Kingdom Hearts III Review

Alright guys, I have officially beaten Kingdom Hearts III!  Of course, I could have beaten the game in less than a week, but I definitely didn’t want to do that after I waited so long for the game.  I took my sweet time, collecting Lucky Emblems, leveling up, etc.  But now, I have finished the game and I have got a few things to say about it.  Before we go on, of course, Major Spoiler Warnings, like, I’ll talk about all kinds of stuff!  You have been warned!

 

Still here?

 

Okay, first off, the animation in this game is INCREDIBLE.  All those special cut scenes were beautiful!  It had come a LONG way from the first game.  I’m really excited about the music, since a lot of it was from the older games as well and I am a really nostalgic person.  I mean, the instant I heard Dearly Beloved come on the menu screen I had tears in my eyes because not only was it absolutely gorgeous, but it was finally here.  I had waited forever to hear that song play, and I always wondered what it would be like.  I was surprised to find that it was exactly like I imagined it to be.  It was the perfect welcome home song, encouraging to to finish the battle with the seekers of darkness.

The worlds in this game are fun and the gameplay is awesome.  The game is pretty simple to beat and definitely not as hard as the first Kingdom Hearts game.  I am not a huge fan of gummi ship building and upgrading, so thankfully this game does not require you to do that if you don’t want to!  I spent many hours hunting down Lucky Emblems, the little carvings/drawings/etc. of Mickey’s head.  In order to see the secret ending you need to collect these, but if you are playing on a mode other than Beginner’s mode, you will not have to collect all of them.  I played on Standard Mode, but I still collected all of them for the fun of it!

As a story-teller myself, I am in complete envy of how well the Kingdom Hearts story has been plotted.  There was never a dull moment in the series, and this game was no exception!  We have Sora searching for the Power of Waking, Riku and Mickey searching for veteran keyblade wielders in the Realm of Darkness, Kairi and Lea (Axel) training to become wielders, all kinds of stuff going on.  We learn that Maleficent and Pete are searching for a certain black box (if you watched the Back Cover movie, you know what’s up!)  Down in Radiant Garden, Ienzo and a few other ex-Organization XIII are hard at work deciphering the code Ansem the Wise had left behind.  And then we find that Xehanort is almost done collecting his thirteen vessels of darkness.

We get a couple cutscenes of Kairi and Lea taking a break from training and hanging out together.  We learn here through a letter that Kairi is writing to Sora that Lea has been acting rather strangely.  She write that she often catches the man staring at her, as if he’s trying to remember something.  The two of them discuss the letter, and Kairi says she won’t send it, since the letter is more for herself.  Lea reveals that he brought ice cream.  As they eat their ice cream, Kairi catches him staring again.  Kairi asks him if he is trying to remember what he forgot, and he confirms this.  Kairi changes the subject to talk about their training, and this is the part where only those who know the story of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days will truly realize how heartbreaking this scene is.

“So tomorrow,” says Kairi.  “You and me in the ring.  You ready?”

“Course,” Lea replies.  Then Kairi lands the killer line.

“Don’t hold back , Lea.  Promise?”  She says.  (Xion said this very line (“Lea” replaced with “Axel”, mind you) back in KH 358/2 Days).

Lea turns to Kairi, but only sees the face of a familiar friend who he can’t place.  He breaks down in tears, not even knowing why he’s crying.  Kairi freaks and starts asking him what’s wrong.  He brushes her off before saying that he’s going to go.  Before he goes, the two of them make a deal.  In order to make Lea stop apologizing for everything, Kairi must call him Axel from now on.  Now, I just wanted to emphasize this cutscene for something that is to come…

Many major plot points are touched on throughout the story.  After ten years of wandering through the Realm of Darkness, Riku, Mickey, and Sora manage to bring Aqua back tot he world of light.  They then head over the The Land of Departure where Ventus is still sleeping, waiting for his missing heart to return.  For those of you who played Birth by Sleep, you know that Ven’s heart is keeping safe within Sora’s heart.  Of course, Sora was only four years old when Ven’s heart came into his and he doesn’t remember this.  During a battle with Vanitas – the darkness within Ven’s heart in human form – Ven’s heart returns and he awakens right on time to save Aqua’s life.  Now, as I get older I become more and more emotional, and this part had me crying.  Aqua and Ventus reunite after a little more than ten years, and the conversation is priceless.                “Good morning, Ven,” says Aqua.                                                                                                  “Good morning, Aqua!”  Ventus replies.

