By Eric Tran
Square Enix’s long awaited Kingdom Hearts III finally released on January 29th, 2019. The reviews are in, with KH3 scoring an 86 out of 100 on Metacritic.
The Kingdom Hearts games are action RPGs with a crossover between Disney and Square Enix characters. Fans are excited about KH3’s release because of how long they’ve been waiting for this game, which is 13 years. However, newcomers might have trouble getting into KH3.
In the Kingdom Hearts universe many worlds exist and creatures called “Heartless” are devouring the heart of these worlds. To stop these worlds from being destroyed, their “keyhole” must be sealed with a magical weapon called a “Keyblade”.
Sora, the main protagonist, becomes the Keyblade wielder and is tasked to seal the keyholes. He then travels to many Disney-themed worlds to save them, along with making new friends and searching for old ones in the process.
KH’s story can be hard to follow because of the many characters and their multiple connections with each other, as well as a very complex timeline. The series spans over 17 years and KH3 is actually the ninth game excluding all the remakes and remasters.
This is due to the fact that there are multiple prequels and games that are happening concurrently with one another. Also, the games are on multiple platforms which include consoles, handhelds, and mobile phones.
Director Tetsuya Nomura stated in a ZG247 article that KH3 will include “a series of videos to explain the story so far at the start of the game.” These videos can be watched in the “Memory Archives,” which is available to download for free with the 1.01 update.
There are a total of five videos that help recap important events that have happened so far leading into KH3. It will take about 20 minutes to view all five. Players can access them on the main menu of the game or they can be watched on the Kingdom Hearts Youtube channel.
So yes, newcomers can dive right into KH3. However, they might not fully comprehend the story and nuances through summary videos.
Getting the full experience (though not required) of the KH series would mean playing through all the previous installments. The entire collection is available only on PS4.
Kingdom Hearts III is available for PS4 and Xbox One.