Editorial ► KINGDOM HEARTS III First Impressions Review (Spoiler Free)



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Dandelion

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Hello everyone! 
 
Square-Enix gave us a review copy of the game this afternoon, and since we're seven hours deep and still pretty early on, I figured it'd be a good idea to give you guys my first impressions today before you begin the game tomorrow!
 
 
I was struck, immediately, by the graphics quality. It's not a surprise in some ways, as we've been following the development of this game since day 1 and it's always been beautiful. Something really special has happened here, though. Square-Enix has defined a style all its own for this game. It's a shame there aren't more 2D inspired worlds to show off the style outside the CGI worlds. The breath of life Olympus has is jaw-dropping, especially when you consider that in the first Kingdom Hearts game, Olympus was three or four boxy-rooms wide. 
 
Exploration is better than ever. Square has managed to hear the criticisms of the not-so-living environments of past games and here almost everything is brimming with life. Invisible walls aren't as intrusive (at least, not in the first three worlds), NPCs live and interact with you, there is so much to see and collect. Nomura wasn't kidding when he said 0.2 was about the length of a Kingdom Hearts III world. I haven't been able to clear any of the first few worlds in under two hours. 
 
I've only just unlocked the full arsenal of gameplay tools, but so far I've enjoyed them. The tank-like Sora I had in the demo back during the premiere event is much more fluid. You can turn off the animations for things like Links and Attractions (unfortunately, you can't toggle off the free-running indicator on walls) and the ability system makes a welcome return for more customization. Did I mention party members are also easier to control, allowing them to do their own thing, stay out of the way, stay close to Sora or defend him? Donald hasn't let me down once. 
 
The music is incredible, and a lot of attention has been given to the soundscape of the worlds. It's a nice change to have so many individual scenes scored as opposed to the world themes looping ad infinitum. The voice performances hit a series high, and so far the localization has been the best and most natural it's ever been. 
 
It's still relatively early, but so far Kingdom Hearts III is a worthy conclusion to the Xehanort Saga. I'll have more to say once I've completed the game, and so will our other staff members, but for now please be excited!
 
Kingdom Hearts III releases worldwide tomorrow!  

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Sora2016

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This is how I am feeling as well! I have been in awe of the graphics so much, I am still in the first world myself lol. About to hit 3 hours in already but I have been super taking my time and taking a million screen shots and trying to find ingredients and chests.

Edit: Oh and yes, the music usage has been super good so far, and the rearrangements and new tracks sound amazing, as expected. But still its gorgeous to the ears ha.
 

Rydgea

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I was astonished how long it took me to clear Olympus. My total run time was around 5 hours afterwards, but, like Sora2016, I had been soaking up the details, but STILL. It is beauuutiful. It's a different take, but I'm enjoying this change despite some of my own preferences!

The music is also the business. I was hooked from the start, but The Mysterious Tower arrangement in particular is life. "Looking" forward to all the sounds.
 

Axel92

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5 hours and I'm in twilight town! Guys, this game is amazing. There's an insane attention to the details!
 

Xagzan

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Man, hearing that new Dearly Beloved, and then the orchestral Don't Think Twice was pretty overwhelming. Really that word goes for all of my 3 hours so far.

I have a question about audio though. Is it just me, or is dialogue in cutscenes louder than during gameplay? I've listened with both the sound bar I use and my tv speakers, and it happens either way, so I'm pretty sure it's the game and not anything on my end. But does anyone else experience this?

Does it have anything to do with Master Volume option in the config menu? I'm not sure if that does anything other than lower the whole volume overall, but yeah. I'd like to get the voices softer without lowering the music during gameplay.
 

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I've only played a few hours so far and I'm enjoying it. The gameplay is fun and the music is brilliant as always. I get a blast taking photos during the battles, and Remy's mini game is adorable. I especially love how explorable and alive the worlds are, it's just so refreshing compared to all the other games. My only real gripe so far is the writing, which isn't anything new, but is it me, or has it become worse than before?
 

DangerNoodle

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I've only played a few hours so far and I'm enjoying it. The gameplay is fun and the music is brilliant as always. I get a blast taking photos during the battles, and Remy's mini game is adorable. I especially love how explorable and alive the worlds are, it's just so refreshing compared to all the other games. My only real gripe so far is the writing, which isn't anything new, but is it me, or has it become worse than before?
I honestly think that as you progress the writing and dialogue becomes better, or at least at hour 4 and onward i felt the dialogues were miles better than in the beggining of the game.
 

Neo_GFX

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They could've left a little to the imagination with Meg...

Wtf was up with Herc throwing the statue into the sky and then the girl just being saved? How jarring was that? I saw that on a stream, and thought I missed a bit of combat or an extra scene.
 