So after that, everyone heads over to the Mysterious Tower to regroup and plan out their attack on Xehanort.  After, they all take the day off.  Now, I was an emotional mess from here on out.  Kairi and Sora ACTUALLY EXCHANGED PAOPU FRUITS!!!!!  If you’ve been following the series, then you know that this means their destinies are intertwined forever! ❤ ❤ ❤

Okay, ANYWAY, the day of the battle finally comes, and it is one HECK of a battle.  Obviously, stuff had to happen to prepare us for the real ending (if anything could actually prepare us for what happened).  We reach rock bottom when it turns out Xehanort has been waiting for the group at Keyblade Graveyard.  After fighting as many Heartless as possible, everything looks to be pretty hopeless after the Heartless turns into a bigger threat than they can handle, and one by one their hearts are taken.  The last two left standing is Sora and Riku.  Sora has a bit of a break down here, falling on his knees and sobbing over the apparent death of his friends.

“All my strength came from them!”  He cries.  “They gave me all of it!  Alone, I’m worthless….we’ve lost.  It’s over.”

“Sora, you don’t believe that.  I know you don’t,” Riku says before standing in front of Sora to protect him form the hoards of Heartless.  This also results in Riku’s death, which in turn leads to Sora’s death.

In the next scene, we find that Sora is trapped in the Final World, where the souls of the dead remain trapped forever.  Lucky for Sora, fate has other plans for him.  Unlike the other souls, Sora retained his body, although he is see through.  Now, in order to get out of the Final Realm, a Chirithy (good Dream Eaters) tells him that he must find the broken pieces of his heart.  Throughout the Final World, there are these souls in the form of stars, and you can listen in to what they are saying.  Not going to lie, I bawled.  There are two very special stars that you hopefully don’t miss, and they are the souls of Namine and Xion.  While you wouldn’t know this right away, but from the words they say it gets obvious.                                                                                                                                           After collecting all the pieces of Sora’s heart, you speak to the Chirithy again, and find that it is waiting for someone to come back for it there in the Final World.  Whoever it’s waiting for has “already made new friends”, making you wonder who it could possibly be.

Alright, back in the real world, it seems that everything happens all over again.  The Heartless get to much to fight and everyone is swept away into the darkness.  But this time, Sora fights back.  You are taken to every Disney world you have been to throughout the game to save everyone’s heart.  After this, the story moves forward.  Of course, when you get back to the Keyblade Graveyard, it seems that everything is going to happen AGAIN.  However, right before Ven’s heart is taken, a very special character makes an appearance.  Fans who’ve been following the whole story will immediately recognize this newcomer to be Lingering Will, or, in other words, Terra’s will.  Now, this very well may have been one of the coolest parts in the whole game!  Ephemer (from KHx)  arrives when the Heartless become numerous once again, and with the power of past Keyblade Wielders, Sora is able to take down the enemies.  Even more Heartless come, but Yen Sid arrives to help out with that!  Before the group travels onward, Donald and Goofy decide to stay behind with Yen Sid.

Now things start escalating!  Xehanort reveals his thirteen vessels and traps the Guardians of Light in a labyrinth.  Everyone gets separated, and now you’ve got to find each group.  It doesn’t mater in what order you find them, but I will tell you how it happened for me.

I first went to help out Riku, who was busying fighting Xigbar, Riku Replica, and Ansem.  I defeated Xigbar first, and here we find out that the only reason he agreed to being a vessel was because Xehanort had apparently promised to bequeath him the No Name Keyblade.  Xigbar warps up to one of the labyrinth’s walls and walks off of it, seemingly killing himself.                                                                                                                                    Next up I defeated Riku Replica.  Riku’s darkness takes Riku Replica’s heart, turning the body into a simple empty replica body.  Ansem left before they could get him.

