E3 2018: Hands-on – Kingdom Hearts 3

Ever since first seeing a small glimpse of Kingdom Hearts 3, I have wanted to get a moment to try out the controls. Now the game is finally around the corner and a 2-part playable demo is on the E3 show floor. Get ready to destroy heartless in large numbers, because Sora and team are all powered up.

The section I played was the demo section of Sora, Goofy and Donald taking on Titan in Hercules’ world. You start at the bottom of Olympus and make your way up the mountain by wall running and avoiding boulders that Titan keeps throwing your way. The game runs smooth, even when switching between camera shots of destroyed terrain or near misses with massive boulders as you make your way up towards Titan. On the way a large force of heartless attack you and this is where Sora’s improved skillset comes into play. The regular dodge, attack, jump and spell-casting is there, but as you hit enemies you start to fill a gauge that activates a prompt on the side of the screen. This enables Sora to hit his Second Form mode, where he does more damage. You can end the mode with a finisher move, normally something with a large AoE attack. This can also be a team move with Donald or Goofy. Donald’s team up has the two of you launch dozens of fireworks all around you, damaging enemies, while Goofy and Sora launch into the air for their team attack, before throwing Goofy towards the enemy like a human err Goofy meteor.

These special attacks come in handy with fighting large numbers of enemies as well as bosses too. After knocking down Titan’s legs you can jump up to his head and continue the attack, calling on a Disney amusement ride to help finish the attack. I summoned a rollercoaster that zipped around Titan’s head, allowing you to shoot him from a distance, with a powerful finishing move, just like a limit break or a summon attack from Final Fantasy.

Killing Titan ended the demo, but a second demo of arriving in the Toy Story world was also available. You meet Buzz, Woody and the gang and learn that the heartless are here too, causing havoc. Eventually you end up in a toy store with a large remote controlled mech called Gigas gets piloted by a heartless at the command of the first Xehanort. Sora has to pilot a mech to fight the newly armed heartless, giving you a first-person shooter for a while. This section of the demo was heavy on plot and cutscenes and after a few minutes the demo’s timer just kills Sora out of nowhere, so I don’t know what happens at the end of that fight. The Toy Story world looks true to the movies, with Sora and the gang running around what is probably the most detailed and graphically stunning world to date, with manicured lawns and the texture of the suburban roads looking good from up close. Things feel a lot smoother than older KH games, though there is still an odd pause after an air dodge that I am hoping is there because you get a move to fall into that slot later, like a secondary dodge or a follow-up attack. Still, as it was KH3 was smooth with bigger attacks, more AoE, a massive boss fight and so many enemies all on screen at once. I think I need to go try to play it again and see what other combination attacks there are.

If it has the letters RPG in it, I am there. Still battling with balancing trying to play every single game that grabs my interest, getting 100% in a JRPG, and devoting time to my second home in Azeroth.

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