The wait for quite the anticipated Kingdom Hearts installment is almost over. Since its announcement back in 2013, fans across Disney, Pixar, Final Fantasy, and the KH franchise itself have been waiting eagerly to get their hands on it.
As we are just three weeks away from the official launch, which will mark over 6 years of development, we discuss below things that you should be aware of, before evaluating your wallet for Kingdom Hearts 3.
Things to Know before Buying KH3
KH3 marks the 12th installment in the series and a direct sequel to Kingdom Hearts II. The narrative revolves around the Dark Seeker Saga and to provide a closure to that.
In their struggles, our heroes: Sora, Donald Duck, Goofy, King Mickey, and Riku fight their way through a series of conflicts in order to prevent a second Keyblade War.
In order to do so, the protagonist and his friends need to find the seven Guardians of Light along with the peculiar item that will be essential to their journey, the Key to Return Hearts.
The game will run on Unreal Engine 4 with the same cartoon-ish art style of the previous games, to remain true to its roots, a visual style the developers call the ‘Kingdom Shader’.
Apart from the visual department, the characters, settings, and worlds in the game can only be described as ‘overwhelming’ with so much variety both in gameplay aspects due to different mechanics and mini-games of each world and in terms of plot as well.
On your adventures, you will traverse through the worlds of Toy Story, Frozen, Pirates of Caribbean and more while meeting iconic and titular characters like Buzz Lightyear, Rapunzel and Captain Jack Sparrow.
To find out more, take a look at our comprehensive list of all confirmed characters and worlds in the game.
Knowing the Lore
The interwoven narrative of the Kingdom Hearts series is a complex one, to say the least.
With numerous characters inhabiting their respective regions, and a huge number of regions themselves being incorporated into the game world, there is a lot to uncover as you learn.
Discovering the lore of KH3 would only as accessible as your knowledge of the previous events of the series allows so.
Now we know, you’d rather be the idlest person in the world to play all 11 preceding titles so that’s not really an option for recapping on the lore.
For this purpose, it is recommended to take help from the numerous informational videos available on YouTube and the guides and FAQs riddled throughout the web.
These will allow you to cut down on the expansive lore and the only process the most highlighted an important aspect of the game’s overarching narrative, just so you can make sense of the plot of KH3.
If you would rather want to try out a few games to get a feel for the story and go in well prepared in the world of KH3, we have highlighted only the games that you will want to play for canon story.
Here is the specific order you should go for, in terms of chronology and the only games you will require to get a hold of the most important plot points.
- Kingdom Hearts
- Kingdom Hearts II
- Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
Lastly, you can save yourself all the effort and go in with absolutely nothing save for the special ‘story recap’ section that will come with Kingdom Hearts 3.
Titled ‘Memory Archive’, the video will serve as a 5-hour abridged version of the whole story and will only cover the most important topics.
Retaining its primary hack n slash formula, the combat is as fast-paced and action-based than ever. In addition to improved AI and five-team members’ allowance, the main hero, Sora, can utilize magic spells in combat to turn the tides of battles.
Players can also equip abilities and make use of team-based attacks to excel in combat scenarios.
One such ability comes with a Keyblade Transformation that allows Sora or other playable characters like Riku to transform their weapons with dramatic and dynamic animations during strings of attacks or chained combos.
Sora can also use the ‘Second Form’ to change his abilities in combat that will affect his capability and movement, rather than having a direct impact on his armed assault.
Furthermore, there also has been a new type of special move added called Attraction Flow, that sees Sora and co. have fun with the iconic Disney theme park rides including Mad Tea Party, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, and Grizzly River Run.
As for gameplay elements that make a return from the previous games, summoning other characters to fight beside you temporarily and situation commands that play into Keyblade Transformations can be utilized.
Moreover, the Gummi Shop also makes a return so to make long-distance traversal between worlds much easier and quicker.
In addition to occasional platforming sequences and first-person segments coming with the challenges of the world you’ll be exploring, there are a wide variety of mini-games that range from puzzle games to 80s retro ones.
These also include cooking sections, musicals and combat sequences that will see you fight underwater and while airborne.
One aspect that sets the Kingdom Heart series from other action-adventure games is the use of epic music pieces and outstanding voice acting to make the characters and environment feel truly alive.
Most of the game’s soundtrack is comprised by series’ legend, Yoko Shimomura while artists, Takeharu Ishimoto and Tsuyoshi Sekito have also lent a helping hand.
The two main themes, one for the beginning and one for the end will be available to listen on Jan 18, before the game’s launch. These are ‘Face My Fears’ by Skrillex and friends for the opening theme, and ‘Don’t Think Twice’ by Hikaru Utada.
As for the voice-over roles, the actors previously attached to the Kingdom Hearts series original characters return.
Additionally, those that voiced the original Disney and Pixar characters have also been brought on board to voice the video game version of those characters.
The two voice options for the game will be English and Japanese, while a separate Chinese subtitled version is also on its way.
As we draw closer to the launch, there have been four confirmed versions of the game that consumers can look forward to buying. They are listed below along with their price tags and description of contents inside.
Standard Edition – $59.99
This version includes the base game and will not come with any additional goodies. That is unless you pre-order this version from Amazon to be awarded the Dawn Till Dusk Keyblade weapon in the game.
You can also pre-order from the official PlayStation Store, in which case you will be getting a dynamic Kingdom Hearts III theme titled ‘Impossible Odds’. Lastly, pre-ordering the game through GameStop will earn you a fabric poster of KH3.
Deluxe Edition – $79.99
For getting an artbook, a pin that you can keep in your collection, and the game disc being part of a steelbook case. For its value, this edition is fair and you even get the same Keyblade weapon if you pre-order this version from Amazon.
Special Edition – $99.99
Serving as a bundle of remastered versions of three previous games and KH3 itself, this version is a must-buy for fans who’ll be looking to delve deep into the game’s lore and try out what they may have missed earlier.
The version includes Kingdom Hearts III, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue and lastly, the dynamic theme mentioned above.
Deluxe Edition + Bring Arts Figures – $ 229.99
As the name suggests, you get all the goodies that come with the deluxe edition and get your hands on action figurines of Sora, Donald, and Goofy. Their apparel will resemble that which they seem to wear in the Toy Story world.