I fondly remember the first time I came across Kingdom Hearts.
I was nine years old and had gone over to a friend’s house, where he was playing the first section of the game on the Destiny Islands.
The game looked like a lot of fun to me and I looked at the cover to see what it was called and was shocked to see Donald and Goofy on it.
My friend explained to me that the game was a mix between Disney Properties and Final Fantasy, which intrigued me further, so I bought the game at the first opportunity.
Needless to say, I absolutely loved the first game and, after finishing it, quickly moved on to play the sequel Kingdom Hearts 2, unaware there had been an installment in between, Chain of Memories.
Despite my confusion about this, I loved Kingdom Hearts 2 even more than the first one and eagerly awaited Kingdom Hearts 3.
Over a decade later, the game has finally been released, and, boy, is it confusing.
This is because, in between Kingdom Hearts 2 and 3, there have been numerous spin off games that tie into the series.
I managed to play most of these games because of the remixes that were released and I looked up the rest of the story for the games I did not play.
Despite this, I was still incredibly confused by Kingdom Hearts 3‘s story to say the least.
What was once a simple story about light vs darkness has devolved over the years into a convoluted mess involving time travel, clones, people trapped in other’s hearts, multiple versions of the same people, and numerous story points that need to be seen to be believed.
This, unfortunately, makes the story of Kingdom Hearts 3 quite a slog to sit through, and the game itself is only saved by likeable characters, the worlds you visit, and strong gameplay.
The characters and their relationships were one of the few things that kept me invested in the story.
Had it not been for the likes of Sora, Donald, Goofy, Riku, Mickey, Axel, Aqua, and others, I would have completely zoned out.
Although, that said, Kairi continues to be the useless Princess Peach of this franchise.
As for the villains, I actually liked how a lot of them were handled during the final stretch of the game.
I especially liked Master Xehanort’s motivations and how his story concluded.
Then there are the gameplay and worlds, which are by far the highlights of the game and expands on the previous Kingdom Hearts games in every single way.
Whereas previous worlds felt confined and somewhat lifeless, the worlds of Kingdom Hearts 3 have a massive scope and feel alive.
The beauty of these worlds is also highlighted by the excellent upgrade in animation.
Not to mention the nostalgia of visiting these various worlds.
Some of the worlds like Toy Story and Monsters Inc. are a treasure to visit.
Sadly, some of the worlds like Pirates of the Caribbean and The Final World are a chore to play through, but the other great worlds more than make up for them.
Then there is the gameplay accompanying these worlds, which leads to extremely fun combat scenarios.
Utilizing different Keyblades and trying out various Disney ride themed attacks is very enjoyable.
The bosses are also incredibly fun to fight and very inventive, with many forcing you to use different tactics to beat them.
I would say though that the game is a bit too easy until the end.
I was looking for a real challenge when playing and I did not get this until arriving at the Keyblade Graveyard.
Still, despite how easy most of the game is, it is still really fun to play.
Again, it is the story and how convoluted it has become that drags down this game.
The story is full of plot holes, unnatural dialogue and enough deus ex machinas to make a drinking game out of it.
Kingdom Hearts 3 is a fun game but good luck trying to understand what is going on.