Square Enix and Disney first entered into their fruitful partnership in 2002 with the release of Kingdom Hearts.
At the time, the intense fandom that circulated around the Final Fantasy and Disney franchises combined to make the action RPG a smashing success. Since then, the series has given fans one direct sequel, a host of spinoffs, and current-gen compilations.
A direct sequel to Kingdom Hearts II (which released all the way back in 2005) finally saw its grand debut at E3 2013. The wait for Kingdom Hearts III has been pure torture for diehard fans, but it’s finally coming to an end in 2019. Sora, Goofy, and Donald’s fight against the Heartless will continue once more.
It’s time we offered you an extensive preview of everything that’ll be arriving in Kingdom Hearts III.
Kingdom Hearts III Release Date
Kingdom Hearts III is finally scheduled for release on January 29, 2019.
Kingdom Hearts III Reveal Trailer
Kingdom Hearts III Platforms
Kingdom Hearts III will only be playable on two platforms – PS4 and Xbox One.
Kingdom Hearts’ wide-reaching plotline is considered a bit confusing. Before we offer a breakdown of Kingdom Hearts III’s story, here’s a quick breakdown of the series’ chronology – Back Cover, Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross], Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, A Fragmentary Passage, Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts Coded, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, and Kingdom Hearts III.
Kingdom Hearts III has been set up as the final chapter of the “Dark Seeker/Master Xenahort” saga. Sora, Goofy, and Donald’s journey will focus on their search for the Seven Guardians of Light and the “Key to Return Hearts.” Riku and King Mickey are also on a mission of their own as they seek out previous Keyblade wielders who’re capable of putting a stop to Xenahort’s evil plan. Xenahort is attempting to balance the light and darkness, which is known to do more harm than good. Kingdom Hearts III will have a lengthy tale – players should expect to indulge in 40-50 hours of story content. The game’s full slate of content will take 80+ hours to fully experience.
Worlds & Characters
One of the more attractive features of Kingdom Hearts is the way it implements popular Disney films into explorable worlds. Kingdom Hearts III will feature a varied amount of brand new worlds – Kingdom of Corona (Tangled), San Fransokyo (Big Hero 6), Toy Box (Toy Story), Monstropolis (Monsters, Inc.), and Arendelle (Frozen).
As for which original and Disney worlds are coming back to Kingdom Hearts III, you can look forward to returning to Twilight Town, Yen Sid’s Mysterious Tower, The Realm of Darkness, Olympus (Hercules), and The Caribbean (Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End). The game’s Classic Kingdom will implement classic Walt Disney Productions Mickey Mouse cartoons, such as Giantland, The Karnival Kid, Musical Farmer, and The Barnyard Battle.
Kingdom Hearts III will feature a wide roster of characters who originated in the series and personalities from Disney/Pixar movies. As mentioned before, Sora will be joined on his adventure by Goofy and Donald while Riku and Mickey Mouse set off on their own mission. Some of the other supporting castmates you can look forward to seeing again are Master Eraqus, Aqua, Lea, Ienzo, Hayner, Pence, and Olette.
As for returning baddies, that list includes Master Xehanort and his many forms (his Heartless Ansem, his Nobody Xemnas, and Young Xehanort) and members of Organization XIII (Marluxia, Xigbar, Larxene, Luxord, and Vanitas). On the Disney/Pixar side of things, a bunch of familiar faces will be popping up. Two of Kingdom Hearts’ most notable antagonists, Maleficent and Pete, will make their return. As for Remy from Ratatouille, he’ll accompany Sora during a special cooking minigame.
Kingdom Hearts III will retain the battle and movement mechanics seen in previous entries, more specifically Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. The active battle system will once again feature Sora, Goofy, and Donald as they face off with the Heartless, Nobodies, Unversed, and giant bosses. Sora still holds onto his spot as the main playable character within his party.
Another playable character is reported to be featured in the game, but his/her actual identity hasn’t been revealed as of yet. In a fun twist on the three-person party formula, Sora, Goofy, and Donald can now be joined by two additional characters during exploration and battle.
Sora’s main methods of attack include landing strikes with his current Keyblade, using magic, activating character summons, getting assists from Disney theme park attractions, and utilizing other special abilities. Team-up attacks and the “Shotlock” system also make their return. Each of Sora’s Keyblades has two separate forms – once that second form is activated, Sora’s given access to new offensive/defensive options and his current outfit may change.
A Keyblade transformation is accomplished once you pull off enough combos and activate a mechanic similar to the “Situation Command” system. Keyblade “Drive Forms” also make their return. Three of the newest Drive Forms are Sora’s “Guardian Form” (which transforms his Keyblade into a shield), “Power Form,” and “Second Form” (a transformation that lets Sora sport an outfit similar to the one seen in Kingdom Hearts II). Another new mechanic that focuses on Keyblades is the ability to quickly switch between them at the touch of a button. Sora can now equip up to three Keyblades at once.
It’s possible to maneuver around the environment in a variety of ways (such as running up specially marked walls) thanks to the “Athletic Flow” system. This mechanic is quite similar to the “Flowmotion” movement mechanic seen in previous series entries. Character summons (now known as “Links”) let you bring in another character who’s capable of powerful attacks.
Some of the Links featured in the game include Ariel, Wreck-It Ralph, Simba, and Meow Wow. The theme park attraction summons (“Attraction Flow”) can be put to good use against regular foes and much larger threats. A few of the attractions you can use are Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Grizzly River Run, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Mad Tea Party, a pirate ship, and a carousel.
Each world you’ll travel to will introduce new styles of gameplay. For instance, 1st-person mech combat is implemented within the Toy Story world. Plus you’ll be able to participate in naval, underwater, and aerial combat situations within the Pirates of the Caribbean world. A total of 20 different minigames modeled after 1980s LCD games will be available for play within the Classic Kingdom. In order to discover each world, you’ll need to hop into your custom Gummi Ship for separate exploration and combat sessions.
The Standard Edition of Kingdom Hearts III is available for pre-order both physically and digitally. Pre-ordering any edition of the game from GameStop will get you an exclusive fabric poster. If you’re looking for a special edition of Kingdom Hearts III, the official Square Enix store has two Deluxe Editions of the game up for sale.
The first Deluxe Edition comes with a physical copy of the game, a SteelBook case, a collectible art book, and a collectible pin. The second Deluxe Edition comes with all the aforementioned bonuses, plus three “Bring Arts” figurines of Sora, Goofy, and Donald.
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