So it finally came, and I was so excited to get into this game. When midnight rolled around and the game unlocked I was straight in there and played until 4 in the morning. This morning, just three days later, I’ve completed the story. And I’m in the process of getting a Platinum trophy.
So I thought I’d write a timely review, just for fun. It’ll be separated into three sections.
- Spoiler-free, for those who haven’t played the game, know nothing about it and want to remain in the dark(ness) regarding the story and some of the more juicy details.
- Mild spoiler, for those who know the general basics about the game. This will spoil the worlds in the game, some of the Disney-centric storylines and storylines from the past KH games.
- Full Blown Spoilertown. For everything.
I basically just want to get into the positives and negatives of the game, so bear with me.
- The combat system has had a very decent overhaul. Keyblades now come with distinct personalities, unlocking ‘form changes’ which work very similarly to the styles of Birth By Sleep. Basically once you’ve slapped an enemy around enough with a keyblade you can unlock its secondary form, which comes with various abilities that will enhance Sora’s combat abilities. They also drastically affect the way you use the ‘attack’ command and some even modify your magic. For example, one keyblade’s form is defensively based, turning into a shield which allows you to soak up hits and counter with ease. Some are magic based, with a popular keyblade turning into a staff which melts enemies granted you have a high magic stat. Some keyblades turn into guns, which are my personal favourite, as I glide around the battlefield shooting homing missiles at my foes.
- There is now a cooking minigame featuring Remy from Ratatouille (this is really not that big of a spoiler) which is quite fun. It’s brought about in a lore-friendly, quirky way and doesn’t interfere much. Basically you can do some small Cooking Mama-esque minigames to acquire items which boost your stats temporarily, like in Final Fantasy XV or other similar games. You can buy the ingredients yourself, or find them in the field. It’s pretty fun.
- The combat system now involves ‘Attractions’. These are commands which allow Sora to summon rides from Disneyland which are then utilised offensively. For example using a pirate ship ride to bash into enemies or using river rapids to bash into enemies or using tea cups to bash into enemies. Etcetera. I’m not a fan. They interrupt the flow of combat in a huge way and while they’re pretty, they get repetitive.
- Limited number of keyblades. Considering that each keyblade is now fully upgradeable (so you can indeed take the Kingdom Key to the end of the game with some pretty decent upgrades now) and all have one or two form changes attached, this makes sense. But they’ve done away with some classics, such as Oblivion or Oathkeeper, which is sad. Most of your options are the gaudy, sometimes tacky Disney-world keyblades. I’m pretty neutral on this. Hopefully in the DLC that will inevitably come along they’ll add some cool new weapons.
- You get a phone from Chip and Dale. They call it a Gummiphone. You can take selfies with it. It’s fantastic. You also use it to photograph ‘Hidden Mickies’ (or Lucky Emblems, as the game calls them) for some secret prizes. It’s fun.
- So, I’d rank the Disney worlds like this, from worst to best: Arendelle (Frozen), Kingdom of Corona (Tangled), Monstropolis (Monsters, Inc.), San Fransokyo (Big Hero 6), The Carribean (Pirates of,), Toy Box (Toy Story), Olympus (Hercules).
- Arendelle and Corona especially are awful to play through, with so many 1:1 recreations of scenes from the movie. You don’t feel like your actions or presence matter at all in these worlds, and the Disney characters there barely interact with you. For the record, The Carribean is pretty much the same but the world is just so gorgeous and so expansive that I have to rate it highly. Despite the annoying boss fights it has (more on that later).
- Saying that, The Carribean is totally obnoxious what with its ship combat, underwater expeditions and annoying and boring aerial boss.
- There are some convincing voice actor imitations going about in the game, including Woody and Buzz, Captain Jack Sparrow, and Mike and Sully. They sound pretty damn close to the originals and I’m a fan. Some characters who do not sound right are Will and Elizabeth from Pirates, and Randall from Monsters. Some big names who actually did return to the studio for this game include Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff and Susan Egan. Oh and Drake Bell has a cameo too. It’s mostly pretty great in the voice acting department.
