The long-awaited Critical Mode difficulty for Kingdom Hearts 3 now officially has a release date. According to the official Kingdom Hearts Twitter account, Critical Mode will be offered as free DLC to all Kingdom Hearts 3 players starting tomorrow, April 23rd. In the message, Kingdom Hearts director Tetsuya Nomura warns that, "We've changed things up from previous games," but looks forward to players enjoying Critical Mode for themselves.
Critical Mode is a difficulty setting introduced in Kingdom Hearts 2 as part of its Final Mix rerelease (western audiences first experienced it in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. How it works differs from game to game, but it typically includes double damage received from enemies and halved damage output. However, in Kingdom Hearts 3 Nomura has previously promised a "completely new experience" with new abilities and a much more technical approach to combat.
Currently, Kingdom Hearts 3 features three different difficulties: Beginner Mode, Standard Mode, and Proud Mode. Standard Mode can be considered the baseline difficulty by which Kingdom Hearts 3 was designed. Beginner Mode increases damage output by 50% while decreasing damage received by 50%. Proud Mode increases damage received by 50%. Also, the more challenging the difficulty chosen, the easier it is to unlock Kingdom Hearts 3's secret ending.
Proud Mode, being Kingdom Hearts 3's currently most difficult mode, disappointed many players hoping for a truly challenging game experience. Previous Kingdom Hearts titles have all provided such a challenge, but Kingdom Hearts 3's unique offering of powerful abilities made even the increased damage of Proud Mode simple for many to overcome. Hopefully, Critical Mode delivers that challenge.
Greetings, it’s been a while since I last posted. Spring is here, and I hope everyone is doing well. #KingdomHearts III's long-awaited Critical Mode is available as a free update tomorrow (PT).— KINGDOM HEARTS (@KINGDOMHEARTS) April 22, 2019
We’ve changed things up from the previous games, so I hope you enjoy - Nomura pic.twitter.com/Npz8FeKmCK
In February, Nomura promised that Kingdom Hearts 3 would continue to be supported through 2019 with both free and premium DLC. The Critical Mode difficulty was always promised as free DLC and its late-April release is on-schedule with regards to what was previously promised.
After the release of Critical Mode, perhaps Square Enix will be ready to start talking about Kingdom Hearts 3's upcoming premium DLC. Nomura's previously said that this paid DLC will fill in some of Kingdom Hearts 3's lingering story questions. This type of premium DLC is said to be taking priority over a Final Mix type of release for Kingdom Hearts 3, so hopefully Square Enix will be able to release it relatively quickly just as it's doing with Critical Mode.
Kingdom Hearts 3 is available now on PS4 and Xbox One.