Sora2016

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I've only played a few hours so far and I'm enjoying it. The gameplay is fun and the music is brilliant as always. I get a blast taking photos during the battles, and Remy's mini game is adorable. I especially love how explorable and alive the worlds are, it's just so refreshing compared to all the other games. My only real gripe so far is the writing, which isn't anything new, but is it me, or has it become worse than before?
I genuinely think its better in a lot of ways lol, maybe you are just not remembering how awful the writing in KH2 is. The conversations flow more naturally imo. The only thing I thought was a little stilted was Riku and Mickey's first conversation. Everything else has sounded nice imo.

They could've left a little to the imagination with Meg...

Wtf was up with Herc throwing the statue into the sky and then the girl just being saved? How jarring was that? I saw that on a stream, and thought I missed a bit of combat or an extra scene.
I'm not sure what you mean about Meg, but the scene thing is nothing new. I guess they just didn't find it important enough to show? Like it wasn't worth the effort of animating them rescuing her.
 

Neo_GFX

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I honestly just played up to the second Olympus save point where you can throw the Hercules doll around (wth was that? lol -- and then it just disappears after awhile :redface:), and the game honestly feels like a movie so far.
 

DangerNoodle

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They could've left a little to the imagination with Meg...

Wtf was up with Herc throwing the statue into the sky and then the girl just being saved? How jarring was that? I saw that on a stream, and thought I missed a bit of combat or an extra scene.
Lol, did anyone notice that Phil was silent the whole time and only made these weird facial expressions? Seems like they didn’t even want to settle with the Danny Devito impersonator in KH3, unlike in 1 and 2.
 

Sora2016

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I honestly just played up to the second Olympus save point where you can throw the Hercules doll around (wth was that? lol -- and then it just disappears after awhile :redface:), and the game honestly feels like a movie so far.
I think you can do something with them on a return visit, but I haven't tried yet.
 

Xagzan

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They could've left a little to the imagination with Meg...

Wtf was up with Herc throwing the statue into the sky and then the girl just being saved? How jarring was that? I saw that on a stream, and thought I missed a bit of combat or an extra scene.
That was hilarious to me. Herc was like "Running's too slow!" but by the time the time we all climbed up on the statue I was thinking, "I dunno, we probably would've been there already if we'd run."

Then he chucks us all into the sky and if I was Sora I would've been all, "HOW IS THIS HELPING?"
 

Laurel

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I genuinely think its better in a lot of ways lol, maybe you are just not remembering how awful the writing in KH2 is. The conversations flow more naturally imo. The only thing I thought was a little stilted was Riku and Mickey's first conversation. Everything else has sounded nice imo.
Yeah KH2's writing wasn't the greatest, but I dunno, maybe it's the delivery of some of the lines that's off. For example, we get a creepy close up of Yensid whispering "May your heart be your guiding key" and it was the weirdest thing.
 

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That was hilarious to me. Herc was like "Running's too slow!" but by the time the time we all climbed up on the statue I was thinking, "I dunno, we probably would've been there already if we'd run."

Then he chucks us all into the sky and if I was Sora I would've been all, "HOW IS THIS HELPING?"
Let's just use our imagination and imagine the crash landing of that statue, hahaha. It's a miracle he didn't kill that girl! He's more brawn than brains for a reason!
 

Neo_GFX

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Is this the general impressions thread? Kinda dead for launch day (everyone must be playing the game). I'm about two hours in and at the part where I'm assuming you meet Zeus, and the biggest that thing that has stuck out to me is the surplus of Phil and Herc dolls; was this something big in the film, lol?

The multiple routes is driving my OCD up a hill (no pun intended), which brings me to my next point: I'm playing on Proud, scavenging every conceivable corner and appreciating the awe-striking environments, but can't help to wonder how fast you can plow through the game on Beginner. I know that's not the ideal way to play the game, but seems like it would be fun all the same (I'm not having trouble with difficulty or anything, and am definitely gonna play this game more than once). It just seems like a fun way to speed through everything and not worry about checking every corner, and then delve in in an OCD mode on Proud after.

For completionists, the sledding Goofy is hell (trying to check each alternate path and crashing into walls, leading to Sora bouncing with fire on his ass like Mario 64), and although Trophies are like playing for stats (which isn't cool), it's kind of bogus there isn't a Proud trophy; I want to brag about that shit. Other than that, the game is obviously a 10/10 - need I say more?
 

Tartarus

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I'm not sure what needs to be spoiler tagged and what's not, so:

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Neo_GFX

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^ Yes; the way cutscenes are broken up and stuff makes each world (or Olympus at least) feel like a series of events.

I'm assuming it's coming, but I'm waiting for a portion where I can just chill the f out and congregate with some townspeople. This was one hell of a "tutorial".
 

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