One-Page Preview: Kingdom Hearts 3

What a wait it has been. I was but a child when I played Kingdom Hearts 2. For many years I believed we would never get a proper conclusion to Sora, Donald and Goofy’s journey, but here we are. It’s 2018 and we are but 7 months away from Kingdom Hearts 3. If my hands-on time with the game at E3 this year is any indication of what’s to come it looks like the wait might have been worth it.

I played a 20 minute demo of the new Toy Story world, Toy Box. There was no real story explanation as the demo was focused on combat and there is a lot of combat. There are so many options when it comes to tearing down the hordes of heartless. If you’re a purist you could absolutely make it by with just the classic swings of the keyblade. But the more interesting and fun way to go about it, is to jump between the new options KH3 gives you. If you string together enough hits, Keyblade Transformations become available and they differ between the different unloveable keyblades. The Toy Story themed blade transforms into the Hyper Hammer and it is a joy to harness.

It gives access to area of effect attacks that are far more powerful than the standard keyblade attacks. If you manage to keep up the attacks you can transform again into the Drill Punch. It lets you grab heartless and pull them to you as well as drill in and out of the area.

We also have access to new summon type moves inspired by Disney World attractions. The first one was the tea cups, which you can spin around faster and faster, wiping out heartless as you go. The other one I got to activate was a giant spinning pirate ship that was a little harder to control. Essentially you spin the ship around and as you go faster you get stronger and the area of effect gets wider.

The demo concluded at Galaxy Toys, a huge new area in the Toy Box world. The area was plagued with giant mechs. I had two link attacks available to me so I used those first.

Wreck-it-Ralph is a sight to behold. He can charge and build blocks up that shoot at the enemies. Towards the end of his timer you get the option to activate a finishing move that wrecks all the blocks you’ve built in giant explosion.

Ariel on the other hand lets you dive in and out of the environment like water. It’s one of the most gorgeous looking animations I’ve ever seen and her link ends in a fountain of colors and explosions that truly belong in Disney World.

Ultimately the mechs were impossible to defeat without jumping into a mech suit myself and fighting fire with fire. There were three suits available and they each had a special move. Using a combination of super charged punches, laser blasts and jet pack smash attacks, the mechs were defeated and my demo came to an end.

Even in the short time I had with the title, I am very happy with what I saw. The game takes all the best parts of the last 15 years of Kingdom Hearts games and leaves behind the failed experiments. Hopefully the other worlds have as much variety as the Toy Box. My main concern is the games difficulty. With all the new combat options the standard heartless are almost no trouble at all. They really need to give the enemies a shot in the arm.

For more info on Kingdom Hearts 3 as we approach the release on January 29th, stay tuned to NotAlwaysTerrible.com