(Just a heads up there are some spoilers in this post).
Ah Kingdom Hearts, the game series that satiated my Disneyland hunger during the pandemic. Besides being a Disney game, there’s so many things I love about the Kingdom Hearts series. This game is so beautifully made, and it’s honestly so much better than I ever thought it could be when I started playing it. A couple months ago my husband and I played through Kingdom Hearts 3. We absolutely LOVED the game, but many people absolutely HATE Kingdom Hearts 3. I do agree there are definitely flaws, but there are a lot of good things in Kingdom Hearts 3 as well. Today I’m going to talk about my thoughts on Kingdom Hearts 3 and if it’s really as bad as people say it is (I’m talking to you Amazon reviews 😤).
Disney Ride References and Hidden Mickeys
Kingdom Hearts 3, more than any other Kingdom Hearts game, reminds me so much of Disneyland! One of the reasons is because now and then you get the option to use special moves where you attack enemies by riding Disney park rides! There were so many different rides we got to ride on, which are listed below:
- Big Magic Mountain—which reminds me of Big Thunder Mountain.
- Mad Tea Cups—which is basically just the Mad Tea Party ride.
- Blaster Blaze—which totally reminds me of Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters.
- Splash Run—which reminds me of Grizzly River Run in Disney California Adventure.
- Magic Carousel—which is the classic carousel you can find in plenty of Disney parks.
- Pirate Ship—I’m not entirely sure which ride this represents. There’s not a rocking boat ride in California’s Disney parks or in Disney World. Maybe its in a Disney park outside of the United States?
Along with getting to ride some classic Disney rides, there were also dozens of Hidden Mickeys around the game! In Kingdom Hearts 3 they’re called “Lucky Emblems”, but we all know they’re really Hidden Mickeys! Finding Hidden Mickeys throughout the various worlds in Kingdom Hearts 3 was a super fun scavenger hunt in the game!
Between riding Disney park rides and searching for Hidden Mickeys, I really felt like I was at Disneyland (or as close as I could get in that moment)!
My Favorite Kingdom Hearts 3 Worlds
Besides the classic world of Twilight Town (which I’m so glad was in Kingdom Hearts 3 and not just a Kingdom Hearts 2 world exclusively) my favorite worlds were Toy Box and The Caribbean!
In Toy Box, you go into the world of Toy Story. Sora, Donald, and Goofy turn into toys to blend in with everyone else. What I liked about this world was it was an original story. I’m fine with the worlds where you basically just play out the story of the classic movie (such as in the world “Kingdom of Corona” where you play out the story of Rapunzel in Tangled), but I do like when they come up with a unique story to be put in the game. In this story Woody, Buzz, and a few other toys are separated from Andy and some of their other friends and need your help. Its also cute because Rex keeps thinking Sora is Yozora, a video game character he’s obsessed with from Verum Rex. What’s great about the start of this world, is it even starts with video game footage of Verum Rex (which I feel is a throwback to Toy Story 2, when Rex is playing the Buzz Lightyear game). There are also a lot of plot twists in this world. All in all I had a lot of fun playing through Toy Box!
Another world I loved was The Caribbean. In this world you come back and play out some of the plot from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. This was even more fun than playing through the Pirates of the Caribbean World in Kingdom Hearts 2! The world was a lot more expansive, and you got to actually drive a pirate ship rather than just ride one!
Some Not So Great Things…
While this game is amazing and I absolutely loved playing it, there were definitely some things that should’ve been different. For one thing, there were absolutely no Final Fantasy characters in Kingdom Hearts 3. The closest thing we got was Yozora, who is based off of Prince Noctis Lucis Caelum from Final Fantasy XV.
However, although Yozora is VERY similar to Prince Noctis, he is not the same character. The fact that there were no Final Fantasy characters in Kingdom Hearts 3 is a pretty glaring flaw, especially since Final Fantasy characters were a part of the main story in Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2. So for there to be an absence of Final Fantasy characters definitely felt strange. This change was definitely drastic and unwelcome in my eyes. I’ve always thought of Kingdom Hearts as the child of Disney and Square Enix (the developer/producer for the Final Fantasy games). Not seeing any Final Fantasy characters definitely makes me wonder what Square Enix was thinking and why they made the choice to leave out Final Fantasy aspects.