The next person I helped out was Mickey, who was up against Luxord, Larxene, Marluxia, and Xemnas.  Xemnas, like Ansem, also leaves.  I went for Luxord first, since he was the easiest.  He took Mickey and put him in one of his cards, so you’re in it alone.  All you have to do to beat him in look for the card with Luxord on it, and that’s the one you should attack.  Once you beat him, Luxord and Sora will talk for awhile, planning to play a card game together when Luxord returns to the world as a human.  With each of their deaths, they will return as humans back at the places where they first lost their hearts and became Nobodies.  Also, one more thing about Luxord, he gives Sora a “wildcard”, saying that it could turn the tide of his battle.  Now, Sora never actually uses the card in the game, but I’m sure it will reappear sometime in another one.  Anyway, one thing that I’m curious about is when Larxene is defeated.  When Larxene tells Sora that she didn’t want to be a vessel, he asks her why.                                                                   “I was just along for the ride,” she says.  When Sora asks her who she was going along for the ride with, she replies, “My secret!”                                                                                      Now – and this is just my opinion – but I think she’s talking about Marluxia.  Think about it; allll the way back in Chain of Memories, Marluxia was planning on turning against Organization XIII, and Larxene – and a few others – joined him.  In a earlier cutscene in KHIII, Larxene asks Marluxia if he wants to do the same thing to Xehanort.  This interests me because she said that the only reason she became a vessel was so she could ride along with someone else, so if it’s Marluxia, she must have been trying to get him to leave so she could leave to.  Makes sense to me!

After Mickey is saved, he goes after Riku, who went after Ansem.  Now, the two saddest battles here is when you get to either Lea (Axel) and Kairi or Aqua and Ventus.  I went for Aqua and Ventus first.  You help them fight Vanitas and Terranort, and I defeated Vanitas first.  Here, Sora finds out that his appearance is just like Van’s.  Sora wishes for Van to fight with them, but he declines before disappearing.  Next up is Terranort.  After you defeat him, you might as well get your tissues out if you haven’t already, because I was in tears!  Terranort tries to kill Aqua and Ven, and it’s by far on of the saddest scenes in the game.  Luckily, a surprise visitor saves them just in the nick of time; Ansem’s bodyguard, who you’ll remember from the very first Kingdom Hearts game.  But then…something seems familiar about the Heartless bodyguard.  We find that it’s none other than Terra’s Heartless.  ALL THIS TIME!!!! I was in shock!  Terra’s Heartless defeats Terranort, and Terra turns back to his original form.  Sora watches as Terra, Aqua, and Ven sit around hugging each other bawling their eyes out (I was to, to be honest).  Sora has them stay behind to let Ven and Aqua rest while he goes to help Lea and Kairi, who are facing Saix and a hooded vessel (of course, we all know who that is!)

Lea finds himself at the mercy of Saix and Xemnas (if you remember from previous games, Lea and Saix were BFFs when Saix was a human).  When they try to kill him, the hooded vessel stops them.  When told to kill Lea, the hooded vessel almost does, but Sora stops that from happening.  The hooded vessel becomes enraged and tries to kill Sora.  As Sora begins to cry (basically, everyone was just a mess of tears at this point) and repeatedly tells the vessel that everything’s alright.  This might very well be one of my favorite lines in the whole game…

“It’s alright…Xion.”

For the first time in so many years, We hear her name spoken.  Xion hears her name, the very one that had been forgotten.  At hearing her name, Xion has a bit of a mental breakdown.  Xemnas knocks Xion and Sora away, and in the process causes Xion’s hood to fall off.  This scene is one of the greatest scenes yet!  Lea finally sees the face of his friend, and he remembers who she is!  This was a big deal!  My sisters and I were all screaming “HE REMEMBERS!!!”  Oh, it was wonderful!                                                                Anyhow, he calls out her name upon realization of who the vessel is.  Xemnas prepares to kill Xion, and Lea frantically tries to stop him.  Right as Xemnas is about to land the killing blow, a heart leaves Sora, who is unconscious on the floor.  Something falls from the sky and kicks up a whole lot of dust…As the dust clears, we hear a familiar voice.

