How to enjoy the game without getting overwhelmed
KH3 – KeybladesCREDIT: SQUARE ENIX
If there is a video game releasing with more positive hype than Kingdom Hearts 3, I haven’t seen it. Square Enix’s long-awaited title is receiving rave reviews that have resulted in an 88 aggregate score on Metacritic for PS4.
Whether you’ve pre-ordered the game or still in the decision-making process, SE has added another small piece to the pre-release setup. It’s a new gameplay video that focuses on Keyblades, Magic, Combat and other aspects of Sora’s attacks in KH3.
The video breaks down all of the Keyblades abilities, including transformation. In KH3, the Keyblades have more power than in previous KH games. Sora’s primary weapon can transform and be blended together. All of the Keyblades have a distinct theme based on characters from the story. From the video, you can see the more dynamic forms of the Keyblades has added even more personality to a series that didn’t have a deficiency in that area.
The narrated gameplay video touches on elemental magic and Attractions, the Gummi Ship and a ton of other gameplay details. Ice slides and lightning-strike like spells makes for some grand battles with fleets of enemies. The Attractions remain an excellent meshing of iconic Disney rides into gameplay.
There are few better usages of classic intellectual properties than what we see in KH3. Along those same lines, the Link command that summons the spirit of legendary Disney characters like Wreck it, Ralph offer a nice visual payoff along with assistance during battles.
Kingdom Hearts 3 (and the series as a whole) is overwhelming. The backstory is a gargantuan, tangled mess. Each game is filled with scores of Disney worlds and characters. By the end, players will have accumulated a host of new abilities, items, weapons, and have tried their hand at multiple minigames.
But are all of these necessary to enjoy and get through the last entry in the series? Surprisingly, no.
Despite that, Kingdom Hearts 3’s opening hours will overwhelm its players with multiple tutorials, menus, side missions, crafting quests, collectibles, and more. Thankfully, you can choose to ignore all of them if you just want to get up to speed with Sora and the gang.
If you’re about to dive into Kingdom Hearts 3 and you want to know what to ignore to enjoy the game’s critical path, here’s what you can brush off.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE OPENING DECISIONS
Just like every main game in the series, Kingdom Hearts 3 will ask you a series of questions about who you want to be. The goal of these questions is to assign different stats to the game’s main character, Sora. While you can agonize over answering whether you’re more of a warrior or a mystic, the difference in the end is hardly noticeable.
After comparing experiences with several others who have poured dozens of hours into the game, those decisions didn’t seem to make an appreciable difference.
So answer the questions with your gut, but don’t worry too much about how they will change your character. In the end, hitting enemies with your Keyblade or zapping them with a lightning bolt will be just as satisfying. Only hardcore players will notice the difference.
THE GUMMI SHIP
The Gummi Ship is the main way Sora and his party travel around to new worlds. In Kingdom Hearts 3, traveling with your ship is more fleshed out and feels like a simple space flight sim. While there’s plenty of 3D space to explore and battles to be had, you can do much of the exploration with whatever default ships you gain.
Some players will absolutely enjoy building out their own funky designs for ships, but you are not required to invest any time in the specific missions you’re given for the Gummi Ship. The blueprints you run across and the ships you’ll naturally discover are more than enough to travel to every world required to beat the main game.
But if you’re eager to build something that is truly yours, then you’ll have to invest time fending off the Heartless that infest space as well as clearing Gummi Ship missions. If you just want your Gummi Ship to get you from point A to B, then don’t worry about it.
AP AND ABILITIES
As Sora and his team level up, they’ll increase their stats and gain new abilities. Unlike other games where characters naturally have access to new skills as they increase in power, in the Kingdom Hearts games, you can pick and choose what abilities to equip using AP (Ability Points). But should you worry about gathering up more AP to equip as many abilities as you can? Not really.
At a minimum, whenever Sora levels up, he should have enough AP to equip any new skills he’s gained access to. In the very early game, you may need to shuffle points around to use a certain ability or two, but once you’re a few hours in, you’ll naturally have enough AP to allow Sora to equip just about every skill he’ll ever gain.
To confidently beat Kingdom Hearts 3 on its easiest and standard modes, you can casually check in on your abilities to make sure you’ll always have a fighting chance.
At every save point, you’ll have the option to craft new items. As much fun as it is to talk to one of Final Fantasy’s Moogles, you can largely ignore this process.CRAFT NEW WEAPONS AND THEIR UPGRADES FOR DONALD DUCK AND GOOFY EARLY
Item crafting allows you to make new items like an AP Boost (which will give you more ability points to spend), items that restore health and magic points, or new gear for Donald Duck and Goofy. You’ll find dozens of crafting materials and small items as you explore all the breakable objects in each world. By mid-game, you’ll be drowning in mostly unused materials. Thankfully, Kingdom Hearts 3 is a pretty leisurely experience, so you will rarely find the need to craft items to compensate for anything you lack.
If there is one thing worth crafting early on, it would be the new weapons and their upgrades for Donald Duck and Goofy. Unlike Sora, the duo doesn’t gain new weapons at the end of each world they discover, so crafting is about the only way they’ll gain more strength outside of naturally leveling up.
Other than that, you can ignore crafting.
Just like item crafting, cooking has a handful of benefits that are useful, but not necessary to beat the game.
Early on, you’ll run across Remy from the Disney film Ratatouille. Visit the bistro he works at, and you can play minigames to craft new meals. Eat those to boost your stats for a limited time.
Throughout the game, Donald Duck and Goofy will call out the existence of cooking materials in each area you come across. You’ll find them on the ground (if it’s a plant like a basil), or in a small, white takeout food container. As you gather up more food items, you can visit Remy at his bistro (or through your pause menu) to craft new meals.
Unlike Monster Hunter: World, being well fed won’t make or break your success. The cooking minigames can be fun, but they are hardly a requirement to stay alive. If you’re a big Ratatouille fan, it’ll be worthwhile to revisit Remy once in a while, but you’ll never need to cook again after its introduction.
After you beat your first Disney world, the game will introduce Lucky Emblems. These are little, Micky Mouse-shaped markers left scattered throughout all the worlds in the game. After you collect a handful, you’ll gain a reward, like an AP boost or an equippable item.
As you travel around each new world, Sora or his teammates might call out a new Lucky Emblem, and it’s up to you to find it hidden somewhere in the area. Sometimes, they are easy to find. Some are simple markers on walls. Others are more devious. You can only see them from certain angles since they might be made up of objects in a physical space.
While Donald Duck and Goofy will make it easy to find most of them as you play, you can also beat the game without finding them. Lucky Emblems are a great activity for completionists to take part in, but if going on a visual treasure hunt isn’t your thing, you can ignore them.
JUST FOCUS ON WHAT’S FUN
Kingdom Hearts 3 has so much to offer on top of its complicated story. All the tutorials, exclamation points in your menu screens, and additional things other characters talk about can feel overwhelming. Thankfully, you can ignore most of it if you’re just looking for a followup to the the previous games.
If the idea of finding collectibles, fighting non-story related battles, or gathering crafting items is not fun to you, you can ignore that. But if you’re eager to soak in as much time in the world of Kingdom Hearts 3 and want to nab all the game’s Achievements and Trophies, then dig in.
There’s a lot to love in Kingdom Hearts 3, and thankfully you can indulge in whatever parts you find the most satisfying. But if you’re not sure of what to do and all the extra bits just feel like added noise, just focus on the main story path and enjoy the ride all the way to the end credits.