We Won't Spoil 'Kingdom Hearts III,' But We Can Tell You If It's Fun


#1

After spending nearly two hours listening to Waypoint try to dissect the lore of Kingdom Hearts, you might be wondering “OK, but is the new one any fun to play?” Patrick and Natalie have spent some hours with Kingdom Hearts III, and are joined by Austin, Danielle, and Cado to dissect the latest Square/Disney crossover.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/even94/we-wont-spoil-kingdom-hearts-iii-but-we-can-tell-you-if-its-fun

#2

For my money KH2 is the best character action game of all time, but for some reason so many people think it’s bad. I do agree with Austin that on the lower difficulties most of the game is really easy and only near the end do the bosses get difficult, but I don’t see how expecting the player to do more than mash is a bad thing. Kingdom Hearts boss fights have consistent and reliable patterns that can be pretty easily learned and dealt with if you’re willing to do more than mash. Learning those patterns and the reward of defeating the boss is some of the most fulfilling stuff I’ve ever played.

I’ve actually been playing the game on Proud and am pretty disappointed in how easy the game is so far, so I guess they went with the majority when designing the combat.


#3

I think that makes sense, GenereicBrotagonist but, (and my memory is spotty here) KH2 does not do much to teach you how to deal with those. The random encounters should build your skills up to the boss, but often did not.

Yes there are unique heartless fodder but a lot of the time you’re just dealing with the crawlers, and the easiest way is to set up a loop and mash. So you’re taught to go in that direction and then hit with a wall.


#4

Fair enough. This problem is of course non existent on Critical, but I understand most people aren’t playing higher than Normal. I feel like the Kingdom Hearts series has run into a similar issue to Halo, where they treat the higher difficulties as the default in all but name for fear that making the default harder would impact sales. In this case however they don’t do enough to balance the easier difficulties with the final fights where you need to play skillfully no matter the difficulty.


#5

The only Kingdom Hearts game i’ve played and therefore the best is Chain of Memories because it has cards. Debate me cowards


#6

The now defunct Japanese browser game Kingdom Hearts Chi had cards.


#7

I haven’t played it though, so can it really be that great?


#8

I suppose so. I stand corrected.


#9

I’m more just amused at the fact that the only one of these games i’ve played is Chain of Memories. Which is realy silly


#10

I thought Chain of Memories was really cool and the gameplay was interesting. Shocked I haven’t heard of anyone doing something similar. It was fun building decks and collecting cards then frantically scrolling through your deck to get to the right cards for a combo during a fight.


#11

Yeah. Its a super neat game. My finding the game was fairly unconventional. The way i came across it was that my cousin gave me his copy for the GBA because he said he didn’t like it very much. And its wierd, because i liked it quite a bit, and even though i had a PS2, i didn’t really get into the series. (My Cousin also gave me Megaman Man Battle Network 3, and damn, what a pair of games to just gift someone for the GBA haha)


#12

There’s a moment in this pod where Austin says confidently that he’s had EVERYTHING in a 7-Eleven but is given pause when he goes on to say that he’s had everything from SubWay and I refuse to believe that this was a slip up and not a canonical fact.


#13

Are you ranking it alongside DMC3, Bayonetta and other commers? If you are, and you’re willing to stand by that it has as satisfying gameplay I might have to give it a try.

If you’re just not a big fan of those, that’s fair enough. I just need perspective here.

Cheers


#14

I played a demo of Kingdom Hearts 3, in which I rode the Dumbo train to fight, I think, a Titan from Hercules and used Goofy as a living missile. I didn’t know what was going on.

Should I play Kingdom Hearts 3?


#15

Re: the short discussion on anthem. I am keen to try the colossus and storm but I actually ended up enjoying the Ranger most of all. The ranger combos cause single target spike damage and I am already starting to imagine how deadly it will become late game. Right now I feel like I will main ranger and have Storm as a back up.

Re: Resident evil 2 discussion. I think that the canon playthrough is Claire Scenario A Leon Scenario B. If you play the reverse order you will get slightly different story beats so it is not a pure regurgitation. Just don’t expect Witcher 2 levels of plot diversion.

Re: Kingdom Hearts discussion. I know nothing about this but I sure enjoy listening to your thoughts on the subject.


#16

I’m always shocked when I hear people go so long without checking their credit card bills. I may have had a subscription that I didn’t use for a few months before I cancelled it but at least I knew I was still paying for it.


