So, When's the Final Mix Dropping? – Kingdom Hearts III


It’s so frustrating every time it happens.

Because these games have gone further in the direction of big flashy attacks powered by beating up a ton of weaker enemies, it means most of the player’s arsenal just stops working at the final bosses, and the battle boils down to “slowly whittle down this guy’s massive health bar and also their attack combos can instantly kill you”.

In this case, I’m not asking for the games to beef up their combat complexity to give more tools for these fights, I just want them to stop trying to force boss battle formats that don’t fit the style of gameplay they’re going for.

Fragmentary Passage’s end boss was much better in this regard, at least.


I feel like this is the best mentality to have about KH III:


From Allegra Frank’s review on Polygon:

Pressing the highlighted action button initiates an automated attack, sending me through a lengthy scene that sets up Sora and his companions performing a move together, one that requires minimal interaction from me. It’s all lights and colors, flashy for the sake of being flashy. Seeing an attack like this pulled off a small handful of times in an important fight sounds like a neat idea. But the amount of times that the game prompts me to unleash these event-sized special moves renders them not so special. It makes me resentful of the extra time I’m spending killing off the weakest, tiniest enemies.

Yeah, that…confirms a lot of my worries.


oof totally, the lack of updates to the battle system in 14 years is troubling. Really good review on her part though.


Honestly, I was genuinely expecting the general reception among critics to be more mixed, but I’m glad it’s good, not that KH fans cared either way.


A few notes from the first 3 hours without giving away any plot details:

  • So far it’s been paced really tightly, it doesn’t feel like there’s as much drag that you get in past games, though that could change over time
  • The context attack thing isn’t anywhere near as bad as I worried, there’s a big variety of them, and with the Attraction attacks, you can easily skip the whole thing in 5 seconds while getting the majority of the impact; it’s a very fluid and fun combat system, which you wouldn’t think considering they just threw a little bit of everything in there
  • I like the big space hub for the Gummi Ship, it reminds me of Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time’s ship sections where you had a big activity center connecting all the worlds
  • A funny, overly specific observation: this game loves in-your-face showcases of physics systems and particle rendering as much as a new console launch window game, which I actually kinda love? It feels like big devs are often really restrained when using this stuff, whereas KH3 is just blowing up parts of the environment just to see all the physics objects tumble around
  • No more 2D lip-flappy faces! Any facial animations that weren’t hand-animated at least were given basic mo-cap treatment, so you don’t get that jarring juxtaposition anymore
  • Already there’s been a lot of fanservice for people who follow all the byzantine series lore (which will predictably be pretty confusing for those that aren’t)
  • Something I’m putting in spoiler tags because it’s such a pleasant surprise: when you first get to Twilight Town, it’s like, an actual busy town with a ton of people mulling around and chatting with each other. In a Kingdom Hearts game! It’s such a big divergence from the alienating loneliness that’s been endemic to this series worlds

I’m very, very impressed with it right now. I have high hopes that it doesn’t fall apart in cataclysmic fashion as it goes on.


Oh wow that last part is so exciting because the lack of people in the towns was so jarring and weird and made the world feel dead. I’m legit excited about that.


I only played for about an hour last night, because I’m already behind on sleep from a weekend of late nights playing RE2, but I’m definitely impressed.

KH3 looks INCREDIBLE, which actually came as a surprise to me. The areas I’ve played through feel full of detail in a way that was always lacking in past titles. The animation is fluid and natural. The aesthetics feel cohesive. My mind might change if there’s a particularly ugly world later, but KH3 is one of the best looking games of the generation in my opinion.


Seconding the praise for the visuals. Absolutely lovely thing to look at. Feels clear and evocative without being ludicrously overdetailed, as is the style these days. Other thoughts:

It couldnt even get as far as the intro without making Union Cross Back Page INTEGRAL to the plot. We IN it.

Lol @ the “Kingdom Hearts II.9” title drop. You literally have the game installed on your console and you STILL aren’t playing Kingdom Hearts 3. One last delay.

One of the tool tips in the gummy ship mentioned ship customisation and man, I feel so extremely Catered To right now.


