Nomura is God. There’s no other explanation. Nomura has transcended the human condition and now resides in his own fanfic pantheon. Sora, hallowed be thy name, spreads the holy gospel of Kingdom Hearts far and wide, and now I am a zealot. Before, I was merely a fan, but now, upon playing two levels of KH3, I am the driver of the friendship train, the pilot of the gummi ship which transported me to a world of joy. Harken close, fellow conspiracy theorist, and let me put your mind at ease with good news about a game that’s taken far too long to be released.
The demo featured segments from Olympus and Toy Box, and both were amazing. The Olympus stage pitted Sora, Donald and Goofy against a titan, because what better way to show off the ambitious scale of the game than with a freakin’ titan? The level made use of the game’s parkour system, a refined version of Flowmotion from Dream Drop Distance, to run up the mountain and beat down some heartless. Within minutes, I knew that this was far from the clunky tech demo we got from 2.8.
After a couple combats with some heartless plebs, the game was feeling just like previous Kingdom Hearts titles. While 2.8 was a little rough around the edges, 3 feels smoother than Mickey Mouse’s disturbingly shiny head. Combat was fluid and beautiful, and there’s obviously been a staggering amount of effort put into getting the feeling of it just right. There was also a plethora of command styles to keep combat ridiculous, and I don’t even think I saw half of the ones available in Olympus! It feels like a Kingdom Hearts game, and holy balls, does it play like one.
Upon reaching the titan, it was time to teach this rude dude a thing or two about the friendship train. The fight turned into Sora and the others riding a magical train around the boss and countering its attacks with cannon shots, which was… Fine. It was still enjoyable, but given how satisfying engaging in the core combat system felt, undermining the fight by introducing new mechanics isn’t great. It’s been happening for a few games now, but given how well the game plays, it’s a shame how large of a role these minigames mechanics will play. Thankfully, Toy Box was a lot more fun.
Once again, combat was a joy to engage in, but command styles and finishing moves were totally different. While this made for some awkward moments where I’d be stuck in a swing boat decimating heartless, it also meant I could unlock a rocket hammer or spinning teacups. The rocket hammer was especially fun since Andy’s room was surprisingly vast for little ol’ Lego Sora. If there’s that much variety and scale from two levels, I dare not contemplate how many things will end up in the final game, but there’s no doubt it will run beautifully… Well, maybe a little.
At this point, I’m wondering how seamlessly the game will run. On the one hand, the game transitioned from cutscene to gameplay without the need for a fade to black, which felt way more impressive than it sounds (BUT IT WAS MAGICAL). On the other hand, the audio would occasionally cut in and out, and I’m not sure if it due to the headphones or the game. Could it be that designing for both the PS4 and PS4 Pro is too much for based Nomura? Regardless, I am beyond excited for KH3 to release.
Before playing the demo, I was kind of excited for KH3. Now, not even a gummi ship sequence can bring down my hype. The combat felt as fluid as any good Kingdom Hearts game does, and the sheer variety and scale of the combat left me awed. You too, heretic reader, can experience the true majesty of KH3 under Nomura’s perfect light in, like, three months. And it will be amazing.