Here’s everything we know about the much-anticipated third installment of the Kingdom Hearts series, Kingdom Hearts 3, which lit up screens a few days ago.
In this article:
Kingdom Hearts 3 2019: What to Expect
About the Game
RPG Definition: Also known as “Role Playing Game”, RPG players take on the role of a character in the game’s story. The choices the player make during the game affects story and gameplay progression.
Square Enix, the game studio behind the Final Fantasy games, and Disney designed Kingdom Hearts as an RPG game, which combines the characters and worlds from both companies. Think of it as a big crossover between the two companies’ stables of characters.
There’s a 14-year gap between Kingdom Hearts 2 and Kingdom Hearts 3 because the Square Enix team developing the game decided to switch game engines. The long delay stoked fans’ excitement for so long.
Kingdom Hearts 3 picks up from where Kingdom Hearts 2 left off and continues the story of Sora, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy as they battle shadowy creatures called the Heartless across multiple Disney worlds, including:
- Kingdom of Corona
- San Fransokyo
- Andy’s Room from Toy Story
- The Caribbean
- 100 Acre Wood
The game was released on January 25 in Japan and other Asian countries. Four days later, it debuted to the rest of the world.
Here are other notable dates for the game:
- Japanese release of epilogue — January 26
- Epilogue release outside of Japan — January 30
- Secret film content release — January 31
New Gameplay Elements
Players who’ve been with the series since the beginning can expect to unbox new surprises in-game.
Inclusion of Newer Disney Franchises
Since Kingdom Hearts 2 came out in 2005, it didn’t include characters and worlds from Disney’s biggest hits released afterward. Aside from old favorites, players will soon be interacting with a host of characters from Big Hero 6, Tangled, Frozen, Pirates of the Carribean, Toy Story, and more.
Here’s a list of Disney characters making an appearance in the game:
- Mickey Mouse
- Donald Duck
- Minnie Mouse
- Chip and Dale
- Clarabelle Cow
- Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Maximus, Sven, and Olaf from Frozen
- Ariel from Little Mermaid
- Baymax, Fred, Gogo Tamago, Hiro Hamada, Honey Lemon, Wasabi-No Ginger from Big Hero 6
- Boo, Sully, Mike Wazowski, and Randall from Monsters Inc.
- Buzz Lightyear, Hamm, Woody, Rex
- Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann, Captain Barbossa, Joshamee Gibbs, Tia Dalma from Pirates of Caribbean
- Winnie the Pooh Eeyore, Gopher, Lumpy, Piglet, Roo, Tigger from Winnie the Pooh
- Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Mother Gothel, and Pascal from Tangled
- Hercules, Hades, Megara, Pegasus, Phil, and Zeus from Hercules
- Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty
- Ralph from Wreck-It Ralph
- Remy from Ratatouille
- Simba from The Lion King
- Yen Sid from Sorcerer’s Apprentice
- Heartless — Shadow-like creatures that are created out of the darkness in people’s hearts
- Nobodies — Creatures that manifest from what’s left of people who’ve lost their hearts
- Master Xenahort (and all his forms) — Resident Kingdom Hearts villain, he’s a Keyblade master who desires to conquer the world and rebuild it according to what he believes is right
- Maleficent — The Sleeping Beauty antagonist returns to this game, she controls the Heartless and serves as the leader to all Disney villains
- Pete — Another returning villain, Pete is King Mickey’s nemesis, and is part of Maleficent’s band of villains
- Barbossa — Pirates of the Caribbean “dark trickster” Captain Hector Barbossa returns to the series in this game to cause chaos in our heroes’ lives
- Organization XIII — A group of mysterious hooded figures who were originally looking for their hearts
Bigger Party Size
The game’s hero, Sora, largely held Goofy and Donald Duck in tow as Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 only allowed for three characters in a party. In Kingdom Hearts 3, the party gets bigger as the player can drag around as many as five characters in a group.
Sora wields a weapon called a Keyblade, a magical item that can unlock and seal different magical worlds. In this game, the Keyblade transforms into different weapons inspired by the different worlds, such as a toy hammer in Toy Story for example.
Players can perform special magical attacks in the game which “summon” characters for devastating effects. Ariel from The Little Mermaid and Ralph from Wreck-It-Ralph will fight alongside the party as summons.
New Motion Mechanic
Square Enix imported the Flowmotion feature from the Kingdom Hearts 3DS game into Kingdom Hearts 3. This means players can freely control Sora and allow him to bound off walls and objects thanks to this technology.
Special Moves: Attraction Flow
Players can also expect the appearance of several iconic Disneyland rides as light shows within battles. For example, while the player is battling a boss, a raft from Grizzly River Run or a rollercoaster train from Space Mountain can suddenly appear.
In Kingdom Hearts 2, gummi ships ferried players from one world to another. Players had to go through a space shooter mini-game while traveling through worlds.
It’s different in Kingdom Hearts 3 as players will be able to freely move across different worlds while controlling their gummi ships. They can also likewise seek upgrades for their ships in-game.
Japanese pop superstar Utada Hikaru continues her role as the Kingdom Hearts’ series songbird. Older players and fans will remember her for singing “Hikari” in Japanese or its English version “Simple and Clean” for Kingdom Hearts, or for “Sanctuary” for Kingdom Hearts 2.
Utada sings “Don’t Think Twice” for Kingdom Hearts 3.
Related: Nintendo Switch Game Release Dates
Sony, the manufacturer of the PS4, will also be releasing a Kingdom Hearts 3 PS4 Pro bundle. This special edition of the PS4 plays on 4K HD TVs and 1080p HDTVs.
Need more information? Check out how Kingdom Hearts 3 has fared with both critics and users in our compilation of reviews from Metacritic.
Watch Kingdom Hearts III together trailer in this video from KINGDOM HEARTS:
The new kid on the block in the Kingdom Hearts series, Kingdom Hearts 3 is the torchbearer for what appears to be a great year for games and can potentially outstrip other releases coming out in 2019 as NOOBIE’s game of the year or one of the best games of all time. We hope this guide has helped you learn more about this highly-anticipated game. Happy gaming!
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