This was absolutely incredible. High contender for the best moment in gaming in 2019, it got such a deep laugh out of me.


I’m kinda weirded out by how this game looks. It’s giving me a real “Mario 64 in Unreal Engine” vibe.


I’m still in the first world, but KH3 is the true successor to Half Life 2. No other game has had physics objects strewn about for no apparent reason to the same degree until now. What a joy it is to kick around foot-high satyr Danny Devito statues in clown shoes!


I’m amazed by how little has changed with these games. I figured with the long break between Dream Drop Distance and this that Square Enix and Nomura had to be cooking up some grand revolution to the gameplay. Like, if I were a AAA studio and I had the Kingdom Hearts license, I would be hit by so many temptations to modernize it. “We need to make it open world, we need more Dark Souls mechanics, we need multiplayer, we need loot…”

Instead, with KH3 it’s like they dusted off some design documents from a decade ago and changed nothing. The game doesn’t auto-save as far as I can tell, you have to equip Potions onto your party members, the combat is as floaty and mashy as ever. (I’m playing on Proud and haven’t had a single death even into my third world.)

Square Enix particularly is a company that reinvents the wheel for no reason all the time. They turned Chrono Trigger into Chrono Cross. They have no idea what Final Fantasy is supposed to be anymore. But with KH3 nothing has changed, they made a game that could have been KH3 made in 2008 just with better graphics. It is all as you remember it.

And I love it so far.


Love the visuals, but the random people in Olympus look weirdddd. Somethings just off about their design.


Been having a blast so far. The Toy Story world is pure joy and looks so good, and I’m not even done with it yet. I’m surprised how much the game has made me laugh already; the intro to the Toy Story world is one of the weirdest and funniest (and most expensive-looking) jokes I’ve seen in a game.

My only real complaint so far is that I’m playing on Proud and I’m not feeling much challenge, I haven’t even died once. Hopefully this amps up later on, I’m sure there’ll at least be some optional end-game bosses that’ll be tough.


I’m starting to regret setting the game to normal difficulty, especially with so many people saying that even Proud is a breeze. When I played the first two games as a tween I would die at least once to each boss, and I only ever played on normal. Maybe I’m just better at games now than I was then. I’ve only been playing for a few hours, so I might restart on Proud.

Does anyone else find KH3 kind of overwhelming? There’s just so much happening on screen, and the sound effects are loud and constant. Last night I found myself unable to sleep after playing for a couple hours. I ended up playing an hour or so of RE2 to calm my brain down.

Overall, I’m still really enjoying the game, and I’m excited to dive in again this afternoon!


I’ve noticed that you can “stock” your keyblade transformations by switching to another one, and the meter won’t drain until you switch back. Very useful if you still have some time left on it after the end of a battle, or you want to use a team attack while in a transformation.


Another series of disconnected thoughts:

The fake instagram loading screens are EXTREMELY good.

Ienzo is so cute?!?!?!

Axel getting fucked up by having to spend time with Kairi is something I definitely should have seen coming but it still hit me like “oh shit”.

I like how this game doesn’t feel obligated to make every combat encounter a capital C Challenge. Battles are mostly a delivery service for mucking about with various toys, and it works really well.

In general, this game feels super low stress compared to so many AAA game releases these days. I wish there were more big budget games like this.


Man, the Toy Story had some great character animation, but a bunch of the Tangled world’s cutscenes are literal shot-for-shot recreations of that movie’s scenes, right down to the little character animation details.

I wasn’t expecting this huge a glow-up from the past games’ bizarre, cardboard-and-plastic puppet show interpretations of the source material.


I was just thinking the same thing. It’s always been part and parcel of Kingdom Hearts’ approach to its Disney material, though. There’s the reinvention/‘playing around’ with characters in a sequel sense and the traditional retelling of the story except there’s some anime here.

I still think this game kinda is the cardboard-and-plastic puppet show, but this time with the budget behind it to make it not come across as super weird.

I really prefer it when it goes for the psuedo-sequel element, though – Toybox is some of the best Disney in KH for a long time and I just reached Monsteropolis last night.

(P.S. Marluxia is so cute)