Editor’s Note: Kingdom Hearts 3 has a tie-in to the Final Fantasy XIII-Versus game that was cancelled. Many of the trailer cutscenes from Versus were repurposed in the Re:Mind DLC for Kingdom Hearts 3.
Another thing I noticed was the world of Arendelle (from Frozen) took up a HUGE portion of the game. Time wise you spend way more time there than any of the other worlds. You can also tell that a substantial portion of the budget was spent on this world as well. For one thing they got the actual voice actors from the movie (there’s no way that’s cheap). They also had some of the songs from Frozen including Let It Go.
While I actually like Frozen, I don’t think they should’ve devoted as much time and effort as they did to the world of Arendelle. I feel that because Frozen got so much attention, the creators of Kingdom Hearts 3 couldn’t create as many worlds. I feel like the first two Kingdom Hearts games had way more worlds than Kingdom Hearts 3. Not only did Kingdom Hearts 3 have less worlds, but I also feel like some of the worlds that were in Kingdom Hearts 3 ended up being neglected. For example, the 100 Acre Wood (the optional world of Winnie the Pooh) barely has any real content or gameplay. For the most part, you basically play simple games that could be on a phone app. This is super disappointing because in the last two Kingdom Hearts games the 100 Acre Wood actually had a story and was a ton of fun to play! But in Kingdom Hearts 3 the 100 Acre Wood was pretty mediocre.
Honestly part of me wonders if the reason some worlds (like the 100 Acre Wood) didn’t get as much content was because the developers were focusing on Frozen so much. That’s honestly the only explanation that makes sense to me. But if that’s the reason, then honestly I don’t think the amount of effort (and money) they put into the world of Arendelle was worth it. I would’ve gladly accepted a less elaborate Frozen world if it meant that there could be more worlds in the game, or at least more attention given to the other worlds.
Kingdom Hearts 3 Ties Together All Of The Games
Between the first Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 3 there are a lot of side-story games. In these games you meet a lot of new characters and more stories are added to the Kingdom Hearts lore. Honestly my favorite part of Kingdom Hearts 3 is that it ties together all of the stories into one beautiful package of a game. You get to see Roxas, Axel, and Xion as well as Terra, Aqua, and Ventus.
I also really liked that Kingdom Hearts 3 saved us from all the cliff hangers we were left on in the previous games. Examples of this are Mickey and Riku (with help from Sora) rescuing Aqua from the Realm of Darkness, Ventus finally being awoken after being asleep for over a decade, Terra finally being saved from Xehanort, and Roxas returning in the nick of time to save Axel and Xion.
One of the main themes of Kingdom Hearts is friendship, so getting to see so many friends reunited in the game (some after 10 years or more) definitely tugged at my heart strings a little. While Kingdom Hearts 3 still focuses on Sora’s journey, it wasn’t just about him, but rather how everyone in the game is connected one way or another.
I loved how we got closure for a lot of the other characters and side stories in the Kingdom Hearts series. And I love that you get to see all of the characters (main and side) together as they fight against Xehanort. The final battle was epic, and I couldn’t have asked for a better finale.
All in all, I definitely think that Kingdom Hearts 3 is worth it. I definitely enjoyed playing the game and while there were some flaws, all in all I think it was a FANTASTIC game. Not everyone thinks that, but personally I really liked Kingdom Hearts 3!
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If you want to read more blog posts about Kingdom Hearts 3, check out the links below:
My First Kingdom Hearts Playthrough—And Why It Feeds My Disneyland Hunger (SPOILERS)
Why I Like Kingdom Hearts 2 Better Than Kingdom Hearts 1: My First Playthrough of KH2
If there’s going to be another Kingdom Hearts game, what do you think it’ll be about? Also what do you think about Sora being the final DLC character in Super Smash Brothers Ultimate? Are you planning on playing the Kingdom Hearts games on the Nintendo Switch? Let me know in the comments below!