- Too many ‘make fun of Sora and everyone laughs at the situation’ scenes. The game is full of them. Honestly. Everytime you go to Yen Sid’s tower you’ll get someone (usually Donald) taking the piss out of Sora and everyone chuckles heartily. Awkwardly. It’s not great.
- Riku’s new clothes suck.
- Kairi’s new clothes suck.
- Plaid sucks.
- The gathering of the guardians of light, which occurs after the Disney worlds have been completed, is a fab ride and really fun to witness. That being said:
- FAR too many long cutscenes. They could take a note from other games who have exposition during gameplay or some clever use of a zoom lens and brief action pauses (God of War, FFXV etc.). It broke up the gameplay something awful.
- The game is easy. I’m not amazing at action games, but I played the game on Standard and never died a single time. I die a lot in the other KH games. But nope. Not even in the final boss. It’s still fun, but maybe a more balanced challenge would be appreciated. I’ve even heard similar things about Proud difficulty.
- Synthesis is as much a ballache as it always has been. Get rid.
- Hayner, Pence and Olette have bigger roles and they’re pretty great. Always liked them.
- Gummi ship stuff is now fun. Who’da thunk it?
Full Blown Spoilertown
- Playing as Riku and Aqua was fun and I’m gutted they didn’t add more of it to the game. I would have also loved to see more of Axel and Kairi using their keyblades. As it goes, it’s not that much and not that impressive.
- The boss gauntlet against the 13 darknesses is masterful and really gets you going for the final boss. Particular highlights are Luxord, Larxene, Terranort and Young Xehanort. They either have great fights or fantastic death scenes which made me like the characters finally. (Or both, in Larxene’s case).
- Mickey Mouse shows versatility in emotion expression and I love.
- Donald Duck one-shots Terranort with a spell and fucking dies. And it’s fucking badass. Best moment of the game.
- Final World was a bit messy. Sora gets transported to a glassy blue sky paradise which is like an afterlife but also not, maybe a purgatory? Either way, it’s boring and it breaks up the gameplay. Couldn’t give a shit about it.
- Xehanort getting some sort of redemption at the end fucked me off. How dare he be able to smile after the embarrassing beatdown he just took (read: he drowned in Firagas).
- The scene with Demyx, Marluxia, Luxord and Larxene being bitchy is precious and I would absolutely pay money for a sequel with them as the main characters. 100%. Do it Square-Enix. DO IT.
- Boss Hall of Fame: Xehanort with the X-Blade (obv), Titans, the Canister Unversed, the Ice Wolf in the Frozen World, crystalline Darkside (for nostalgia reasons), the Union X boss, the 13 identical judge-like heartless with the darkness’ weapons.
- Boss Hall of Shame: Tentacles in the ocean, Luxord ship, Underwater Xehanort, Marshmallow, UFO, flying boss from the Carribean.
- Sora is actually likeable in this game. It’s a miracle.
- The whole ‘box’ storyline with Maleficent and Pete turns out to be immensely frustrating in hindsight when nothing comes to fruition. Yeah, yeah I know, the epilogue and the secret movie. But that doesn’t cover up the fact that they’re only in the game as a sequel hook. Nevertheless, I look forward to that sequel.
- The boss rush at the end is absolutely fantastic. Full of great scenes and adrenaline-filled cutscenes that give each character a day in the limelight. And bring back old characters who we’ve missed a lot. And some real tearjerkers. It’s a shame that you don’t get all 1v1 battles, allowing each boss to have their own distinctive fight. But the solution they have is pretty fun too. Fighting alongside your allies is super fun.
- The ending is utterly beautiful. I won’t say much, except that seeing everyone happy for once, and together is really wonderful. This franchise is a mess, a beautiful, enthralling and captivating mess that I love and I am happy that this saga has ended the way it did. I’m excited for more.
- Riku is definitely only shagging Naminé because Sora is dead or whatever.