“Hands off my friends,” the voice demands.

Ladies and gentlemen, all of you who have been waiting for this for thirteen years…Roxas has returned!  And boy, was he here to get revenge!  Like the rest of us, Lea and Xion are VERY happy to see Roxas!  After Xemnas leaves, taking Kairi with him, Sora, Xion and Roxas fight Saix.  Let me pause for a minute to say that this battle was just…wow.  We had The Other Promise, Vector to the Heavens, The Thirteenth Struggle, Sora’s theme, and…I think there was another song?  Can’t remember.  But they were ALL mixed into one song!  With that playing, Roxas was beating the literal daylights (or should I say moonlights?) out of Saix.  All I ended up doing for half of the battle is hanging back to let Roxas have his revenge.  Gosh, did he get it.  I’ve never seen a health bar go down so fast.

Anyway, after that battle, we’re up for more tearful scenes.  As I said before, Saix (Isa) and Lea were besties when they were humans.  As Saix fades away, he admits that he was jealous of Roxas and Xion, because it seemed that Lea had taken them as his new best friends.  Also, he was mad because originally – and this led to how Lea and Saix lost their hearts in the first place – the two of them were working together to track down this girl they had met back when they were kids.  I’ll talk about this in a minute.  Lea assures his old friend that he didn’t forget him, and Saix agrees, saying that he would never do that.  Saix disappears, and Lea turns to Sora, Roxas, and Xion.  He tells Sora to go after Kairi, which he gladly does.  Once alone, Xion starts to cry again.

“Guess I…shoulda brought some ice cream,” says Lea.  He runs to hug them as he, too, begins to cry.  Like Terra, Aqua, and Ven, the three of them hug and cry together.

Alright, as if we hadn’t experienced enough pain, that was just the warm up!  We’re just getting started!  Sora meets up with Riku and King Mickey to fight Ansem, young Xehanort, and Xemnas.  Like the Nobodies, as you defeat them they have their own cutscenes before they die.  I’m gonna skip some of this, because this review is getting a little long and drawn out, isn’t it?

Before they can get to Xehanort, he taunts Sora, saying that he needs a little motivation.  Right in front of Sora, he straight up murders Kairi.  This is the part where we’re all sitting their like :0.  UUH, WHAT???  Sora is understandably very upset and goes into a rage.  Xehanort is a little too much for him at the moment, however.  Xehanort successfully summons Kingdom Hearts.  After everyone meets back up with Sora, Riku, and Mickey, (Goofy and Donald are there now, too) it is decided that Sora, Goofy, and Donald will go after Xehanort into Kingdom Hearts while the others stay behind to close it.

Sora goes inside Kingdom Hearts to find a place called Scala Ad Caelum.  After a boss battle here, and a boss battle there, we get to the ending cutscenes.  The boss battles really aren’t that hard, but I will say that they are probably the hardest battles you’ll get out of the game (besides the battlegates, of course).

Everyone arrives in Scala Ad Caelum to see that Sora has defeated Xehanort, but they also find that he still wields the X-blade.  The ghost of Eraqus (Xehanort’s old BFF and Terra, Aqua, and Ven’s teacher) and he talks Xehanort out of using the X-blade to do evil.  Xehanort hands the keyblade over to Sora before disapearing with Eraqus (of course, not without yet another tearful reunion between a teacher and his pupils).  Sora and the gang close Kingdom Hearts and they find themselves back in the Keyblade Graveyard as if nothing ever happened.  Except…someone is missing.

Sora tells them that he is going to look for Kairi, but Mickey tells him that in order to get her heart back…it might have consequences in store for Sora.  He doesn’t care, of course.  Riku expresses his thoughts on the matter, saying Sora should go.  We all know nothing’s going to stop that boy from saving his friends.  WHY MUST THEY ALWAYS BE TORN APART??????

