At E3 2013, Square Enix took the stage during Sony’s Press Conference to confirm two highly anticipated projects: Final Fantasy 15 and Kingdom Hearts 3. Both announcements were met with tremendous fanfare, but the true showstopper was Kingdom Hearts.
However, while Square Enix did bring some new footage of the sequel, it was fairly short and showcased little gameplay. It was a solid tease, but not enough for fans to get a true sense of the game’s design, let alone any gameplay advancements.
At this year’s D23 Expo in Japan, however, Square Enix was ready to show off just a little bit more of Kingdom Hearts 3 in the form of a new 2-minute trailer. The footage contained within (seen below courtesy of IGN) looks a lot like classic Kingdom Hearts, albeit with a few new flourishes and crisper visuals.
In the trailer, players will notice that a lot of the gameplay from the first two Kingdom Hearts games appears to be relatively unchanged. Sora still battles the heartless with his Keyblade, and Goofy and Donald are around to lend a hand/wing where necessary. As far as updates/changes to the combat, Sora is also seen firing particles from his Keyblade — a nice visual effect — before the weapon eventually transforms into two pistols.
That particular sequence concludes with Sora riding on and attacking from what looks like Captain Hook’s pirate ship from Peter Pan. It’s unclear where exactly the ship comes from – whether it’s a ‘Summon’ or something else – but it looks fantastic regardless.
In addition to the more traditional combat scenario, the footage also features a boss battle with a rock giant. In this battle, Sora, Donald, and Goofy are circulate around the enemy in a train car from Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride, jabbing at various weak points. The sequence itself looks to be a quick-time event, and highlights yet another staple of the franchise: blending iconic Disney brands with Square’s signature style of combat.
Overall, what was on display at D23 is a good start — like the E3 presentation — but still provided little clues as to Kingdom Hearts 3‘s story. Granted, with a story as complex as Kingdom Hearts‘ it would be hard to sum up the future of the franchise in a short trailer, but any clues would be welcome.
On the gameplay side of things, Kingdom Hearts 3 looks to be exactly what fans expect — no more, no less. Not to say that’s a bad thing, on the contrary, in fact; after several years since Kingdom Hearts 2 it will be refreshing to hop back into that combat.
And, rather than take things in a different direction as the franchise makes the leap to the next-gen, it appears Square Enix is sticking with the series’ colorful art style, only with a lot more detail. Like the first trailer, this is a great way to tease the project, without giving too much away just yet.
What do you think of Kingdom Hearts 3‘s combat? Does it live up to your expectations?
Kingdom Hearts 3 has no release date, but will be available on the PS4 and Xbox One.