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Kingdom Hearts 3 Review- Non Spoiler

As a gamer who grew up playing the original Kingdom Hearts 1 when it was released, and a huge fan of JRPGS, I was eagerly awaiting the release of KH3 with great anticipation. After more than 13 years since the release of KH2, and playing most of the spin offs released on various consoles, do I think that KH3 was worth the wait?

The reason this review is so late, even though I purchased the game on release day in January is that I unfortunately found the game pretty boring and wasn’t something I was excited to play in my free time. It follows the same structure of the previous games, resolving conflicts on various worlds and given story breadcrumbs that lead up to a more interesting finale. I would revisit RE2 and was more excited to finish Ni No Kuni 2, then KH3. For a relatively short game, completing the game a little under 30 hours, I have little to no interest to return to the game, find all the collectibles or discover easter eggs in the various worlds.

That’s not to say I hated everything about the game but would say that it is on the weaker side of all the games in the franchise. I preferred KH2, birth by sleep, KH1 and 358/2 Days, and even maybe Chain of Memories. Starting with my grade first, I would give this game and C, and in this review I'll explain why.

Starting with things I enjoyed about the game. The graphics look amazing and I loved seeing Sora, Donald and Goofy’s style change as they visited worlds like Monster’s Inc, Toy Story, and the 100-Acre Wood. I enjoyed using a variety of spells that you learn as you progress through the story and level up. Not only did each spell and their stronger versions look and feel great, each spell also had different effects, such as Blizzard creating a path of ice to slide on or Fire burning the ground around enemies had me using magic more than I ever had in previous games. I also loved how each weapon was unique and had different transformations that kept combat as diverse as possible.

With that said, the combat is flashy but there is little to no challenge in any battles as you can basically can close your eyes and just button mash the attack button. Even on Proud Mode, I never had to optimize my equipment, or worried about my level going into new areas. While you can’t spam heals, utilizing your party, items, and transforming to Rage form would replenish your health during a battle, eliminating the need to block or plan out any strategy.

While the new worlds, like Rapunzel and Toy Story, were a great addition, there were repeats I found dull. For example, the Pirates the Caribbean and Olympus were less interesting and repetitive as they play out the same way as previous games in the franchise. I wish they would have focused on all new worlds, or incorporated all previous worlds like the Nightmare Before Christmas, or Mulan, that was missing from this game. And common, why couldn’t they get anything Marvel related? I know its more complicated because of licensing agreements, but it might be something they are saving for in the future.

I wouldn’t have minded the repetitive combat and worlds if the story was good. But because the story has gotten so convoluted over the course of all these games, KH3 fails to bring everything together in a satisfying way. KH2 did a much better job of building up to the final battle, where you had to take out the different organization members. Here you fight many of them over again, and it doesn’t feel like your seeing anything new. There are just so many characters and superficial villains that no one really stands out. The game tries to make you feel something, by playing the same sad music during these scenes, but because the game expects you to already have a deep feeling for these characters, as they don’t take time in this game to develop any of them.

The game does play to its hardcore fan base, as every major character mentioned in previous installments makes a comeback or is referenced. I was ultimately disappointed with the game because it undoes many of the bittersweet moments that made KH2 and Birth by Sleep my favorite games. In order to have a happy ending trying to resolve all loose ends, there is no struggle or threat of any danger. Many things happen that can only be explained by the simple idea that light always wins over darkness, which has been the main focus since the first game.

Yet, another reason why I was disappointed with KH3 was that it felt more like an adventure game, and stripped away all its RPG elements. The original KH and KH2 felt like more like a collaboration between Square Enix and Disney, showcasing the best of both. In KH3 there are no Final Fantasy or Square Enix characters, the gameplay doesn’t feel like an RPG. For example character stats, equipment, and the added cooking/crafting feels tacked on like an afterthought. Meeting characters like Cloud or Sephiroth as extra bosses was a major selling point to me in KH2.

What I was also disappointed about was the ending of the game. Without going into spoilers, I was hoping that this would be the final chapter in the KH saga, and finally put an end to the story. But in true KH fashion, it ends the same way as every other game, by trailing off with more questions. Setting up for even more games to come.

Well, at least I can say that I personally am done with the KH franchise. Almost 2 decades since news of the first game was announced, I’m no longer looking forward to the next KH title. I could go on about how Square Enix once a powerhouse of the RPG genre, has failed to improve and keep up with even indie developers in today’s game industry. Times are definitely changing, and Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy, are games I no longer anticipate and get me hyped up as it did when I was growing up.

Thanks for reading this review, sorry this one was a bit of a downer. Let me know what you guys thought of the game, or if I'm way off base. Have a good day and hope to talk to you again soon.

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