Kingdom Hearts III is the last title of the maxi-arc of the "Saga of Xehanorth", belonging to the Kingdom Hearts videogame series by Square Enix. Originally born as a collaboration between the Japanese production house and Disney, with the appearance of characters from both sagas, the latest titles have shown a clear preponderance of the second. Directed and scripted by Tetsuya Nomura, with the music of Yoko Shimomura, the title has been a great expectation of the gaming market since its conception. On January 29th the game arrived on the Italian shelves, despite numerous and systematic day one breaks.

Although the title suggests a continuation of the story compared to the second chapter, Kingdom Hearts 3 is absolutely not the direct sequel to Kingdom Hearts 2. To understand the storyline of the game, you need to end Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance and have at least in mind the events of Birth By Sleep 0.2 (along with all the prequel titles of course).

Synopsis

The game resumes with the secret ending of Birth By Sleep 0.2 where we see Sora, Donald and Goofy at the tower of the master Yen Sid. The old sorcerer reminds the trio how Sora weakened following her keyblade mastery exam and lost a critical ability to recover lost travel companions "The Power of Awakening". It is made clear how the recovery of that skill is of the highest priority and the trio is invited to go to Mount Olympus and speak with Hercules. The game tutorial, where Sora will unlock all the new combat and movement related features, will take place during Hades' small coup. Ironically (or perhaps not) Square Enix has decided to call this first phase Kingdom Hearts 2.9. After the prologue ends, Sora will visit other Disney worlds in search of lost power.

As in all wars, the trio of adventurers will not be the only focus of the story. In short moments we will also impersonate Riku and the teacher Aqua for a little too short fights due to the power of the same. Once all the comrades have gathered and obtained seven guardians of light, Master Xehanorth and the "real" Organization XIII will invite us to the Keyblade cemetery for the great war.

Unlike the previous Kingdom Hearts, this is characterized by a lower presence of worlds but by a much longer history for each of them. This fact will lead Sora to become more attached to new characters and to grow or doubt much more about himself and his abilities.

The game perfectly manages to give a feeling of closure to the saga started chronologically with Birth by Sleep. All the stories left unresolved will be resumed and concluded, although perhaps not with the necessary build up that would have been expected. The final part of the game, the Keyblade War, offers more answers than the players would have expected.

Gameplay

The gameplay is undoubtedly the richest of the saga. During the prologue Sora will obtain many skills known to those who have played the previous ones. The trio will always have new and creative ways to destroy bosses and hordes of enemies that will be pulled against Sora, Donald and Goofy. All this great variety is unfortunately not compensated by an equally high demand from opponents. Much of the aforementioned lack of difficulty complained of by the players is not due to a numerical question but to a laziness in the design of the opponents. Provided it wasn't an easy task, it would have been appropriate to force players to use all the mechanics.

An important novelty for all players will be the possibility to upgrade their keyblade. Each of them has more than ten levels and new skills to unlock, which allows you not to abandon your favorite after a few worlds.

The level required to end the game, following all these observations, is very low. We finished it at 33 on expert difficulty in about 25 hours. The final boss, in all its phases, fortunately is not affected by the lack of design shown above and offers a beautiful challenge. The only sore point is that even the final sequence, if played at 99 with Ultima Weapon equipped, becomes a walk. Perhaps it would have been appropriate to scale the boss level.

Minigames and Portals

The minigames represent an important component for the completion of the work. In addition to being genuinely funny and forcing the player to think outside the box, they are mandatory to achieve the final weapon and experience the power described above. Portals, an end game idea that could offer longevity to the game, are unfortunately one of the least successful ideas. These are battles against hordes of enemies or small bosses, which unfortunately are not mandatory for the last weapon and are annihilated once the final weapon is obtained.

Music

Fans of Square Enix's works know perfectly well how much the Japanese videogame house has at heart the soundtracks of its titles. Kingdom Hearts 3 is no different. Finally abandoning Simple and Clean, a song present in almost every chapter of the saga, the game opens with Face my fears and closes with Don't Think Twice. Particularly popular old tracks will return and fans will feel right at home.

Conclusions

Kingdom Hearts 3 is a game to have, to play and to complete. Pending the final mix, which is sure to be released in the future, the conclusion of the Xehanorth saga is an important step in the history of Kingdom Hearts. The secret ending leaves many doubts and an immense desire for a sequel.