The Kingdom Hearts 3 Premiere was held this week
A new family friendly adventure is in the works at Square Enix, which looks to provide both recognisable entertainment and RPG fun.
Having been behind closed doors for years, members of the press finally got to try out the first demo of Kingdom Hearts 3 gameplay this week.
And while there may have been some kinks to work out with some of the dialogue, the overall experience was extremely impressive.
Square Enix provided two parts of the new expansive Kingdom Hearts 3 game to play, a boss battle from Olympus, and an adventure set in the world of Toy Story.
The Battle on Olympus featured the twin-headed titan, Lythos, who spent much of his time hurling boulders.
This part of the demo mainly focused on the main cast of Sora, Goofy and Donald Duck, who were faced with many “Heartless” baddies to fight.
The movement and combat system employed in Kingdom Hearts 3 will feel very familiar to fans of the franchise, and comes with a few key changes.
Players can now switch between keyblades, making it possible to create new combos, based on which weapons you choose to employ.
Switching between the YoYo attacks of the Monsters Inc keyblade, made it possible to reach far off opponents, but didn’t limit the choice of firepower.
It was also possible to use a fantasy keyblade from Tangled, or the classic keyblade from the series.
It meant that building up attacks to unlock a fearsome Keyblade Transformation with an incredible finisher felt less tiresome and also provided a lot of variation.
This is important as combat could have really got bogged down if only a certain handful of options were available.
Instead, you could end your run with a mighty hammer, using a special sequence that features Rapunzel’s Tower rising from the ground and raining down a flurry of damage.
This dynamic effect didn’t feel clunky and fitted in with the general flow of gameplay really well.
The battle with enemies themselves ran smoothly on the test build I was using on the PS4 Pro, with the lock-on system playing a crucial role.
Without it you can sometimes feel lost in a sea of opponents, whose combo of attacks can suddenly wear you down to a low health bar.
Being able to use walls to spring special keyblade attacks also helped to ensure you keep moving, although the camera angles may still prove a little jarring for some players.
The world of Olympus that was on offer was just a small taste of what will be available to players and mostly featured gameplay based around scaling cliffs and battling groups of bad guys.
This led to the inevitable showdown with the Titan on the top of the mountain, who could be destroyed using an array of special moves.
Breaking down his feet helped unlock the crucial attacks against the twin heads, and also helped showcase the special Theme Park Ride attack.
Riding the Train Summon was an interesting change of pace, and helped stop the battle turning into a button-bashing grind-fest.
However, there was still plenty of button mashing going on, albeit in a controlled sequence that made it feel more rewarding.
However, while it was fun to return to the world of Hercules, it was the new “Toy Box” world that really stole the show.
Starting in Andy’s Room, players are tasked with teaming up with Buzz and Woody to find out what has happened to the other Toys of their world.
The attention to detail is truly impressive, with each character moving and functioning the way you would expect in the movies.
The aesthetics felt close to perfect, and the attention to detail was so immense, it was a joy to move around the different locations to explore.
There were no real issues when it came to loading times, but the cut-scenes did feel just a tad jarring.
While the conversations between the cast felt very authentic, the timing was a little off.
As I only played a demo version of the game, it’s easy to see how this could change in the final build that’s released.
Kingdom Hearts 3’s Wreck-It-Ralph Link
It is something worth mentioning as it did make you want to skip through some of the dialogue, even though the world functioned well in most other aspects.
And after such a long wait, what fan would want to skip any part of the game they’ve waited so long to play?
This was also the world where I got to try out the new Link Summon abilities in a higher quantity, which provide their own fun way of battling.
Fans have already seen Ariel from the Little Mermaid, who makes it possible to dive around the level and use a unique finisher which activates multiple waterfalls.
But the newest reveal will be that of Wreck-it-Ralph, a Disney character who can rush opponents and build pipes around the level to trap enemies.
These come in handy when it comes to his ground-slamming finish, something that’s deadly if you can keep all your foes in a small group.
The Toy Box World really comes into its own when you arrive at the big Toy Store.
This location is packed with homages and items from the films, making it a great place to wander around.
It’s a big space though, so it helps that you can also jump into giant robots after you defeat them, which helps to cover ground quicker.
There attacks work well against the other mechanical monsters roaming about, but aren’t overpowered enought that you can just stay in one.
While near the start of the demo I had been quite rusty gameplay-wise, by the time I faced the last boss – a possessed doll – it didn’t really stand much chance.
With plenty of Keyblade skills at my disposal and Link Summons to call upon, the final encounter went pretty quickly.
It’s fair to say I wasn’t playing Kingdom Hearts 3 on its hardest difficulty, so you can expect this could be a much harder boss battle with a few option changed.
When it comes to the game’s key features, it looks like Square Enix has got it nailed down.
Fans won’t need to worry about getting bored when it comes to combat, with plenty of new tricks and olds one to enjoy.
There’s also no chance of being disappointed by the level of detail that’s available to enjoy.
The team at Square Enix have enjoyed a close working relationship with Disney, meaning that everything looks topnotch and authentic.
Members from the Disney team went in-depth on how the development process worked.
While Square Enix were given access to original character models, they had to recreate other key aspects, Sully’s fur being one example given.
Exploring these worlds was one of the most enjoyable things I got to do during the Premiere event and I imagine is something that will be duplicated in all KH3 Worlds.
My only real concern is connected with the pacing of the cut-scenes, which feel like they drag on just a little too long.
There’s certainly plenty of reasons to keep going back to these storytelling moments, what with all the great Disney in-jokes to enjoy.
But keeping things a little tighter when it comes to the overall experience seems like the best thing to do, considering how much time fans will want to navigate around.
When it comes to core gameplay, everything appeared to run smooth and looked great on the PS4 Pro.
There have also been a few quality of life changes made by the team, like skipping summon sequences to speed up gameplay.
If this level of quality is found in the final product, I can’t imagine there being a lot of disappointed Kingdom Hearts fans out there.