Kingdom Hearts 3 has been a long time coming. Seriously, fans have been waiting over a year for this game. And now, it’s finally on the horizon. Kingdom Hearts 3 is, at the time of this writing, is slated to come out this year! With this extended wait fans, myself included, have had time to dwell on what they want to see on this once-fabled release.
Kingdom Hearts 3 is going to be an important game. The longer the wait, the higher the expectations. With that being said, here’s a bit of a wishlist for this monumental release.
A Satisfying Conclusion… Please
Kingdom Hearts 3 will be the official conclusion to the story we’ve played through for almost 20 years. The story that started with the original 2002 release will finally reach its end. That’s quite a bit of pressure.
This isn’t just Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 2. It’s Chain of Memories, 358/2 Days, Coded, Birth by Sleep, Dream Drop Distance, and Unchained χ (the mobile game). The cinematic film Back Cover and the Fragmentary Passage short game, both of which appeared in 2.8 HD Chapter Prologue. The secret endings.
If that sounds like a a lot… it is. Each game has added more and more characters and plot elements, all of which seem to be integral to 3. So much so that it’s absolutely necessary to play every game in the series. (Okay, maybe not the mobile one.) Thankfully, the HD collections of remastered ports are a big help. (If you’re an Xbox gamer, considering that 3 will be on Xbox One, well, I’m sorry).
How will Kingdom Hearts 3 manage to not only juggle all of these elements, but give satisfying conclusions to them? That’s my biggest worry for this game, to be honest. Playing each games, it seems like the people behind this game are making up the story as they go. How else can you explain the whole time travel element added in Dream Drop Distance? (I don’t have enough time to go into detail…just read this.)
Please…give us a satisfying conclusion. We’ve waited years for this.
Bring Disney (and Final Fantasy) Back to the Forefront
Kingdom Hearts was built on the premise of Disney + Final Fantasy. Then why does it seem like the Disney of it all has been continuously pushed to the sidelines?
To be fair, the Final Fantasy of it all hasn’t been on the forefront of the series, but that’s how it’s been since the series began. It would be nice to see more FF characters (maybe some not from VII and X for once?) and have them be integral to the plot again, like in the first Kingdom Hearts.
Speaking of the first, remember how the Disney elements were also integral to the story in the original? The stories of the Disney worlds were also progressing the plot forward. Following that, the Disney worlds just seemed to be window dressing. Besides throwing in an Organization boss battle, the plots of the Disney worlds might as well be separate from the main plot. The Disney villains were the main villains for most of the game. I get there’s a bigger story (and villain) at play, but it would be to the benefit to have the Disney (and FF) of it all matter.
Not just in the story, either. The original game was filled with Disney! Remember the 101 Dalmatians quest? It’s little touches like that which keep the Disney spirit alive. Even something like Pinocchio and Geppetto moving in to Traverse Town after being found stuck inside of Monstro.
At least it’s appearing that we’re getting full-on summons, which are on opportunity to showcase characters that may not necessarily be able to carry their own worlds. Characters like Dumbo, Bambi, and… Chicken Little. It seems like Ariel is our first confirmed summon.
Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 2 may have been PS2 games, but they had the most dynamic worlds. They may have not been filled with NPCs, but they had elements of platforming, and various secrets to discover.
The other games, however, have had worlds that feel like hollow empty rooms. Now, considering that the side games are all handheld titles, it makes a little sense. That doesn’t make it any less disappointing, however. Each world seems to have, at most, five NPCs. Are these worlds even populated? It seems like the answer is no.
It does appear that this is an issue that is already being addressed. According to footage showed off at the D23 Expo in Japan, the Tangled world was absolutely vibrant, with NPCs everywhere. The real test will be San Fransokyo, the high-energy city seen in Big Hero 6. Will we be exploring a densely populated city? Or will we be relegated to empty alleyways and streets? It seems like the game will be leaning towards the latter, but we will see.
A More Refined Gameplay Experience
Each Kingdom Hearts game has added new gameplay elements. While overall I am for this idea, and I think it makes each game unique, it also worries me about the gameplay of Kingdom Hearts 3.
Kingdom Hearts was relatively straightforward, gameplay-wise. The action menu only comprised of four sections. Attack, Magic, Items, and a miscellaneous fourth slot (mostly used for summons and opening chests). There were no other forms or attack styles, all you could do was attack and cast spells, to put it simply.
With each new game, the the overall gameplay has become increasingly complex. Kingdom Hearts 2 added Drive Forms, Limit Commandos, and Reaction Commands (which have become a staple). Birth by Sleep had the Command Deck system (which I love), in addition to shotlock, D-Link, and Command Styles. With that, the UI has become increasingly complex as well, with more and more menu slots and meters.
While I really am all for these advancements and additions, I truly think it would be fitting for the final game in this saga to go for a back-to-basics approach. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. We’ve seen standbys like summons and shotlock, but we’ve also seen new gameplay additions. There’s Attraction Flow, which which are attacks based on famous rides from Disney’s theme parks, and Keyblade transformations, though we’re not sure how these are triggered quite yet. If you look in the newest trailers as well, you’ll also notice a “link” command, which could possible be related to summons.
Now, I get why these new additions are here. Square-Enix have always been ambitious, and these are ways to make the game seem as dynamic as possible (it sure is a pretty game). But, like I said, there is something special about a back-to-basics approach.
Okay, I probably won’t be spending too much time on this, but it’s worth mentioning. But let me say, The Muppets need to be Kingdom Hearts. It’s a crime, frankly, that Disney’s secret best franchise haven’t made an appearance in the series. Maybe they don’t make sense as a world in the game (I sort of shudder thinking about it…), but maybe a cameo in some form. Let’s make Kermit a summon in Kingdom Hearts 3! Or they could factor into different minigames somehow. Some may want Marvel and Star Wars in the series (okay, I do too…), but The Muppets need their time in the spotlight, too.
What Do You Think?
I know Kingdom Hearts has a lot of fans out there. What do you want to see in Kingdom Hearts 3, or maybe the series as a whole? Do you agree? Or disagree? Let us know!