, figured this may be an issue so there is a “memory archive” that refreshes and simplifies the story as it goes on. Although the game does a fairly decent job at reminding players what has occured throughout the countless games, the memory archive is fairly short and does bring back good or significant memories.

Kingdom Hearts 3 delivers for its style of gameplay and seeing Sora, Donald and Goofy in this recent journey, make the 14 year wait worthwhile. The worlds are fun, vast and vibrant, even if there are a few hiccups in performance. Kingdom Hearts 3 is out now for Xbox One and Playstation 4.