#17

I’ve actually never played DMC3 as I’ve always told myself I’d play 1&2 first and hadn’t gotten around to starting until recently, but I would absolutely put it above Bayonetta and other games like Metal Gear Rising. It’s also quite a bit different from those as well though. There’s not a ton of combos; mostly just x to do your basic ground or air combo, a launcher to extend a ground combo into an air combo, and your magic spells. However those main ground and air combos can be endlessly customized through abilities you gain that do things like adding different finishers, adding or taking away how many hits before the finisher, and changing how the hits will come out in certain situations.

Like I said in my original post though; the precision, the way the game feels, and the puzzle-y boss fights are what makes it really special. In those other games I often feel like my hits don’t have much weight to them and the enemies don’t really react to them much. I also often feel that the enemies’ hits don’t really have a rhyme or reason to them, and the variety of the attacks they have is extremely low. Maybe that’s just because I haven’t played them nearly as much as KH, but that’s my experience. Don’t get me wrong though, I do really like them, just not as much.

I would say if you’re going to give it a shot for the gameplay, go with KH2 in the hd collection. The movement isn’t quite as fluid in KH3 and it’s a lot easier. I’m getting close to the end on the highest difficulty now and I’ve barely had to try so far. If beating it doesn’t unlock a higher difficulty (a rarity for the series) I’ll probably go again using the zero exp ability to do a level 1 run. Hopefully that’ll be a good deal more challenging because it does feel like it could be one of the best of the series if it was tougher.


#18

Please play DMC3. Also throw on GOD HAND and Bayo 2. That’s all the master class stuff.

The thing about all the games listed that make them differ from KH2 is that they’re not supposed to make you feel powerful on basic play (outside using stinger in DMC3 because that thing has some weight when it comes out, especially compared to DMC2’s whimpy version). When you feel powerful is when you start getting the hang of the ridiculous amount of mechanics at your disposal. This is why GOD HAND reviewed very poorly, what with its awful graphics and ridiculous difficulty, but still has a rabid following that have made some of the most ridiculous combo videos ever.

This one, for examples, shows the player cancelling out of doing a special attack to get into a regular move faster to get both enemies in a combo before they get up, has them time when an enemy will fall from a platform to use them as a projectile to hit another, uses the added speed of god hand mode to sweep a boss into a mid-fall state and them juggle them with a new combo, use sweeps and launchers to make an entirely new combo, use a series of launching moves to buy time to use enemies as projectiles to down a miniboss before they can enter their attack stage again, use their knowledge of frames and hitboxes to turn that launcher into an attack that hits all three enemies around them even as one is about to attack them, cancel out of a forward hitting move to get faster distance than running would have to continue a combo after a bit hit away, avoiding damage from hammer attacks by executing attacks that give them armor from hits during the animation and then using the enemy they were beating up on to attack the other, set up hitting one enemy into another with a hit away, launcher, and another hit away, and I could go on and on and on.

Kingdom Hearts 2 was a solid character action game, but not a great one, because for all its RPG customization, it doesn’t allow for complex use of the mechanics like that. It’s a game you can feel great playing (and it blew my mind as a kid) but it’s not really comparable to a genre where the focus is getting better and better to the point you can create spectacle with just basic technique.

AND THEN THERE’S DEVIL MAY CRY 3. HOLY SHIT IS THERE EVER DEVIL MAY CRY 3.

There is a reason that one is still considered the crown jewel of an entire genre.

I have no idea how any of that happened other than EVERYTHING IS CANCELLED, NO EXCEPTIONS.


#19

God Hand is another I’ve been meaning to play. I did play Bayo 2 and felt about the same as I did with Bayo 1. While as you say Kingdom Hearts doesn’t have complex way to use combos I think it absolutely does have the other stuff you’re talking about like enemy placement, hit boxes, cancels, and using your arsenal to buy yourself time. It even has it’s own lexicon that the community uses when dissecting that stuff including phrases like “revenge values” and “desperation moves”. I do admit that once the fight is “solved” it doesn’t look very interesting to a third party viewer because it usually boils down to blocking/dodging at the right time and doing the same attack over and over; but doing it and the process of getting there is so so fun.


#20

I have a very important correction to Patrick’s statements about Life is Strange 2 Episode 2. He was speaking about a family member who delves into conspiracy theories.

Patrick said that it was a nuanced portrayal of this conspiratorial family member because “there is no MAGA hat.” This is false. There is ABSOLUTELY a MAGA hat sitting off in the corner of the room where you encounter this character. It is red and, though the text is blurred, the text is clearly broken up into four words, and the length of said words roughly matches those of the iconic real-world hat. It’s a bit rough.