As the last cutscenes played, I truly thought I was going to be okay and not cry…well, I was wrong.  We see Terra, Aqua, and Ventus back in their homeworld of Land of Departure making a grave for Eraqus.  As they walk away, Ven greets his old Chirithy, proving that it was surely him that was one of the old Union Leaders in Kingdom Hearts X.  Now here’s where I really lost it; Lea and Roxas sit on the old clock tower in Twilight Town where they always used to hang out and eat ice cream.  Xion joins them, and it isn’t long before Isa (Saix) comes, bring Ice cream for all of them.  As if I’m not already a puddle, Hayner, Pence, and Olette (who we first met in Kingdom Hearts II) come to join the friends as well.  Next up, we find that Namine’s heart has been placed into a vessel!  Riku comes in the Gummi ship to pick her up… (And it’s about time someone treats that girl right!)

After Riku picks everyone up, he takes them to Destiney Islands.  They’re all making sandcastles, looking at seashells, and playing frisbee.  One thing I want to point out…remember in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days how Lea (Axel at the time) had promised Roxas and Xion he would take them to the beach?  Well, there they were at the beach!   Anyway, everyone suddenly stops what they’re doing to look up at the palm tree that the Riku, Kairi, and Sora used to hang out on in the earlier games.  We see that Kairi and Sora are sitting together up there…but something isn’t right…

A tears falls from Kairi’s eye, and slowly, Sora disappears.  What kind of trick was that???? In about 2.5 seconds I just went from happy crying to sad crying!  UGH!

Before I get into a horrible rant, I’m going to stop and warn you.  The information I’m about to discuss is about the post-credit scene and the secret ending (both very jaw-dropping).  So once again, SPOILER WARNINGS!!!!!…

In the Keyblade Graveyard, the No Name Keyblade falls from the sky, and a hooded man picks it up, saying that it’s back where it belongs.  Beside the hooded man is a certain black box, and you’ll recognize it immediately if you watched the Back Cover movie.  Four of five of the original Foretellers are summoned by the hooded man, and they are not happy to see him.  Ira, the leader of the Foretellers, asks the man if he is Luxu, the sixth apprentice of the Masters of Masters.

“Yep,” Luxu replies.  Luxu lets down his hood to reveal that he is, in fact, Xigbar.  Now, I just want to explain how intense this scene was for me.  I have been digging and researching everywhere to figure out the whole deal with the Back Cover movie and who the Master of Masters really is.  I would have NEVER guessed that Luxu was Xigbar!  As you can imagine, I was quite shocked!  Anyway, Xigbar explains that he has had to throw his old form away.  He points out that the fifth Foreteller is not present.  Whey they question why he had excluded her, he says that he had told her he had a role to play, and she had already played hers.  They finally ask what his role is, and Xigbar turns to the black box.

“I hope you like long stories,” Xigbar replies.

Next we see young Xehanort and young Eraqus playing chess again, as it has shown throughout the game.  Eraqus, representing the light, has beaten Xehanort, who represents the darkness.  Eraqus removes all of the pieces off of the board and begins putting new ones, all of which are black, symbolizing the darkness.  He explains to Xehanort that he had heard about this new game.  He finishes places the dark pieces, seven of them to be exact.  Each on symbolizes the Master of Masters and his six apprentices.  Xehanort asks what game it is.

“Just watch!”  Eraqus replies as he takes a white piece representing Sora and dramatically places it on the board.

 

If you gathered all of the necessary Lucky Emblems, then you got to see the secret ending!  because of the depth of that secret ending, I’m going to have a WHOLE separate post for it.  Boy, was it a doozy!

What did you think about Kingdom Hearts III?  I’ve got to say that I am VERY pleased!  It was everything I had hoped for!  Not my favorite KH game, but it’s up there!  (Besides, what KH game can beat Kingdom Hearts III?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

My breakdown of the secret ending (as well as the secret reports) will be released soon!

 

All media property of Square Enix

 

 

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