On the first day of Tokyo Game Show 2018, I finally got to try the Kingdom Hearts 3. I, and many other gamers around the world, have longed for the release of this third entry of the Kingdom Hearts series. Well, technically the tenth entry but let’s not get into that.
This particular demo of Kingdom Hearts 3 has been going around various conventions around the world and it is definitely no surprise that it’s showcased right here in TGS. In fact, TGS is being held at Makuhari Messe, which is just down the street from Tokyo Disneyland. Some might say that Tokyo Disneyland is the best place to eat Roxas’ favourite Sea Salt ice-cream. Square Enix definitely gave the fans what they wanted this year at the booth, debuting a brand new trailer right before the show started and letting fans take pictures with a life-size Keyblade replica.
If you’ve been following Kingdom Hearts news, then the things you’ll see aren’t nothing new. The demo doesn’t cover the newly revealed Big Hero Six world or the awe-inspiring Pirates of the Caribbean world, but does let you go through 2 distinct levels. There’s the Mount Olympus level from Hercules, and Andy’s Room from Toy Story.
Starting with the Mount Olympus level, you begin with Sora in his Kingdom Hearts 2 clothes and Kingdom Key with Goofy and Donald Duck in your party. What you’ll immediately find out is that this is not the Kingdom Hearts you once knew. Oh no, if you haven’t picked it up since Kingdom Hearts 3, then you’re in for a wild ride. While the action commands and overall look of the game does look like an updated Kingdom Hearts 2, it’s only when you start fighting that you’ll notice the huge differences.
Back in the first Kingdom Hearts, Sora kind of just swings his weapon around like a club, as you level-up, you have access to numerous spells and special techniques. In Kingdom Hearts 2, Square Enix upped the ante by introducing Drive Forms that allowed Sora to wield more than one Keyblade, and Limits where you can do an ultimate attack with a party member. Starting out in Kingdom Hearts 3, you have access to that and more.
Now Sora can do Shotlocks like in Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, and also Flowmotion from Dream Drop Distance. This means that he can lock on to multiple enemies and blast them with magic through Shotlock, and run up walls with Flowmotion. Sora is immediately more agile than ever before, which makes you feel bad for leaving Donald and Goofy behind as you fly around the stage. The level starts off with you running up a cliff as the Rock Titan tries to throw boulders down to you. Once you reach the top of the cliff, Heartless starts to swarm you, and you get to try out your new skills. Soon, a boss fight with the Rock Titan begins, and you get to defeat him with the help of the Big Mountain roller coaster.
The first part of the demo ends there and you can start up the second world right after that; the Toy Box. It starts with Rex, Hamm, and Woody spotting some Heartless attacking Andy’s Room, with Sora and the gang bursting into the scene to fight the monsters. You immediately gain control of Sora as the battle starts, with a whole new wardrobe and action figure proportions. It’s here that another new battle mechanic is introduced, the ability to switch Keyblades on the fly. Sora can now equip 3 Keyblades at once, unlike the Keyblades of old, the Keyblades do way more. Each Keyblade can now switch forms, becoming hammers, claws, or even staffs. What I found out while playing the demo was that you can keep your Keyblade in its transformed state as you switch to another Keyblade. So you can seamlessly switch from the Rapunzel Keyblade, to the Toy Story Keyblade in Hammer form, and the to the Monsters Inc Keyblade in claw mode. This opens up the combat and makes you think ahead with how you approach the next wave of enemies.
With the demo, Square Enix is really showing off all the innovations in combat that Kingdom Hearts 3 has made to the series as it really is an evolution of the tried and true formula that the original established, adding just that extra next-gen flair that really makes skipping a whole console generation worth it. Those looking to get back into the series after a long hiatus are in for a treat, long-time fans will feel right at home. Kingdom Hearts 3 releases worldwide on the 25th of January 2019.