Kingdom Hearts III - Review

Author: Alessandra "Aelinar" Borgonovo
Date: 2020-07-30 21:42:44
"Once upon a time", all fairy tales start the same way. However, what I will talk about today represents the end of a seventeen year long journey. But somewhere it must have started, right? So ... "Once upon a time": a boy whose destiny was to save a world, or rather more worlds, from the darkness that would otherwise have suffocated them. Her weapons? A Keyblade but, above all, one's heart and the strength of close ties with others.

It is not easy to reconnect to the Kingdom Hearts III events without writing an entire essay, because the saga conceived by Tetsuya Nomura has its roots in 2002 and was difficult to follow due to its branching on multiple platforms and the past years, which inevitably lead to plot holes or pending issues without due explanation.

What Sora has accomplished is neither more nor less than the hero's journey in its classic sense - the same, to say, that we have seen Link do for thirty years now. There comes a point where certainties collapse, where a little doubt creates that crack that leads to breakage: it also applies to our naive hero with a heart too big and too fragile. In Dream Drop Distance we saw him fall, weakening to the point of becoming the victim of that same darkness that struggles to defeat.

Now the time has come for the resurrection because - citing Mago Merlino - anything lost can be found, and Sora will have to make a long journey to rediscover himself while his friends, on several fronts, help him in this new imminent war. He will travel far and wide through the worlds through a series of situations that sometimes closely follow the events of the Disney films of reference, an odyssey interspersed several times by side films of his story and whose only task is to update the player both on past events - a well-implemented system, in my opinion - and on efforts made elsewhere to prepare for war.

If on the one hand this choice makes us appreciate the incredible work put in place from a visual and often directorial point of view (you will see it for yourself with the beautiful world of the Pirates of the Caribbean), on the other it is one of the two pebbles in the shoe of this great ending: the rhythm of the game is affected by the need to show all the moves on both sides of the board and at the same time we are often asked to be understanding with regards to a narration that is not always optimal, made of inevitable plot holes and moments or uninspired dialogues children of a development distributed over many, perhaps too many, years.

It is a recipe that combines the epic nature of memorable clashes in the light of those emotions on which the whole plot rests, but one cannot avoid noticing the bitter aftertaste of the holes in the plot and the use of deus ex machina: a carousel , to use a fitting term, which with a few squeaks brings us to the end where the narrative rears up and leaves us with bated breath waiting for the epilogue available in a few days.

The gameplay, I had already had the opportunity to notice it at some fairs or presentations, collects all that has been done in these years and indeed adds something of its own: aspects borrowed from Kingdom Hearts II, 3D or even Birth by Sleep bring the fight on a family level and the Rides (new element of Kingdom Hearts III) add a sense of spectacularity to everything, putting in your hands the most popular attractions of the Disney theme park to unleash an incredible destructive power - even too much, I dare say, but I will come back to this shortly.

Without following the parallel paths that the fall of Sora had pushed us to experiment in Dream Drop Distance, this third chapter also puts us in the shoes of more characters than the protagonist, for a very limited time and only with the aim of satisfying the canvas narrative but still a appreciated change of register, even if to try different styles.

Returning to Sora, his path of rebirth within the hero's greatest journey is evident thanks to the progressive stratification of his skills in combat: from world to world we will get new skills, or Keyblades with which to experience visually spectacular and capable of inflicting numerous damage, all without losing a drop of their style. From the past, the attacks with Pippo and Donald, or just one of the two, and those of support with the guests of the party, return in a continuous chain that sometimes will be essential to overcome the battles while in other cases it is even too much.